It’s been more than 12 months since my last blog post. It turns out that the withdrawal symptoms of a sugar free diet are also the same as early pregnancy symptoms!
In fact, pretty much all of my ‘sugar free’ symptoms are the same as what I experienced whilst pregnant with BV. I was so sure in fact that I took a pregnancy test. It was negative. However, the idea was in my head, I was so sure I was pregnant. I knew the test was wrong. I waited until the following day and I took another test (again negative), in fact I took a test a further 3 more times (all negative!) before the 5th one gave me a very faint positive. I knew it. I was knocked up with no.2.
Mr Intrepid and I were ecstatic. I was ready for it. I was hoping to blog my way through this pregnancy with cute, accuracy of what it is to be pregnant, a week by week growth of this little one. However, the little bean had other ideas. She (yes this one is a girl!) was determined to make me suffer more than BV ever did. I felt like hell.
I fainted all over the place, I had nosebleeds, headaches, sore limbs, and my god I was tired.
I had no energy and I was fucking exhausted. Pregnancy is hard and I had a toddler now this time. 6 weeks in I began to get really unwell. The nausea had kicked in, only this time there was vomiting too. All day and all night long. I was throwing up in carrier bags on my daily commute, in nappy bags whilst changing my son’s nappies, in the shower and once actually in the street. I couldn’t catch a break. I could barely get through the day, there was no way I was blogging about it.
1 year later, on maternity leave, the baby naps are back. Despite popular advice I can’t nap when baby naps (who would hang up the washing?), I am ready to get back on the blogging band wagon. First up, I want to spread awareness of a little know pregnancy condition, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
Time has run away from me but 17 days in and I am still sugar-free. It has become much easier as the days have gone by and the toll its taken my body has not been too bad. I don’t think I have lost weight (I never weighed myself previous to starting so have no idea anyway!), but this is not my goal. I am pretty body confident for now (I grew a baby for fuck’s sake – I am a super woman!). My aim is to cut the addiction, and I think I am doing well. I have had one cheat so far: 1 sugar added to my tea one evening last week. It was quite weak of me but I was feeling a bit peaky and this sorted me right out. I will not feel sorry for that. I feel stronger than ever.
I was really tested on Tuesday when I went to the cinema to watch Split as I love popcorn so much (I regularly make my own at home) and of course I always pick sweet. After oohing and aahing about whether I could just have a little bit, I chose to stick with a bottle of water instead. I can’t wait to have sweet popcorn when this month is over.
I have given up counting the sugar withdrawal symptoms, as many of them can be symptoms of other lifestyle choices. Now that I am feeling less addicted and more optimistic, I am relaxed (and making sugar-free banana muffins until they come out of my ears!)
Approx. 12 Banana Breakfast Muffins:
200g Self Raising Wholemeal
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
100g Unsalted Butter
150g Sultanas (or raisins)
3 medium ripe bananas
2 beaten egg
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven). Sift the flour and add the spices. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sultanas and make a well in the middle of the mixture. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and stir in the beaten eggs. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold in.
Add the mixture to a muffin tin (remember to grease it first!). Turn the oven down and bake the muffins at 160 degrees. for approx. 45 minutes or until done (check by inserting a skewer – must come out clean).
Serve as dessert with natural yogurt or as a quick on the go breakfast. You can also add the mixture to a loaf tin to make one Banana loaf cake. Boom.
Told you I’d bake something!
Today is an unexpected family day. Mr Intrepid usually works Sunday lunchtimes (the hospitality burden) but I got lucky and we had a few hours all together. We decided on a river walk followed by a low-key lunch (a la Byron). It was so cold outside, I needed warming up and (surprise, surprise) ordered coffee. Rank. Turns out not all sugar free coffee is delicious. Coupled with the fact I couldn’t order my usual malt banana milkshake (super tasty!). I was miffed. Food as usual was delicious so this is not a negative review-it just means I need to stick with coffee shops for coffee. Lesson learnt.
Now, not only was I freezing but I was also grumpy. It took me another attempt at caffeine and a perfect coffee (thank you The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs) to gain some perspective.
Mood swings are another symptom of sugar withdrawal as is bizarrely feeling chilly (with flu like symptoms). I know it’s cold outside but I am a bare arms and coat kind of girl so I was taken by surprise to feel freezing and desperately wishing for a jumper, a hat and gloves! I used to always feel cold until I had a baby. Then I overheated every day and had the windows open, and the central heating switched off all year round. I assumed that it was hormonal and that my new resting body temp. was just naturally a couple degrees warmer. Now, I have realised that actually it’s down to my sugar addiction (yes it’s a real thing!). I am experiencing a whole heap of withdrawal symptoms.
- Fatigue (9pm bedtime!)
- Mood swings
- Change in Appetite (I am starving all the time. I’m scoffing half of my packed lunch for work as I make it!)
- And also finally cravings!
Tonight, I have eaten (inhaled actually) a handful of grapes which is a bit naughty. It may not be refined sugar but they have a lot of fructose. They tasted incredible. So unbelievably sweet. Like…well, sweets.
Day 5 has definitely been the trickiest so far. Headaches, moods and chills and porridge oats with cinnamon as a last ditch attempt to fill me up before bed. I am still refined sugar free (just about) and with my early bed time? I am definitely still rock ‘n’ roll. I’m just having a rest.🤘🏻
I call this one Green Strawberry Sludge.
1 Handful of Kale, 1 small cup of Almond Milk, 1 kiwi, 5-6 large strawberries and a teaspoon of chia seeds.
This one is BV’s favourite so far (too many strawberries) so obviously it’s quite sweet. My body has definitely reset itself because even I found this a bit too sweet. Nevertheless, smoothies are a great way to add some extra goodness into him (as well as me) especially as there are not too many vegetables he eats. This also proved to be a fun activity for him to help me with. Not only did I get my boy to consume Kale (bleurgh) but he did it so proudly!
Day 4: I feel constantly hungry and I’m still knackered. I’m actually starting to like sugar free coffee, although I can’t get used to sugar free tea (the everyday kind), and I’ve cut out most of my cereal (today I had bran flakes, the best of a bad bunch). My skin feels rotten and I’m cold all day long but I am still Sugar Free! Get in.
Thank Fuck it’s Friday. My 2 hour commute is really starting to take it’s toll. I’m grateful it only happens 3 days a week but I am exhausted! I’ve noticed today (Day 3: No Sugar) that some of the withdrawal symptoms are starting to show up.
When we eat sugary foods, our bodies release serotonin and beta-endorphin. These are neurotransmitters that improve our mood, and ease anxiety. It’s a feel good buzz that our bodies crave over and over again. Removing sugar from my diet will also remove those cravings.
Firstly I’m shattered. Fall asleep whilst on the train shattered (unusually I was able to actually get a seat). That hasn’t happened in a long time. The second thing I’ve noticed is the strange dreams. I’ve experienced a few over the last couple of nights and they are weird even by my standards. I guess now that they are showing up, this is where I may start to crack.
Today we had a birthday in the office, which means…cake! Well for everyone except me that is. But It’s ok. I still don’t need cake. I deliberately filled myself up with my own antipasti cheese and meats. And humous (one of my favourite things). Just so I wouldn’t even be tempted. I wasn’t. I am still cake free.
I rediscovered As Nature Intended too whilst trying to track down Rice Malt Syrup (no such luck) and forgot how much good stuff they have. Raw Chocolate Mulberrys anyone? It’s a great place to stock up organic, wholesome goodness so I found myself some treats to scoff whilst everyone else ate cake!
I am getting in to the swing of this now. I might even…dum….dum…dum bake something…watch this space!
So, the food shop arrived today! In the words of Mr Intrepid “your weird stuff’s here”. I have never spent so much money on food like this before. Eating well is expensive! I have never owned so much chia seeds, flaxseeds, cacoa and spirulina, and I have no idea what to do with it. For the first time ever in my life, I bought Kale (I hate Kale), but times are a changing and my smoothies (thank you trusty Nutri-bullet) need some extra special goodness to keep me sweet. Pun intended.
It’s day 2 and I’m still feeling happy, positive and strong. I added cinnamon to my porridge to take the edge of and pretty much filled up on cheese for the rest of the day. I did enjoy a sweet, super healthy, green smoothie (totally forgot to get a picture!) that even BV enjoyed. I’m not even missing the sugar from my tea and coffee yet. It all seems a bit too easy to be honest….
Feb is here and I’m finally cracking on with my New Year’s resolution: to give up sugar (for at least a month). Anyone who knows me will tell you this is no mean feat.
Remember asking “what’s for tea?” and being told “shit with sugar on…” it’s not quite so literal but it’s still kind of true.
Yes I am one of the worst eaters I know. I skip lunch (and sometimes breakfast), eat cereal for dinner and drink tea and coffee all day long. I never used to have such a sweet tooth but I got the craving for sugar whilst pregnant and it’s never really gone away.
I know it’s bad for me but I eat sugary treats to relax. I get the same endorphin high I used to get from exercise. Once upon a time, I used to train four evenings a week just for fun and cycle the fuck out of my Sunday morning hangovers at ‘double spinning’. These days my evenings involve curling up on the sofa with Game of Thrones, a bowl of cheerios and an entire packet of custard creams! Oh yes, I am living the dream.
Bloggers, Celebrities and Health food extraordinaires worldwide are promoting and praising the benefits of a sugar free lifestyle.
Sarah Wilson and Ella Woodward are currently two of the ‘low to no sugar’ lifestyles biggest advocates. Both offering best selling books and blogs. I’ve been avidly reading both over the last few weeks. I’m not educated enough to give up all sugar. There are loads of different names for sugar and it’s hidden in everything
I don’t believe in fad diets, I truly believe it’s all about balance and moderation. However time is short and it’s not so easy fitting in a spin class between work and toddler bed time, so I’m giving this one a try. I’m reconnecting with the ‘old’ me and making room for this ‘new’ one (well an improved version). It’s time to get off this chocolate see-saw before my teeth fall out! Wish me luck.
Day 1: My resolve is strong 💪🏻 I managed to enjoy my morning coffee sugar free. This was my biggest concern as I love a sweet coffee but today was a good day. As they say on the Eurovision Song Contest: Sugar: nil point.