“…but it doesn’t matter if you lapse, so long as your intention is to continue.  I like this thinking.  It acknowledges how we humans operate.  Each day we stay off sugar, we’re creating new habits in our cells, our hormones and in our brains.  Like a muscle, the more we practice, the more this way of being becomes second nature. But if you do lapse- say you sneak honey in your tea or pick at a friend’s birthday cake- don’t fret and don’t give up.  It’s fine.  Just keep your intention on track.  Tomorrow is a new day.”

I love this quote from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Week 5, as I feel exactly what she’s saying as I come to a close with this sugar cleanse. As I’ve touched on before, it’s not about being perfect.  No matter what challenge you face in your life, you are bound to mess up at some point. The pursuit of perfection can often be more exhausting than the task itself. So, just because you slip and have a bit of something you’re not supposed to have, that doesn’t mean to say screw it, I might as well eat as much as I want now.  Keep your intention on track.  Each moment is a chance to start fresh.

One thing I noticed during these final days is I was chewing more gum than usual-specifically when I had cravings.  I’ve been addicted to gum in the past, and part of my New Year Resolution in 2016 was to cut back the amount I chewed (when I was working my corporate job, I would chew 2+ packs a day…seriously)  While I definitely did not fall back in the copious amount I used to indulge in, I now need to make a conscious effort to not reach for gum every time I want sugar.

Another thing I’ve been getting a lot of questions about is how much weight I’ve lost throughout this month.  The answer is, I don’t know! Honestly, it hasn’t been my focus because 1) I don’t weigh myself anymore 2) Quitting sugar is about feeling better as well as helping to balance out my hormones. Additionally, I didn’t cut calories throughout the month, because every time I wanted sugar I would simply replace it with a fat source. While I can’t give you an exact number, I will say my body is a lot less “puffy” and I feel that’s because inflammation has come down from not having intoxicants, in addition to not having sugar constantly stimulating my system, my hormones have benefited as they are still working to overcome adrenal fatigue.

As you read through my daily breakdown, you’ll see this final week went by like a breeze.  However, I wanted to make this final post days after the close of the challenge so I could report how my transition back into reincorporating sugar would be.  I firmly said from the beginning that I want this to not just be a 30 day challenge, but a way for me to severely limit the amount of sugar I keep in my diet from now on. So as I reached February 1st, I didn’t run to candy aisle, I didn’t immediately bake 3 cakes- I didn’t even reach for my favorite peanut butter that is sweetened with cane sugar.

However, On Friday February 3rd, I went to brunch with a friend and had avocado toast that was drizzled with honey, as well as a few bites of croissant with blackberry jam.  I must be even more sensitive to sugar now than I was before, because after that little bit of sugar, I was craving sweets ALL DAY LONG.  I tried snacking on whole nuts, nut butter, veggie chips, you name it, but I could not kill the craving.  I didn’t give in to anymore sugar on this day, but I definitely overate in calories trying to blunt my desire for dessert.

This sort of let of a chain reaction, because Saturday I was badly craving sweets again.  I was able to resist, but then came Super Bowl Sunday.  I retested my vegan cheesecake with salted caramel sauce (coming to the blog this week!) and I couldn’t stop eating the caramel sauce.  This led me to start snacking on the peanut butter and white chocolate m&m’s that were out on the coffee table during the game.  I ate way too many of these- and they’re not even a good dessert! They are candy for pete’s sake! I finished off the evening by having a piece of my cheesecake with the caramel and whipped cream.

Needless to say, I felt pretty crappy by the end of Sunday.  Not crappy because of guilt, physically horrible.  My body had done so well cleansing sugar out of system like a drug, and then I loaded it back up.  My intention for sugar in my life from this point on is to have it when I’m recipe testing, and/or if it’s in a dessert I really want.  Not just a dessert I want because it’s in front of me, but a dessert that I’m just dying to taste.  And, if these two exceptions lead me to spiral out of control, I need to be able to pull the reigns on myself, even if that means embarking on another period of absolutely no added sugar, in order to reset my mind and body.  With that being said, I’m taking the next couple days, maybe even a week, to go back to entirely sugar free so I can make sure all my efforts over the past month aren’t completely blown!

Monday January 23 (Day 23)

Today I finished up testing all my Super Bowl recipes.  As I’ve mentioned before, days like today, I stay full from constantly tasting and snacking, so my body doesn’t even have the chance to crave sugar.  I had some of my Roasted Peanut Tempeh, Mango Salsa over roasted asparagus, and Edamame Caviar over arugula with some avocado.  YUM! Who needs sugar and junk when real food tastes go good?

Tuesday January 24 (Day 24)

My meal plan was almost identical today as it was yesterday- let’s hear it for leftovers! However, I had some cravings around 3:30 in the afternoon, but luckily I was about to teach class and didn’t have any snack with me, so I wasn’t able to give in.  It’s interesting how it always used to be late at night when I’d have the most desire for sweets, but it now seems to have switched to mid afternoon.  My days are so long and active now, it’s probably just my body reaching for a literal pick-me-up before I teach often my third, fourth, or fifth class of the day.

Wednesday January 25 (Day 25)

Today I was so busy, I barely had time to have a meal.  Normally weird meal timing would make me have all kinds of cravings because my blood sugar would be all over the place, but today I just didn’t have the opportunity to think about food.  Ever seen this meme?

sugar cleanse

This is usually how I feel, but today I was actually one of those people who “forgot to eat” haha.  Insanity, I know.  Don’t worry, once I finally got home at the end of the night I had a mound of roasted veggies with avocado and cashews.

Thursday January 26 (Day 26)

Today I was recipe testing raspberry ketchup that had honey in it, so as I was tasting along the way to adjust the seasonings, I definitely had sugar in my system.  It may have been this or the fact that I was still exhausted from yesterday, but I had major sugar cravings today.  I could tell they were cravings just from my hormones being out of whack from stress and fatigue, because I wasn’t actually hungry and “wanting” any dessert specifically.  Days like today are hard no matter if I’m in a challenge or not.  Sleep deprivation can do all kinds of things to the body, so I often say the first step to proper nutrition is good sleep! (Even though I’m bad at following my own advice).

Friday January 27 (Day 27)

In an effort to be completely transparent, today I drank.  If you’ve been reading since post #1, you know this challenge isn’t just about giving up sugar, although that has been my focus because it’s the only intoxicant I knew I would struggle with.  So why did I drink?  Well, I had a special “Winter Soiree” this evening, and although I could have partook in the evening sober, it was absolutely a “wine and dine” kind of night, so instead of being anti-social, I chose to have a couple cocktails.  I see this as no big deal, because at the close of this month, I know I will go days, maybe even weeks without having alcohol again, so I’ll make up my time 🙂

BUT, at this event, there was the most magnificient chocolate fountain I’ve ever seen, I resisted every single drop.  Despite there being fruit, marshmallows, oreos, biscotti, pretzels- you name it- I didn’t have a single chocolate drenched bite.  To be honest, I didn’t even want it.  To put this in perspective a little more- I didn’t even want it in my tipsy-state where my will power could have been shot out the window. To my core I did not want to indulge- THIS IS PROGRESS!

Saturday January 28 (Day 28)

Today I surprised myself, usually after a night of drinking I crave junk all the next day (and almost always give in).  Despite the slight craving for pizza, today I did really well.  I was shooting my Sweet Potato Quesadilla with Kale and Caramelized Onions, and I think the saltiness of the vegan cheese and whole grain tortilla, the sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the nutrients of the kale and potatoes helped keep any craving I might have had from derailing me from the challenge. Little victories like today are what I need to remind myself of when these 30 days are over, proving to myself that my will power can be stronger than any fleeting desires!

Sunday January 29 (Day 29)

This morning I went to my first Orange Theory class.  WOW.  I do HIIT in the form of plyometrics all the time, so the “strength” portion of the workout wasn’t hard, but I have not run in a good 2 years, so the 20 minutes of intervals on the treadmill kicked my ass!  I forgot how completely exhausting and exhilarating running can be. I think starting my day in this way helped me be lazer focused on my eating for all my following meals.  No cravings at all, but did get to indulge in some fluffy naan after shooting my Baba Ganoush for the blog.  If you’re not eating this dip with hot naan bread, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.  Ohmygosh, it’s life changing.

Monday January 30 (Day 30)

I have been on a roll with my recipe testing lately, and today was no different.  I perfect an AMAZING veggie + grain salad (it’s not posted yet) so my belly was fully with volume and nutrients today.  The only thing I could have done better with my diet was limiting my peanut butter- I ate 3 servings during the afternoon, OOPS!  But, the peanut butter I buy only has one ingredient: peanuts, so it’s hard to feel too bad about it.  And if you haven’t tried Krema/Crazy Richard’s before, GO BUY IT NOW! It is also, life changing with how smooth it is.  Seriously, I’m contemplating if I can drink it through a straw 😂

Tuesday January 31 (Day 31)

I can’t believe this is the final day. It really doesn’t seem real. I think because I’ve done so well with this Challenge, I’m waiting for it to get hard. Like, how can it be over? I don’t want it to be over. I want to hold on to the reason “I can’t ” have these things, because that’s easier than simply denying them when offered. It’s totally silly, but I do better when I feel like it’s an assignment.  With that being said, today was as smooth as ever.  Sort of an anti-climactic end to this month, although I’m feeling overwhelmed with gratitude and pride for the ability to say I DID IT!