Today was my Zero Sugar Day and it went well! I can’t wait to take you guys through everything!
The hardest part of my day to figure out was my early morning pre-workout snack. I had a difficult time thinking of anything without sugar. Granola balls? Nope. Frozen quick bread? Sorry. Even the oatmeal bread has a tiny bit, even though it doesn’t taste sweet. I decided to soak some oats in milk overnight. Here’s the thing. Cold, plain oats. Ugh. I had to add a little nut butter to make them at all edible, and I was only eating a few bites anyway! I guess I could have made banana oatmeal the night before, but I guess I was just being lazy. Truthfully, I can’t wait to get back to my granola balls tomorrow.
My morning workout was really good. I’m working on trying to use my legs when I row, and my legs were feeling tired at the end, which is fantastic. I opted for spinning over running as the last part of my workout, and that was a good decision. I hadn’t spun in a while, so it felt good! During my erg and spin, I listened to a radio show featured Dr. Lustig. Awesome, as always!
My workouts always take longer than expected. I cut my spin a couple of minutes short because I was worried about missing breakfast! See, here’s the thing about coming late to breakfast…the smoothie ingredients are pretty picked over. I put pretty much everything there in my smoothie, and it was an odd mix, but it tasted fantastic!
So what could I not have due to the challenge? Pancakes and waffles obviously. No cereal. None of the dining hall peanut butter; that stuff definitely has sugar (my own does not). No yogurt that wasn’t plain. Fruity yogurt is loaded with sugar! No bread. This may surprise some people. It’s nearly impossible to find bread without added sugars. The only place I’ve really seen it is Trader Joe’s, and maybe some loaves at Whole Foods. Needless to say it’s a rarity!
Greens topped with salsa and corn, grilled chicken, and brown rice. Plus a few berries. It’s possible that the chicken had some added sugar, but fairly unlikely, as I couldn’t detect any sweetness. I have seen pre-cooked chicken breast at the grocery before with added sugars though.
So what didn’t I have? No salad dressing. Almost every salad dressing has sugar. I was planning on just mixing up oil and vinegar, but then I saw the salsa. No ketchup with my chicken. No bread (again). No tomato sauce. I challenge you to find any tomato sauce without sugar. I’ve found like one…ever. No sauces in general. Many have added sugar. No soup, I really have no way of knowing what is in it, and many recipes nowadays call for sugar. Obviously no dessert.
Check it out!
It looks just like peanut butter, but it’s not! Craziness! I also realized that I haven’t really eaten a banana at my favorite ripeness for eating straight banana lately. This guy was perfect. Not too sweet, just at the point where there is not more green. Yum! Of course, for oatmeal or smoothie purposes, I’m fine with riper bananas. the riper the better for oatmeal! For sandwiches, I prefer them just a tad riper than this one is. Perfectly yellow!
And there’s my orange! I cut them a little strangely (small pieces), but they’re way less messy to eat this way! I also had a small handful of pistachios.
So what did I not have? No granola bars. No sugary nut butter. No dried fruit with added sugar. No chocolate cake. Speaking of which, when I came down to my dorm’s lounge, there it was, staring at me. The very cake that broke my sugar challenge. I laughed in its face and kept walking. No sugar for this gal today!
Practice was good today. I was in a double again, which is my second time. Even though the water was a bit rough, I still had a great row. I improved so much since the first time I was in a double!
Dinner today was from my room. So far, this is my favorite dinner I’ve made in my room, and I’ve made it once before.
Step 1: Steal cheese and spinach from the dining hall!
This is what I came up with! It’s basically an egg scramble. I LOVE having liquid egg whites in my fridge. they can add protein to any meal, and they last forever! So here we have liquid egg whites, mozzarella, spinach, pesto and avocado. Yum!
After a meeting, I returned to my room, only to realize that my cocoa powder somehow managed to dump itself into my clothes drawer. Now, I absolutely love cocoa powder (it’s my new obsession), but it gets EVERYWHERE. The problem with living in a dorm, is I don’t have a kitchen in my room. My desk is my kitchen. Cocoa powder is everywhere. Why do I bring up this incident? The smell as I was cleaning it up brought on a major craving for this:
Which, naturally, I took care of. Hey, I had an extra half banana lying around, right?
So, today I proved that you can enjoy a day of great eating with ZERO added sugar! I actually enjoyed today’s eats more than a lot I’ve had lately! (That avocado-pesto scramble…mmmm.) Sugar is lurking in places you wouldn’t think of. Almost every processed food item has added sugar. Crackers, cereal, sauces. It’s everywhere! Dr. Robert Lustig argues that the addition of sugar into so many foods today is one of the reasons behind the obesity epidemic. So what happened? The problem is two-fold. Around the 1970s, the government’s health division began denouncing fat, saying it was the cause of the weight problem, as well as heart disease. As a result, they launched an effort to remove fat from the American diet. The problem? When fat was removed from processed food, it tasted like cardboard. So what did the food industry do? It added sugar instead! Yogurt is a great example. Non-fat, fruity yogurt has tons of sugar, without the fat. For those of you that cannot tolerate the taste of plain yogurt (I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan), have you tasted full-fat yogurt? It is way more tolerable. This is just one example. Tons of fat-free items hit the markets and sold like crazy under the veil of “health foods.” What else happened around this same time? High fructose corn syrup hit America. It was first developed in Japan, and soon after we got it here. So why was HFCS so appealing to food manufacturers? It was SO CHEAP. Much cheaper than sugar. As a result, they added it to EVERYTHING. Salad dressing, bread, pasta sauce. And it only increased their sales! For the record, HFCS and regular sugar are metabolized the same by your body, so one is not necessarily worse than the other. HFCS was simply cheaper, so manufacturers added so much of it in everything.
Sooo, we took the fat out of food, and replaced it with sugar. So, if fat is the cause of obesity/weight problems, and we reduced our consumption of fat, then why do we have more health problems now than ever? Hmmm…(Also, just a side note, the concept of saturated versus unsaturated fat was not well understood this initiative began.) Think about that for a moment.
On that note, I want to drive home the idea that it is possible to eat a sugar-free diet and still enjoy delicious food! Personally, I really wish the food industry didn’t add sugar to everything. I don’t need my bread sweet! Many Americans have simply grown so accustomed to the sweetness in everything, that we don’t even notice it. My friend from England was talking to me the other day, and remarking how sweet everything is here. Would you call bread sweet? You might if you had never had bread with added sugar before! I wish there were more options in terms of things without added sugar. While I hope to continue to limit sugar intake, I’m not going to continue zero sugar days. My pre-workout snack today? Blech. I’ll take my granola balls any day of the week! In fact, I can’t wait for one tomorrow morning!
What do you think about added sugar in food products?