I don't have a sweet tooth, y'all.

I have a whole sweet MOUTH. I have sweet molars, canines, mandible, maxilla, hard and soft palate, the works. Sugar is not my friend, it is my lover. And by the time this article hits the internet, we'll be through the first weekend of our two week challenge and I assume I'll be well on my way to insanity.

April B a black woman in crochet braids with gold embellishments and teal lipstick lays on a wooden floor

April B/ Cassandra JK

...okay, FURTHER insanity.

But assuming I've been properly sticking to my sugar-free guns, the sweetest thing I'll have had in my arena will be my Blissful Lengths vitamin and my daily calls to mommy, and I already know it's going to be a little rough. There's a silver lining though! I'm growing my hair out, I want it butt-length by age 40, and from what I've read, reducing added processed sugars in one's diet is a great way to get those inches.

Before I keep going, I want to point out that while food industries are VERY interested in keeping up the added sugars in E V E R Y T H I N G, and it's far from ideal; our bodies still need sugars in our diets. The issue is that even SPICES like lemon pepper, can contain sugars we don't know are there. And there are lots of "healthy" brands that like to hide the sugar in their products with names like 'organic cane juice' 'molasses' or 'anhydrous dextrose', despite the fact that your body will process it all the exact same way. However, there's a difference in being informed and being paranoid. If you find yourself scrutinizing your body or your calorie intake without prior consultation with a health professional, please find someone you trust to discuss the matter with. Change has to come from loving yourself, not from hate.

Willpower to stick with a healthier lifestyle is one thing, working yourself into an eating disorder is another.

So. How does sugar reduction translate into longer stronger hair?

It's supposed to be a holistic deal. The idea is: when your body is busy fighting tooth decay, blood sugar spikes, and self loathing, it's not functioning optimally in other regards like building muscle, keeping your mood on an even keel, and growing out your curls. And that makes sense on the surface. However, just like I know people that smoke without the premature wrinkles D.A.R.E. warned me about, I've certainly been growing my hair successfully without a consistently healthful way of eating. True, I don't have any hard data regarding my growth rates related to what I eat, but in spite of Oreo breakfasts and months of going without eating full meals at all, my hair HAS grown.

Furthermore, in reading more about what happened during a reduced sugar run from participants with no other health conditions that aren't running a juicing channel, selling a book, or otherwise directly profiting from people in the wellness sphere, the only recurring results have been weight loss, increased energy, and the lack of sugar cravings; as opposed to 'My skin is glowing, and my hair is long enough to make a Tangled sequel' type conclusions.

Why should we even be doing this then?

Honestly? It's a discipline thing. If I can't throw my hands up and get takeout, slap some instant ramen together, or have Pop Tarts for dinner during this challenge, I have no choice but to cook properly. That means I need to grocery shop, which means I need to have the week's recipies planned out, a car devoid of street furniture finds to take groceries home in, and ready access to all my pens and notepads for list making. It means I have to meal prep which means I need to stop leaving my Ross hauls on the kitchen counter, sharpen my knives, structure my weekends, keep my nails clean, lid match all my pyrex storage, and not let dishes pile up.

I don't want y'all to get the impression that my parents raised a totally inept slob, but there's always room for improvement. And all the improvements around being forced to be more mindful of my environment and nutrition are going to spill off into my hair care!

A shot of April B on the floor from farther away showing her fishnets, red boots, and skeleton print sleeves

April B/Cassandra JK

If I'm not tired out from worrying about the kitchen, I can worry about MY kitchen.

Clearing all of the products I need to try off the counters means it'll be easier to actually use them, to say nothing of how much easier it'd be to break out the trivet and tea lights for any DIY projects. And if I feel good about myself not spending hours hungry before giving in and ordering a pizza, I'll WANT to take care of myself instead of throwing in the grease-stained towel on doing anything good that day.

I'm excited for what this challenge means for me and everyone in the NaturallyCurly community taking it, because if nothing else, it's going to make mindfulness regarding cooking and consuming absolutely mandatory. It's my hope that that translates into a higher level of care in all aspects of our lives—curly hair very much included.

Close up on April B showing her hoodie printed with the words

April B/ Cassandra JK

Have you joined our challenge, curlies? Let us know how you've been doing in the comments, and if you have any new tasty recipes to share...DO IT.

Photos by Cassandra JK