Sugary treats are my go to snack whenever I'm hungry. They are usually quick, easy, and the most delicious thing to eat whenever I'm feeling peckish or just eating to eat. But I notice that when I eat a lot of it, it makes me feel this sort of "brain fog", like there is a curtain I can pull back to reveal the real world. So, I decided to try to cut out added sugars for a week, maybe even longer, depending on how it all turns out.

Added sugars are those pesky little additives that you can see on the nutritional label on the side of the food. They can be sneaky calling themselves "dextrose", "fructose", or any other "ose"-word, which you might look over. Unfortunately, sugar is in a lot of things, but not all sugar is bad. The natural sugars found in fruits and veggies also have tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so they're the good guys. 

I have never gone a week without consuming some sort of added sugar, let alone just one day! So, I said to myself, "I'm gonna cut sugar, cold turkey", and I prepped some meals for myself. Here is my experience:

Day 1:

I ate scrambled eggs with vegetables, sourdough toast, a banana, an almond butter sandwich, and chicken breast with whole wheat spaghetti.

They say the first day is the hardest, and yes, it is. Luckily, I wasn't surrounded by sweets to tempt me. Instead, I surrounded myself with the sugar free foods I had gotten from the store, making this day much easier. I kept track of my progress through myfitnesspal, so I could make sure I was eating enough calories and getting my vitamins. 

Though I feel like I cheated a bit by drinking a Naked Juice, I got through the day without any added sugars. By the end of the day, I felt no different than I usually did, but I did sleep really well.

Anna Duda

Day 2: 

I ate old fashion oats, a banana, an avocado, a small garden salad, 4 turkey meatballs with sourdough bread, Tostitos, and frozen grapes.

This day was honestly probably the easiest. I really found the foods that I enjoyed the most. Things like sweet potatoes and almond butter sandwiches on sourdough bread, were amazing. I also found that having a quick banana before going on a run really helps defeat my cramping throughout the run. I ran nearly 3.8 miles in about 34 minutes, beating my average time by 20 seconds per mile.

At the end of the day, I felt energized and accomplished. Sleeping was a bit rough, because I hadn't stretched, so my legs hurt throughout the night. Always stretch, folks!

Anna Duda

Day 3:

Today's meals consisted of old fashion oats with almond butter and strawberries, a banana, an almond butter sandwich, Tostitos, carrots, and leftover chicken and noodles. 

Today, I woke up early, ready to go to my morning class when I spotted my roommates Tag-A-Longs. They looked so good, and I really wanted to open the box just to smell them, at least. But I stopped myself. I concentrated on going into the kitchen in my dorm and making my oatmeal. At the end of the day, I was proud of myself for stopping this temptation, but I still wanted to eat a few cookies. I went to sleep a little unsatisfied but had a good nights rest.

Anna Duda

Day 4:

This morning I ate eggs with veggies (I noticed that the old fashion oats left me a bit hungry), grapes, a banana, 4 turkey meatballs, sourdough toast, and black bean tacos with avocado, pico de Gallo, and plain, nonfat greek yogurt. 

Today was when I realized that waking up in the morning has become much easier. Usually, I lay in bed for an extra ten minutes, just to collect myself. Even with waking up a bit earlier, I was able to get up right after waking up.

Unfortunately, though, these next few days were the end of midterms, also know as crunch time for a lot of my projects. I was stressing more than I have ever been before. This made me realize that I obsess over sugary foods when I am stressed. Notice I did not say crave. No. I thought about chocolate cake as I attempted to calculate tax revenue for my business class.  At the end of the day, I made it through and had a good night's sleep, but my stress was tearing me down.

Anna Duda

Day 5:

Because I was so busy today, I felt like I did not eat enough as I should have. In the morning, I had a banana with eggs. Later on, I had an almond butter sandwich, Tostitos, and a sweet potato.

This was the busiest day that I have ever had in my entire college career. My stress was high and so was my need for sugar. To curb this, I decided to freeze some grapes and eat those instead, which led to my overeating. My experience with this has led me to find out that I crave excessive amount of sugar when stressed.

Anna Duda

Day 6:

Friday, the last day before #springbreak2018. Today I had eggs with veggies, an almond butter sandwich, fish, and fries.

I only had one class, before I headed back to my hometown, Saint Louis. I packed myself a sandwich for the trip home along with another Naked juice. Whoops! Oh well. I went home to enjoy Edibles & Essentials' fish and chips from their food truck. I also realized that most of the food in my house contains more added sugar than I ate in my whole first semester. Still, I pushed through and continued to feel as though I was at my peak.

Anna Duda

Day 7:

The last day! I ate an omelet with tomatoes and mushrooms, a chicken patty from Dairy Queen, and a salad with tomatoes, chicken, carrots, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. 

Today was tough because I was surrounded by the sugary snacks in my house, and my dad asked me to make him banana bread. I made it, and I made it no sugar added! He couldn't even tell the difference. Also, because it was the last day, I wanted to cheat so badly by eating the ice cream my brother had bought. Somehow I made it through! I felt so accomplished.

Anna Duda

So what did I learn?

Sugar is my stress-reliever or at least, it wanted to be. My emotions have their own stomach and they really prefer eating sugary snacks so that I could "feel better" or at least think I felt better. Without sugar, I slept better and could wake up easily without sugary substances dragging me down. I also learned that isolating myself from the problem helps tremendously. Overall, I did not get flawless skin or a flat stomach from one week, but I did feel really good. 

And as I sit in this Starbucks, I think of whether or not I will try to keep the added sugar diet in my everyday life. The answer is easy: no, but I will try to stay away from a lot of sugary foods and continue to be conscious of what I am eating.