I recently just finished doing 30 days of no sugar…. If this post didn’t give it away, I survived! (Yeah, I’m surprised too). If you know me, you know that i’m 95% made of sugar. If I had to live off one thing for the rest of my life, it would most definitely be something sweet sweet sweet with extra sugar on top. So, for me 30 days without sugar was actually terrifying. To start here are some of my top tips for success:
This was critical. The first week I made the mistake of not prepping ahead of time. I was starving the first week because I failed to prepare the proper foods. Once I prepped my meals It was soooo much easier to stay on track. For Breakfast, I typically had 1-2 hard boiled eggs, and a handful of almonds and pumpkin seeds. For lunch, I ate roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash. And dinner I would usually have the same sweet potato and butternut squash mix, with a chicken breast seasoned with lemon and pepper. I was eating pretty much the same thing every day, which was fine for me. But if you can’t eat the same thing every day, meal prep becomes even more essential.
Have set “rules”:
Think about how strict you want to be when considering what “sugar” you can and can’t consume. For example, I allowed myself to eat fruit, but didn’t allow myself to eat added natural sugars such as honey, agave, and stevia. Of course I wasn’t allowed to the typical added sugars such as, fructose, syrups, fruit juice, dextrose, etc. Online, you can find a list of 50+ of the different types of names of sugar. If I wasn’t sure I would just google the ingredient and see if it was actually a fancy name for sugar. Keep in mind that honey and other sugars that are known as more natural, are still sugar. When it boils down, sugar is sugar. So I recommend cutting out all sugar except fruit (or no fruit if you’re feeling bold). Heres the quick cheat sheet that I was referencing to.
Do it with a friend!
Like most things, having a friend helps keep you accountable. Send pictures of your meals, and be honest about when you slip up and eat sugar (it happens). Personally, this helped me a lot! (Thanks Olga for doing this with me! 🙂 )
The first couple weeks I found myself not actually “missing” sugar as much as I thought. When I felt a craving, I would just eat fruit. But I realized I was actually consuming the same amount if not more sugar than I normally did, granted it was healthier natural sugar, but still. I felt like I was cheating by consuming triple the amount of sugar. So the last couple weeks I decided to stay between 25 and 50 grams of sugar (from fruit) a day. 25 grams of added sugar is recommended for women by the American Heart Association (here), and 50 grams of added sugar is recommended by the FDA (here) so that is what I used as my baseline sugar intake even though it was natural sugar instead of added sugar. This cut my fruit and sugar intake DRASTICALLY. This is when it started to get more difficult for me. I had those kind of cravings that sometimes were so consuming that I got a migraine.
Being completely honest here, there were 3 times that I slipped up and had sugar. I was SHOCKED at how horrible it made me feel each time I consumed these sugars. I ate ONE Salt & Vinegar chip and was overwhelmed with the taste! I tasted absolutely no vinegar or salty taste, it tasted like i poured a pack of artificial sweetener in my mouth. This was probably one of the most eye opening experiences of this whole thing.
Here are some snacks that I found myself loving during the cleanse:
It was hard to find “packaged” food that didn’t have added sugar, but I did find some. Mango Apple Chia KIND bars: (here) These are AMAZING. Not only for the ingredient list (which btw the ingredient list is “Mango, apple, and chia” THAT’S IT! But it tastes like a mango fruit roll up. They also have other flavors all which are delicious with the same awesome ingredient list, but the mango is by far my favorite. All bars have 5 ingredients or less. No complaints there!
Another Snack that was my go-to was a brown rice cake with raw coconut butter spread on it. I love and use the brand Artisana (here). It started to actually taste pretty sweet without actually having any sugar! I didn’t really have a preference on the brand or type of rice cake I ate, just tried finding a brand that didn’t add sugar. (there was only ONE brand with no sugar and type at my local grocery store! Make sure you read the ingredient list!!)
RX Bars (here) are amazing as well. I have tried every single flavor and they are all delicious. Coffee chocolate might be my favorite though. They have a clean and clear nutrition label which makes it even better. These were definitely a guilt free treat for me, but quite expensive.
I really really enjoyed this sugar cleanse. I felt better, definitely less bloated. I didn’t feel like I had a drastic boost in energy, and I also didn’t feel like my skin cleared or changed in any way either. It was tough at times to say no to pretty much everything, but I didn’t let that stop me from going out to lunch/dinner with friends. I would look up the menu before going to the restaurant and decide what I could eat. Most of the time it was a salad with no dressing or ordering just one whole avocado and eating that. HA! True story.
I didn’t weigh myself before and after, but I do feel like my body has slimmed down some. I’d say clothes fitted a little looser than they did before. I would feel confident saying that I lost a few pounds. I wouldn’t say that it’s a dramatic change in weight, but I definitely felt much better on the inside and that’s enough for me.
Moving forward I will definitely be very cautious of the sugar and ingredients I put inside my body. While I won’t say that I’m going to live my life completely without sugar (yet), I will know and consciously choose what and how much sugar I am putting in my body. I also will make an effort to stay within the added sugar limit that I mentioned before.
I also want to make a better effort of researching and understanding sugar, what affects does it truly have on your body, and why it’s so “bad”. I was blown away by how many food items/companies market themselves as “healthy” but have at least 3 or more different types of sugar in them. Throughout this process I felt very tricked by all these food companies. It made me want to just have my own garden and farm and just life off of things I grow! Maybe one day!! That would be a dream.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope this post inspires you to test yourself and learn more about sugars affects on the body! Let me know if you try it and how it went!