15. Week 15 Challenge
This week we challenge you to nix added sugars. But, there is a catch! This weeks challenge is going to actually last 28 days! So, you have this week to solely focus on finding where sugar is hiding in your diet, remove it and find alternatives that work for you and your tastebuds. You will still get another challenge next week, but will be expected to continue with this challenge for the full 28 days, ending on October 12! This might be very difficult for some and a bit easier for others, but, regardless of your current habits it should be a good reminder to always look at ingredients and motivation to start making your own food whenever possible!
Why 28 days? Research has shown it takes 28 days for our taste buds to change and our goal is for you to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes. This will increase your chances of success and dramatically help prevent you from going directly back to old habits. It is very important to give your body time to adjust and to understand you may have intense cravings for a while (up to 2 or 3 weeks) but once your body (and gut bacteria) adjusts and develops a palate for natural foods you will be amazed! Check out this Dr. Gregor Video for more information on “Changing our taste buds“.
Foods that contain added sugars are often low in nutrients and fiber and the building blocks for metabolic diseases. Processed sugars are extremely addicting and added to most processed foods and restaurant meals…Even spaghetti sauce has added sugar! Eating refined sugars increases your risk for diabetes, obesity, cancer, tooth decay, cardiovascular disease and more.
To learn the 57 names of sugar click here!
The “side effects” of ridding your diet of processed sugars may include:
– Weight loss – Decreased risk for disease including cancer and diabetes!
– Decreased midday “crashes” – Clearer skin (less breakouts)
– Brighter eyes – Increased energy (and sustained energy)
– Better mood (you may have – Brighter more youthful looking skin
a dip as your body goes through
withdrawal but this will come
after your body adjusts)
So how can you go about eliminating sugar from your diet?
1. Clean out your kitchen and refrigerator! If you follow us on Facebook you might have seen our suggestion this weekend if you had spare time to Clean out your refrigerator. We have a complete write up of HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR REFRIGERATOR for optimal efficiency (and health) and how to keep whole foods such as vegetables fresh for up to two weeks!…Allowing you to go on trips and return home to fresh, vibrant, healthy food. Also, you will want to go through dressings, dips, spreads or other processed food you keep in the door etc. and get rid of anything that has added sugar (no exceptions!). Clean out the cabinets as well checking cereal boxes, crackers, breads etc. You might be surprised where it is lurking!
2. When shopping ALWAYS check the ingredients list for hidden sugars and stick to the perimeter of the store where most of the whole, unprocessed foods are! Check out our SHOPPING page for an interactive grocery list as well as tips on how to navigate the grocery store and save money (bottom of the page under “at the store”).
3. Fruit is your friend! When you are craving something sweet make your “go to” fruit. It is high in nutrients and generally fiber making for a perfect substitute. Think outside the box here: Grilled Strawberries are divine, berries added to almost anything sweeten it up especially shakes and morning cereals/outmeals, dates are the perfect sugar substitute in almost any recipe, raisins add sweetness to trail mix etc. Try our new tasty Tropical Granola Recipe to bring with you on trips in place of your typical breakfast or snack!
4. Stay hydrated! Dehydration can be detrimental in many ways but can also have you reaching for food, especially sugary snacks when you really are not hungry. Also, keep in mind many drinks are sugar traps! Read labels and ingredients and remember, “diet” is often not good for you either as many sugars are replaced with chemical alternatives. Which leads us to our next point….
5. Sugar substitutes. We are not huge advocates of sugar substitutes but understand you may need help especially yo get off chemical substitutes such as Splenda, Sweet’N low etc. We suggest giving Organic Stevia or Xylitol a try. They are naturally occurring from plants and do not contain chemicals. You can also use these for baking or try coconut sugar or date sugar. We do not use these often and they do contain calories but are made from the whole food, meaning they do provide nutrients and are lower on the glycemic index. We do not use agave or other types of syrup (as they provide very little nutrients), we generally make our own out of whole dates and water. Simple put water in a blender and add pitted dates until you reach the desired consistency!
6. Visit our recipe page for Whole Food’s recipes void of added refined sugars and syrups
Image by Nuchylee