For the whole of September myself and my house mate decided to challenge each other to a No Carbs September. The stakes were high if one of us slips up and we are equally competitive so the month that followed was a lesson in itself. These are just a few of my observations from the challenge.
We are SUPER
dependent on addicted to sugar
Quick, take a look at the nutritional content of whatever you are about to eat. Unless its meat or roasted nuts or a pack of celery, odds are, there is sugar in there. It’s quite scary how much sugar we consume on a daily basis. BUT, there are also good and bad sugars, just like there is good and bad cholesterol. I could get all GR12 biological on you, but I will spare you. On that note…
This would be a good Sugar!!
Coffee tastes shitty without sugar
I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. It’s like the guy who steals money from you but is just SUCH a good kisser. I know coffee in extreme masses is not good for a person, that being said, I actually think coffee itself, on any level, is not good for me, personally. So when I cut sugar, I cut coffee, because coffee without sugar tastes like something you kill a child’s dreams with. I also refuse to use sweeteners because that stuff will kill you. Double cold turkey whammy. So then I found out…
That sugar & caffeine withdrawals are the stuff nightmares are made off
It starts with headaches, I never get headaches, I’m superhuman like that. But as soon as I cut out coffee and sugar without wheening myself off, it felt like a dozen gremlins with jackhammers were redoing the hardwood floors of my brain for days.
Then on top of the headaches, you feel dizzy and fatigued. I can’t say tired because tired goes away after a nap. Fatigue stays with you like that stray cat you fed, ONCE!
As the headaches fade and you just become tired all the time, your kidneys start aching. It’s so bad that walking, sitting and laying down is too painful. Anything that puts pressure in any way on your lower back is out. Health tip: (Cos I’m such a glowing example of healthy living) Drink shit loads of water. Have an IV of water constantly filling and clearing your kidneys. Again, I could give a biology lesson of the function of the kidneys, but I shan’t.
Oh and did I forget to tell you? PMS aint got nothing on the emotional nightmare you become during the first 2 weeks of going off of coffee and/or sugar. there is a chance that you insulted and or lost a few friends during this period. Bridges burn!!! It’s ridiculous! But there’s a plus side.
Energy levels DO go up, eventually
Once that nightmare is over, you will have more energy, not STACKS more but more. I must say I don’t feel super energetic, but I am not tired all the time either, so that’s nice. My housemate noted that he felt 4 times more fit on the rugby field and he is faster (probably due to the weight loss). I know this is the ONLY thing you really cared about when you clicked on my blog… “yeah, yeah, but how much weight will I lose?”
Weight just a minute…
Since the beginning of September I have lost almost 6kg. I feel it should be noted that I had picked up a crap load before that but still, a win is a win. My house mate lost more, I think he lost about 7 or 8 kg. I don’t like to play this card, BUT, it is easier for men to lose weight than for women… so there’s that. Also he is active so he burns more than I do. I realise I am making excuses but so what.
You save loads of cash
How much money do you spend on food a month? And I’m not really talking about groceries. I am talking about snacks, take outs, feel-good-period-craving chocolates? Hmm? Have you thought about it? Well, I got to save some money by simply not buying a chocolate or chips of pack of sweets every time I go to the shop. Instead I bought a bad of apples or bananas. I will add that I would have saved way more if biltong and droëwors had sugar or carbs in, that stuff can dig a hole in your wallet! You still save a lot of money though.
Lastly, creative cooking
Since you can’t eat pasta, or rice, or potatoes *Cries a little*, you have to come up with new things to cook, with the added extra that the housemate is not a BIG veggie eater. Sometimes you have a hit and sometimes you miss, sometimes you have a real South African supper… just MEAT. After a while you’ll feel like you would sell a piece of your soul just to have a baked potato. I think it must be psychological, it has to be, because I have done this whole no carbs thing (not as harshly) before and I was fine. Which takes me back, again to biology, this time I will explain some, you can’t cut out something completely. Your body needs carbohydrates, protein and fat (and of course minerals and vitamins). Each one of these three has a specific function in your body. Where we lose the plot is when we over indulge in one or more. That’s when we start being unhealthy and pick up weight. A wise woman says this to me very often “Everything in moderation”
In conclusion, I plan to challenge myself for the rest of the year to cut out all preserved food, all bread, pasta and rise and to only eat moderate amounts of biltong and droëwors. I might even do this permanently, food should be enjoyed, but it should also be respected.
Dr Liezel (I wish)