Tag Archives: addiction

Stoptober: 31 Days Sugar-Free

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This year I decided to participate in ‘Stoptober’, opting to quit sugar for the entire month. So I thought I’d share my experience, plus a few handy ‘alternative’ products that quite frankly, I probably couldn’t have survived without.

To clarify, by ‘no sugar’, I mean cutting out the refined stuff, or anything where the top 3 ingredients are sugar (or products which are clearly laden, though may not make it clear on the pack).

So, things like biscuits, sweets, chocolate, most cereals, baked beans, yogurts, store bought sauces, cordial and fizzy drinks, cereal bars, cakes etc.

To be honest, most of these things I’ve generally avoided for a long time anyway (I haven’t had fizzy drinks or cordial for years, and since I switched to a plant based diet I only ever make my own sauces), but chocolate admittedly is my weakness, as can be cereal (if I’m bored at night I can put away 3 bowls without blinking). So to say it was a challenge is still somewhat an understatement.

In our western culture, we’re introduced to sugar from almost day 0. And quickly we become addicted to it, going through childhood with fists full of candy, throwing tantrums if we can’t get our fix. Then progressing into later life, as adults we find solace in chocolate bars and cakes (I know this is the main thing that gets most of my work colleagues through their day in the office, besides gossip). And if we try to resist, the temptation is more often than not too much, despite the huge sense of guilt that usually accompanies even just one Miniature Hero.

Now, many studies have emerged showing not only how detrimental the white powder is to our health (leading to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even cancer), but also how highly addictive a substance it is (it stimulates the same pleasure receptors in the brain as cocaine!!).

Personally I’ve known this for a long time, never being able to have just one bite of anything that’s laced with it. And who knows how many times I’ve woken the next morning with a ‘sugar hangover’, belly feeling like it took a powder beating, hardly room left for real food yet feeling like I’m starving.

So when I quit, I found that the ‘hunger’ I often feel, despite having had substantial meals throughout the day, isn’t hunger at all but just a sugar craving.

Here’s what happened when I quit:

  • I stopped waking up feeling groggy/ inexplicably hungry. 
  • I lost weight, particularly that stubborn belly fat.
  • My cravings reduced.
  • I had more energy throughout the day, due to replacing it with more natural/sensible energy sources.
  • I was generally happier.

Of course, these things didn’t all happen at once, but did precede one another. 

The main change for me I noticed really was in the mornings; I was no longer dragging myself out of bed, subconsciously looking for my fix. Instead I had lots more energy, and really looked forward to my breakfast.

Here are some of the (delicious) alternatives that helped get me through:

  • Fruit (fresh, frozen, dried)
  • Maple syrup
  • Xylitol
  • Raw Bran Flakes
  • Pancakes
  • Home made popcorn
  • Raw cacao
  • ‘Plamil’ sugar free dark chocolate
  • ‘Pulsin’ raw brownie bars
  • Smoothies

These two together with soy milk are actual Love in a bowl 😍

Buckwheat pancakes – click for recipe

Cinnamon & maple syrup popcorn- click for recipe

Admittedly, once October was over I did succumb to 3 bars of cooking chocolate in one week (ugh, gluttony). But I’m trying my best not to fall back into that pattern again. And avoiding the sweets aisle in the supermarket is actually easier than it was before! 

I’d recommend anybody give detoxing from sugar a try- there are so many alternatives out there that help us maintain our energy levels without spiking then dropping our blood sugars (which only leads to further cravings). Like any drug, it’s a vicious circle and we all know addiction to any substance isn’t the ideal. 

Why not give it a try? 🙂

Peace and love, Warriors 

FU FB

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Seriously people, Facebook. How much more will this phenomenon be allowed to grow? If (God forbid) you don’t have a Facebook account, it’s as if you automatically become a second class citizen; suddenly you are odd, or some sort of outsider. You end up missing a lot of information, or big events, that you then only hear about weeks later when somebody who does have Facebook mentions it. This is usually followed by a response such as, oh you must get on Facebook, you’ll miss everything.

Of course ‘everything’ extends as far as what your friend’s day has been like, and what their friend’s mum’s work friend did last week. Thrown in are a couple of event invitations or people’s parties that suddenly seem to depend on your citizenship of FB country to be entitled to attend; if you don’t have FB you better make sure your (real) friend does and that they tell you about that event (if you even care).

It’s been around nine months since I deactivated my FB account. I actually had every intention of reactivating it afterwards as the reason I did it was very minor. But then after it was gone (again) something inside me decidee to not reactivate it. The first week became two, which became three and four. I’d often find my thumb float toward the blue ‘F’ on my iPhone, but then I’d resist and tell myself to persevere; always just wondering how long I could go for.

Then after a month, I started to forget. I got many “why aren’t you on FB any more?”s, some people asking me on multiple occasions, trying to encourage me to go back on. The months went on, becoming six, when I couldn’t believe it had actually been six months. This second ‘world’, where everybody’s lives were interconnected and looked at by everybody, which is what the citizenship granted access to, that I’d been a part of for five years or more or more, wasn’t a part of me any more. I wasn’t constantly on view to anybody who wanted to look, good or bad, friend or foe. I was no longer at risk of criminalising myself because I mentioned something a little controversial or ‘illegal’. My employer could no longer use my profile to catch me out if I’d been out the night before (whether I showed up or not). My ex girlfriends or ‘others’ couldn’t see who I was talking to, or who I’d been tagged in a photo with.

The FB universe became far too big, enabling access to too much of our personal lives. True, I found some family in Australia there and I got back in contact with my closest (in childhood) cousin. But it was sad that FB is how I found out he had become a Dad, and saw his baby for the first time. The world of social networking in the purely ‘social’ sense has changed what life, love, family and friendship are all about.

So anyway, it’s been nine months without FB and there are parts I miss and parts I don’t. Personally my privacy and security are far more important than social network relationships that I should be having in real life are. In real life, you have to make the effort to call or text- even texting these days seems to be becoming obsolete. And then you have to make the effort to go out and see the special people in your life, to maintain contact with them and sustain your relationship. Not forgetting the risks from the Government no longer imposed by the citizenship when you do withdraw.

Maybe one day I’ll go back, start a fresh slate. That’s if they haven’t already taken over the world and we are all branded with the blue ‘F’ as we march single file down some cyber current.