Funky is finished (threaded and washed) but there is no modelled picture yet. To come... Instead another colourful bike for those who like colourful bikes. I do, but then I like everything colourful. Anyway, Funky seems to be so delectable to my son that he requested one, not in green and not in such a thin yarn. This means another version of Funky has to become my next project. I haven't quite decided on the colour scheme yet, though I would have been all for greens now that I don't eat refined sugar anymore.
How did it actually all come about? It was when I came back from Christmas holidays in Germany that I noticed I had gained weight. I had tried before not to eat sugar but failed. So there I was, a few days after Epiphany and thought, it's time to try again. I started with eating less sugar. The first stage was not to buy anything containing refined sugar and to eat up what's still in the cupboard and fridge. The not to buy anything containing refined sugar immediately became a label reading and education exercise. Refined sugar comes in many guises on ingredients lists. Here a webpage that gives a nice little list with 61 names. The shocking thing for me was that refined sugar is contained in almost everything. Popular estimates range from 70% to 80% of edible items available in supermarkets. I quickly realised that if I wanted to avoid refined sugar there was not much left I could buy and I had to make everything myself. Have a look at your favourite pizza next time you go shopping. You would be surprised that and how much sugar it contains. After the mango chutney (loads of added sugar), a remnant of table sugar and my piles of dark chocolate (I had allowed myself two pieces per day to minimise cravings) had been erased I started to eat more fruit salad. I must have had one every day and quite an amount. I will explain later why that isn't good, but in hindsight I would say that when you wean yourself off refined sugar eating lots of fruit salad instead of sweets and mango chutney is the better move. One night I also got rid of all sugary stuff still left in the cupboard, two very old packs of icing sugar, and some cinnamon sugar (simply a mixture of cinnamon powder and table sugar) that we Germans eat with rice pudding. Against my habit not to throw away food the last vestiges of sugar landed in the bin.
So there I was, the home was sugar free. But there was still work to deal with. We are a rather cake and sweet friendly office. We are a very friendly office anyway, no not lying, we are, but the friendliness with sugar had now to be resisted. I coped mostly, though I noticed stressful situations made we want to eat sugar. It was the Monday before Ash Wednesday that a colleague convinced me that her daughter's home-made cakes only contained coconut sugar. I don't know what I thought but of course coconut sugar is nothing else but refined sugar, just not made from sugar cane, sugar beet or maize but coconut. I was rather annoyed with myself that I hadn't questioned what had been put in front of me and had eaten the cake. The same evening I decided that refined sugar and refined starches (more to that also later) had to become a stranger in my life with the one exception of being allowed pralines on Easter Sunday from my favourite chocolate shop.
I had my pralines on Easter Sunday and it was wonderful. My son wasn't happy about my 'slip day'. He feared I would slip back into sugar eating, but there is no danger of that and I will tell you why.
I'm back to the weight I was before Christmas (note that this is an exercise in not eating refined sugar and refined starches, not one in eating less. I eat whatever I like as long as it doesn't contain refined carbohydrates. Which means I do eat potatoes and wholemeal pasta. This is not a no carbohydrate diet. So just by not eating refined carbohydrates I have lost weight, 4kg if you'd like to know).
I sleep better (though the change to British Summer time was bad this year. I did suffer).
I feel better, more energetic and less tired during the day, which obviously is because of 2. I did suffer some side effects. Some headaches, some sleepless nights, and some aches and pains that seem to pop up here and there but went again.
I'm not distracted by thinking about sugary stuff. I have no cravings for sugary stuff and do not constantly think about what I could eat next. Even stressful situations that would have made me eat sweets or cakes I can now meet with the realisation that they are ONLY stressful situations and wouldn't become better by being on a sugar high for 30 minutes only to slump back down into a sugar craving. I can just sit back and tell myself that the stress will pass when I've finished the task or find some other coping mechanism depending on the of the type of stress.
Shopping has become an easy exercise after quite some label reading. I buy staple foods, lots of veg, some fruit, cheese, milk, yoghurt, seeds and nuts (without sugar or salt coating) or simple preparations of them like cashew butter, eggs, meat, butter and oil, and cook from scratch. Though this takes up time I don't see that as a negative, because I know what's in my food and with some planning cooking times can be minimised.
I produce less waste because I try to avoid buying overpackaged fruit and veg. It takes me six weeks to fill the general waste bin and even then the rubbish doesn't reach the lid. And the recycle bin also gets less to hold. My compost bin of course, is now fuller, with loads of veg scraps going into it every day. But I don't regard plant waste as waste here.
That's enough text to read for now. Next time I will tell you why too much fruit salad isn't good and what that has got to do with refined sugar. And maybe I will have decided on the colour scheme for the next Funky too.