I DID IT!!!! I made it seven full days, exactly one hundred and sixty-eight hours (and zero minutes) without consuming ANY sugar! I honestly didnt think it would be possible, but before I get to the final results of my experiment, lets see the rundown of day seven.
Day Seven – The easiest day by far
I was home for most of the morning so rather than have breakfast, I just sort of grazed for a few hours. A hard boiled egg here, a handful of blackberries there, I finally finished that bag of almonds…nothing terribly exciting.
For lunch I actually tried to cook. This did not go well. I decided to steam some brussel sprouts and reheat some quinoa from what seems like a hundred years ago. Seriously, I only made a third of a box back on day one and I STILL have leftovers. This part of my preparation was largely uneventful. The trouble started when I attempted to cook one of those chicken breasts I bought the other day.
I’m not sure if Ive made this obvious enough in previous posts but, I don’t cook. Ever. In fact, if I hadn’t been lucky enough to live with several roommates who love to cook, I’m pretty sure I would’ve starved to death years ago. I had one roommate in particular who went out of his way to cook for me all the time. I used to call him the Jewish mother I never knew I always wanted. The point is, I believe that more than anything else, my lack of culinary skill is to blame for my predilection for fast food and simple, nukable, fructose-laden carbohydrates.
Simply put, I’ve never cooked chicken before.
Being the good little nerd that I am, I turned to the interwebs for guidance. I read several articles on how best to cook a chicken. I chose what I thought to be the simplest and most time efficient method: sautéing. I put some oil in a sauté pan (way too much oil as it turns out) and followed the instructions to the best of my (horribly limited) abilities. Long story short, my inexperience in the kitchen coupled with an irrational fear of bird flu resulted in dry, flavorless, WAY overcooked chicken that looked something like this:
I ate it anyway.
The gods must have been smiling on me that day however, because later on I ran into a friend at an audition who needed a place to stay for the night. As it happened, there was an empty room in my apartment. Now this particular friend loves to cook and has worked in many a fancy restaurant so in exchange for a place to stay, he gave me a cooking lesson.
There were four chicken breasts leftover after the disaster that was lunch and, not knowing what to do with or how to store the remaining chicken, I decided to try a tip from one of the many websites I consulted and brine the chicken by putting it in a large bowl of salt water and leaving it in the fridge. It turns out, this was an excellent decision. Brining poultry = win.
With crisp efficiency, my friend took stock of what else I had in the kitchen and together we planned a great meal: boneless, skinless chicken breast sautéd with lemon, herbs and garlic, garlic mashed potatoes and a salad of field greens, tomato and avocado with homemade dressing. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me, cooking a well-balanced meal that contains meat is a real achievement.
I wont go into the step-by-step instructions here because I dont want this to become a cooking blog, but I will show you the end result:
[This is actually a photo of the leftovers which I had for brunch(?) this afternoon. I was too hungry to think about taking pictures last night when everything looked all pretty and fresh.]
I have to say, I don’t know if it’s because I had a friend there to help me or what, but the whole process was actually kind of fun and the end result was delicious.
For dessert my friend had a glass of wine and some chocolate while I had a mini nervous breakdown and scarfed down another 6oz package of blackberries. We vegged out in front of the tv for the rest of the evening keeping vigil until midnight when this cursed experiment would be over and I could finally eat the brownie I had been jonesing for all week.
I started my countdown at about ten o’clock.
By 10:45 I had moved the container of brownies onto the coffee table for easy access when the time came.
Shortly after 11:00 I began obsessively checking the time.
11:19 – I officially became a five-year-old and began updating my friend every few minutes to let him know exactly how many minutes were left until brownie time.
11:32 – I casually informed my friend that there would be a happy dance to accompany brownie time at midnight.
11:46 – I set the alarm on my phone so I wouldnt miss brownie time by even one second!
11:54 – I opened the tupperware container housing my precious brownies in order to smell their amazingness.
11:57 – Still sniffing brownies.
12:00 – BROWNIE TIME!!!!!! [with accompanying happy dance]
I had two 1.5 x 1.5 x 1 brownies (so really small). I also grabbed a handful of candy from the giant bowl containing one Lindt truffle ball, one Ghirardelli dark chocolate raspberry square and four Herseys miniatures in white chocolate, dark chocolate and mint-flavored.
The first bite of brownie was pure heaven. Then after the second brownie, and it causes me physical pain to say this, I was kinda over it. I ate some of the chocolate anyway, but I could only cram three pieces down my throat before I started to feel a little bit sick. Now, I had eaten a sizeable meal for dinner and had all those blackberries for dessert, but this is coming from the girl who used to be able to down an entire bag of mini candy bars in one sitting. It was a pretty poor showing.
Weight: 108.2 lbs
Mood: I felt pretty great all day
Other: I had a lot of energy and sang rather well at my audition, so thats another win.
Cumulative End Results:
Weight: I lost 2.8 lbs in a week
Mood: Slowly improved throughout the week.
Other: Towards the end of the week I found that I had more energy and was sleeping a whole lot better too. That may well be circumstantial, but it doesnt hurt to mention it. The other major thing I noticed (or rather, didn’t notice until I ate chocolate and brownies) was the absence of my usual acid reflux. I don’t think I had reflux once all week, but when I woke up this morning post chocolate binge, my reflux was AWFUL. So that in and of itself seems like a pretty great reason to keep up this whole no-sugar or at least, greatly reduced sugar diet.
The main thing I took away from this highly unscientific experiment is the importance of eating well-balanced meals instead of hopping from one sugar high to another and crashing in between times. If I’m going to keep up with all this healthy stuff I’m going to have to make it a point to go to the grocery store with some regularity and make more time to actually plan meals and cook them. A few people have suggested that I cook a whole bunch on one day and freeze everything so I can maintain at least part of my nuke-it-and-go lifestyle. I will attempt to do this in future.
Also, I am overwhelmed by the amount of support I received from the readers who followed me through this process. It felt kind of weird since, at the beginning at least, I was viewing this as a kind of ridiculous joke. Having lived through the week however, I can definitely see the value in implementing this kind of lifestyle change on a longer term basis.
I will no longer blog daily about what Im eating because that would become horribly tedious for everyone, especially me. Though I am wondering how well I will fare knowing that I don’t have to be accountable to anyone anymore. Mini-binge aside, I have kept up with things so far today. I slept through breakfast, but had leftovers for lunch. For a snack I had some of my roommates surprisingly delicious sugar-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free cornbread. I was thinking of taking the last of that blasted quinoa and making some sort of vegetable soup later, but well see. I might just throw it out.
p.s. Since this Unsweetened series seemed to go over so well, I’ve come up with a few new series you can look forward to. The first is called Keepin it Klassy where I will delve into all aspects of the trashier side of life. The other is Reading is Sexy (which is a slogan I totally stole off a t-shirt – hope no one minds!) or Sarah’s Book Club which will contain reviews and recommendations of the awesomest books I have read lately. These series will not be consecutive like Unsweetened, but will appear periodically as my will dictates. L8erz!