Giving up sugar has been one of the greatest challenges that we have faced as a family. Sugar is everywhere and anywhere and almost impossible to avoid. I would like to share with you the start of our journey as detailed by my wife in her blog post of 2012. I will update you on how we are doing now in my next post.
Wow! What a full on week we’ve had. If you follow my post you’d know that my little kids have been sick, well that theme has continued this week and sleep is becoming a distant memory! However, on the plus side, Johan and I made the decision to make a major life style change for our family – namely, STOPPING our consumption of sugar! I am amazed at the increase in my energy levels and overall feeling of well-being (although possibly I am just hyperactive from lack of sleep)
“What!” I hear you say, “that’s a little radical.” and yes a month ago I thought the same, but then we got our hands on a copy of Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, and everything changed. His premise is that sugar (most specifically fructose or) is killing us. Our bodies just don’t handle it. According to David…
“Sugar makes you fat. It is converted directly to fat by your liver and it destroys your appetite control so that you want to eat more of everything.” from The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie
Furthermore, he says, it has a whole host of side effects including Type II diabetes, clogging your arteries, and Alzheimer’s disease. For more information check out his website.
That was enough for me, I decided right then that we were going to change our lives, but I didn’t really know how to. Last week Johan brought home the second book – The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie and so here we are a week into our lives without sugar.
To say the kids were not impressed would be an understatement! They were in shock…no more cakes, no more lollies, no more chocolate…how would they survive? Were we serious? Not ever? Yes, we explained, we no longer wanted to expose them to the poison known as sugar. That was fine, said Kieran (my son from first marriage), “I’ll just ask Dad to buy it for me!” No, we said, it’s a toxic chemical just like the ones in some shampoos (the kids understand this as we have a small business producing non toxic personal care products)
So the first step was to get rid of all the high sugar breakfast cereals. As each box was finished, we didn’t replace it, same with the sugar, until we had just Weet Bix and rolled oats left.
Step Two was to sell the idea to the kids. I knew that if Caelan (12) was all for it, Kieran would come on board pretty quick because he hero worships Caelan. And as for Conor and Selene, at their age it’s my responsibility and if they aren’t exposed to it, they don’t miss it. We explained to Caelan (while Kieran was at his Dad’s) why we were making this choice and that we didn’t hate him, want to starve him etc but rather that because we love him we need to make the right food choices for him and help him choose for himself when he is old enough. I encouraged him to read the intro to the book.
Then, and most importantly I think, I tried to make the no sugar choice as attractive as I could by revamping our breakfast menu. “Breakfast cereal is not the only choice,” I said, and so this week the kids have had…
- Monday – amnesty day….last opportunity to eat foods with lots of sugar
- Tuesday – Scrambled eggs on toast (made by Caelan)
- Wednesday – French toast
- Thursday - Pikelets (using dextrose instead of cane sugar)
- Friday – Fried egg and toast
The kids have been heard to comment that “the standard of breakfasts has really improved around here” (Mr 12) With difficulty I restrained myself from clocking him one – lol.
I have also made a huge effort to make the school snacks appealing, exploring the range of savoury options including home-made sausage rolls, vegetable scones and home-made crackers. We also tried the jaffa cookies from the recipe section of The Sweet Poison Quit Plan.
This afternoon Caelan and I cleared the pantry and fridge of all items containing too much sugar. Things we got rid of included tomato sauce, jams, peanut butter (but not before I made a sugar-free version in the Thermomix), golden syrup, honey, dried fruit and imitation vanilla essence). We had a whole garbage bag full in the end…because that’s the problem, EVERYTHING contains sugar and our bodies can only cope with a small amount, like maybe in 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day, but with all of our processed foods the cumulative effect of ALL that sugar means we are eating masses of it. AND it is addictive so we just want more.
So far we seem not to have too many withdrawal symptoms and are coping OK, although I did glance longingly at the fruit juices in Coles today, and I know the kids have been cheating…but that’s ok, it takes time to kick a habit. Have you tried it? Please share your comments if you have.