Recap of the Sugar Free Challenge (and More Inspiring Stories)

For most of us, our week of going sugar free has ended. We talked about how to prepare for going sugar free, how to deal with sugar cravings, how cutting refined sugar and flours can help with depression, and how cutting out sugar changed one woman’s life. I hope that this challenge encourages you to make this a lifelong change. I am not trying to make my readers militant, but I do want to encourage you that eating a mostly refined sugar free diet is really both enjoyable and freeing. If you need ideas for unrefined sweetener desserts, check out my dessert category. You will find many ideas to get you started. (You can also check out my Christmas Cookie and Candy post). Just remember, that even unrefined sugars should be consumed in moderation.

Doing a week trial like this has shown some of you how “hidden” sugar is in store bought products, and in others, how addicted you really are to sugar. Don’t be discouraged if you weren’t successful completely. You may need to continue to slowly cut it out. Meanwhile, some of you shared your own success stories this week. These ladies overcame sugar addictions, serious blood sugar issues, and more by simply taking out refined sugar.  I thought I would share a few of their comments with you all.

Katie @ Modern Alternative Mama “After being sugar-free for so long (I’ve done only honey/maple syrup for almost a year now), I can’t even stand the really sweet stuff now. I can FEEL my blood sugar spiking and it doesn’t even taste that good, so I don’t want it. I’ve also found any rare sweet cravings are just a sign I need 1) more food in general, 2) more fermented foods (last night it was sugar, or…fermented pickles. Guess which I chose?), or 3) more protein. I really, really need a lot of protein. But I feel GOOD!! Even if I’m feeling tired or weird one day, I have an underlying feeling of “good.” It only takes a tiny bit of white flour or sugar to make me feel bad. And that’s enough that I rarely even bother now. I like to eat almond flour muffins, stuff with unsweetened apple butter, lemonade (made with honey), homemade ice cream, fruit with real whipped cream, and dark chocolate when I’m craving sweet.”

Lucille Korvin Thank you Jennifer, your story is so inspiring. I know what you mean about the pressure thing; when I was 15 I gave up sugar for good, and received TONS of pressure, especially from peers who thought I was turning into some kind of weird hippie. Between initially hurt feelings, Mom’s support, and the eventual loss of about 25 lbs (yay!) I became happier, healthier, and so much more energetic. I encourage all you guys who are going on the sugar-free week to stick with it! 🙂

Karen B: ” I stopped eating sugar a year and a half ago but was starting to slip over the holidays, that’s why I was excited about the challenge. I was having blood sugar issues and ended up in the hospital 3 times. My blood sugar would drop so low (20-40)I would eat sugar to bring it up and it would spike high and crash. I was on a roller coaster and it was not good. Then I read a book that said to cut out all sugar,I tried it because I was desperate, it wasn’t fun, I felt like a junkie coming off drugs. I felt even worse than having the spikes for a couple of days after cutting out the sugar and then after about 2 to 3 days of feeling like I wanted to die I started feeling great and I got my energy back. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I am now healthier than I have ever been in my life. I enjoy remaking things that I like and finding new recipes. I love to cook. I like good food and I like sweets. I have always used raw honey but now I have added stevia and maple syrup to my list of sweeteners ( I just bought sorghum but haven’t tried it yet ). I don’t eat a lot of sweets anymore, I seemed ot have lost the craving. I also do the 90% lindt chocolate when having “one of those moment”. The funny part is 1 square is enough. I can make that candy bar last forever. Before I would have eaten the whole thing and maybe even a second. One thing that does it for my sweet tooth is yogurt with fruit. I am not happy that I got sick but it was really the best thing heathwise that could have happen to me. People comment that I look good and how great my skin looks. If you are struggling with giving up the sugar don’t give up try, you will be better off at the end if you stop. For me it had to be cold turkey. Good luck to every one out there. It is worth it.”

Anie: I grew up eating sugar all the time. I thought it didn’t affect me until I ran into some serious health-issues later. I didn’t realize how much of an addict I really was until I started to go without it. I agree, it is hard to do but so worth it! I used to struggle with serious depression and now I feel great having changed my diet .. and I have been depression-free for months!

I hope those stories help inspire and encourage you. Now it’s your turn to share how the week has gone for you. How did it go and how do you feel? Do you think you will try to make this a lifestyle change?

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. says

    I blogged about my sugar free challenge over on my site. Check it! A few cheats, but overall I think it’s something I can keep up. I just need to eat at home more!

  2. Ashley Nelson says

    Thank you for encouraging me with this challenge. I remember hearing last year that one girlfriends had given up refined sugar and I thought she had gone crazy ; ). I gave this past week’s challenge a go and I now get how sugar is in almost everything and not doing our bodies a bit of good. It was fun trying new (amazingly great and healthy) recipes and my husband hopped on board too! The fourth and fifth day were the hardest (craving wise) and skipping birthday cake was not much fun. I was shocked to see how people pushed me to just eat a piece of cake – almost like my decision to not eat sugar was offensive. I also wasn’t expecting an actual headache from lack of sugar. I certainly see my family keeping this lifestyle going and watching our sugar intake.

  3. Vikki Kay says

    I have done sugar- and grain- free for many years now, but recently I’ve been letting things slide. It was good to make a commitment to being strict for a week, and I feel a real sense of accomplishment now. It wasn’t too hard, and I certainly noticed being less tired and having less emotional flare-ups. I hope to stay off sugar and limit natural sweetners to a minimum. Thanks for your helpful posts and recipes!!!

    • Karen B says

      The recipes are great, aren’t they. That’s how I found this blog, searching for recipes. Some of my favorites are the no bake almost raw macaroons, Quinoa Tabbouleh(which I am making right now for tomorrow’s lunch), and the fluffy whole wheat biscuits (which everyone LOVES, including people that think I am crazy for doing all this to my food) and my son’s favorite is the black bean and pineapple salsa.

  4. Kelly says

    I’m not stopping either and I didn’t even sign up!! I cut out all refined sugars and all gluten for the week and dropped 7.5 lbs. Feel absolutely great, have no more sugar cravings that can’t be satisfied with fruit and/or protein, and feel much much less bloated. Yay for me, and thank you to you!

  5. says

    I didn’t sign up for the challenge, but have pretty much been doing it on my own for a couple of weeks, because I am doing the Maker’s Diet to detox and lose some “holiday weight.” I wanted to share an interesting story:

    So basically the only sugar I’ve had for two weeks was a little bit of palm sugar in my coffee, and one small sourdough muffin made with honey two days in a row. Yesterday, we visited a church to hear a friend preach, and they were having a potluck. (You know where this is headed) There was a loooong table full of desserts all these sweet little old church ladies had made, and I decided I would have just a bit for a “reward”, because I had been so diligent for the past couple of weeks. Well, a little bit turned into a lot, and by the time we reached home after an hour’s drive, I could barely hold my eyes open and my feet had puffed up like marshmallows! I slept for about 2 1/2 hours that afternoon, and had a stomachache that lasted til this morning.

    Was all that dessert really a “reward?” You decide. Today I moved into Phase 2 of the diet, so I was able to have an apple, which was more than enough sweet for me!

  6. says

    I cut out sugar & white flour for a few months awhile back and felt amazing. Then, life stuff happened, I quit being so dedicated, I got pregnant . . . too many excuses. I came across your blog the other day and these posts were so inspiring – I’m going to go sugar-free again. Day #3 has been pretty good! I’ve been eating a lot more fruit than usual to get me through but since I’ve done it before, I pretty much know what to expect, how to cook (and even bake) and some great ingredients. What I needed was to be challenged and encouraged and your blog has been perfect for that – thanks!

  7. Pat C says

    I did great on the sugar free challenge. No refined or artificial sweeteners, and it wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated! I agree that quitting “cold turkey” is the key–in the past I’ve always tried to cut down and that never worked. My next goal is to go grain free (I’ve already given up gluen but I feel that grain free would be better). Thanks for the help and encouragement!

  8. Madeleine says

    This got me firmly back on the SCD. The week went well – it was actually easy – but I was so hungry and afraid of snacking on the wrong things that I baked a lot. I gained 2 pounds! Totally worth it, though, and easy to fix! Thanks for this incentive to get back on track.

  9. Natalie says

    I missed your last few posts, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I am going on one week without sugar, by coincidence. I, too, was a sugar junkie, and I say that in ALL seriousness. I. could. not. stop. My rock bottom moment came in the dentist’s chair as I looked at a picture of the huge ugly cavity that is going to cost me my tooth (not to mention hundreds of dollars). So far I have lost 3 pounds, and no longer feel like a worthless slave to my (rotten) sweet tooth! Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. amanda k. says

    i was totally unprepared for the crazy headache that kept me up almost all night of day three but the next morning i new i had made it to the other side. i feel lighter now. i am a single mom and i thought that because i have two jobs and everything else that i just needed 9 hrs of sleep every night. not so now. i wake up 1-2 hrs before i used to and am ready to go. not groggy in the morning like i didn’t even realize i was before. i am definitely going to continue. my kids cant do it yet though. just cant go w/o a little good maple syrup on the homemade (soaked) waffles. thank you all it was awesome.

  11. says

    Thank you so much for putting this challenge together. Cutting refined sugar from my diet is definitely something I want to continue. I was not 100% successful in my sugar-free week– moderate level, but I am going to keep trying. It’s definitely a worthwhile change and I am excited to find recipes that I can make using unrefined/natural sweeteners.

    Olivia

  12. says

    I have really appreciated this challenge and I’ll continue with it a bit longer still. I had an interesting experience because the night before the challenge began, my grandma passed away. She was ill, so it wasn’t completely surprising, but still very sad for me. In a “normal” week I would have baked up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and ate them all within the day! This time I had to really think about what I was looking for those cookies to fulfill. Sugar is an old friend that gives me a lot of comfort. We grew up together and it’s always there to make me feel less pain. Instead of eating junk, I decided to lay on the couch all day and watch a marathon of some of my favorite movies. I had good foods on hand for regular meals, but this time familiar & funny stories were my comfort. Six movies later and I was ready to get off the couch without the usual regrets.

  13. Cori says

    I was fine until today, when I had some difficult (if not life-threatening) medical news this morning. Now I want a cookie more than breathing.

    But at least I know it’s an emotional reaction, not a physical one.

  14. says

    I have been white-sugar- and white-flour-free for over a year now, but I have been using wholesome sweeteners here and there. I am jealous of all of you who miraculously have lost weight by simply cutting out sugar. Not so for me 🙁

    But I have felt so much better off sugar that I can never go back. This past week I did phase three (GAPS) but modified it to include raw dairy (I take after my Irish grandmother, a LOT, so I’m pretty sure I’m okay with dairy)

    In all honesty though, the GAPS week made me feel a bit sick. I had a lot of diarrhea (sorry, TMI!) and had an upset stomach a lot. Perhaps that is normal? Perhaps not? I think I understand what people mean when they say they “do better” with grains in their diet. I feel much better now that I am back on one or two grain items per day. Does this mean anything to anyone?

    (A few months ago I ate a pumpkin cookie with brown butter icing (so good!) made with powdered sugar. I was sick all afternoon and into the next day. Not too worth it, amiright?)

  15. jamie says

    i’ve been sugar and grain free for 3 weeks, also no fruit. I’ve been following a yeast free diet. these last few days I’ve had a very hard time, but as I’ve been reading The Diet Cure (got at half priced books!), I’m considering getting some amino acids and other supplements to help with cravings and mood swings for a bit. Anybody have other suggestions b/c personally, I’d like to eat cereal and milk so badly right now!! haha

  16. Kirsten says

    I’ve always thought I had a terrible temper, and really struggled with these emotional rages I felt. For unrelated reasons, I cut white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar and corn syrup out of my diet. It wasn’t until Christmas came, followed closely by birthday celebrations, when I relaxed my rules, and ate the treats that kept coming at me, that I noticed the difference. I had been running quite a stretch of even moods, and suddenly the rages were back. I’m off sugar again, for everybody’s sake!

  17. says

    I’ve been basically refined sugar free as well as white flour, and processed foods since November, but began incorporating this in September. (Oct found us away from home for a full month, but for the major part, I still stayed away from processed foods/white sugar/white flour.)

    Major advantage for me to do this because of health issues. Love how I feel today….night and day difference. So I’m looking for great recipes to continue to cause me to press on!!!

  18. says

    I have been sugar free (and I mean completely, I don’t even eat fruit) for just about 10 years now and I have to say, I feel absolutely AMAZING! Light on my feet, incredibly energetic, immensely happy, in shape, clear skin… and the best part is that I just feel so healthy! I would never ever ever go back to eating sugar. I don’t need it, I don’t want it… I eat the most delicious foods, salmon, spinach, squashes of all types, the amount of foods that I can still eat are abundant and they are scrumptious!

  19. Deanna Kemp says

    Hello,

    I am interested in cutting sugars from my diet. I am new to this so have been researching on the net and came across your website/blog. I live in australia so unsure if there is a challenge happening here or not, but I would love to receive a how to guide to cutting sugars, then recipes…are you doing anything like this? Would love to see! thanks for your time,
    Deanna

  20. Nicole says

    I have been clean and sober for six years but a sugar addict for 33 and I can’t get set free from this bondage. I know the battle is as much mental and emotional, as physical. I know and experience all the damage the poison does to me. I even ask myself, “would you drink rat poison just because it tastes good?” I’ve gone without sugar for several weeks with stunning results, at a piece of cookie, and the “sickly sweet” was disgusting and YET….here I am with bags of conversations hearts from the valentine’s isle, 10 extra pounds, exhaustion, moodiness, stiff and achy joints, need I go on. WHY can’t I find freedom from this evil? Sugar isn’t even a food, legal drug. UGGG…please send me some prayers and wisdom…Nicole

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