Sweet Liberation: Celebrating 1095 Days Without Sugar
For the last 3-years, I never really gave it much thought. Living sugar-free has now become second nature for me. I navigate effortlessly through dinner parties, restaurant outings, and celebratory meals — all without giving sugar a second thought. But, when an article recently came out in the Globe and Mail newspaper, about a man in Toronto, my home-town, who has given up sugar for the last 579 days, I started to rethink how monumental my decision to quit sugar actually is.
The response to the article about this man was vast. Readers were amazed; they couldn’t figure out how he did it, and they questioned their own ability to pull off a sugar-free life themselves. That one article made me realize how important it is to speak about how insidious sugar is in our lives. And, to show people that reducing or eliminating sugar is possible. I’ve realized that I need to start spreading the word about sugar-free living way more — it’s time to start a sugar-free revolution!
It was that article that made me think. Maybe my sugar-free life is something to talk about more. Sure, I teach women how to go sugar-free through my coaching program, Sweet Liberation. But I’m now starting to realize just how monumental living sugar-free is, and more people really need to hear about it.
The Standard Western Diet is drowning people in sugar. Of the 600,000 food products on the market, 80% of them contain added sugar. Food manufactures know that if they just add sugar, people will buy their product because sugar is addictive and it taps into our base need for something sweet. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory conditions are all on the rise, and researchers are beginning to see what the culprit is: Sugar.
So, how long have I been sugar-free? Well…I’m celebrating 1095 days without sugar to be exact. And, I want to celebrate by spreading the word that it is possible. You can quit sugar without deprivation. You can build a healthier body now and for the future simply by saying, NO, to the sweet stuff. Let me tell you how I did it.
Why Did I Go Sugar-Free?
For me, going sugar-free was an easy decision. I had a serious, life-altering, chronic illness called Lyme Disease, and I was about to start treatment. The treatment required was long-term antibiotics, and my Lyme specialist told me that the only way to get through the treatment process, without suffering from some serious medication side effect, was to go completely sugar-free. In fact, it wasn’t an option for me; I had no choice. If I wanted to get better, and regain my ability to function on my own, again, I had to start treatment and a life without sugar.
But something really interesting happened when I went sugar-free…
I was extremely sick for 5-years, before I finally received a diagnosis for my illness. My body was on a rapid, steady decline. I had an incredible amount of pain in my muscles and joints, total exhaustion, strange neurological symptoms, and an inability to function normally, independently. I knew that I was in an epic journey to reclaim my health.
But, here’s the interesting part… as soon as I went sugar-free (and I’ll explain what I mean by that below), I felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. The inflammation in my joints decreased; my energy level got a little bit better; and, I didn’t feel so physically overwhelmed.
I was surprised how much better I felt, simply by going sugar-free.
As I looked into this further, I wasn’t only preventing the terrible side effects that you can occur from heavy doses of antibiotic medication, I was also no longer feeding the bacteria that was in my body. Lyme Disease, after all, is a systemic bacterial infection contracted from the bite of an infected tick. I was growing this bacteria in my body for 5-years before diagnosis and treatment, and sugar was only fueling the fire; sugar was feeding the bacteria, and it was growing rapidly.
In fact, living sugar-free was so good for my body that even though I’m finished my 2.5 years of treatment for Lyme Disease, I am still living sugar-free. I never want to return to how terrible I felt while I ate sugar.
The 4 levels of Sugar-Free Living:
There are actually 4-levels to living sugar-free.
Level 1 — This is the simplest of levels. This is the level where you decide to give up white processed sugar from sugar cane or sugar beets, all corn-based sugars like high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and artificial sweeteners. Level 1 is a BIG step, and I commend those that do it.
Level 2 — In this next step, you eliminate the sugars of Level 1 in addition to white, refined products that contain white flour or white rice. These refined carbohydrates quickly breakdown in the body to units of glucose or simple sugar, which result in blood sugar spiking and insulin secretion. In this phase, you concentrate of complex carbohydrate consumption like brown rice, millet, quinoa, legumes, beans, vegetables, and high fiber fruits.
Level 3 — In this phase, we continue to eliminate sugary, starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and corn. Again, these types of vegetables break down in the body to units of glucose or simple sugar, and they spike blood sugar and insulin secretion.
Level 4 — This level is the most extreme. In this level you eliminate all refined sugars, white flour and rice products, starchy vegetables, in addition to all forms of added sugar and fruit. In this phase, you eliminate honey, maple syrup, molasses, coconut sugar, or any other added sugar form. You also eliminate all fruit.
I lived as a Level 4 sugar-freer for 2-years during treatment. If you have a strong intention to live sugar-free, it is completely doable. You just have to discover why you want to go sugar-free. A clear and strong intention is absolutely necessary.
Now that I’m no longer in treatment, I’m living as a 3.5 level sugar-freer. That means that I don’t eat any type of added sugar and no white grain products. But I do eat potatoes and fruit, again. I get all of the sugar and sweetness that I need to live without deprivation from fruit and vanilla liquid stevia (a natural, plant-based sweetener).
I haven’t had any white sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave nectar, or any other added sugar for 1095 days now, and I’m celebrating that accomplishment!
Sugar Doesn’t Do a Body Good:
There is a wonderful book by Dr. Robert Lustig about the health effects of Sugar. Dr. Lustig is a researcher at the University of California at Berkley; he wrote a book called Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity & Disease. In this book, Dr. Lustig presents the research to support the fact that sugar causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and it contributes to the proliferation of cancer, bacterial and fungal infections.
In Western society, we are swimming in sugar, and our health is suffering because of it.
The Center for Disease Control in America and the World Health Organization recommends that adults should not exceed 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day: and that includes all forms of added sugar like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, white sugar, coconut sugar, high fructose corn syrup and all of the other forms of added sugar.
This recommendation is great. But is the average Westerner supposed to follow this rule when one can of soda contains 12 teaspoons of sugar, and when 80% of the other food products in our cupboards contain added sugar.
Something drastic has to happen. And, I believe that it begins with each and everyone of us making a decision for ourselves. I think it’s about each of us standing up and declaring that our health is important, so important that we’re willing to stop buying all of the products that contain added sugar.
And…once you start to read your food labels, you’ll be shocked to see where sugar is hidden: it can show up in your table cream, crackers, cheese, hummus, vanilla extract, ready made meals, and tomato sauce. More often that not, sugar is always added to manufactured food.
Let’s start a Sugar-Free Revolution!
I want to start a Sugar-Free Revolution. I want to support you in your decision to finally kick sugar to the curb. Let’s form a community with a common bond and mission.
I’m starting a new challenge, here, called Sugar Free Days. I want YOU to start stepping away from white processed sugar, corn sugars, agave nectar, and artificial sweeteners. I want you to transition into a Level 1 Sugar Freer. And, I want YOU to tell me all about your journey.
Use the hashtag #sugarfreedays to document your meals, how you feel, what you’re up to, or just leave a photo or comment on Twitter. Instagram, or Facebook. And, tag me in your post at @alisonsmithtv
I would LOVE to hear about how many days you can go without sugar!
Do YOU Want to Join the Sugar-Free Revolution?
By using the hashtag #SugarFreeDays, share the number of days you
have kicked sugar to the curb. Share a photo or comment through Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
And…don’t forget to tag me! @alisonsmithtv
Do You Need Extra Help?
If you really want to learn how to go sugar-free, and you want to experience every level of a sugar-free life in a gentle and very supportive environment, please click here to learn about my one-on-one coaching program called Sweet Liberation: 30-Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb.
In this program, I teach women and men how to gradually quit sugar without feeling deprived. Did you know that you can still have hot chocolate when you live sugar-free? Find out how you can live a sweet sugar-free life from me: a girl who has been completely added sugar-free for 3-years (2011-present).
I love to help women uncover a healthier body and a passion to reinvent their health and life.
To speak with me directly about the Sweet Liberation sugar-free program, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set-up a FREE 20-minute phone/Skype meeting.