With all the reading I’ve been doing lately about sugars — natural included — a nagging feeling settled over me that no matter what “natural” sugar I choose to eat myself and/or feed my family, we’re eating too much. I read at Food Renegade that before the turn of the century (before sugar was readily available) people consumed 5 pounds of sugar a year. In my natural kitchen, I am sure we more than exceed that!
About six years ago, we drastically changed our diet – out went anything processed at all and out went all sugar (of any kind, fruit being the exception). But after awhile, we began to consume more natural sugars. Over time, more and more of these have crept back in to our diet (as if they did it all by themselves, ha!). So here we are, not feeling as good as we think we should, and we’re packing around some extra weight, too. I know that I’m deficient in certain minerals.
So it is time for a change for us. And I’d like to invite you to join us. Several friends of mine on the internet are doing similar things in their diet – and I love it! I’m grateful for the inspiration and ideas that are floating around.
What’s Wrong With Sugar?
What’s wrong with sugar? Of the 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health from Nancy Appleton, I will share the ones that alarm me most.
- Suppresses immune system
- Upsets mineral relationships in the body
- Produces an acidic digestive tract
- Causes tooth decay
- Contributes to obesity
- Causes food allergies
- Lowers the enzymes’ ability to function
- Causes headaches, including migraine
- Causes depression, fatigue, moodiness, and nervousness
- Can cause hormonal imbalances
- Is an addictive substance
- Can exacerbate PMS
- Decrease in sugar can cause emotional instablility (that’s me right now)
- Can increase the amount of food a person eats
- Induces salt and water retention
- Causes constipation – enemy #1 of the bowel movement
The Beyond Sugar Challenge
For the next 30 days, my family is completely eliminating all natural sweeteners (honey, agave, evaporated cane juice, maple syrup, etc.). We already don’t eat refined sweeteners.
As for sugar-like foods, I guess we’ll take it as it comes. I’m thinking of dried fruit here. I plan on making some date- and apple-sweetened snacks, and also continuing to add raisins to our breakfast porridge.
Fresh fruits are allowed, but not excessively.
Obstacles I see:
- Tea – we love honey-sweet tea! I will explore stevia as an option here.
- Snack foods – we are used to having sweetened muffins, cookies, etc. I foresee making more crackers and biscuits and having more nuts, veggies and whole fruit available for snacks.
- Weight loss
- Energy boost
- Overall health improvement
- Improvement in seasonal allergies
- Bumps on arms go away
- Depression/mood swings improvement
- No headaches
- Improved PMS symptoms
- Break addiction to sweets (I think I am the only one who is truly addicted)
- Appreciate the true flavors of foods
- Learn to be sastisfied — no, more than satisfied — with the rest of God’s foods
See I’m laying it all out here. I love my sweet tea. And I love a dark chocolate snack each afternoon. Yesterday, without those, I was downright cranky and also depressed and hungry.
- Will you join in? At whatever level you prefer-
- Will you share recipes, ideas, inspiration for snacks that are not sweet?
- Will you share your goals?
- Will you share your stumbling blocks?
To Join In
- If you have a blog, write a post containing the “Beyond Sugar” button (see code below). Answer any of the above questions, or anything else that you want to share. You don’t have to go cold-turkey like we are. You can decide to cut back or to work on adapting recipes to rely on less sweeteners or better sweeteners. Then come back here and leave a comment with a link to your post – so everyone can benefit!
- If you don’t have a blog, please share your thoughts in the comments. We want to hear from you, too!
- If you’re on twitter, spread the word by sharing this link (and be sure to follow me — @TradCookSchool):
https://traditionalcookingschool.com/2009/05/04/beyond-sugar/— use the tag #beyondsugar
- If you’re on FaceBook, spread the word by sharing this link (and be sure to “like” our page — GNOWFGLINS):
During the next 30 days, I will focus my writings on research, recipes, hints and tips concerning eating sugar-free. Just so you know, we’re not going to be using artificial sweeteners, either!
Will you join us? What are your reasons for doing so? What are your goals?
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And I forgot to add that we’ll still be having Kombucha, but very sour… 😉
Are you having stevia? (I know, I know, I keep asking about stevia!)
gilliebean – We are having some, yes. 😀 I want to order some of the green leaf stevia that isn’t refined.
Taking on a challenge, I love it! I don’t think that I am ready to give up raw honey just yet. Although I do see some extra weight that I have gained this winter. Bleck! I attribute it more to lack of sufficient exercise. I really hurt my ankle back in November and haven’t gotten back into a good routine since then.
I can’t wait to hear of your progress, and the insights that you will learn along the way. Maybe that will inspire me!
Good luck to you and your family!
I read about that at Food Renegade, too. Ever since, I’ve been mulling things over. I’ve been a sugar addict for years. Last fall I took a big step and cut out all refined sugars…we’ve cut back a lot on what our family consumes, also. But I know that although I’ve been substituting with natural sweeteners, I eat too much of that stuff, too.
I’ll blog about what steps I’ve decided to take in the next few days. And I definitely want that button! Thanks, Wardee.
And…lack of sugar makes me crazy…which means I have an issue!!! actually we have seriously cut down as we have been on antifungals and it is silly to be on antifungals and eat a lot of sugar. You are right..sugar, agave, etc… all not as good…. as not eating it at all. (Said whilst sipping on coffee w/ agave and vanilla rice milk in it!)
We have cut sugar way down – can you believe an average American consumes 2 to 3 lbs of sugar A WEEK??? Unreal.
My son and I use Rapadura in tea and such (occasionally honey) – my hubby uses Sucanat. I also bake with Rapadura, agave, maple syrup and sometimes honey.
It’s amazing how much less sugar I buy… we now only use about 1 tsp per cup of tea or coffee. My son gets only home-baked sweets so whenever something else sneaks into the house 🙂 he complains “it’s too sweet”. He will actually reject candy and such for that reason!!
I think your challenge is great – a bit much for us at this time but I’ll definitely be watching our sugar intake since all of us have some sort of bug currently.
Lynita Aldrich says
Wow Wardee!! I am stunned. Here I was patting myself on the back for taking all refined sugar out of the house a couple of months ago. (Now I am applauding you.) I recently just started this adventure towards slower, healthier eating. (I’m overwhelmed with so much to learn and apply – but loving every minute.) I don’t think I’m ready to give up my raw honey and maple syrup yet though. I do however look forward to following your journey over the next 30 days. I hope it goes well and you and your beautiful family will be an inspiration to all of us not quite ready to jump on THAT band wagon. When you figure out how I can have my espresso with raw milk and maple syrup every morning and it still taste delicious – I’m in. 🙂
Lynita – you should be patting yourself on the back! You’re doing fantastic! The reason we wanted to do this (cutting out all sweets) was to break our habit and broaden our palates and reduce the overall load. It doesn’t mean we’ll never have them again or that I think raw honey and maple syrup are bad – they’re actually wonderful, we are just having too much. I’ll try to figure out that espresso for you. 😉 In the meantime, stick with it – you’re doing great! I look ahead and feel overwhelmed at how far I’ve got to go. But we do one day at a time and we always must be open to learning. It can be fun. 😀
I finally blogged about it!
Yay, Mindy! I am excited to see what your family gets out of this. Go, go, go!
I just made a banana bread with fruit only. It came from Debra Lynn Dadd. Here is the e-mail.
Thank you for sharing the recipe – it looks fantastic! I not sure when I will add fruit-sweetened snacks to our menu, if I’ll wait until this month is over or sooner. But I am glad to have this recipe to add the selection and I think it will help others, too. I love that it is for spelt flour and coconut oil. 😀 Thanks, again. How did your family enjoy it?
Wow … way to go! We’ve given up HFCS, but do use honey and maple syrup daily. I would have a hard time giving those sweets up! I’m reading your challenge with great interest!
I am definitely joining this challenge! I was just told by my naturopathic doctor yesterday that because of my eating habits (lots of sugar and grains) I have an out of control fungal infection in my intestines. It is also contributing to bacteria in my thymus, which controls all immune functions in your body. Needless to say, I have not been very healthy lately.
So now I am having to immediately put the brakes on and only have sprouted grains and no sugar! I feel like I might die. 🙂
I will be reading with RAPT attention. 🙂
Kimbrah – Awesome! I’m glad to have you join the “fun”! Ha, ha. This is NO fun. My family’s doing great. Me, not so much. I want some sweet so badly! Every afternoon is the roughest time for me. I feel unwell and I can barely stop myself from grabbing some chocolate.
I hope you’ll come back and let me know how it is going for you – it helps me to know what others are doing to cut back on sugar. I also hope you can clear up your infection and help you feel better. With me, I *think* I have begun to lose some weight. It is hard to say for sure, with daily fluctuations, but I think the scale numbers are headed down instead of up.
Wow Wardee! You are hard core! Go Fam Go!
A nutritionist once told me that cravings for chocolate is a symptom of magnesium deficiency. I admit that when I am getting plenty of mag my need for daily chocolate disappears, there is a distinction between like and need! So maybe that helps 🙂
Other symptoms are difuculty relaxing, or sleeping, tense muscles, etc.
Wardee- this long video is really informative about different sugars and what they do to our bodies…
I’ve been where you’ve been with sugar. I used to consume well over 200 grams of table sugar a day. Each time I would drink coffee, I added two table spoons of sugars. And I would have about 5 to 6 large mugs of coffee. I would also have 3 or 4 packets of hot cocoa later in the day – more sugar. And through all this the thought has been lurking in the back of mind that I have to stop.
I weigh 126 lbs. And I am 5’7″. So I look healthy on the outside. But I do have family history of type 2 diabetes. And I definitely consume outrageous amounts of sugar.
Taking sugar like this for so long is very addictive. And breaking the habit was hell. I’m supposed to be studying every day for an upcoming exam. And I couldn’t look at a book for over 3 hours a day when I cut down to 30 to 40 grams of simple sugars a day. It’s been a week so far. And I do feel I am getting better at concentrating.
I just want to stick to this change. I know I don’t need to be consuming sugar like I used to. And the adverse effects of doing so should chase any rational person from taking so much sugar. So I’m just sticking to this change – one day at a time.
I know this article is a year old… so I’m wondering how it went and how you’re doing now.
Can cutting sugar really get rid of keritosis pylaris (bumps on your arms)? I have it pretty badly, and if it was really just nasty processed foods causing it all along, I’m in 100%!
Emmie- It didn’t work for me. 🙁 I still have bumps. I’m sorry!
A little late but I just stumbled upon this blog and this post. It was such an encouragement to read. I have been feeling the need to do this sort of giving up all sugars since I had my last baby (6 months ago). I really let myself become addicted to sugar (even processed ones) when I was pregnant with him. I have been cutting certain ‘bad’ sugars out of my diet the past few weeks but love this idea of the whole family getting back to start again.
I just wanted you to know how much this meant to me! I’ve already posted the button on my blog! Thanks again!
I am on day 4 of no sugar and am feeling withdrawals, but hanging in there. The one thing that I do love is potatoes and from what I understand they have a lot of sugar in them. Good luck to everyone on their journey to a sugar free lifestyle.
We just took on this challenge as well. In fact it is my Monday Call to Arms! We still do use raw honey, a bit of maple syrup and some coconut sugar but all in all we find that days without sugar go by and we don’t miss it! Bravo that you have started to spread the word!
Hope you stop by http://theorganicblonde.com and see us
Hi, I’m really motivated to break from my sugar addiction. I’ve stopped cold turkey other drugs for 4 years now, but this one is the one that’s taken over and blur my clarity.
I like this 30 day no sugar challenge…
By the way, winter squash soup with cinnamon is really a great sugar craving suppressor and really delicious. I just cut up organic squash, one leak, let it simmer in water, mash it all up when it’s nice and soft, and then add a little salt cinnamon, it does the trick!
peace and happiness to all!
Ive started no carb/ no sugar diet 4 days ago. I feel horrible, massive headache, tired, sick, muscle pain and moody, but im fighting it. My goal is to get healthy and learn to enjoy sugar and carbs in the future once and awhile. Im not a big girl, 5’4 135 pounds, but not fit and not healthy, Im sick of feeling tired and sick, and want to see if this changes my feelings.
We shall see how 1 month goes =) Im excited, but discouraged at the same time.
Can’t beleive it’s taken me so long to realise that after all these years if failed diets and a creeping waist line that I have been in denial for so long about sugar! Ofcourse ! Geronimo! I am on day 2 of cutting out sugar and am feeling less bloated and more alert and happier by the hour. I am intrigued to see how many benefits there are to giving up the White stuff and the harm I have been doing to myself all these years. Scary! Thanks for the hints and tips everyone. I know it’s early days- progress not perfection 🙂 Currently drinking lots of water and tea as am feeling dehydrated.
My 15 year old daughter and I are 3 days sugar-free. We noticed how sick we have been feeling….I fight depression and an over-all sense of blah. WE are asking Jesus to help us and we believe He will. As long as it is out of the house, the cravings aren’t sooo bad. Our symptoms vary but we are determined to feel better and to take better care of our “temple”.
I am not going into the store; my husband is shopping so the temptations are less.
Thanks for your info. We will be reading.
I have been getting headaches for about a year or two now. I thought it was linked to my bad neck, however now my neck is better and I am still getting them.
Then the other day I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ , I think its the sugar! So I am now on day 2 of no sugar and researching everything I can.
I went 5 days last summer with no sugar. I had headaches and was grumpy the whole time. Then I fell off the wagon. I am trying especially to stop drinking soda. It’s so hard! I’m trying it again with your suggestions.