I recently got a request from the Vegend’s mother. She said, “Please stop baking so much! For the Vegend’s sake!” I reminded her, as I often do, that she and I are on the same team: we both want the Vegend to be healthy, to feel good, and to be around for a very long time. I assured her that I am careful with what I bake and that I often “disappear” nearly all treats out of our home under the cover of darkness (or an oversleeping Vegend) so there’s not even a crumb to find.
It also helps that my cravings for sweets have diminished over the years. Where I used to bake to satisfy my own needs (OMG peanut butter chocolate chip cookies), I now typically bake for celebrations, special occasions, or upon request. My cravings reduction is no accident; it is the result of a carefully designed approach that, after years of stops and starts with other methods, finally worked.
Meet Sweets Days.
Sweets Days are the three glorious days of the week in which you can–and should–have some sort of sweet treat, provided that nothing else you’re eating has added sugar (looking at you, drinks and packaged foods). It should only be one treat (don’t go all “kitchen sink sundae” on us) and your Sweets Days shouldn’t be consecutive–mine were Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The goal is to slowly wean yourself off too much sugar while still allowing for some fun. I’m not a masochist, after all.
The built-in structure takes out the guesswork, figuring, and negotiating of eating and frees up your brain space for more important things, like writing a blog. It also makes it easier to turn down a dessert on a Wednesday and indulge guilt free on a Saturday. Losing that guilt can change your relationship with food.
The non-consecutive days system is important–it’s crucial to figure out how your body feels without any sugar and how you feel with it, it helps to understand the depth of your sugar addiction (let’s call it what it is), and it allows you to always look forward to something, even when you’re struggling through a craving.
And sometimes it is a struggle. For me, Sunday and Monday were the absolute worst. Two days of sugar withdrawal plus the dawn of the work week had me jonesing bad. But as the weeks, months, and years went on, I could go days or even weeks without a sugary treat. Now, my cravings are few and far between and when I do have something, it doesn’t set me off on a binge like it used to. Plus, I can savor the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables in ways I never had before. The sweetness of in-season butternut squash is truly mind blowing.
Let’s face it. We’re all eating too much sugar and oftentimes it’s in the least worthwhile places (tomato sauce? Yogurt? Baby food?!?).
Eat it where it counts.