Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ditching the Sweeteners

I have a small dilemma: I really want to ditch all artificial sweeteners from my diet and yet, I am battling to do so. I have been saying that I want to cut out all sweeteners (that means ALL, including xylitol!) for the past year now and yet, I have done nothing. I have claimed that I can't do it, that I am too weak, that I just crave some sweetness...but I think the excuses have to stop at some point.

It all started with my addiction to sugar and all things sweet. Growing up, no one advised me to be careful of sugar. In fact, my dad, who is a Comrades runner and burns through food like you can't believe, always had sweet treats and we would often share an ice-cream, or chocolate or whatever it was. He would buy me a box of biscuits to eat for breakfast! Looking back now, I cringe, but when I was young, there wasn't as much awareness about the dangers of sugar as there is now.

So I grew up with a major sweet tooth and I would often joke about it, and even, sometimes, I ordered dessert as my main meal in a restaurant. Pretty insane huh? And yet, I have heard of other people who do this, so clearly, sugar really is an addictive substance.

Then, I finally kicked sugar when I took up weight training with a personal trainer. Not that I was overweight, but I wanted to be TONED, and he gave me an eating plan that advised no sugar at all, and recommended sweeteners in place of sugar for tea and coffee. And then a lot of the whey protein supplements are artificially sweetened, as well as the protein bars and snacks. So I landed myself into the world of artificial sweeteners. Which was fine. I was happy on them, but I just feel that they creep in to a lot of foodstuffs,and they don't help with the root of the problem, which is the craving for something sweet. I just swopped one thing for another, but the craving is where I need to go to, to eliminate this problem.

And the problem is: sweeteners may be ok for our health, but there is a good chance that, long term, they are bad. I know that, at least they don't spike my insulin, they don't damage my teeth and they have no calories (mostly) but they still make me crave them. I don't want to put any unnecessary, zero-nutrient foods into my mouth anymore.

So basically I think I need to cut out ALL sweet stuff for good. Yikes. This is gonna be really  hard. I LOVE things that taste sweet. I will have to re-calibrate my taste-buds.

But I believe that I am up for the challenge. I just feel that I have hit that point in my life now where I need to do this.

I can only try. I will start week by week. Small steps. As from right now, today, I will cut out sweetener (sugar, xylitol, honey, stevia, aspartame, sucralose etc) for seven days. And then, I will do it for seven more. And so on and so forth. And if I fall off the wagon, I will start again.

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