If you’ve read my previous posts, almost all of which are recipes, you have probably surmised that diets really aren’t my thing. If you’ve read the recipes, you may have noticed that most of them are for delicious desserts and sweets. It only makes sense then, (doesn’t it?), that the diet I have chosen to begin the New Year calls for me to almost completely give up SUGAR!
That’s right . . . me . . .not eating sugar! Is the earth still spinning on its axis? I think perhaps not.
You may have seen it coming last week when I warned you that Jorge Cruise had arrived on my doorstep with some important news. (Okay, not the actual guy, but his new book, “The Belly Fat Cure” now available at Amazon.com and in your local bookstore). I’ll abstract the book and give you the diet in a nutshell: You can eat 15 grams of sugar per day, and six servings of carbohydrates. (A serving of carbohydrate is considered anything from 5-20 grams).
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It’s certainly kinder and gentler than South Beach or Atkins, both of which make me quite unpleasant and cranky with out-of-control carb cravings. With Jorge, you can have up to 120 grams of carbs per day, and of course he encourages the high-fiber, whole grain and vegetable variety. That’s certainly manageable. As far as sugar goes, 15 grams is slightly less than 4 teaspoons of sugar. Not much, but enough to allow you a few squares of dark chocolate. Now here’s the real kicker: Jorge also doesn’t want you to use Splenda, Equal or Sweet and Low! Not even that much-hyped Agave Nectar! The only sweetener he allows is Stevia or the sugar alcohols. (Xylitol, Manitol and the like). That means no Diet Coke, for heaven’s sake! (He does recommend a stevia-sweetened soda called Zevia, which I haven’t tried yet).
A decade ago, I was a wellness coach in a women’s workout facility and an RN in a medically supervised weight loss clinic. About a decade before that, I lost the 30 pound I had gained in nursing school (the nearby mall had fresh, hot chocolate chip cookies which served as my stress relief during clinical rotations . . . and I needed lots of relief) by following a low-fat diet, and basically kept it off for the next 15 years. If 7 or 8 pounds would creep back on, I could get rid of them in 2 weeks with almost any diet, and I thought I had the whole weight-maintenance thing down pat.
Now that I work from home and haven’t been quite as active as before, the weight doesn’t drop off quite as easily. (Yes, I know I’m a bit older, but still!) The 22 “points” that Weight Watchers would give me just wasn’t cutting it. I was SO hungry, yet still not losing more than a few pounds, despite my diligence in following the program. As for Atkins and South Beach, I almost required psychotropic medications to stay on those plans!
I have been resisting cutting back on sugar for a long time because I LOVE SUGAR and it is my favorite food group. So I am not cutting it out, but I am cutting way back. I tried to estimate the amount of sugar (in grams) that I have been eating lately, and I don’t even think I can say the number out loud. Astronomical. Before I read Jorge’s book, I had already decided that I was going to eliminate high fructose corn syrup because it’s just bad stuff. It is amazing how many foods have it! I don’t believe that regular cane sugar is bad, it just has to be done in moderation. Last week, we had a couple over for dinner who are in their 70’s. They talked about the desserts they had growing up on a farm, but the pieces were microscopically tiny because they were divided up between so many kids! Have you noticed that in restaurants lately, a serving of pie is about a quarter of a pie!?! If you’re a sugar junkie like me, try adding up the sugar grams you eat on a daily basis. Include even the healthy sugars, like fruit and skim milk. Also look for the unexpected sugars, like those in tomato sauce.
I have been partially on the program for a few days now. It may be my imagination, but my tummy already seems flatter. I will keep you updated on my progress. Yesterday I made my Ridiculous Buttermilk Pie recipe using Stevia instead of sugar. My husband thought this one was better than the one with sugar!