Tag Archives: drugs

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 

The Secret Garden Party- Festination Unknown

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Only a few hours into day 1 of the Secret Garden Party Festival and the entire experience had already hit me like a ton of hay. Literally,  people were climbing up 12 feet stacks of hay. The lad that set the trend off sat merrily atop the stack, his pupils huge and shiny, with his legs swinging like a little boy.

At 12.40 am I was in my sleeping bag, cocooned safely away from the mania that was 20,000 psyched hippy ravers. The atmosphere proved overwhelming; so many (ecstatic) people in one place. The weaving, pushing, dodging the crowds. Though I’m extremely fortunate it was a hippy festival I attended, and not some real hardcore raver fest.

I lay there feeling anxious yet intrigued- what will tomorrow bring? Thinking, I’ve already floated through an enchanted forest, peed with a random girl who had her boobs and nipple piercing out, and stared into a life size kaleidoscope inside a wooden shed.

So far, so good.

Day 2 and I became more accustomed to the crowds, having adjusted to a little ‘half-walk-half-side-step’ kind of walk to dodge bodies and get to your destination in good time.

In the meantime though, I became increasingly concerned about the hygiene situation, but I continued to embrace the atmosphere (not inside the portaloo) and tried not to think about it.

DSCF4298Our view from the treehouse :-p

By the third day, I’d more or less forgotten how disgusting I felt and was fully embracing the amazing atmosphere: hippies, hay bales, greenery, water, forestry, delicious food (mostly organic) and lots and lots of bass music!

My friend and I also joined in a group Tai Chi/ meditation and Q & A session, which was rejuvenating to say the least. We literally floated back to the camp site as if on air. After all the bag carrying, walking and partying, it was definitely a welcome addition to the whole experience.

The land was divided into a few sections, mainly either full of spiritual types or raver types. But in the more relaxed part (I’m sure you can guess which), whilst enjoying a delicious chickpea and spinach curry, I actually overheard three people having a REAL spiritual conversation. This had never happened in my life, and for the first time ever I felt I wasn’t as mental as I often feel.

The highlight of the weekend was the paint party- a huge pit of ravers and hippies next to a lake, armed with (non toxic) paint, basically going wild.

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It truly was an amazing experience, four days merged into one long, time-less party. A pure taste of freedom, where time didn’t exist as a concept, except for first thing in the morning- getting up early enough to get to the ‘fresh’ portaloo before the morning rush.

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