Before, After, And A New Challenge

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Now that I’ve gotten myself through the renovation, it’s time for another challenge.  Yes, it’s done except for one drawer that should be delivered today if the road conditions are okay after yesterday’s five inches of snow.  As you can see I’ve attached before and after pics of the master bath. The new tub  is fabulous for a nice soak on cold winter days. While I like to read or listen to books on tape as I soak, Bill plays his harmonica filling the house with wonderful, bluesy music.

While all of the hammering, sawing, and chaos was happening, I found myself diving for comfort food to sooth my nerves.  Since I’m gluten free and avoiding most grains, there were no cakes, cookies, and and I had no kitchen to make my usual treats made with almond flour. So I packed in the dark chocolate bars, ate things like ice cream when we went out to eat, which I usually refrain from, and generally experienced almost constant sugar cravings and crashes.



Yes, I’m a sugarholic. Like a good portion of the rest of us in this country, I love sweets.  Once I’m on a sugar kick there is no stopping me.  If I bring home a pint of ice-cream it probably wouldn’t make it until day two.  If there is a chocolate bar sitting somewhere in the vicinity it won’t last long either. Anything that is sweet is my comfort. Especially when I’m stressed.

The rest of my diet is great.  I long ago gave up soda, chips, most processed foods. I haven’t bought a bag of refined sugar sugar in years, using honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup for cooking. But sugar is sugar. I eat small portions of meat and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.  Berries are the best, along with clementines, and in the summer peaches, cherries and grapes.  All organic if possible.   I’ve tried being vegetarian, but found I need animal protein to keep my energy up and my immune system in good shape.

Last week I had a hard day when there was nothing sweet in the house to munch on.   I was craving sugar all day long. I was jittery, anxious, and couldn’t concentrate.  I’ve been through it before and the only thing that can fix it is to omit sugar from my diet and be very patient, because it takes time to get over the hump. I made a promise to myself to stop buying the ice-cream, dark chocolate bars, and anything else that would continue to keep me needing a fix. I piled on the fruit instead. Apples, grapefruit, bananas, berries, fresh or dried. I felt better but was still craving anything that would deliver a dose of sugar quickly.

Over two weeks ago my daughter, Lisa, who suffers from the same addiction to sugar, decided to go on a 21 day sugar detox program. I’ve been following her progress and been impressed with how she is doing.  She has just under a week left to go and I’m looking forward to seeing what she will do once she is done.  Will her need for sugar come back if she adds a piece of chocolate back in once in a while?  Or will she continue to keep tabs on herself and continue to live without the cravings?

I don’t know the answer to that, but she is has so inspired me that I’ve decided to give it a try myself.  This coming Sunday will be day number one for me.  I have a dinner party and a lunch to get through this week with friends, but once day one rolls around, that’s it for sugar for the next 21 days. In the meantime I’m testing recipes for snacks that I can have and cutting back on the amount of sweet stuff now to prepare myself.  I haven’t bought a bar of chocolate in week and haven’t had ice-cream in a while.  I just made a batch of Banola, from the recipes that go along with the program. It’s good and very satisfying.  It’s granola made with a variety of nuts, seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and just barely ripe bananas as a sweetener. There are no grains or sugar in it. I’ll eat it out of the jar for a snack or add it to plain yogurt at breakfast with some cut up green apple.  Last night we tried the Shrimp Pad Thai with zucchini noodles. So delicious. Those added to my own stash of grain and sugar free recipes should keep me happy for the next three weeks.

I think the hardest part for me will be giving up all of the fruit I’ve been eating. Green apples, green-tipped bananas and grapefruit are the only fruits I’m allowed to have during the detox period. But I’ve found that most anything worth doing isn’t terribly easy at first.  It’s just another thing to try to keep myself healthy and feeling good.

Wish me luck!  I’ll be posting posting on my Facebook page about my progress from time to time. I’m looking forward to seeing how I do after the 21 days are up.

Oh, my writing is coming along well.  I’ll be going to a writing conference in May and hope to have a manuscript to bring along for critique.


  1. I can totally relate to your experience with sugar. You are right, you are far from alone! I have been off sugar from time to time over the years, the first being for a year when I was thirty. I never felt better, but for me it only took one hot fudge sundae to start me back down the trail of addiction. Each time I am able to wean myself off it I find that I eventually get to the point where not only do I not want it, but I can taste the tiniest bit in food, and if i ate cereal, for example, that had the slightest bit of sugar in it, I would feel the cravings begin, and I’d find myself reaching for a second bowl. Some of us just can’t co-exist very comfortably with sugar. I am working up to ridding it from my diet once again. Maybe I’ll pick up the challenge from you and give it a shot. It does wonders for the mood as well. I’ll be following your progress and anxious to hear how it’s going.

    • Thanks, Dorothy. I think the worst part of it all is staying off sugar once you’re feeling better. Like wheat there is sugar in everything that is processed and sometimes it’s hard to get around. So it’s more cooking from scratch and being very careful when eating out.

  2. Lynette Lauer says:

    I have a hard time with sweets too, being vegan makes it harder to find chocolates to eat. But I do find them! Since you are giving up sugars now maybe its a good time to give up the small amount of animal flesh you still consume. I couldn’t feel good about myself if I were consuming the dead body of another. All life is precious. I wish you the best with your challenge.

    • Lynette, Thanks for your comment. Yeah, I know. I don’t feel good about it either. But when I went vegetarian for about 6 months I was sick most of the time and still gained weight. I’m one who needs animal protein to be well so that I can take care of the little homeless creatures I adopt. Otherwise, I’d be right there with you.

  3. Joan – My hat is off to YOU! We eat foods that are nutrient dense (high nutrition to calorie ratio), but every once in a while, I indulge myself with my all-time favorite treat — red licorice. However, I just discovered a new flavor — blueberry/pomegranate — and am over the moon with it!

    • Laurie, I love licorice, too. The black kind. One Easter, I bought a bag of black jelly beans to share with my licorice loving kids. Before Easter came I had finished off the bag all by myself.

      I know you really eat well. I follow your posts on Facebook and you always have an amazing recipe posted. I get ver hungry just looking at them.

  4. Forget about sugar — that’s one sweet tub, Joan!

  5. cindy moneta says:

    Joan this really does get easier. I don’t even keep sugar in the house anymore (except for my hummingbirds) After I heard Wayne Dyer talk about sugar, I started checking the sugar content on food labels. I wouldn’t buy anything that had more than 4 added sugars per serving. Even when we stop adding it ourselves, we still have the craving bcz of those commercial additives. Salt is another additive I gave up, and now relish the taste of real food:-) You can do it…you can do anything:-) Learned a lot about good and bad foods from Dr Mercola articles,