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My Sugar Free Kitchen: How I went Sugar Free For 30 Days

Updated: Feb 11, 2023


As someone who doesn’t add sugar to my coffee, never drinks juice or soda and whose breakfast hasn’t come from a box with a cartoon on it since I was a kid, and doesn’t load up their shopping basket with biscuits, cakes, and chocolate – I don’t seem like the kind of person who needs to take on the challenge of quitting sugar.

Even though I eat pretty well, I do have my moments where I tend to over-indulge in sugary treats. Especially when my uncle tends to bring over pies, cakes and ice cream.



This is one of the main reason's why I don't keep sugary treats in the house. If I did, I would eat them all the time - no joke.

When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I had a pint of ice cream almost every night of the 3rd trimester. And yea, I sure did gain a lot of weight with that pregnancy! Only took over a year to finally fit into my pre-pregnancy clothing.

Anyways, with the holidays behind us, and my uncle being busy with his house and farm, I decided it was the perfect time to be able to complete a 30 day Sugar Free Challenge!


By quitting sugar, my goal was to be able to learn about my eating habits, how to stop sugar cravings, and the benefits of having no sugar in my diet.



Tip #1 - STARTING THE NO-SUGAR CHALLENGE

As I'm sure most of your know, quitting sugar cold turkey has its challenges. I hadn't picked the greatest time since I had just went grocery shopping and I had bought a bag of Oreos for my husband that were sitting in the pantry.

I was actually looking for my Keto Think Protein Bars for a mid morning snack when I found the Oreos. Yes. You guessed it. I saw the bag...just sitting there...with the flap opened. I swear it was calling my name....

So, yeah...I had one. Ok, maybe two?...alright, you caught me...I had like 8.



And so I sat there on my dinning room table, feeling a bit guilty off course. I started to think that my sugar eating habits needed to stop. I am not going to go anywhere if I keep eating this much sugary cookies and pastries.

This time. I needed to put my foot down. I was going to complete this 30 day Sugar Free Challenge.

I obviously made the mistake of not planning ahead with meal prep since I had just went grocery shopping. Luckily had some healthy choices on hand for breakfast and dinner at home like:

  • Scrambled eggs with healthy fats from avocado, bacon, and tomatoes

  • Baked tilapia, asparagus, and sweet potato wedges




Tip #2 - HOW TO STOP EATING SUGAR

And Off course, like any new diet, the first few days were very challenging. But, I used these steps to set myself up for success:

  • Meal prep is key: If you want to live a healthy lifestyle and cut out sugar and unprocessed food, you might want to think about meal prep. Amazon has some great meal prep containers. I like to use Crest Meal Prep Containers.

  • Have healthy snacks on hand: It's so helpful to have healthy snacks on hand. I like to use keep Sahale Snacks Maple Pecans Glazed Mix on hand. I love these nuts! They have an essence of pumpkin pie...mmm..and not to mention they are portable, so you can put them in your lunch box or just grab them on the go.

  • Plan ahead, eat in advance: It's super important to plan ahead when quitting sugar. That way, you won't be tempting to grab food through the drive thru, or grab any other kind of unhealthy snacks.

  • Check food labels for hidden sugars: When you are shopping for groceries, its important to be able to read the nutrition labels for any hidden sugars. You want to avoid anything with dextrose, corn sweetener or corn syrup. The University of California San Francisco has a great article on added Sugar. They state there is 61 names of hidden sugar you should be on the look out for.

Giving up sugar isn’t easy. But, knowing more about sugar, how it affects your body, and how to stop sugar cravings will set you up to succeed in your no-sugar challenge.





Tip #3 - WHY YOU SHOULD STOP EATING SUGAR

It's so important to be able to understand what sugar does your body and why you need to make healthier food choices. It's a good idea to set yourself up for success and educate yourself about sugar consumption so you can be on your way to a sugar free kitchen in no time.



WHY IS SUGAR SO BAD?

When you consume sugar, you are also increasing your risk of major diseases such as diabetes, obesity and even hypertension. These diseases can lead to death if left untreated. This is why it's super important to be able to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle.

In today's society, sugar is added to almost everything, especially boxed and packaged food. It's so important to be aware of the ingredients in your food and look at the labels.

Some of the harmful effects of sugar are:

  • Sugar is highly addictive: Have you ever wondered why the more you consume sugar, the more you crave it? Have you ever noticed that you just can't have one cookie? or just one potato chip? When you consume sugar regularly, your brain gets a message that sugar is rewarding and tasty, which causes overeating. This is just another reason to be aware of how much sugar you are eating so you break the cycle and move towards healthy.

  • Sugar affects your brain: High sugar consumption has been found to impair cognition and memory. It’s also been found to increase the effects of depression and other mental disorders.(Beilharz, Maniam & Morris, 2015)

When you increase your sugar intake, you can experience more health problems, they are not just limited to the ones above. Since sugar is highly additive, it can be difficult to stop cold turkey. But it's really important to be able to make an effort to clear it or even limit it in your diet.




HOW TO CONTROL SUGAR CRAVINGS

I don't know about you, but when a sugar craving strikes, it can be strong, especially when you are first trying to eliminate your cravings. So, this leads to the question: How can I control my sugar cravings?

SUBSTITUTE YOUR TYPICAL SWEET TREATS WITH SOMETHING HEALTHIER

This can be easy one if you find healthier alternatives. When I had a sugar craving, I usually like to eat an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a dash of cinnamon and a tsp of sugar free chocolate chips. This satisfies my sweet tooth, but is also a serving of healthy fats and fruit.

ADD A SPRINKLE OF CINNAMON OR STEVIA

If you want a little bit of sweetness, you can try to sprinkle some cinnamon or maybe add stevia to your coffee or sweet treats. My husband adds cinnamon and stevia into his morning coffee - sounds a bit weird, but trust me, I've tried it and it's actually good! You can also add cinnamon to your fruit. I usually eat an apple and peanut butter for a snack and top cinnamon on top of the peanut butter. yummy!

DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH MOVEMENT

If your feeling up to it, you can always try going for a walk, run or even hit the gym to distract yourself from those sugar cravings. For some it might work, but for others it might not. I'm the kind of person who has to eat something sweet. Always make sure that it is a healthy option rather than an unhealthy option like those chocolate chip cookies that might be hiding in your pantry.





NO SUGAR, DIET & WEIGHT LOSS

Yes, I completed this challenge right after Christmas and the holiday season. Ultimately, those sugary sweet treats were not even on my radar (thanks to my uncle not being around to bring over those sweets). After the 30 days, I lost around 7lbs!

The funny thing is, I didn't even do anything different either! I ate whole foods, drank water and eliminated processed foods, bagged food and fast food. Everything that I ate was the fresh foods section, or off course high quality protein.

My meals were made up of carbs or veggies, along with fish or meat. For example, breakfast would consist of eggs, fruit and a vegetable. I would usually have a banana and zucchini noodles sautéed in a bit of coconut oil.

My food choices, activity, and no-sugar diet most likely made me more fat-adapted — someone who burns fat for energy instead of sugar or readily available glucose.

What would happen if my no sugar challenge lasted for more than 30 days? Would I loose more weight? How would I feel? More energized? Mood changes? I'm not sure, but I'd like to find out!



Key Takeaways


I’m sure you’re wondering whether or not I will eat products containing sugar again. Yes, I might add some sugary treats here and there. Birthdays are an exception. I always love baking cakes, especially for my kiddos. My little girl always wants to bake cupcakes or cookies on the weekends. So, yes there's always that temptation. But, I have also learned that you can still bake with healthier ingredients.

There are always sugar substitutes that I can use, such as bananas or applesauce. You can even add in some zucchini or carrots into your muffins to make them an even healthier option.

It's so important to be able to be more mindful of what you are putting into your body. Eating healthy and limiting your sugar intake can really be beneficial to your health in the long run.

It's so important to be able to ask yourself if you need to change up your diet to be more healthy? If you look at your diet and think there could be some changes to lead a healthier lifestyle, maybe it's time to try a Sugar Reset Challenge.





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References:


Beilharz JE, Maniam J, Morris MJ. Diet-Induced Cognitive Deficits: The Role of Fat and Sugar, Potential Mechanisms and Nutritional Interventions. Nutrients. 2015; 7(8):6719-6738. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7085307

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