In partnership with Sweetkick.
I’ve long suffered from severe IBS and its various offshoots; I’ve dabbled in different diets to curb the effects that different foods have on my digestive system and overall health. The majority of my IBS struggle has less to do with the physical discomfort I’m accustomed to, and more with the psychological impact of restricting myself in any way. As anyone with food-related sensitivities knows, eating a restrictive diet can feel miserable. My sophomore year of college, I followed the FODMAP diet to ease the symptoms of SIBO (I hope you like acronyms). This meant that I could not consume most sugars, which included alcohol, dairy, wheat, most fruits––you name it. In addition to the types of foods, I had to be very sensitive to the quantity of what I was consuming, and the speed with which I ate it. As with most things, of course, balance and moderation is the answer. But in my experience, that is far easier said than done.
Given this history, I was apprehensive when first presented with the opportunity to try Sweetkick. While I am always looking for sustainable and safe ways to develop my relationship with food, I am mindful of the aforementioned slippery slope, and the potentially triggering nature of any new regimen.
However, this line of products aimed to help people change their relationship to sugar, was founded by celebrity trainer and nutrition expert Harley Pasternak, a “full-blown sugar addict” who grew up with two diabetic brothers. I trusted that Pasternak’s personal connection to sugar consumption would impact the language and intent behind Sweetkick products, with less of a focus on body-negativity and a more holistic approach to the impact of sugar on one’s overall health. I decided to try the full monty––the 14-day Sugar Reset ($56), Herbal Balance Tea ($14), and the Clusters ($18)––confident in my ability to stop if it didn’t feel right. Plus, trying new things was never my issue. Fuck it. Here’s how it went.
Benefits of a Low Sugar Lifestyle
In general, reducing one’s sugar intake can lead to increased energy, mood stability, better sleep, glowing skin, and weight loss. There’s also a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and certain cancers. I was looking for the added relief a low-sugar lifestyle would bring to my digestive system: no bloating, nausea, cramping, fewer trips to the bathroom…I’ll spare the details from there.
The Reset includes 28 Body Balance Powders (14 Unflavored, 14 Mixed Berry Flavored); 48 Sugar Control Tablets, and a Food Mentor Guide. The Body Balance Powders are meant to be taken once a day, mixed into your favorite morning beverage. They contain a blend of prebiotic fiber and vitamins to promote gut health, energy, and healthy blood sugar levels. I drank the Mixed Berry one with water, and it was delightfully sweet and fizzy, though I preferred the Unflavored one, which I put in coffee, tea, and smoothies. Overall, they claim to “help curb your body’s physiological dependency on unhealthy sugars.”
The tablets can be used as needed – just pop them in your mouth when an intense sugar craving strikes, and it should help curb it. They taste like regular breath mints but contain Gymnema, which helps remove the sweet taste from drinks and foods by blocking the sweet receptors. The idea is, without the dizzying artificial satisfaction of a highly sweetened treat, you are less likely to keep reaching for it. I was pleasantly surprised after trying the tablets: it doesn’t make anything gross or leave any bad taste on your tongue. It just tastes like a nice mint, and I still let myself have a bite of sweet before I ate one, it just prevented me from overdoing it. A little taste was satisfying enough, and I wasn’t tempted to eat to the point of discomfort.
Just pop them in your mouth when an intense sugar craving strikes, and it should help curb it. They taste like regular breath mints but contain Gymnema, which helps remove the sweet taste from drinks and foods by blocking the sweet receptors. The idea is, without the dizzying artificial satisfaction of a highly sweetened treat, you are less likely to keep reaching for it.
My favorites are the Herbal Balance Tea and Clusters because they taste exactly like things I eat anyway. It felt less like I was incorporating something into my diet in pursuit of a goal, and more like I was eating granola and tea as I often do. Due to my fraught psychological relationship with food, this aspect was immensely helpful and relieving. The tea is a mix of green tea, ginger root, fennel, dandelion root, and other ingredients that boost metabolism, support insulin resistance, ease digestion, and decrease inflammation. The clusters are a delicious mix of nuts and seeds––I enjoyed them every morning with yogurt or milk, or would reach for a handful if I needed a quick snack.
The Munchies Test
During the past two weeks, I’d been quite surprised by the almost subconscious impact Sweetkick products had on my eating. Not only was I not gorging on sweets throughout my day, I was, more importantly, not even thinking about it. It didn’t feel like any of my normal forays into curbing cravings. I wasn’t counting calories, I didn’t feel like I had to cut back on everything just to feel triumphant in any way. I just went through my days with fewer stomach aches, realizing around bedtime that I hadn’t eaten much sugar that day. It was awesome. It even passed The Munchies Test.
I really appreciate how easy it was to incorporate almost all of these products into my life. They didn’t have that obnoxiously “sugar-free” taste that can make you want to give up. I honestly think I could have been dosed with this stuff, and not paid any mind to it.
Changing your diet can take some getting used to. But once you adjust to the initial associated discomforts, the benefits of cutting sugar can be as addicting as the substance itself. Sugar is seen as a quick fix to many problems –– low energy levels, stress, and mood swings. It leads to a compulsive cycle that does not actually address or aid the root of these issues. I’ve noticed a better night’s sleep, an easier time waking up, and a more balanced mood throughout the day once I stopped relying on sugar highs to carry me through. I have fewer headaches, and can focus for a bit longer at work.
Still, I don’t want to lose sight of my initial misgivings. If you’ve struggled with disordered eating or related unhealthy thought patterns, it is very important to take that into account before embarking on any reset of your diet. I felt I was in a good place mentally, and felt ready to explore whether or not Sweetkick would be a helpful tool in my eternal quest for balance and moderation. At this particular time in my life, it was.
Learning to eat in a thoughtful way was my main objective here, and I was hoping that reducing my sugar cravings would help get me there. This is by no means an end to my story, but an important step in my journey with my digestive and mental health. Instead of my 2 AM ice cream binges and subsequent sleepless, gassy, self-deprecating nights, my experience with Sweetkick helped me feel some sense of control over my eating without being overly punitive towards my own body –– something that, even a month and two beers ago, I thought completely impossible.
Five More Reasons To Love Sweetkick:
1. It works! I found myself craving far less sugar throughout the day, and therefore feeling better, too.
2. And it tastes great: none of the typical sugar-free flavors with all of the benefits.
3. Build your routine: Sweetkick has packets and powders designed for morning, evening, and anytime in between.
4. It’s non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
5. The brand’s messaging is holistic and healthy.