Cutting out sugar leads not only to the end of sweets, but to the sweet life itself

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
After four months without sugar, the author is going half crazy, but she is managing to stick to her plan to live a healthier life. / 123RF
After four months without sugar, the author is going half crazy, but she is managing to stick to her plan to live a healthier life. / 123RF

I have not had sugar since July. I went cold turkey on all things sweet on my birthday. Forget sugar tax - the decision is deeper than turning 35 while broke. It is more serious.

When my mother suffered a stroke, I had to reassess my own health and adjust a few things, from bacon to wine. Well, the wine part required that I buy smaller glasses, but I do still drink the entire bottle. It was sugar that appeared to be more of a health hazard than an "extra matured red grape salad fermented into a cork-top bottle", so I knew that change had to begin within my tea cup.

I chose to go cold turkey because I do not have an addictive personality, and believe I am able to stop anything if I put my mind to it. This is an ego trip. Nonetheless, it's a handy mechanism for such bravado.

The first few days of quitting sugar were sore. They were emotionally violent and almost unbearable. I live in a community where each home thrives to constantly have a two litre ice cold "cooldrink" in the fridge. Worse, in rural communities, the frequency of such delicacies differentiates between the haves and the have-nots. And so, unless some cold hearted medical genius instructed you to stay off the fizz, saying no to a glass is unfathomable.

I remember the first day I watched three rural women bleed a 2.5l bottle of Coke dry! The one lady asked if she should pour me a glass while already placing it in my palm, in that beautiful spirit of sharing. I could feel my heart tearing apart from the cravings. Saliva quickly bubbled under my tongue, and my jaw locked.

All the moisture had drained from my lips and soaked up to the wells of my eyes. Only the wetness of my eyes could express the level of my pain. I hissed a near blasphemous "Angisayiphuzi iKhokhi (I don't drink Coke anymore)." and the room came to a standstill.

I have since managed without drinking or eating anything that contains sugar, basically missing out on all the godly foods. Cutting out sugar did not make me sick, no, it just made me mad as hell. It started a phase of extreme mood swings! I was able to excuse myself by citing the recent misfortunes that have befallen my loved ones. I was hardly able to sleep. I would be angry, horny, and confused.

I heeded a friend's advice that whenever you're overwhelmed by anything in life, "phuza amanzi, ulale ngesisu, uzobangcono (drink water, sleep on your tummy, you'll get better)" and voila! So now every time I find myself up at 3am with cravings, I drink water, lie on my stomach and forget about it. I have cravings for oily foods and fart like a deflating balloon. Odourless outbursts, because there's no fun in my food anymore.

I am not able to confirm whether I have more energy or just a deeper anxiety because my life is a mess right now. However, I feel like I can run 10km at any given time. But I'd probably be running with a hard frown on my face just thinking about frozen yoghurt and a can of lemonade!

It has been a whole four months. I keep reminding myself that I am not bitter, I only just quit sugar. I do not know if I will be able to stick with this for much longer. I'll probably find strong reasons to quit quitting sugar soon. I sure cannot lie about the taste of my new diet. Truth is, there's little joy in this sugar-free life - something like Stevie Wonder looking at nudes!

But I will not despair.

The positive side is that one day I'll be able to tell about all the positive things about quitting sugar. One day. Till that day... #%@& this $#*&, I want Coke! But I'll drink water and lay flat on my stomach.

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