Sugar Free Challenge Jan 17-24

Last year I held a simple sugar free challenge. My readers were invited to embark on going sugar free for a week. Some people went off of refined sugars and tried to only use unrefined sweeteners. Others completely avoided sweeteners, and others even went beyond that to an anti-yeast diet. Well over a hundred people participated and many had surprising results, everything from weight loss, to reduced sugar cravings, and other health benefits. This was surprising to me as I generally expect it to take longer for people to really benefit from making a diet change, but sometimes it only takes a week to experience real benefit. For example, read a few of the comments left last time.
Lisa Z

I’m glad you shared my comment! I did have an amazing week on the sugar-free, white flour-free challenge and I’m going to continue it as much as possible (100% at home, it’s going out that’s hard).
I have what I consider undiagnosed fibromyalgia (nerve and muscle pain head to toe, almost constantly.) As of today and starting about 12 hours into this challenge, I am still pain-free, and I can only attribute it to taking the sugar and refined flour out of my diet. I had a glass of wine on Saturday night, and while that didn’t feel great after over a week of no alcohol (I’m a lightweight), it didn’t cause any headache or pain. Taking out refined white foods has been the key, I guess, and I’m totally surprised. I’ve never, never given up sugar completely before. I have gone gluten-free for weeks at a time, and had some success with that, but it seems the sugar is the main culprit in my pain, and I have noticed even before this that white flour gives me digestive distress (bloating, mainly).
Thank you for doing this challenge. It has changed my life! I now find myself not even wanting sugar-y foods. I do like sweet tastes, though, so this past week I had plenty of honey in my tea and even made a zucchini cake and cream cheese frosting with just a little honey for Sunday dessert. It was great!
I’m wondering how much the genetic modification of sugar and wheat has been causing my problems, but I’m going to cut out all sugar and white flour for now, organic or not.


Cindi

This was a great challenge! My two teenage daughters remained steadfast even though there were many temptations (our chiropractor was even serving up organic naturally sweetened desserts that they turned down)! I think being committed to this “official” challenge made it easier for them to be strong. We’ve had so many great discussions about sugar this week, and I am grateful for what they are learning. We read together all your posts Kimi, and appreciated them very much. My girls definitley seem more willing and self-motivated to adopt some of these new habits, which makes me very happy!!

Melodie

Ours went very well. My goal was to reduce sugar cravings by eliminating sugar, mostly in the form of baked goods and ice cream. I succeeded and have likely saved about $40 this week in treats for myself and my girls. Their behaviours this week have been amazing too. I expected little terrorists but instead they were very agreeable to the challenge, followed the rules and the screaming and arguing was much less this week than usual. We all had a pice of blackberry pie and ice cream as a treat to celebrate the end of the week (and Thanksgiving) but we all had much smaller slices and scoops than usual. Cravings have virtually disappeared.

Regardless of whether you lose weight or see a health benefit, it’s just a good practice. I don’t think we realize how “sweet” our diets are until we try to take sugar or sweeteners out for a week. I wrote last year,

“The reason we like sugar is obvious. It’s sweet. And ever since we were newborn babies we have been attracted to sweets, like our mother’s milk. But in the end, not only is {white} sugar empty calories, making us gain weight while remaining undernourished, do we really want to be controlled by anything, even something as pleasant as cakes and cookies? I know so many people who can’t refuse sweets or who can’t go without them for any period of time. Sweets control them to a certain extent.

I have personally found dealing with my sugar cravings to mean greater freedom for myself. For example, I always knew I shouldn’t overdo sweets, but it was hard to resist it (especially since cakes and cookies seem to flaunt you at every turn). But once I went on an anti-yeast diet and dealt with some antibiotic related issues, I’ve found it so freeing as I can generally easily refuse sweets (not always, mind you, but usually).

Let me tell you, it feels good to be free!”

Well, after having lots of yummy Christmas Candy, I am finding it harder and harder to resist sweets and know it’s time to buckle down again! Want to join me? Starting next Monday you can join in a week long discussion and sugar free challenge. I hope that this will enable many of you to jump start a healthier diet, or help others (like myself) get back on track.

Here are the Three Levels you can commit too.

Beginner level: Take out all refined sugars including corn syrup and white sugar. You will need to read labels carefully when buying prepackaged foods. Instead use natural, more unrefined sugars such as rapadura, coconut sugar, raw honey, and whole stevia extract ( I think that stevia is okay on all three levels).

Moderate Level: Remove all natural sweeteners as well, using fruit as your “sweet”. Consider removing other starchy foods that can also feed yeast, or make you crave sugar.

Advanced Level: Take out all sugar forming foods, and go on an anti-yeast diet (such as the GAPS diet or the Body Ecology Diet). Please, beware, if you have a yeast issue, taking out the foods that feed it may make you detox and have a die-off effect (which can make you feel sick and miserable). If you have any illness or health issue, you should consult your health provider before trying a anti-yeast diet.

If you would like to join in, please leave a comment below and I will enter you under participants.

Participants:

1)Kimi Harris: Moderate
2)Elena Harris: Moderate
3)Summer Harms: Moderate
4)Celina: Advanced
5)Katie: Moderate
6)Jenn: Moderate
7)Brittany: Advanced
8)Hollie: Beginner
9)Karen: Beginner
10)kmillecam: Advanced
11) Gina: Moderate
12)Rebecca : Moderate
13)ZoeDown: Beginner
14) Melissa W.: Advanced
15)Sarah Mulholland:Beginner
16)Katie: Beginner
17)Nicky B: Moderate
18)Lara:Moderate
19)Ruth: Moderate
20) Katie @ Modern Alternative Mama: Beginner
21)LeaG: Beginner
22) Jenn: Moderate
23)Beppy : Moderate
24)Revel: Moderate
25)Melissa @ Dyno-Mom:Moderate
26) Kristin: Moderate
27) Tash and Husband: Moderate
28)Laura: Moderate
29)Lynn: Moderate
30)Amanda R: Beginner
31)Nicole: Moderate
32) Amanda: Moderate
33)Megan: Moderate
34)Briita: Moderate
35) Kristin S : Beginner
36)Karen: Moderate
37) Kelsey : Moderate
38)Annette: Moderate
39)Amanda K: Moderate
40)Speedmom: Beginner
41)Theresa: moderate
42)Ann: Moderate
43)Dani: Beginner
44)Shayla Taylor: Moderate
45) Ashley Armistead: Moderate
46)Kerry: Moderate
47) Ellen:Moderate
48)Theresa: Moderate
49) Jani: Moderate
50) Sarah: Beginner
51) Kari: Moderate
52)LeighAnn: Moderate
53) GG: Moderate
54) Jen: Beginner
55)Noor Z: Beginner
56)Jani: Beginner
57) Sarah: Beginner
58)Pam H: Beginner
59) Jen @ Real Food Healthy Living: Advanced
60) Ruthann: Beginner
61) Jenny W: Moderate
62)Alison: Beginner
63) Madeleine: Advanced
64) Steph Garvey: Beginner
65) Jenny Garret: Moderate
66)Amelia: Moderate
67)Megan: Moderate
68)Ruth: Moderate
69)Thomas: Moderate
70)Amparo: Beginner
71)Nicole: Beginner
72) Kirstie: Moderate
73)Anna: Moderate
74)Tana: Moderate
75)Shannon Carter: Beginner
76) Adiela Carter: Beginner
77) Michelle and Family:: Moderate
78)Janet Spangler: Advanced
79) Greta and Husband: Moderate
80) Maggie: Moderate
81)Olivia: Moderate
82) Christina B: Moderate
83)Hope: Moderate
84) Rachel: Advanced
85)Anna: Moderate
86)Brandy: Moderate
87)Leah M: Moderate
88) Juli and Husband: Moderate
89)Lori A: Moderate
90)Kim: Moderate
91) Roni: Moderate
92) Living Less Mom: Beginner
93)Angelita Lotinsky: Moderate
94)Micaela: Moderate
95) Jo: Advanced
96)Shannon and Husband: Moderate
97) Josh: Moderate
98) Gail: Beginner
99) Jenn: Beginner
100) Dink Kreis: Moderate
101) Jennifer Bickerton: Moderate
102) Nicole W: Moderate
103) Christy: Beginner
104) Kellie and Family: Moderate
105) Handcuffed Heart: Moderate
106) Bronwyn Malloy and Husband: Beginning
107) Serena Jensen: Moderate
108) Shalana: Moderate
109) Katie G: Moderate
110) Kris: Moderate
111) EileenH: Moderate
112)Victoria.S: Moderate
113) Colleen
114)Jamie: Advanced
115) Pat C: Beginner
116)Ashley: Beginner
117) Shelly W: Moderate
118) Sarah Wheller: Moderate
119)Vikki: Moderate
120)Cindy G: Moderate
121) Heather: Beginner
122)Trish: Moderate
123) Jennie: Moderate
124)Gwyn: Beginner
125) Lynn: Beginner
126)Kendra: Beginner
127: Stacy: Moderate
128)Chris: Moderate
129) Terry Puc: Moderate
130: Debora Diana: Moderate
131)Mariana: Moderate
132)Becca Harris: Beginner
133) Esther: Advanced
134) Benay: Moderate
135)Cath: Moderate
136)Mary :Beginner
137)Liz: Moderate
138) Kristen in MO: Moderate
139) Whitney: Moderate
140) Stephanie B Cornais: Moderate
141)Tara: Beginner
142) Katie O.: Moderate
143)Megan: Moderate
144) Tiffany: Moderate
145) Peter: Beginner
146)Sasha: Moderate
147)Marilee:Beginner
148) Amy: Moderate
149)Karen: Moderate
150)Penny

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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. Amy says

    I’m in for moderate this week! We normally eat a diet without refined sugars of any type and wow do we feel better! I am going to challenge myself to stop eating as many dried fruits this week as well. Lately, I have been enjoying a handful of dates every afternoon. Yum – love those! Letting them go this week though!

  2. Karen says

    Moderate. I’ve been off sugar in the past but fell off the wagon when life got very stressful. This is exactly what I need to renew my discipline. :)

  3. Bird says

    Have been off sugar (white sugar and all sweeteners like stevia) for 18 days now – am impressed (not in a good way!) with how intense the desire for sweet. I know that some of it is habit-breaking (like the desire at the end of the evening for a “night-cap” of ice cream) but this sugar craving is following me around like a bad dream. I am glad to hear of the cider vinegar in water idea – sounds good. I also talked to my doc yesterday who said to up the protein intake, drink a glass of water first thing upon rising, and to increase fiber if possible.. that these things would attend to the cravings. So – we’ll see! Good to see so many people taking the challenge and I look forward to reading how others are doing. BUT a week? that’s not nearly long enough for me, I think that I need to make this a much longer commitment to really learn how to listen to my body talking – a week may be just putting a toe in the water….!

  4. Samara says

    I’m in too, although unwillingly :). Moderate/advanced. I’m sure I’ll feel better THEN. I just don’t feel too good about it NOW!

    Have you found it’s better to go cold turkey? I used to eat pretty healthy but since the last baby have pretty much been eating pleny of white/refined stuff.

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