One of my brothers recently asked me to go on a “sugar fast” with him. 30 days of NO SUGAR. It was such a life-changing experience, I had to share!
So we’re clear about what I mean when I say “sugar-free” here are the things we cut out:
- Sugar (brown, white, powdered…)
- Syrup in all varieties
- Sugar Substitutes (sucralose, etc.)
- White Flour
- White Rice and white rice products
- White Potatoes
- Corn Products (Whole kernels were ok sparingly, but other things were out.)
- Fruit Juice
Some of this might seem extreme (and it kinda was! haha) – but the goal was to eliminate most things that spike our insulin levels. When sugar is paired with fiber is slows that process (hence whole fruits are ok.).
Now if you know me, you know I am sugar-addict. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever! I’m surpassed in that only by my mom and sister. I thought this would be CRAZY difficult. And you know what? It wasn’t. Years of never trying to give up sugar because I was sure I would fail seemed silly. But perhaps the reason I could do it was because I’ve now developed more self-discipline? Eh… probably not. 😉
5 Things I learned from Giving Up Sugar
It’s possible. As crazy as it sounds, once I 100% committed to doing it. I did it. It made me realize that so many times in the past when I went on a diet or decided to “eat healthy”. I actually had an escape route in mind. Every time! Knowing it was only 30 days made me want to hard. Be 100% and feel accomplished. I knew that the cookies, cakes, chinese, and pizza would be there after the 30 days. Somehow that made it easier. I began to apply the same philosophy with shopping to this. Good food isn’t going to run out! It will always be available! At least, that’s how it is for me. So don’t feel like you’re being deprived of some amazing opportunity. Choose to be in control and decide if eating it is what you really want to do.
Whole foods are amazing. Fruit tastes SO good when you can’t have cookies. I literally ate fruit like it was candy. I’d crave berries or pineapple when I needed something sweet. Unsweetened nut butters are actually sweet! There are so many delicate flavors that taste buds miss out on when they’re being drowned in sugar.
Not all sugars are bad! Your body actually uses sugars like fructose, glucose, galactose, and lactose. The foods containing them contain fiber and antioxidants that are important for your body! Your brain and other organs and systems need carbs and sugars to work at their best. But you can get all you need from naturally occurring sugars. Our body only needs about 6 teaspoons per day, but typical Americans eat about 22 teaspoons per day. We really don’t need any extras!
Stevia is an herb. Who knew? The actual origin is a composite herb native to South America (Genus Stevia, especially S. rebaudiana, native to Paraguay) whose leaves are the source of a noncaloric sweetener. Another great thing is it doesn’t spike your insulin the way sugar does. So if I made something that needed a sweetener – this was a go-to!
Getting rid of sugar typically means a lot home-cooking. Sugar is added to everything! I had to order special salad dressings, use balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or make homemade dressings. I couldn’t use my favorite lemon pepper seasoning on my chicken and fish because it has sugar. I just quickly discovered that if I didn’t make it, I couldn’t trust it. So I had lots of fun recipe hunting and experimenting. Because in the end, you would be shocked at the amount of unconscious sugar you’re eating!
From here, I won’t be as strict as I was for the past 30 days. I’ll be going by the 80/20 rule (For every dessert or unhealthy meal the next 5 snacks and meals need to be healthy. That way I can appreciate the fun foods I love, but exercise portion control!) I’ll be sharing recipes I’ve found and loved and hopefully they can help all of you in the pursuit of healthy eating!