The LD staff decided it was high time we all made health a priority. Enter Wellness Wednesdays, a series of weekly health challenges by LD writers (and editors!) where we commit to seven days of healthy habits and share the results with our readers. This week’s challenge: Go a full week without any added sugar or dairy.
This Week’s Participants: Corri and Korey!
Corri: After binge-eating some Baskin Robbins last night, I was actually looking forward to this challenge! That lasted for about five minutes until I realized I couldn’t have my normal Mocha Breve, or oatmeal with brown sugar, or even a slice of peanut butter toast drizzled with honey. Needless to say, I am really enjoying my cup of plain oatmeal and unsweetened black tea. It’s bland, uninteresting, and mildly disappointing—just like the weather outside.
Korey: So this hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be, I planned ahead and make a chocolate chia-seed pudding (with agave) last night which has helped me surpass all the free poptarts, cereal, and cookies at work this morning. I’m nervous for lunch, though, because my work also has a fridge stocked with all sorts of cheeses—and a panini press. I’ll try and stay strong. I’m also planning to buy a shit ton of fruit tonight. Except OH MY GAWD now someone brought Oreo and caramel popcorn and I’m GOING TO STRANGLE SOMEONE.
I mean, technically, we made it.
Corri: I woke up in sort of a fog—I had just gotten a new kitten and she liked to interrupt my sleep frequently. I totally forgot about the challenge and had a breakfast of Coco Dino bites, the delicious, nutritious, adult breakfast of champions. Afterward, I checked Facebook and realized I wasn’t supposed to be having sugar or dairy. Strike 1. I made sure to set reminders on my phone to go off around mealtimes so I don’t slip up again. Lunch consisted of a salad topped with sliced tomatoes, croutons, cauliflower, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I’m pretty sure it had sugar in it, but it was less than one gram per serving, so I let it slide. By dinner time, I was ready to give up all together and eat my weight in cheese.
Korey: I got paid today, bitches!! Because of this, I spent most of my day fantasizing about what healthy groceries I would get after work, and got a super healthy soup and salad from Panera for lunch to celebrate. Again, my chocolate chia seed pudding warded off the Pop-Tart temptations, as did the reminder that I would soon be bingeing on Thanksgiving food, followed by a Gilmore-Girls all-you-can eat Friday with my mom and sisters. Hope has really been my guiding emotion through this. Hope, and endless Pinterest scrolling.
Corri: Today wasn’t so bad. I was eating more vegetables than normal, but that was a good thing. My only qualms with the challenge at this point was that I couldn’t partake in my usual mocha at work, and that all of my favorite condiments and side dishes had an absurd amount of added sugars. My diet was much more bland than it normally was, but I just kept telling myself that this would be worth it in the end. I would feel more energetic, my skin would clear up, and I would (hopefully) begin to get rid of added sugars almost completely.
Korey: Today I was suuuuper fancy with my meal prep. With my groceries from last night (Whole Paycheck amiright?), I made some avocado toast for breakfast and some chicken and veggies for lunch. I was a little hungry in the afternoon, so I hoarded an ordinate amountof pretzels from the break room. I did think ahead to bring some hummus in to work, so that was a good little snack. Overall, I felt great and super healthy, but also hungry. I couldn’t tell if I was really hungry or just in the wrong mindset of foods I couldn’t have. Who knows?
Corri: I messed up again. I was extremely exhausted because Aunt Flo had just decided to make an appearance and all I wanted was a large mocha breve and a bar of chocolate. Instead, I had a sugar-free mocha with almond milk and a handful of almonds. My irritation flew off the charts because my cravings were not fulfilled at all. After a particularly horrible day at work I broke down when I got home and ordered a greasy pizza. I have no willpower. I am a failure and an addict. A sugar and dairy addict.
Korey: So, earlier this week, one of my coworkers decided we all needed more sweets in our life and brought in mini-brownie bites and Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses (the best kind!). I’d held out all week, but now, there were only two brownies and three kisses left. I panicked. If I held out, I probably wouldn’t get any, and I’d been doing so well, I deserved it, right?! So I took a kiss and put it in my purse for later, and then decided “screw it” and took a brownie bite as well. It sat on my desk for a solid five minutes (that felt like five hours) before I gave up and went for it. I will say that instead of popping the whole thing in my mouth at once like a past me would have done, I slowly took small bites, and really savored the brownie. I still wanted more, of course, but I appreciated it more than I used to.
Corri: This is the day I realized that I am one of those people that chooses happiness over diets. I may eat a lot of sugar, but I still work hard to be healthy. To be honest, I really like sugar. And dairy. Getting rid of these things has made me a little sad and I can’t wait to get back on my normal diet. However, I am enjoying the large variety of vegetables I’m consuming, and my skin is definitely loving the lower levels of lactose. I think I’ll go back to only drinking almond milk and half-and-half after this. One thing I cannot stand is the organic peanut putter. It just doesn’t taste right to me—the organic honey is good, though. If it was cheaper, I would incorporate it permanently.
Korey: I felt renewed after my breakdown yesterday and started the day fresh with… oh my God, it’s Friday, and at my office that means Free Breakfast and today’s breakfast is… oh my God, it’s Chick-fil-A. I nearly hallucinate and then I remember the challenge, and then I look at my options: little mini chicken sandwiches (no sugar! no dairy!) and fruit. I breathe a sigh of relief and pile my plate high, ready to take on the day. I eat a late lunch of a delicious salad from down the street (I guess I’m really lucky that I actually enjoy salads) and had some more pretzels and hummus for a snack. I feel kind of invincible and strong and badass to be honest.
Corri: I made another slip-up. I ordered a delicious burrito and I know for a fact that the salsa added to it was very high in sugar, as was the Sprite I had on the side. Oh well, I had a dairy and sugar-free breakfast and lunch… a girl is allowed a little break now and then, right? I’m still upset that I can’t have my normal desserts but I really am digging the fruits I’ve been consuming.
Korey: Ugh Saturday. I had a friend’s birthday brunch at 1, and I knew it was going to be bad. I started well, just fruit and cheese-less tacos for me! But, oh no. Then they brought out nachos and queso and churros. I think I blacked out a little bit. But, ya know what, I paid $35 for a bottomless brunch, so I do NOT feel guilty. A broke 22-year-old’s gotta do what a broke 22-year-old’s gotta do, and today that was get my money’s worth of bottomless brunch, including margaritas and mimosas. No shame.
Corri: The final day is here! At this point, no sugar or dairy is routine and I’m not as bothered by my lackluster lattes anymore. I’m feeling a little less sluggish but I definitely notice I can’t stay up as late without my normal dessert at 10pm. I’m very excited to get back to my regular breakfast but all-in-all, I’ve enjoyed this challenge. It has tested my willpower and even my sanity. I’ve learned that not all sugar-free items are horrible and that adding in just a few more servings of fruits and vegetables can make a big difference! I think I’ll do this challenge once per year after the holidays to give my poor body a break.
Korey: Honestly, I’m so over this at this point. Dairy hasn’t really been a problem for me—well, besides queso, I guess—but sugar? Sugar is my kryptonite. Usually when I diet, or try to be healthy, I’ll reward myself with a daily piece of dark chocolate. It’s what will get me through the day and give me hope. Now I’m just over it. I ordered some Thai food for lunch/dinner and basically didn’t leave my apartment because I knew my neighborhood flea market would tempt me with the cupcake stand and donut shop. So I was sad, lonely, and bored. Thank God it’s over. To be honest, I don’t think I gained anything from this challenge other than being healthy is expensive.
Photo by Gunila G