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Breaking the Sugar Spell

19 January 2011 16 Comments

My time away from Dairy-Free & Fit was much needed, as this past year I was dedicated to supporting a loved one through health issues and treatment. But now it’s time to focus on my health (and their increasing health), so my husband and I are taking a sugar break. And when I say sugar, that includes agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, sucanat, etc.

I’m not going to be uptight about it, but we are going to give it a go for ten days, to hopefully break the addiction that has taken us over since the holidays. Am I expecting to be permanetly sugar-free? Um, not likely. But, I find that time outs help to greatly reduce cravings … and when the consumption creeps back up, time for another break.

During these ten days, I will forgo dessert, hide the candies, skip cookie baking, and avoid adding sweeteners. Since I make pretty much all of our food from scratch, it gives me a lot of control, which is great! That said, here’s where I’m giving myself “relaxation room:”

  • If a savory recipe (aka a stir fry or the grain-free bread below) calls for a wee bit of sweetener, I’m not going to sweat it. As long as we’re talking a teaspoon or less of sweetener for the entire serving, I think we’ll be fine.
  • Fruit, of course, is allowed. I’ve got nothing against fruit … in its whole form … and feel great when I eat it. That’s the sweet treat!
  • A dash of pure stevia won’t hurt. Stevia extract is pretty minute, and just a wee bit can save a bitter fruit smoothie.

Katie is the total inspiration behind this sugar-free challenge, and she said she would do it with me, woohoo! We both started this morning …

Breakfast #1 was a Frozen Banana, Unsweetened Almond Milk, Carob (powder) Shake – simple, but perfect first thing in the a.m.

Breakfast #2 was a leftover hodge-podge. I cooked up a load of cauliflower, added just a wee bit of leftover quinoa, some sliced green onions, and just a little of the Walnut Cream Sauce from Cooking for Isaiah (that stuff is rich!) for a savory bowl.

Lunch was a fun one. We had leftover Mom’s Tomato Bisque also from Cooking for Isaiah, but I wanted something to go with it. So I made the Red Rock Rolls from The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods & Desserts. They were fabulous! They looked quite different from your average roll, but the taste and texture were both superb.

Now I’m planning to do an arms workout from P90X, and then probably some fruit.

All that goodness aside, lets not pretend I’m one of those “perfect” bloggers. This year started off well, but not with the bang I had hoped. So this week, I jumped on top of my goals, before they could be forgotten, and am putting a real action plan together. The sugar-free challenge will hopefully help to clear my head. But I have to admit, day 1 is hard! I was craving chocolate by 10am (yes, I usually eat some dark chocolate in the morning). I’ve been telling Go Dairy Free viewers for years, “Don’t worry, the dairy cravings subside,” but now that the shoe is on the other foot and my nemisis is sweets … I must confess that I feel very weak!

Have you ever tried a truly sugar-free diet? What are some other good healthy living goals?

16 Comments »

  • Sara said:

    Hey welcome back! Funny that you posted this, because I too am on a sugar break! I just started yesterday after 2 weekends FILLED with sugar because I was celebrating… a little too much! haha. I am taking 4 weeks off, up until Valentine’s Day, when I may just need to munch on some chocolate as a reward for good behavior (assuming I make it that long… haha). I already had been cutting out processed sugar for a while, but I really fell off track during the past month, so now it’s no added sugar AT ALL, including honey and such as you stated. Good luck to both of us! ;)

  • lindsay said:

    oh glad you are back! I missed ya. This seems like a great challenge. are you avoiding stevia too? I’ll support ya! You got this.
    :)

  • Gimme a break « Among the Tortillas said:

    […] food (more to come on that later). Thus, it’s time to give my body a break, and so just like Alisa is doing, I’m trying not to eat any added sugar for the next 4 weeks. I started this yesterday, […]

  • Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said:

    so glad your loved one is doing better :)

    I have done similar no-sugar regimens in the past – i.e. fruit is ok, stevia is ok, and if a savory sauce calls for sweetener to rebalance flavor, I will use palm sugar for the teaspoon that’s usually involved in such cases. For a while, I did the above, but with only low-sugar fruit – i.e. no banana, no mango, no pineapple but having only a couple of servings of raspberries a week – honestly, that was far far harder. Giving up bananas was by far the hardest. And when I did that, I found myself craving more brown rice and quinoa and brown rice pasta.

    These days I allow myself stevia and some occasional low-glycemic sweeteners but try to keep my baking more savory than sweet. That seems to help. I do avoid cane sugar pretty strenuously as that seems to kick cravings in, as do dates (so sadly I will never be one to make tons of desserts at home with dates, though I will occasionally buy a Lara or Prana bar for travel). One thing I have found, since experimenting with duck eggs, is that grain-free baking with a focus on low-glycemic sweeteners (aka Elana’s Pantry and her first book) seem to not kick up the sugar cravings.

    Dark chocolate is one of the things I miss the most about giving up cane sugar because even 805 or 90% dark has some cane sugar. For a while I was eating only 100% unsweetened dark chocolate (with a bit of agave or coconut sap on top), but I have yet to find a certified gluten-free dairy-free 100% unsweetened dark chocolate, so one of my new year’s resolutions is to make my own chocolate more with coconut oil and raw cacao and stevia and just a tiny bit of agave or coconut sap.

  • Pure2raw Twins said:

    I have been playing around with the idea of cutting out sugars in my diet. I think sugar is a main source of a lot of issues for most people. So I think taking a break from sugar is great and our bodies will appreciate it ;) I do eat a pretty low sugar diet but I still occasionally have some high sugar days, I guess I should try the challenge too and see how I do!!

  • Katie said:

    Wait! So are you not eating chocolate? I love (and am still planning on eating bakers unsweetened chocolate. There’s no sugar….

    Maybe you are being more hard-core about this than I am, but I’m cool with that!

    Good luck to both of us!

  • No, you inspired me « Making Food and Other Stuff said:

    […] yeah. I’m doing the no sugar thing again. This time I’m doing it with a friend. She’s got her rules posted here, but we all know […]

  • Dana said:

    Forgive my naiveté, but should I try and complete a sugar fast, would I be able to allow non-fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt?

    I think something like this is perfect to rebalance after the holiday season. Would love to give it a try, but want to be I understand completely! Thanks!

  • Cherie said:

    Good for you!! I’ve been doing pretty much a Primal/Anti-Candida/gluten-free type diet for three years. I only use stevia, xyitol, Now Foods erythritol and occasionaly yacon. I use rose hips powder in my green smoothies for my vit C. and occasional low-glycemic fruit. I will continue because sugar causes so many health issues that I had (Candida overgrowth,hyperglycemic which became pre-diabeties after pregnancies, IBS type issues, migraines, nasal congestion, dental issues, galbladder attacks)and I have been able to resolve them. Also, more research is begining to show how sugar can also help feed cancer….so not interested in eating it anymore! I do love chocolate, so I make my own with raw cacao, coconut oil & above sweetnener and sometimes nut butters. The more I read about the harm it does to our bodies, the less I miss it. I love the way I eat now and I’m the healtiest I’ve ever been & will never go back! Hang in there & good luck!!

  • Lori said:

    I just wrote a novel on Katie’s comment about this but to sum it up, I’ve been doing no sugar for two weeks now! How? No idea. But lots and LOTS of water helps, as does eating some fruit when I get a sugar craving… also, having the mindset going into the challenge is KEY. I’ve been writing down everything I’m eating (myplate via livestrong.com) and it’s helped a lot too, since I’m much more conscious of when I’m wanting something to eat.

    I took out all alcohol too- oooooooh my wine… but I feel better. And my body is definitely not holding the water it’s used to. :)

    GOOD LUCK!

  • Dairy Free and Fit » Are You a Walker or a Runner? said:

    […] a foodie note, thank you all for the great comments yesterday on my personal “sugar-free challenge” post! Day 1 went well (okay, it was very torturous at times), and amazingly enough, my cravings are […]

  • Therese said:

    Yes, living a truly sugar free diet is possible. There are tons of people who aren’t eating sugar, dairy, gluten or grains on the Paleo diet. Some resources are: http://www.robbwolf.com or http://www.everydaypaleo.com

    There are also people who are sugar sensitive and sugar addicted who are successfully living sugar free.
    A good resource is http://www.radiantrecovery.com

  • Danielle said:

    I did a 1-month Yeast free, GF, Sugar free fast and it was amazing. The first two weeks I didn’t eat any fruit and then added certain fruits after that one at a time. I couldn’t believe how much better they tasted. The best thing was that cutting out sugar helped me regulate my appetite vs. my hunger. Before, I never felt full because the sugar was constantly increasing my appetite. I did use xylitol a few times to make Oat flour and almond pancakes which were delicious.
    Best of luck!

  • Dairy Free and Fit » Sugar, the Devil in the Agave-Coated Dress said:

    […] I did it! Thank you to Katie for getting me to do a 10-day Sugar-Free Challenge and to those of you who joined in! If you joined in, comment and let us know how it went for you. […]

  • Alisa Cooks – recipes from the Go Dairy Free kitchen » Sugar-Free Adventures and Giveaways said:

    […] just one that I did spontaneously, but the results were amazing! You can see my posts, including the challenge I took, sweet sugar-free treats, and my results at my other blog Dairy-Free & […]

  • Alta said:

    I too take sugar bresks from time to time. It seems my body gets quite addicted, even to natural or healthier sugars. Good for you!

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