Asking a pastry chef to bake exquisite desserts for 100 days but to also avoid eating sugar during the same period may be akin to asking a seasoned vintner to attend wine tasting parties daily but do not actually sample any wine; how can they resist. Yet not only am I taking part in a “100 days no sugar challenge” but with each passing day, I’m getting closer to succeeding with flying colours in this endeavour. I want to share my journey so far and also let others know what led me to take a challenge of bake delicious desserts while not consuming any sugar. I’ve taken the time to pen down thoughts of my experience during the no sugar challenge below.
But first I want my readers to know a bit about me. I’m one of those people who were passionate about baking at a very young age, while girls my age swooned over popular actors; I swooned over master chefs and tasty delicacies, truly. This led me to start following master chefs on sites like Instagram and Facebook. Many of the master chef’s I followed were talented bakers and their passion and work ethic have inspired me to do more and to do better with every passing day. The accomplishments of the master chef’s still drive me today to excel as a chef. And yes, my heart often skips a beat when I’m in presence of a heartthrob chef.
I’m also the proud recipient of the title Pastry Queen of India 2017. The title was hard won by me from among a talented number of competing chefs. Later I represented the country in Italy at the World Pastry Queen 2018.
The Hundred Days no Sugar Challenge
About the 100 days no sugar challenge; I decided to take part in the competition not only because others encouraged me but also because I wanted to see firsthand how eating no sugar for 100 days would benefit me both physically and mentally.
As you know I’m a chef and so I naturally adore working with food, yet I’m also conscious of my health and had a desire to reduce the amount of processed sugar I was consuming. I had also heard from friends how much they had benefited from cutting down on sugar, so this was my chance to see whether they were right. They were, but more on that later.
So, who inspired me? One of my colleagues who leads a fit life and has consistently been saying ‘No’ to this worldly. And guess what, it is not only me but a few other colleagues of mine have also begun the 100 days no sugar challenge so there is an atmosphere of healthy competition among us which motivates us all. I also hope that by taking part in this challenge I will inspire many young people to also try to reduce their daily intake of sugar and to grow healthier as a consequence.
Is Baking Without Tasting Possible?
Some people ask me that “if I do not taste the desserts I’m preparing, how do I know whether I’m using the right quantity of sugar?” My simple reply to them, without meaning to sound boastful, is “an experienced chef like me knows how the dessert I am baking will taste when ready even if I don’t taste it while it is being prepared”. Knowing how to bake in such a manner is almost second nature and has been perfected over hundreds of hours that I’ve spent baking. The techniques that I have practiced almost daily allow me to bake rich and yummy dessert treats without sampling them during the preparation process. Still I do miss not having the freedom to taste the left over batter from the spatula as many chefs do. With this said while taking a class it may, from time to time, become necessary to sample an unfinished dessert to ensure it is being prepared correctly by my students.
Advantages and Drawbacks of My Diet
I also want to make clear that there are advantages of being on the diet I’m on. Consider that an average adult today eats more sugar than is required or healthy. Such excess consumption of sugar by so many people and knowledge of the harm sugar causes has led many people to adopt something akin to a no sugar challenge to remain healthy and fit.
Today it’s common knowledge that reducing the amount of sugar in one’s diet reduces the chances of having diabetes, of becoming obese, of developing heart disease or developing a number of other diseases too numerous to name. Also when someone reduces their intake of sugar they frequently lose weight, have increased energy, clearer skin, and their mood remains relatively stable. There are of course many other advantages of being on a no sugar diet in addition to those I’ve just shared. As for me since I’ve reduced my intake of sugar I’ve experienced many benign effects including increased energy and significant weight loss as well as greater mental clarity and what I sense is an enhanced motivation to get things done. So my friends were right after all!
Yet, for a pastry chef there are also quite a number of drawbacks to being on a no sugar diet. Besides not being able to taste delicious batter, I also can’t experiment with new flavors and products, try different combination of flavors, or eat at pastry shops where I haven’t eaten before. I’ll have to wait for a few more weeks before I can do each of the above but hopefully, I’ll be healthier as a result of the no sugar diet.
My Plans for the Future
Finally, I feel lucky that I can take life as it comes, I don’t like to plan too far ahead into the future. I’m enjoying participating in the no sugar challenge yet am equally excited that I’ll have the opportunity to savour once again rich desserts when the challenge is complete. And the no sugar challenge is not the only manner in which I’m challenging myself, I’ve already started to run a few kilometres every morning; after the current challenge is complete I might complement my current fitness routine by also joining a gym.
Written By- Chef Eureka Araujo