My Experience with a “7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan That’s Actually Doable”

My Experience with a “7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan That’s Actually Doable”

During the recent holiday season, I realized that I no longer recognized myself in photos. This frightened me. I blamed it on being addicted to sugar.

Christmas Family Photo 2019
We celebrated Christmas together as a family in Texas. It was abnormally warm, thus my brother’s shorts.

I knew I that I was recovering from a difficult year after the mono diagnosis rendered me essentially inactive for several months. But I also knew that the worst of that was behind me. I have been on the road to recovery from mono for the past several months.

2019 also marked the year that I reintroduced gluten into my diet. This opened up an entire world of sweets and baked treats that were previously completely off limits. Doughnuts in the office to celebrate a Friday? Don’t mind if I have one, or three. Coworker brings in extra cake? Yes please! I’ll take one slice, or four. Oh look a bag of M&M’s is on sale. Oops, I just ate that entire bag in under twenty-four hours.

I was addicted to sugar.

Something had to change, as I knew this lifestyle was unsustainable. A quick google search shows how many places label sugar as “toxic” or “poison.” I have been purposefully avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup for over a decade (y’all, that stuff is NASTY), but I had relaxed on watching my over all sugar consumption. This was bad, and I knew it was affecting how I was feeling overall.

I decided that I was going to use the few extra days off of work over the Christmas / New Year time frame in an attempt to kick my sugar habit. I knew I was addicted to sugar, and I knew I needed help changing things up. After much googling, I decided that I was going to attempt a … BuzzFeed Article?

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I was planning on using an article from over two years ago in order to jump start a reduced sugar life-style. And yet, here we are.

Why did I choose BuzzFeed?

I know many “sugar fast” diets include absolutely no carbs or fruit for the first couple of days. That seemed too restrictive for me. Also, I wanted something easy to follow with step by step guidelines. I am not afraid of cooking, but trips to the grocery store I find especially draining. And yes, grocery delivery services exist. But frankly, I hate their interface and they stress me out more than just going to the store.

In summary, my motivation to filter through every single recipe to create a shopping list and then purchase that shopping list was very low. Lucky for me, BuzzFeed provided a shopping list! They also provided a simple to follow printable PDF of all recipes for the week.

Armed with a printed copy of the grocery list and a pen, I headed off to the grocery store! When the article was first published in 2017, they stated they were able to purchase everything for around $75 in New York. In 2019 at a discount grocery chain, it cost me $100, which breaks down to around $4.70 a meal. Now I will admit that I probably could have bargain hunted a bit more. But honestly, who has the spoons for that?

No sugar added healthy food
This was their photo of all of their food. I modified mine slightly, because egg plant is gross.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Additionally, I appreciated their motivation behind the meals. At the very beginning, they share with you five facts about every meal:

  1. They are made with whole, real foods.
  2. The ingredients contain no added sugar.
  3. They aim for a trio of protein, fats, and carbs.
  4. They are built with saving time and money in mind.
  5. Each meal is completely customizable.

This was something I could get behind for a week. It was not some “fad” diet that severely restricted caloric intake or completely eliminated certain food groups for the sake of rapid results. Instead, it was an exercise in intense meal planning and consuming items that I normally would not make.

My Goals with this Experiment

This is not the first “experiment” I have run on myself in the past few years. First, there was my “Fludrocortisone Experiment.” There was also the original “Gluten Free Experiment.” Most recently, there was the “CGM Experiment.” This “Addicted to Sugar” Experiment joins a long list of things I try out in an effort to remain Clearly Alive. I even unexpectedly coupled it with the “No Late Night Snacks” experiment.

Although I stated in the beginning that I no longer recognized myself in photos, WEIGHT LOSS WAS NOT MY PRIMARY GOAL. Weight with Adrenal Insufficiency is a very delicate topic. For most of the formative years of my childhood, I was chronically underweight. This means I have no healthy frame of reference as to what I “should” look like or “should” weigh.

I promise myself and my Clearly Alive community that I will never manipulate my medicine, my diet, or my exercise routine for the sole purpose of manipulating a number on a scale or to fit into an article of clothing. The scale is merely one small data point in the much larger picture that is my overall health. I am more concerned with how I feel and my overall energy levels.

Right now, I know I do not feel optimally. I also know that this is not a cortisol related thing. This is a life-style related thing. I have become sedentary and addicted to sugar. I strive to change that in order to have many more years of remaining Clearly Alive.

Like my other experiments, I will share my thoughts along the way. This will be the first post in a series of ten posts, all relating to the same topic. May they inspire you to also remain Clearly Alive.

Amber Nicole is Clearly Alive