Finally! The end of the ‘no sugar’ challenge was in sight and I couldn’t wait to complete it. Especially because I was about to go on a press trip to Ibiza and nothing was going to stop me from enjoying all the gorgeous restaurants and sundowner cocktails on the White Isle….
But I still had seven days to get through and, like the previous week, I was struggling. After three weeks of banishing all my usual indulgences, being a pain in restaurants and sipping on flavourless vodka sodas, I was getting grumpier by the day.
As I mentioned in my Week Three update, seeing me try to soldier through four weeks on a ‘no sugar’ diet got my flatmate Dino so intrigued he decided to try it out himself. Now, if anything, D has got an even bigger sweet tooth than I do. He is also a bit of an aspiring master baker and often whips up cupcakes and other sweet treats for family and friends at the weekend. This was going to be interesting…
Motivated and determined, Dino ordered himself a NutriBullet, vowing to replace all his usual vices with healthy juices and smoothies. It had occurred to me that his love of baking might come in handy, hoping he could be tempted to try out some of the sugar-free recipes from Madeleine Shaw’s cookbook Get The Glow, which I had brought home a couple of weeks earlier.
I’m not all that much of a kitchen whizz, so while I was keen to try some of the gorgeous recipes in the lifestyle bible, I hadn’t actually got round to it during the first, er, three weeks. Dino, however, was so desperate for something sweet after four or five days without sugar, he set to work.
One night he surprised me with a sugar-free chocolate mousse he spotted on the NutriBullet Instagram account and, no excuses needed, I wolfed down a pot. I don’t know what I expected, but it was delicious! Seriously, if you served it up at a dinner party and didn’t tell anyone it doesn’t contain any refined sugar whatsoever, your guests would be none the wiser.
Encouraged, we leafed through Get The Glow and decided to try not just one, but two of the healthy desserts Madeleine recommended. A close friend of fitness fan Millie Mackintosh – of Made In Chelsea fame and possibly the owner of the best legs in showbiz – the nutritionist has gained a huge following thanks to her holistic approach and mouthwatering recipes. Seriously, check out Madeleine’s Instagram feed – but be prepared to lose hours of your day drooling over the gorgeous images!
Dino and I decided to make the five-ingredients-only Raw Chocolate Brownies as well as the Date and Pistachio Cookies and, after a quick hunt for hazelnuts round the local shops, got baking. (Who knew hazelnuts were so expensive by the way? Seriously.)
I was very much the sous chef and can’t take much credit at all, but from what I could see it was surprisingly easy. The brownies took no time at all; just mix the ingredients together, spread out in a baking tray and freeze – click here fore the full recipe!
The pistachio cookies looked a little more complex, but that’s probably just my lack of experience. Either way, the end result was amazing! Neither Dino nor I had expected them to be quite so delicious, and there was a lot of patting ourselves on the back for discovering a whole new world of healthy treats. Thanks Madeleine!
Regardless, as the week neared its end, I was borderline ecstatic to ease up on my strict regime. I promised myself to not go completely over the top as soon as I was allowed to have sugar again, and, to be fair, I didn’t. Wine was the first thing that was reintroduced as I enjoyed a drink at the airport en route to Ibiza; with cocktails to follow a day or two into the trip. But with so much healthy food – think fresh fish, amazing salads and fruit – readily available on the island, I didn’t actually touch chocolate until I returned to London.
In terms of visible results, take a look at my ‘after’ pictures. I don’t think I look that different to the ‘before’ set, except for a little more definition on my stomach maybe. But according to the scales I lost 2kg or 4.5lbs. I was training a little more than usual, but I also had several slip-ups, so it’s hard to tell how well I would have done had I been stricter.
So to put my ‘no sugar’ hell to bed once and for all, here are my stats at the end of the challenge:
Height: 1,72m or 5’7″
Weight: 58.2kg or 9st 2lbs
Dress size: 8-10