I love chocolate. Give me white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate with sea salt, melted chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream…well, you get the picture. It’s a weird relationship because if you asked me to choose between pasta and chocolate then I would choose the former, but I love a bit of sugar to get me through the day.
This need started when I became pregnant. I could profess that I didn’t have any major cravings but I would be LYING. In my first trimester when my tastebuds were totally screwed up, all I craved was coke. I hate coke. Coke is a disgusting waste of calories that you can use to clean grime off of penny coins (tell me you did that trick in school?). But when I was pregnant, it’s all I wanted. In my third trimester, I moved to Nesquik and I put that stuff away by the liter, telling myself that the calcium was good for me. I even wanted cake and I’ve never been a cake person.
Pregnancy is mad.
When Rosie was born, the feeling didn’t go away. By February this year, I was eating chocolate bars every night. Sometimes two. Then I read a few articles on the danger of sugar and I freaked myself out:
Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
Sugar can weaken the immune system, and a suppressed immune system is bad at fighting off bacteria.” Bacteria clogged in pores creates pimples.
And sugar triggers insulin production, which triggers protein-utilization malfunctions. Sugar acts as a kind of signal scrambler, affecting the production of the proteins and amino acids that build up collagen and elasticity. (Taken from here)
Now I don’t know about you, but I have a slight (read HUGE) fear of looking old. I always wear a factor 30 on my face, I rarely sunbathe and I try and drink a lot of water, but knowing that the food I eat could be contributing to deeper wrinkles and visible pores is a worry.
So, I decided to give up chocolate and the excessive consumption of sugar for March to see what it would do.
Sometimes I really hate my life choices.
This is what happened:
- I CRAVED it so badly. I didn’t realize how much I would miss eating chocolate. I honestly think I could give up wine with more ease. It wasn’t until day 21 (when I was in bed with the flu) that I didn’t wake up thinking about diving into a pool of Nutella.
- My skin did look better. After just two weeks, my pores did look different and my complexion seemed less patchy. It wasn’t the biggest of changes but I’m sure that if I stayed off the sugar for longer, I would have seen more differences.
- I did have more energy and it was energy that didn’t fluctuate. With less sugar spikes, I found that even with Rosie waking us up at some ridiculous hour so she could laugh in my face, I was able to still tackle the day.
- My weight didn’t change. I was kinda expecting some amazing weight loss but there wasn’t anything dramatic. I continued to exercise as normal, which felt better because I wasn’t running off of sugar.
- I realized that the chocolate choices in South Africa are pretty poor if you a) don’t want to spend more than R35 and b) want something that isn’t just palm oil and sugar. If this was the U.K, I’d be munching through bags of M&Ms and Minstrels and bars of galaxy. Here, I’ll go for Cadburys but I know there are people who say that that isn’t real chocolate…but I don’t have R45+ to spend every day on something that is making me look 15 years older!
When April rolled by, I bought myself a Snickers bar and it was so good but I do feel like trying to keep the sugar intake down. I’m keen on moving to dark chocolate which has less sugar – I also find that I can never finish a bar of dark chocolate in one sitting.
I was thinking of experimenting further and going vegan this month but I know I’m going to have to properly plan for that.
Keen on taking a break from sugar? I’d love to know your results!