All my life, I’ve known people who quit sugar – not forever, in most cases, but they were going to try. They wanted to lose weight. They wanted to get rid of pimples. But I didn’t want to lose weight and I didn’t care about my pimples. I thought I had a free pass on sugar. I could have dessert any night I wanted. I could make cookies whenever I wanted.
About 4 years ago, I noticed my knuckles bulging. But they didn’t hurt. They just looked funny. I didn’t think it mattered. About 4 months ago, they started hurting. I bought cat’s claw and drank some every morning. And again during the day if my knuckles stabbed me.
About 1 month ago, I read my AARP email newsletter. In it an article said that most of arthritis pain is from sugar inflammation. The article said it would take 6 weeks of no sugar to notice an effect. I immediately quit sugar, honey, agave, anything except fresh fruit that tasted at all sweet. Within 2 weeks, I was in less pain. At 3 weeks my hands felt almost normal. I was still taking one dose of cat’s claw every morning, but never during the day or evening.
A few days ago, I didn’t read the label. I used an old jar of pad thai sauce. Pad Thai doesn’t taste sweet to me. I didn’t think it could have sugar in it. Within 2 hours, my hands were in pain. I drank a glass of water with 18 drops cat’s claw extract. My hands calmed down. The label said this sauce was 38% sugar. Yipes! I only put a few spoonfuls of the sauce into the pad thai. I had made enough for 4 people. So half a spoonful of a sauce that is 38% sugar is enough to cause pain.
Years ago, I went through all my cookie recipes and removed 1/3 of the sugar. My husband wanted some gingerbread cookies. I cut the sugar in half again, and substituted honey for the sugar. Honey is not sucrose. It’s a combination of glucose and fructose. I used my small cookie cutters. I ate one cookie. The pain was minor. Honey is not sugar. I used to eat two cookies. I used to use the big cookie cutters – the mermaid, the two-headed gingerbread man, the big rabbit. Now one small cookie with 1/3 the original amount of sweetening is pushing my limits. It’s not something I’d eat every day, or even every week.
But I have discovered that fruit smoothies fill my urge for something sweet. I make those every day. I don’t crave cookies or other desserts. They are no longer part of my regular diet. My husband, the alien, has taken to buying extra candy bars for himself. I can look at them in the fridge and not want even a nibble. It’s not the fear of pain – it’s that they truly don’t appeal to me any more.
I thought quitting sugar would be hard. Thanks to fruit smoothies, it feels like I’m eating what I crave. Yay for my blender!