January 1st I decided to hop on the New Years resolution bandwagon and came up with a "resolution" of my own. I put resolution in quotes because I strongly dislike that word. The mention of a New Year's resolution makes me feel like my body has been submerged in a pressure cooker. Nevertheless, I decided to pursue a new commitment of my own. This commitment required me cutting out sugar for one month. ALL sugar whether it came from an Oreo or a banana.
I know, it sounds a little extreme right?
Let me provide you with some background info. My primary reason for doing this was to clear up my acne. For the last 4 years, my face has been consistently invaded by white heads and painful pimples. It went beyond the point of having a zit or two and could fall into the category of full blown acne. Most frustrating was the fact that I was eating a very "healthy" diet by normal standards. I ate a plant-based diet and my meals consisted of whole, plant foods. I watched ingredient lists like a hawk, avoiding any products with ingredients that I could not pronounce. Yet despite my best efforts to eat clean, stay hydrated and keep up with a solid skin care regime, acne continued to plague me.
While omitting all sugar from my diet initially felt extreme, this feeling didn't last long. I found recipes that worked and fell into a groove of my own. I slurped down smoothies with avocado, cacao and mint and slathered almond butter on rice cakes to quell my ache for Newman O's. Within 2 weeks, my skin had cleared up 90% and I felt more emotionally stable. Cravings for sugar were not a thing because I had other staples to rely on. I occasionally slipped up with a coconut date roll or a little banana in a smoothie but it wasn't a regular occurrence.
I discovered that the majority of my cravings for sweets kick in when I am tired or stressed out. Not having the option to resort to sugar during an afternoon slump or a rough night of midterms, forced me to find healthier alternatives in place of numbing my feelings with sweetness. No doubt that it was tough. Over the course of the month, I experienced many dark nights of the soul. Nights where I would open and reopen the fridge, hoping something new would have appeared amongst the army of celery stalks and sweet potatoes invading my fridge. I wrung my hands with despair and cursed the sky for the hell I placed upon myself. But eventually the clouds parted and I found more effective solutions to my sugar-ravenous angst. Sometimes I angrily gnawed at carrots, other times I steeped a bag of tea and went for a walk around the block to clear my head.
Ultimately, I am pleased with how I feel at the end of this experiment. My skin has significantly cleared up and I have changed my relationship with sugar. Now I treat it as a delicacy rather than a crutch to distract myself from difficult emotions. Going forward I plan on keeping my average sugar intake relatively low while still honoring my body's cravings. Over the course of the next few months I will be tweaking and refining my diet and documenting the changes I notice in my overall health on here. Stay tuned!