I'm a bit behind! If you haven't already heard, there is a special challenge I recently found at the blog Spoon Full of Sugar Free. This great challenge begins this Wednesday (June 1st). It's only 10 days of giving up sugar. Totally doable!
There are so many benefits to abstaining from sugar for a period of time:
- You give your gut a rest (much needed in our culture from time to time).
- You cut off the food supply of harmful bacteria and yeast to have them die off.
- You can have decreased headaches, more energy, decreased future sugar cravings, weight loss- primarily fat- and so much more!
- Refined sugars- white table sugar, beet sugar (yes still refined even though it has the word "beet" in it :), cane sugar, etc.
- Sugar alcohols- mostly present in chewing gum- pretty much anything ending in "ol" or "ose" (xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol) check for in your condiments and dry goods and don't eat those containing any sugar
- Syrups- brown rice, coconut nectar, maple syrup (even grade B), honey, agave nectar (these may show up frequently in store bought "healthy" bars
- Sugar substitutes- asperatame, splenda, and yes, even stevia! For more on how stevia messes with your sugar cravings see my post on natural sweeteners.
- Fruit juice- many things - like jellies and jams- are fruit juice sweetened. Check your ingredient labels!
- Dried fruit- yes, even dates, cranberries, etc. These foods are much higher in sugar than their non-dried counterparts. For example, one small date has about 2-3 more grams of sugar than a whole banana, one of the naturally sweetest fruits! (and we don't usually eat just one date, am I right?)
- Whole fruits- The first couple of days, you may want to have a banana, a mango, pineapple, or a coconut around to satisfy sugar cravings. Try not to eat 5 bananas each day- then you really aren't doing much good :) I would try to limit myself to 3-4 whole fruits each day (or for berries, a cup is considered 1 "fruit").
- Sweet vegetables- sweet potatoes are a great satisfier of a sweet tooth. I would stay away from highly starchy vegetables like white potatoes...and no, corn is not a vegetable- it's a grain. You don't have to give up grains during these 10 days, but if you can hack it- it would be highly beneficial for you!
- For drink substitutes, try fruit infused waters. Throw some pineapple, lemon, or orange and maybe even some herbs- like mint- into your waters and let sit for a while. My favorite combo is pineapple, ginger, and mint in a big pitcher of water.
- If you feel like you are about to die, and cannot make it (you may experience withdrawal and die off symptoms (yeast and bacteria dying off) if you are a sugar-aholic like I used to be:) then grab a couple of small raisins or unsweetened other dried fruit. But use that as a last resort!
I will be doing the challenge as well, and so we will be in it together!
If you have any questions or concerns about this challenge, email me at pumpkinspantry (at) gmail (dot) com :)