If you’re rolling eyes at the title of this post, I don’t blame you. I’m notorious for starting food related challenges and then modifying them or quitting completely.
Anyway, the idea of a no added sugar challenge came to me after reading Liz’s posts about a documentary called Fed Up and the changes she and her husband made to their diet after watching it, namely how they went sugar-free for a bit. To be honest, I haven’t watched Fed Up yet, but it’s on my list. I have, however, done a fair bit of research on sugar – it’s effects, how it’s marketed, and how it’s hiding in pretty much everything. No bueno!
I officially started my challenge on August 1st but didn’t want to say anything right away because I honestly didn’t know if I’d stick with it. Well, guess what…it’s been 7 days and I have yet to reach into the bag of chocolate chips sitting in my fridge! Win!
Why I’m putting myself through this…
When I told Vishnu I was doing this, he asked me why. He doesn’t really see the point because I don’t eat a ton of sugar/processed foods to start with, and he’s right. Holistically speaking, I don’t consume tons of sugar or sugary foods. However, after reading Liz’s posts and doing my own research, I realized that while I don’t eat ice cream and cake on a daily basis, I need to be more cognizant of the hidden sugars. Like the kind lurking in seemingly healthy jarred pasta sauce for example. Reading food labels is so important, especially because there are over 60 words for sugar (craziness).
Also, while I don’t consume dessert like goodies on the regular, I find myself craving something sweet after both lunch and dinner every single day. And this is no regular craving. It’s super intense. And when we do have dessert in the house, I find myself going back for second, third, and fourth servings, all while thinking, “Let me finish this now so I can start with a clean slate.” So really, I want to be more disciplined when it comes to sweet treats. Another reason for this challenge.
And finally, while my skin hasn’t been acting up too much over the last month or so (knock on wood), I want to see if eliminating added sugar keeps the breakouts away. I have yet to go two months in a row with semi-clear skin, so that would be huge!
Here’s what my version of a 30 day no sugar added challenge entails:
1. No added refined sugars (white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.). Basically no dessert.
2. No artificial sweeteners (don’t use them anyway)
3. Avoid as many every day products containing added sugar as possible*
4. No fruit juice
6. No alcohol
FYI: For MY 30 day challenge, fruit is ok. I’ve read a few different view points about the sugar in fruit, but at the end of the day, this is a “no added sugar” challenge, and the sugar in fruit is naturally occurring. So that’s that!
*The reason #3 says “avoid as many” instead of “no” is because I’m travelling to Chicago for work next week. And while I can stay way from the wine, the DD/SB coffee runs in the morning, and the after dinner dessert, I don’t want to overthink every single thing I eat. Eating healthy while travelling is already hard enough. I don’t want to make it any more difficult or inconvenience my team in any way.
Basically, by the end of the 30 days, I’m hoping my intense craving for something sweet after every meal disappears or isn’t as strong. I’m already reading labels with more scrutiny (check!). And I’m crossing my fingers that my skin stays on the clear(er) side!
Wish me luck!
Have you ever done a no added sugar or 100% sugar-free challenge? Any tips?