“All men are created Equal. Some just have more Splenda.”
Jarod Kintz

For months upon months, I have been dealing with stomachaches in the afternoon and evenings.  Sometimes they just gave me discomfort, other times they were incapacitating.  Stress?  Lack of sleep?  I tried removing dairy from my diet.  I tried removing gluten.  I tried removing wheat.  More protein – nope.  More fiber – nope.  I tried taking out everything, one by one for a week to see there were any changes.  Everything…except…sucralose.

Some (or everyone who knows me) may say that I use too much Splenda.  I use it in coffee, to top cereal and toast, in yogurt, in teas, in oatmeal, in protein shakes…in everything that should be sweet or sweeter.  Let’s just say I don’t buy my sweetener at the grocery store.  I buy my box at Costco.

So, I thought it was time for my hardest experiment yet to find what was causing my tummy troubles.  With overwhelming support from Fiancé, I decided to go natural.  Fiancé decided to sacrifice his precious saturated fat (pizza and ice cream – his two main food groups) for a week.   I live on a diet with little to no saturated fat and a lot of sucralose.  He lives on a diet with tons of saturated fat and little to no sucralose.  We could help each other.  With a heavy heart, I bought agave nectar and decided to live a life without the yellow packets – for a week.  The week was negotiated with Fiancé.  I started at one day.  He said two weeks.  Three days, really, was all I needed to know.  He disagreed.  “Two weeks”, he urged.   Then when his sacrifice was thrown in we both agreed on a week.

Day 1
I had tried a teaspoon of agave syrup on toast and was uplifted by the sweet experience.  The problem with agave syrup is that it is 60 calories a tablespoon, whereas Splenda is zero.  So, I knew I would be cutting back on sweet things for the most part in order to not up my daily calorie intake to a billion.

I woke up and prepared my mandatory morning coffee.  A little history for you, Reader.  I have discovered that I cannot have more than two cups of caffeinated coffee a day.  One to bring me to life in the morning, and perhaps one for social enjoyment strategically placed after 2pm and before 4pm.  Coffee at any other time of the day makes me crash.  The morning cup is not only the reason I can think, work out and dress myself, but it also serves as the perfect start to my morning.  It tastes really good, and helps me relax and get energized at the same time.  It is a ritual that is part of my morning “me” time.

I prepared my coffee in the usual way, except instead of adding my sweetener, I added a teaspoon of agave nectar.  I was excited to experience the new depth of the flavor.

It was excruciatingly horrible.

I made myself drink it, because I needed the caffeine.  Taking my caffeine like medicine really made me angry for the rest of the day.

Then I was hungry.  All day long.  Later that evening my stomachache was really bad.  I had to leave a family dinner early and crawl right into bed.  Which made me more angry.

Day 2
I felt a full tablespoon of the agave was the ticket!  Anything to make it sweeter.  Morning coffee excitement ensued.  I tasted it and threw it out.  Even worse.  So, very, very bitter.  It’s bitterness reflected my soul.

Without coffee, my day was overcast by a migraine.  Starving all day long.  Being hungry and decaffeinated made me very angry.

Stomachaches returned on schedule in the evening.

Day 3
Decided to not even try coffee.  Hope is lost.  So very, very tired.  Need…coffee.

My headaches came like waves.  Midol Extended Relief gave me some caffeine, and some relief, although not extended.

Later…after a day that only included two spurts of energy, I thought that maybe I could have a Vitamin Water Zero to help my sluggishness.  But then I remembered how watered down they taste…without a couple packets of Splenda thrown in.   I left the water aisle in despair.

Fiancé took pity on me.  He bought me a very small and expensive box of Truvia.  But will Truvia skew my results?

My stomach pains came back, but much later in the evening.  I may have been too tired to really notice.

Day 4
I don’t care.  I need coffee.  I prepared my coffee with Truvia.  Not bad!  The caffeine heightened my senses.  Ah, sweet nectar of the heavens!

My day was full of energy and bliss.  Every boring task was overcast only with bubbles, happiness and unicorn rainbow farts.

Stomachache came back, but not really until the middle of the night.

Day 5
Truvia infused coffee provided the necessary start for my day, but now that I am back on my caffeine, the high wasn’t as high, but I didn’t care.  I do miss Splenda.  So many things I cannot eat without it.  Nonfat plain Greek yogurt.  I ruined a Siggi’s cup by adding agave.  It was a $2 cup of Icelandic strained yogurt, a treat I get rarely.  It might as well have been a billion dollars!!  I exaggerate, but not really if my statements reflect my emotions on food spoilage.  Fiancé absentmindedly asked me if I wanted some Greek yogurt while we were getting groceries.  Fire came out of my eyes and I said, “Why don’t you just ask me if I want to eat a tub of sour cream?!?”

Fiancé wept, but he was so very weak it was a half-hearted weep, to tell you the truth.  No, it wasn’t because in my body, a decrease in sucralose results in an increase in bitchiness.  I knew it wasn’t my fault because I could hear, although barely, “Pizza…pizza…ice cream?  Pizza….”

Day 6
I have learned that agave on toast and tortillas is not bad.  Also works on top of dry fruit sweetened corn flakes.  On my other favorite foods – disaster.  Spent Day 6 starving.  Had a protein shake, which usually takes a fair amount of Splenda to make it taste like a milkshake.  This time, I used only three Truvia packets and frozen fruit.  My tropical vanilla protein milkshake…could have been sweeter.

My stomach churned all night.  Results inclusive.

On the other hand, Fiancé is noticeable losing weight without exercising.  Just simply by cutting out anything more than 6 grams of saturated fat a day.  His sugar intake has increased dramatically, but no effect on his ability to look and feel great.  I hate him and pity him NOT for his pizza cravings.

Day 7
I have no clue what to do.  But, my dwindling inventory of Truvia indicates that I should go back on the sucralose.  I am not free from stomachache in the evenings that last through the night and now into the mornings.

On my last day without Splenda,  I had a delicious New Start Garden Egg White Omelet from Goldie’s Diner (shameless plug).  Lots of food on the saltier side instead of the sweeter side.

My usual stomachache came back and it was a bad one.  It started at 7pm and woke me up a couple of times.

Closing Thoughts
The week provided an incredible test of will.  I feel proud of myself.  Cutting out sucralose was never an option to me before!  It was my vice, and I was okay with that.  I love living the sweet life.

Moving forward, I am going to use Splenda, but not nearly as much.  I will be cutting back.  Fiancé says that his pizza and ice cream will become special treats instead of something he eats regularly.  If Fiancé and I fall into our old habits, it will be his fault.


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