The Sugar Project is Over

The Sugar Project is Over

Boomer sleeps

I really thought it would take longer, but I am here to report that the sugar dragon has been slain. At least for now.

I started this no-sugar project on the 10th thinking it would take me at least 2 weeks to get a handle on this addiction. But no. It’s done. I don’t have any hankering for sugar any more. I don’t crave it, or miss it, or want it.

Done. I feel more in control of my self and my life. (But to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that big of a sugar freak to begin with.) But I did have certain triggers: Chocolate with wine, for instance. Gelato for creamy comfort when I had a lot of hard work to do. Midel Ginger snaps when I wanted something with tea. Like that.

As soon as I broke the chain reaction and noticed I was perfectly okay with just a glass of wine, or just a cup of tea, and as soon as my brain didn’t associate sugar with reward anymore, I got free.

I’m not saying I will never eat anything with sugar in it ever again, but when I do, it will be a treat, I will have just a tiny bit, and then go off it.

I really don’t think it is going to be like an alcoholic’s one drink and totally off the wagon. I really don’t.

It is also consoling me that I am going to be doing a Purification cleanse with Jennifer next month, so if there is some teetering or backsliding, I have a program in place to address that.

G is in Myrtle Beach with her team this weekend. I don’t know how she is doing, but I suspect it is still hard for her (she really misses her mochas!) but that she is staying clean.

So here’s my advice, for what it’s worth.

You’re going to feel like shit for awhile, that’s a given. You’re going to want to bail. Don’t. There is going to be a moment when the shackles will just magically fall away and you’ll be free, and you’ll feel positively giddy.

Give yourself as long as it takes to get there, knowing that it WILL COME.

Because when at last you are free, you’ll  feel powerful and amazing. You’ll stop peaking and crashing. Your energy will return and you’ll feel Zen and  even-tempered.

Eat healthy fats instead of sugar. Butter, coconut oil, and avocados saved me. Try the Bulletproof coffee. If the butter sounds gross, start with a just teaspoon of coconut oil in your coffee. It’s very calming and soothing to the nervous system.

Take it as a given that you’re going to be tired and grouchy. Get lots of sleep. Whenever you can, indulge in slothful inclinations.

Then take a bath. Do your laundry. Clean something small. It will cheer you up.

Do some yoga. If you can hack it, make it Power Yoga. The endorphin boost will make you feel sooo much better.

I hope you liked reading about this little project, and aren’t sorry it didn’t last the full month.

I must say, once the crappy parts of this no-sugar experiment ended, I’ve felt an up-tick in my cognitive energy, and am hatching a new book project.

Stay tuned!

Thanks for following this little adventure.

D is for Dopamine

D is for Dopamine

couch cat

Ugh.

I couldn’t get it together today. I think it’s the lack of dopamine. According to the science, sugar gives me a nice dopamine hit, and then I want another one, and another one, and the more sugar I eat, the more it takes to get the same quality high.

Maybe that’s why I felt so listless today: I’m jonesin’ for my dopamine.

I ate some scrambled eggs and after that? I don’t remember. The day just drifted away.

My shower was a big activity. Then, around 4 PM I remembered the old adage:  “energy creates energy” and drove to the gym.

Hooked myself into the treadmill, stuck the latest James Altucher podcast in my earbuds and clocked a respectable 8K steps on my Garmin.

But it didn’t make me feel any better. I went home and took a nap.

G is doing better than I am. At least today.

Bully for her.

I think part of my drekky mood is that I need more than a body hack project. I need a something intellectually juicy and exciting and I can’t figure out what.

Frustrating.

No shugah. Day 2

No shugah. Day 2

Kath's bicep

Here’s what I want:

I want to be Wonder Woman.

I don’t want to be decrepit. Or fragile. Or dull of brain.

I want to swan dive into my death from the high board of health and vitality, if possible.

I want to enter the flow state predictably and regularly.

But mostly, I want to hack my brain for optimum performance.

There are 3 brain hacks I’m familiar with: food, sleep and exercise. This project is (obviously) a food hack.

I have always known (but ignored and denied) that sugar fucks with me.

It messes with my brain and my gut. So what I want to find out in the next 2 weeks is if I will I see gains in cognition and energy. And if so, how dramatic.

I want dramatic.

I did an alcohol elimination in January. I had no booze for a month. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I do love my wine, and during December I had a glass or 2 almost every night, along with other specialty Holiday drinky-poos .

At the end of my Dry January,  I felt no different. I didn’t lose an ounce of weight, and although I might have had a smidge better quality sleep, what the whole experiment revealed was that  alcohol and I are solid. Thank god.

I don’t eat much sugar now, but when I do, I REALLY WANT IT. My cravings are INTENSE. Last night I wanted those ginger snaps with my wine, but grabbed some pistachios instead, and survived.

In the next 2 weeks I want to deconstruct these cravings, figure them out.

As for G, she’s still missing her morning mocha, and at this very moment is scrounging around looking for a nosh of some kind. (It’s 2 PM). I trust she’ll stay strong and choose nuts.

We’re going to prevail. It’s only 2 and a half weeks. No biggy. That’s not even an issue.

What we’re both curious about is: who will we be when we’re sugar-free?

The Sugar Project

The Sugar Project

Sugar

Yesterday G and I decided to give up sugar for the rest of the month of February.
Good god, WHY???
The answer:
Just to see if we can do it AND,
if we will die doing it AND
how we will do it (rules, etc.).
AND, for me, how it will hack my biology.
Another personal reason  I want to do this is because I’ve been without a project for about 3 months.
Ever since I published my book, The Project-Driven Life I’ve been looking for a new project, but haven’t had any luck. I had hoped I would hit on something long-term and juicy, but nothing has occurred to me yet, so until that big, juicy thing arrives, this short bio-hack will do. It still fits all my “project” criteria:
  1. I’m excited about it. (Actually, I’m more curious
    than excited.)
  2. It has an end date: February 29th.
  3. I know what counts as done: No sugar for 19 days.
 
And, just to keep myself accountable (because I’m an Obliger) I’m going to blog about it every day.
The first thing we did was identify all the sugary stuff we currently eat on a regular basis. Here’s my list:
Honey and maple syrup. I like sweet oatmeal and I like syrup on pancakes and waffles. If I can’t have honey on my oatmeal or syrup on my waffles, I won’t eat those foods.
Mi-del Ginger Snaps. I’m kind of addicted to these at the moment. I like to eat them when I’m watching TV and sipping wine after class.
Ghiradelli Squares. When I want chocolate, these are what I want. I like the Milk and Caramel ones.
Talenti Gelato. Oh god. The Mediterranean Mint is crack. I could eat the whole pint by myself. With a spoon.
If I am craving sweets but want a “healthier” alternative I eat raisins or dates and congratulate myself on my virtue.
G’s list includes:
Her morning mocha, or if she makes coffee at home, her flavored creamer. (She likes sweet coffee.)
Mid-morning or mid-afternoon she goes for some kind of a “bar.” A Kind bar or other granola-y, faux-heathy snack. (She has a big stash of these bars in her office for pre-practice snacking.)
She also likes muffins.
We have identified these as our “Daily Dangers.”
So here’s how we did yesterday:
Neither of us caved. Go us!
I made myself a Bulletproof coffee for breakfast and then fasted until 2Pm when I got a salad to-go from Night and Day and an Americano, which I Bulletproofed when I got home.
I made this 40 Garlic Chicken Recipe for dinner (oh god, so good! Thanks for the recommendation, Em!) and had some before class.
After class, I had a glass of wine, and I did want some Ginger Snaps, but resisted. (win!)
G’s biggest danger is running out of fuel before practice. She had to find something to eat other than a bar.  She really needs a boost around 2PM, so yesterday she tried an apple and cashews. She came home starving though,  and dove into the 40 Garlic Chicken even before changing.
As we sat on the couch at the end of the evening and shared our respective days, she looked kind of sad and stricken.
She had a much harder first day than I did.
Onward.

I’m A Good Detoxer (thanks to Streaking)

This is my 51st post in a row. I started posting daily on Ash Wednesday (February 18th) and I’m still going, even though my stated commitment for this streak was only until Easter, which was 5 days ago.

What can I say? I love streaking. Once I get a little streak going, it kills me to break it.

The big problem with blogging every day is not so much coming up with things to write about, I can write about anything. It’s coming up with things to write  that both interest me, and interest others.

Today  I was telling Kate, my hair stylist about my current detox. This detox is another thing I am streaking at the moment: I haven’t had sugar, caffeine or alcohol since March 24th (17 days).

As I was telling Kate about how I sip hot water all day to flush my lymphatic system, and dry brush before my shower, her assistant and other people who work there began walking within earshot of me, and then started asking me a million questions about why, and how do I do it, and how do I keep motivated, etc.  So I basically did a mini-Health Coaching session as I was getting my hair foiled.

I think people love to learn about eating and detoxing strategies, and they are especially impressed when you tell them that you have been able to sustain what they see as an act of extreme austerity for 17 days. Everyone, it seems, wants to give up these things for at least a little while, but nobody knows how to actually DO it.

So maybe I should be writing here about how I manage to stay the course when so many people can’t even get on the course?

I think my wonky eyelid problem incentivized me this time. Nothing like having your eye suddenly look like you’ve been punched to scare you off sugar, etc.

But now that I have figured out the eyelid problem and eliminated the offending culprit, I could, feasibly, go back to drinking my blessed morning coffee, and having a nice glass of wine on Friday night. But I can’t bring myself to do it, at least not yet, because, you see,

I have this little streak going and I want to see how long I can keep it going.

I want to see how much better I can get myself to feel. I feel really good right now, but I am still craving coffee, and also to some extent, sugar.

I want to get to the point where I don’t crave anything, and then keep going past that to the point where I plateau. Right now I am trending “up” in a pretty steep line in terms of energy and getting quality sleep. What I am really curious about now is: Where am I going to peak, and how long is it going to take me to get there?  How many more days of this before the “up” trend starts to flatten out?

Is this kind of thing of any interest to anyone else?

Is this worth documenting here? Or is it profoundly boring? I’d love it if you’d let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

 

Food Update

It’s been 10 days since I’ve had coffee, sugar, alcohol, eggs or wheat and I am feeling really good. I feel calmer, more relaxed, still a little on the tired side, but I think that is more a function of the weather (cold, cloudy, spring-resistant) than my diet.

I had a great talk with Jennifer last week and she recommended a tincture and some supplements which I immediately mail-ordered and now everything is here, and I am ready to go into the supplement phase.

My eyelid is improving dramatically since I stopped putting Royal Glow on it. (How could I use something  everyday for 2 years straight with no problem and then suddenly have a BIG problem with it? Mysterious.

Whatever.

Today I did my weekly food shopping and in addition to food I picked up 2 magazines: The Intelligent Optimist and Experience Life.

The cover story on The Intelligent Optimist caught my eye because it was “Why taking supplements leads to enlightenment,” by the famous shaman, Alberto Vilodo. He  said we have to clean up our bodies, and more importantly, our brains, if we want to access  shamanic states of ecstasy.

How? Give up sugar, dairy, coffee, and gluten. Take Omega 3s, Vitamin D3, turmeric, trans-resveratrol and coconut oil (which he calls “jet fuel for the brain.”)

Also: get our intestinal flora active and healthy via probiotics.

He claims that if you go radical and extreme with this diet it will take you 6 months to get there. This article gave me fresh motivation to continue on.

The article that made me pick up Experience Life was, “What Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You.” And once again, just as I suspected, it’s all about what you eat and your gut health.

(Everything is about what you eat and your gut health.)

I have been dealing with my eczemic ear canals for years (4 or 5) and it is time to get to the bottom of this. I am going all in.

Add to that the prospect of shamanic states of ecstasy?

Oh yeah.