Lenten sugar fast and health kick – the halfway mark

Butternut noodles - A Free From Life

I’m halfway through my Lenten sugar fast. What began as a detox and clean eating phase, has levelled off to become more of a health conscious way of living.

The first week of soups and smoothies kick started the process. Did you know people used to fast on Ash Wednesday (the day after Pancake Tuesday and the first day of Lent)? I decided against that, opting instead for a juice cleanse, but it put me in the right frame of mind for the weeks ahead.

Being conscious of what you’re eating, especially when it comes to sugar, means that you make healthier choices all round. I don’t cave at the sight of a maple pecan Danish in a coffee shop and therefore, I actually don’t have anything to go with my coffee. I just don’t snack as much.

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I’m sipping on cinnamon tea right now, whilst snacking on oat cakes with almond butter. Apart from that, I haven’t had any other snacks today. I also don’t have a repertoire of snacks I could share with you. This period of my life hasn’t been about replacing one thing with another, it’s been more about doing without, cutting out.

Instead, I’m making every meal count, starting with breakfast and I’ve become inventive with my lunches, by making things like these Teff flatbreads called Injera:

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My one coffee a day has remained and I’ve had a glass of wine with dinner if I’ve fancied it, so I don’t feel as though I’ve really missed out on an awful lot.

Not that I’m saying it’s been easy. There is something about red wine that screams ‘dark chocolate’ and I found myself longing for something like that the other day. It was the day after I made apple cake for the troops and had to watch them all tucking in and enjoying it. I guess my brain just felt it needed something.

Apple Slice - A Free From Life

The bonus is weight loss and it always is for me when I do this. I’ve already lost 2kg and I’m feeling fitter and leaner for it. This could have more to do with the amount of exercise I’m also doing: walking the dog once or twice a day has meant that I must be exceeding my daily number of required steps for sure.

It’s a cycle though isn’t it? Healthy eating means you feel better on yourself. You’re leaner, which also makes you feel fitter and inclined to do more exercise and so it goes on.

A friend asked would I be gorging on chocolate come Easter Sunday. The answer is no because I don’t like it much anyway (milk chocolate) and because I don’t crave it at all. Will I celebrate by having that dark chocolate I was craving earlier this week? I’m not sure about that yet. A part of me thinks I should, whilst another part thinks it would be a shame after going so long without sugar. It would be like falling off the wagon.

I didn’t do this to give up sugar for life though, just to give it up for a long enough period to get my health back on track. Some sugar will creep in to my diet again as the year continues. I won’t feel guilty for that, but will try to make sure it is kept to a minimum and that it doesn’t get out of control.

Then I will do this all again next Lent.

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About Nicola Young

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18 thoughts on “Lenten sugar fast and health kick – the halfway mark

  1. You are doing brilliantly!! I still feel the need for sweet things but I haven’t caved in. Having said that I do feel I am doing better this time than before. I have actually put on weight though because for the first time I am not avoiding lots of other things…just dairy and gluten…which given the last year of trying to find out what causes my tummy grief is quite unrestricted!

  2. I’m curious to learn more about how people fasted historically during lent and also the health benefits. It’s a bit late for me this year but would be interested in trying this next year.

  3. Lovely to read that you’re feeling better for it. I’m a big ‘everything in moderation’ type and I’m not very good at giving things up, it generally back fires! I just keep certain things to a minimum 🙂 The no sugar thing interests me, but I’m honestly not sure I could do it!

  4. Well done! I’ve never tried anything remotely close to a fast because it doesn’t really appeal. Luckily I don’t have too much of a sweet tooth… although I am going to get a Creme egg once I’ve finished typing this comment! Glad its working so well for you. I can definitely see that once you get used to eating certain things you stop craving the bad stuff. That apple cake looks really good! Thanks for linking to #whatImwriting

  5. I’m going through a bit of a ‘clean-eating’ phase too – there’s something about Spring that always motivates me way more than dreary January! I’m a bit too rebellious to cut anything out completely, but I’m cutting right back on wheat, dairy and sugar and filling myself up with lots of yummy veg – and definitely feeling better for it… xx

  6. Well done! I’m trying to cut out my huge intake of sugar, but unlike you I need the snacks. Trying to replace cakes and biscuits is hard, so I’m opting for the no refined sugar and using honey to make my own snacks. I don’t think I could give up my sweet tooth altogether!

  7. I’ve cut out dairy, gluten, sweeteners and refined sugars and red meat and have been amazed how much it’s changed my life. I’ve done it for health reasons but it’s completely changed my relationship with food and taken away the binge cravings which I’ve suffered all my life. For me sweeteners have been the biggest issue and I’m so relieved to have found this out and to be able to finally have a healthier relationship with food as fuel.

  8. Sounds you’re doing really well with it. These things require willpower at first but once you keep at it long enough they become a habit and that’s when it gets a bit easier. And dog walking is a great way to exercise too, I love it because it clears my head as well. I think everyone should do it whether they have a dog or not.

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