Quitting Added Sugar For the Month [2/12]

Maira Salazar
Mar 2 · 4 min read

Quitting added sugar was much harder than I anticipated.

Cover art with 6 doghnuts
Cover art with 6 doghnuts
Challenge #2 is in the bag! No, wait

In one word: fail.

Yeah, yeah, I knew this would be a tough one… but I wasn’t prepared to fail so spectacularly.

I enjoy a sweet, delicious dessert just as much as the next girl. Nothing major, no overpowering sweet tooth — or so I thought.

The problem wasn’t so much the sugar per se, however. The main issue was all the added sugar in things I didn’t expect to find it!

Let’s go back to the early February days. I kicked off the challenge by not realizing it was February already, and having a handful of caramelized almonds in the morning. After that, I vowed to stick to my no-sugar month! And I succeeded… for one day.

I want to claim my total cluelessness and state that I honestly didn’t know they added glucose syrup to dates! Apparently it is a well known fact, though. Now why, oh why, add sugar to something that is naturally sweet?

scene from movie clueless, with cher saying “my bad”
scene from movie clueless, with cher saying “my bad”
Why dates, why?

If in those early days I only faced these two isolated instances of accidental sugar ingestion, I might have sticked to the challenge. However, in the second week of the month, I enrolled in a diet + workout program and had to make a decision: buy an affordable, sugary, vegan protein powder? Or opt for a much more expensive, no sugar-added version? Yeah, sugar won this time.

At least, I’m maintaining my fitness goals for the year! That’s a win, right?

Even though the challenge was a total fail, it wasn’t without learning opportunities.

  1. I might not eat sugar every day, but I definitely have some strong sugar cravings more often than I’d like to admit.
  2. Yes, it’s true. Sugar is everywhere. Things that have absolutely no need for sugar come packed with the thing. Spice sauce? Yeap, put some sugar in it. Pretty much all snacks available in my workplace’s vending machine have added sugar. Dates, THE SWEETEST FRUITS AROUND? Why not add some more sugar to it? Which leads me to…
  3. I thought I was mindful of what I ate, being a vegan and all. The truth it, there is so much we don’t know and don’t even think about in the products we consume! It is a bit scary, honestly. But it’s definitely empowering, and it really makes us pause before mindlessly picking up that package of Oreo.

So while I didn’t complete the challenge, I want to continue making an effort to know what it’s in the stuff I consume. And then, being able to say no to a sweet, sweet dessert in exchange for an actually-this-is-pretty-delicious apple.

Recap time

Here is what I had in mind when planning this challenge:

Why: Being more mindful of what I eat and desiring less sugar.

How: I’ll start by making sure I don’t have anything with added sugar stocked up at home. During the entire month, never buy any grocery with added sugar and don’t consume anything I believe has sugar in it.

Expectations: Fewer cravings for sweets, more stable energy levels.

Did I achieve it?

Why: I would say partially yes, and definitely still have a ways to go! It was a good starting point to start training my mindfulness about food (going beyond just checking for animal ingredients).

How: Yeah… no. Not at all. I did begin the month with no added sugar items in my kitchen. But by the second week, with the protein powder and the amazing vegan week at Lidl, let’s just say it was a failure by all definitions of the word.

Expectations: Honestly, for the first week, I could really pinpoint how the desire for sugar follows its consumption. After 2 or 3 days without it, I didn’t feel the desire to eat sugary stuff. But after one taste of added sugar, I was already thinking about the next dessert after a few hours.

Previous Month

A quick update on how the reading challenge affected me, after it was over: I did continue reading *almost* every day 💪

cat putting sunglasses
cat putting sunglasses
Oh yeah, let’s do this

Next steps

The Gratitude & Fun challenge is ON! Super excited for this one! Let’s see if it leads to any tangible changes, but I have a good feeling about it 😊

If you want to follow along with this challenge, be sure to read about how I’ll do it in the original article.

See you in one month!

Maira Salazar

Written by

Foodtech, circular economy and compassion for all living beings: the ingredients for a better future. More goodies in mairasalazar.com

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