Around two weeks ago The Feed's founder Bryan decided to do whatever he could to cut out refined sugars. How's he doing? What's working? Here's his story...
When you’re active, cutting out sugar can be pretty tough to pull off. In recent weeks, I've cut out white sugar, processed sugar, cane sugar, brown rice syrup, etc. It's doable. I think. Actually, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it. Maybe that’s the lack of sugar talking. But honestly, I feel good.
So why am I doing it? Well, I’m a big believer in a balanced diet. I believe you don’t need to be restrictive to be healthy. But at the end of every ride, hike, run, and day, I kept feeling like my body wasn’t working well despite what I was putting into it. The only thing I could really think of, is that I probably ate too much sugar. So I started a short and fairly easy mission to remove processed sugars from my diet.
As an athlete in the summer, my biggest concern was how to hydrate with plain water as most powdered electrolyte hydration mixes are out of the question if you can’t eat sugar. To remedy this, I’ve been experimenting with Klean Athlete Electrolyte
to add additional electrolytes on rides longer than 1.5 hours. I’ve used them for about 3 weeks with some success…taking 1-2 pills per hour on a ride. I cannot say for sure they are the reason, but I’ve had no issues with cramping, even on 6-8 hour rides in the mountains.
I should add that I’m not willing to give up fruit… or honey…or maple sugar…so yes, I am eating carbohydrates and I’m loving them even more when I indulge. Just not the usual cane and refined sugars you find in many products.
Other stuff I’ve been using during workouts, or for snacking sugar-free:
Rodeo Trail Nuggets
: Gotta be Lemon Hot Date, because holy cow they are amazing…and have 4 ingredients and no added sugar.
Justin’s Maple Almond Nut Butter
: Almond butter is great, anytime.
Threshold Provisions Pistachio Chai Bar
: I love pistachio’s, and that flavor really does come through with this bar.
Thunderbird Energetica Gather Bar
: This bar is a great way to eat something with a little extra fat, and won’t leave you hungry 30 minutes later.
Vega One Nutritional Shake
: I love the Vega one shake, usually have 2 servings a week…nothing too crazy, but it’s a great breakfast / lunch replacement on a day when you’re not exercising.
If you're interested, you can purchase a bundle of these products HERE
By eating fruit, honey and maple sugar, I’m still only going half way to removing sugar from my diet. But I can say, after two weeks, I do feel an immediate benefit, but it’s largely due to getting rid of sweets and junk food (like CAKE -- I’ve been known to have cake for dinner). By getting rid of the bad stuff, I'm automatically eating more of the good stuff -- fruits, lots of vegetables and other nutrient dense foods. I highly recommend trying to cut out some refined sugar at first. It is really tough to do, but starting somewhere is better than not trying at all. Next step for me? Slowly seeing if I can remove things like honey and maple syrup. As an experiment it's fun, we'll see how it works in my day to day routine as an endurance athlete.