This world is no place for the sugar-free. Perhaps the growing sweet-rejector community should take our cocoa nibs and go live on another planet. I certainly feel like an alien right now.
On Wednesday night two girlfriends and I went to Floridita’s, a Cuban-style cabaret bar and restaurant. The decor looked like an eighties cruise ship and I half expected Engelbert Humperdinck to walk in and start pouring on the vocal honey with ‘After the lovin’.
Alas, we weren’t that lucky. But a fabulous eight piece Latin-jazz band melted us with their funky grooves instead.
The waiter delivered us Mojitos without us even asking (naughty waiter). I don’t drink and felt bad enough asking them to re-do mine without alcohol and then when one of the girls said ‘No sugar too!!’ I felt bored numb by my own purity and said ‘Oh bugger it, just bring it as it is.’ Then I drank it. With sugar. Its unedited sweetness hit me in the way a teaspoon of cough syrup does; with that medicinal jarring you only ever get when a bunch of refined chemicals goes from your mouth to your brain in a millisecond.
At least I resisted the macaroons and truffles they brought us – again without ordering them, were we on sugar torture Candid Camera? – after dinner.
Then, the next morning I weighed myself for the first time in about three months.
The scales had been in the office for the last 12 weeks so one of our gluten-free bloggers Alexa Tucker could weigh herself during her journey so I hadn’t had the apparatus with which torture myself with that number on the scales.
Well, didn’t it just say I have lost 1.4 kilos. That’s without doing anything else to my diet – except for eating what feels like mountain ranges of nuts because I can’t snack on fruit or chocolate. Maybe there is something in this sugar-free malarkey after all.
Sleep continues to allude me but I am not going to blame the no sugar diet for this as I am going through some turbulent times at work (’nuff said, but you know what it’s like – standby for post on conflict resolution coming soon).
So yesterday, I discovered something that can help keep afternoon sugar cravings at bay: a big paleo protein lunch. By paleo I mean a meal with good quality protein and vegetables, something a caveman might eat.
I was at The Century Club for lunch where admittedly, there were more bespectacled, casually non-dressed media types than cavemen. But their menu was wonderful and the salmon with artichokes and spinach put this cave-lady in proper heaven.
All that protein takes ages to digest in the gut and kept me happy and satisfied until dinner time. Well sort of. My next appointment with Rick Hay – yes, the Rick Hay who does the recipe and fitness videos and advice in our anti-ageing fitness plan – was at the Wild Food Cafe. It looks like a hippie haunt in Cornwall rather than Covent Garden Eatery and it suited us fine. But even though I wasn’t hungry, I couldn’t help – in the interests of investigative journalism – but ask if they could humour me with a sugar-free pudding. But get this, even a tofu-loving, rawcentric vegan haunt like this place uses coconut sugar in their desserts. What a conspiracy! So I ordered a green juice made with kale and cucumber, lime and apple – and hoped for the best. It was admittedly delicious and Rick looked proud.
All in all, yesterday was a good day. Not sure if it was the number on the scales (sorry, but I can’t help it!) or perhaps that I am simply getting used to my new no-sugar outlier alien status but I am almost starting to feel okay about this.
Some sleep would be good soon though. Am wondering (crowdsourcing an answer alert) have other sugar-free people had problems with waking in the small hours or should I just put this down to stress rather than sugar withdrawals? We’re nearly two weeks in after all. But who’s counting?
WHAT I LEARNED:
Protein at lunchtime – a good amount of it – helps reduce afternoon hunger and cravings Having a decent bit of salmon on a big day of appointments stopped me getting tired and wanting to snack. Perhaps this is what nutritionists say when they trot out that old favourite tip: ‘protein keeps you fuller for longer.’ Altogether now, ‘protein keeps you…’
Read more No sugar for 90 days blogs from Anna Magee
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