Baking, Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Cooking, Food, Health, Nutrition, Women's Health

Pricey’s Big Sugar Challenge

Can I survive two weeks without sugar and processed foods? That is the question.

What on earth would prompt me to even consider doing such a thing? I hear you ask. (And if you couldn’t care less, then don’t read on.)

Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, I have had nutritional advice thrown at me from all sides. (Apart from the oncologist, whose main advice is that I can eat pretty much whatever I like, provided my diet is fairly balanced and healthy.) My mother has read many a book on nutrition – eating during chemotherapy, eating for breast cancer, etc. And I have heard, for the first time in my life, about Functional Medicine – the study of why we get diseases such as cancer and how we can prevent them, rather than just looking at how we can cure them.

I have been looking for a Functional Medicine specialist who I could see in London for the past few months, and it has been a difficult task because there are relatively few of them in the UK, partly because the concept of Functional Medicine was only created 22 years ago. A couple of days ago, I got to searching again, and found a practitioner in the UK called Elizabeth Butler, who runs Body Soul Nutrition and focuses specifically on nutrition advice for cancer patients.

While reading Liz’s blog, I came across the following article: Have Your Cake and Eat it! and decided to take on a personal nutritional challenge while waiting for an appointment with Liz to discuss how I can keep cancer at bay for the rest of my life by obeying certain nutritional advice. That’s right, I am giving up sugar.

THE CHALLENGE

So, the challenge, which I have already accepted, is to go for two weeks, which started this morning, without sugar or processed foods. See below for my self-imposed list of yes and no foods.

NO

Chocolate

Sweets

Crisps

Biscuits

Cake

Added sugar in coffee and tea (but coffee and tea themselves are allowed)

Microwave meals or other processed meals

Fruit juice

White bread

White rice

Sugary cereal

YES

Fruit

Nuts, seeds, dried fruit

Veg

Meat, fish, poultry

Porridge

Pretty much everything else that’s not on the NO list.

 

A few things to be aware of:

* The challenge ends at 07:00 on Friday 16th November.

* There will be regular updates on my progress in this blog.

* I am aware that I am to have chemotherapy on Tuesday and this is probably a very, very, very bad idea, but I figure it can do me no major harm, plus I stop craving half these things during chemo anyway.

* If I relapse at any point, I will let you know but I will pick myself up and carry on.

* I know it’s Friday afternoon and the weekend’s about to start but, as with everything in life, there’s no time like the present. 

**THE IMPORTANT BIT: How YOU can help!**

1. Please don’t send me any more sweet stuff in the post! (But thank you so much for everything you’ve sent me thus far).

2. Feel free to join me in this endeavour! I know plenty of my (mainly female) friends have done this or thought about doing this in the past, so here’s an added incentive to try it now, while we can all go through the pain together!

(So far I have think I have recruited Beth, my Mum is thinking about doing it after she finishes the flapjack she’s just made (which is delicious and I’m sad I can’t help with it, but at least I had some last night) and Michelle, once she finishes off the banana loaf she’s just about to make…). No pressure, girls – just a public name-and-shame, that’s all! 😉 

Finally, thanks to Saz for the wonderful package of thoughtful presents below, received earlier in the week. Fortunately most of it has already been consumed so I won’t be too tempted by amazing chocolate for the next two weeks!

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4 thoughts on “Pricey’s Big Sugar Challenge

  1. Wow Pricey! This is some challenge! My dad had to completely change his diet when he was diagnosed with diabetes and cut out processed food completely and has stuck by it for many years now… One thing on your cutting out fruit juice – why not juice your own fruit – gives you another healthy drink option (although sure you can survive on tea and water) x

    • Thanks hun, yeah I will do – the only thing is my mum has a full carton of apple juice that she got for me that I don’t want to waste! It doesn’t have added sugar, but apparently once you take the flesh and seeds and bits out of a fruit and make it into a juice, the concentration of natural sugars is quite bad for you. (Well, not compared to a can of coke, but…) So maybe we can give the apple juice away and I can get juicing a load of carrots and ginger like big Ginger Danie! Hope you are ok xx

  2. Bryan Foat says:

    Hmmmm… I wasn’t the first one to note that the Yes/No line is drawn almost exactly where just about any diabetes doctor or nutrictionist catering to those with this disease (me and so many millions of others) would be making the dividing line.

    On the fruit juice front, what I have always been told is that processed/packaged fruit juices (even the “natural” ones) almost always have added sugar or corn syrup (which is pretty much the same thing) while freshly squezzed is fine. You may want to double check this one if you are a fruit juice fiend. As I can take it or leave it, I haven’t researched any further.

    (side note, probably more for other readers of the blog than for you, alcoholic beverages – any of them – arise from the fermentation of the natural sugars, and are therefore counter-indicated for the diabetic and, given the list above, I would imagine those who in general are trying to limit sugary stuff in general)

    And for myself, I allow a little tolerance for a bite of this or that now and again. A big NO you can’t is just too much temptation. Knowing I can a little if I want, giving myself permission, works as a relief valve as does the occasional cookie or bite of cake or mouthful of chocolate. What I don’t do is a eat a piece of cake, a box of cookies or a bag of candy. Halloween has lost a certain part of it’s appeal 😉 but the costumes and parties are stilll fun!

    Keep getting better – using any means at your disposal.

    • Thanks Bryan, am doing well so far, have allowed myself a little bit of red wine so far as even if there’s a bit of sugar in it, at least it’s good for the heart, right?!
      The apple juice we have assures me it has no added sugar in it but I’m not drinking it anyway as apparently it’s the concentration of natural sugar when you take out all the pulp and seeds that makes it bad for you. But like you, I don’t drink much juice anyway.
      Just sitting in the spa chair waiting for my fifth chemo… 🙂

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