Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sugar-Free Me



It's been a week and a half since I visited the naturopath for the first time and thanks to her advice it's been just as long since I've had any sugar or processed food.  I knew it was coming- my Mom had told me that my skin and overall blahs could be helped by cutting it out, but it's different when your Mother tells you something versus a doctor.

I think because I was so motivated to see results it wasn't terribly difficult for me to start this new way of eating immediately.  I already didn't drink soda or juice, but I did consume a lot of sugar in the form of fruit. And even though I'd consider myself a very healthy eater, I ate a LOT of processed "health" foods. On any given day I'd find myself eating various Annie's snacks, Lunabars, fake meat products, things like that. At night I'd also occasionally indulge in Skinny Cow treats which I knew all along were bad choices but hey, a whole ice cream sandwich for 120 calories?! Too bad they literally include 50 ingredients. Gross. Once I paid attention I was shocked at how bad my eating really was. For instance, did you know that Quorn products actually have hydrogenated oils and MSG in them? I had no idea and never bothered to look, since I viewed them as "healthy."

So anyway, when I started the first few days were easy. I was motivated, feeling good, and the reasons why I was doing this were fresh in my mind. I saw immediate results in my daily mood. To be honest, I can be quite up and down throughout the day. My naturopath said that this was a result of my body hitting highs and lows, many times a day, due to sugar consumption.  I also noticed that after I drank alcohol I would feel really, really terrible throughout the next week- I would get super depressed and just feel sad. This was one of the reasons I chose to drink only on rare occasions, but now I know why I've always felt the way I did, and why alcohol is just not for me.

On the fourth day of no-sugar I felt like I wanted to give up. I remember telling Hank how it just wasn't fair that I couldn't enjoy frozen yogurt or cupcakes. That MY LIFE WAS NOT WORTH LIVING (yes, all caps because I probably was yelling this in an overly-dramatic way) without sweet treats. But he supported me and reminded me that these 6 weeks were not a punishment for my body, but a reward. So I didn't give in. And now it's been almost two weeks and I've honestly never, ever felt better. Food flavors are so much more vibrant and I'm not as hungry throughout the day. I'm seeing physical changes, as well as emotional. I've lost some extra weight (not the goal but a nice bonus), my skin is clearing up and I've been in a great mood. It's weird because I know most people see me as a very positive person, but it absolutely takes work to stay in this positive place. It's easy for me to slip into depressed thinking or a negative mindset, so every morning I had to make the choice to be happy and positive. But honestly since starting this new way of eating I not only sleep better, but I wake up sincerely pumped to start my day. I don't experience those highs and lows, I feel great all day long, and I'm just in such a good place.

Tonight we met one set of my in-laws at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town. Typically I eat what I want, and I'd always go for the bread and the pasta. But tonight I ordered a huge salad full of veggies and the formerly "good" stuff didn't even seem appealing. This was huge for me, because I was kind of dreading dinner, knowing I'd be around some of my favorite things. But to be honest, I feel so good and there's no way I'm interested in feeling bad again.  It's just not worth it.

Now, before I get into this, I want all of you to remember that I am NOT a registered dietician, doctor, or in any way qualified to give any health or diet related advice. The information supplied here is simply from my own experience, and I am not suggesting you follow it. Please keep that in mind.

Okay. That's out of the way so let's get to it.

Sugar is sneaky. It's in EVERYTHING. Literally. I mean, it's in ketchup, spaghetti sauce, breads, you name it. It can be hard to look through every ingredient to check for all of the undercover names it goes by (if you're up for it, check out this list), so the easiest way to avoid it is to say no to all processed food and go with natural, whole foods.

My naturopath recommended that I cut out processed foods, breads, pasta, potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay- just no yams), fruit, and refined sugars of any kind for 6 weeks. And why no bread or pasta? They both convert to sugar in your body. She did make allowances for a serving or two of an Ezekial bread product a day (these are sprouted grain products and contain no flour) and 1/4 cup of berries OR a small apple.  Light Rye Wasa crackers are okay too. And remember, this is what was recommended to me, so if you're interested in getting a personalized program, be sure to find a naturopath in your area!

When you give up processed foods at first it seems like the end of the world. "What will I eat?!"

Here's a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast-
4 egg whites with 1 yolk scrambled with a ton of veggies
1 slice of toasted Ezekial bread

Snack-
handful raw nuts (cashews, pecans, macadamias, Brazil nuts, walnuts)
slices of organic turkey and cheese

Lunch-
big bowl of beans and veggies with an avocado and Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream)
hummus and cucumbers

Snack-
3 Wasa crackers with almond butter with 2 raspberries smashed on top of each cracker

Dinner-
homemade veggie burgers
sweet potato
broccoli

There are a MILLION things I am able to eat, and this break-down is just an example. The internet is a huge resource for me for finding delicious recipes, and my most favorite is the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook and website.  It's all about clean-eating (eating only whole, natural foods) and being healthy.  My favorite magazine is Whole Living, and my most favorite healthy-living blog is My New Roots.

The main thing I keep in mind is how much I CAN eat, rather than how much I can't. Yes, I had cravings at first (especially at night) but I just reminded myself of why I am doing this and it helped me to stay focused.

As for me, although my doctor recommended I do this for 6 weeks, I am looking at this as a permanent change. I will absolutely still partake in the sweet treats of life, but only in small amounts and on special occasions like holidays and birthdays. I will continue to avoid processed foods. I'll probably add in a few more fruits, but overall like I mentioned above, I feel way too good to stop eating how I am now. And plus, the sweet stuff just isn't as appealing.

So, with that said, I'm going to be posting a challenge later this week that will begin on Monday. In it I will include meal ideas and recipes to get you started. In this challenge I'll be encouraging all of you to make healthy changes and eat clean for ONE WEEK with me.* Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it, but I feel like it's worth a try and we can all do anything for a week, right?  I'll share more info about this later, so keep your eyes peeled.

*edited to change the sugar-free challenge to an healthy change/eat-clean challenge.

I've been getting tons and tons of interest about this, so I hope this post helped to answer some of your questions! Let me know in the comments if you have anything else you'd like to know and I will respond as soon as I can. Thanks for reading, I know this was a long one! :)

xoxo

image via appleaday

101 comments:

  1. this post was perfect for me to read tonight! i have been wanting to make cookies SO BAD. i went off sugar last monday, so a bit over a week. i HAVE had about 0-1 sugar item per day during that week, like 1/2 of a pbj, one cookie...i have a major sweet tooth...BUT i am 30 now, overweight and tired all the time. I am addicted to sugar and i am just wanting to challenge my will power. i have had no self-control in the past and that's not healthy. i will check your blog often now! so excited. thank you! good luck!

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  2. this sounds like an amazingly hard and rewarding challenge! and it sounds great for your body! i've been calorie counting the last few months, monitoring and being really aware of how much food i take into my body, and i can't believe how satisfying the results are, especially just feeling so much better and not over consuming. and i've thought of the idea of cutting sugar, but haven't tried it. but i think that this post may have just been the encouragement i needed!
    good luck with the next 4 weeks!!

    katie

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  3. Dani,

    I'm in for the challenge! You are always so inspiring. I love you GF!

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  4. I'm so excited for this challenge! I have been really thinking about going sugar-free so this will be a great test run and hopefully motivation to keep going!
    One question: Do you struggle with the hubsy being able to eat sweets? Or is he going sugar-free as well?

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    1. I'm so glad you're excited! :) To answer your question - Hank has a total sweet tooth but is very interested in being more healthy. Although I don't know if he'd ever cut it out completely he has been more mindful. The first week I basically told him to keep his treats away from me, but now I'm not even interested. It's gotten easier everyday.

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  5. You're right about sugar being so sneaky, it really does find its way into most processed food.

    I'm looking forward to the sugar-free week challenge!

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  6. I already shared my experience and thoughts on no-sugar diet in an email to you but I love hearing your progress with it and the tips on keeping with the diet will help me out while I do mine.

    Can't wait to keep reading more about your progress & how it's going :)

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  7. This is so motivating! I really want to try this challenge. I too have been experiencing mood ups & downs, lack of energy, and skin issues and I'm willing to bet sugar is to blame since I've pretty much ruled everything else out. Thanks for the meal suggestions. Keep posting those because they're so helpful! I'm excited to try!

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  8. Yay! I'm so excited about this. I did this a few years back and I was amazed at how different my body was. My hair grew twice as fast and never had dried ends, my eyes turned BRIGHT blue and it was SO easy to stay at a healthy weight. I REALLY need to get into this again and I'm so glad you're such a great motivator for every one. I'm really looking forward to more meal ideas. I think that's the hardest part for me. Thanks a lot Dani! xo -Liz

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  9. Congratulations on your success!! It's awesome and super inspiring.

    I'm pumped for your sugar free challenge! I cut out *most* processed food and sugar a while ago but I let it sneak back in occasionally because "I want to live my life!" but it's such a great perspective to look at eliminating those things as a reward, rather than as denying yourself something. Yay, yay, yay. Every time you've posted here or on twitter about kicking sugar I've been like ME, TOO! I want to do that! So I'm down. RECIPE SWAP TIME!

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  10. Hi, Danielle! First off, I love your blog. (Sorry if that was super cheesy to start off with.)

    I am currently going through something similar; my ENT has put me on a low-sodium diet in efforts to stop some nasty vertigo I was experiencing. (Given that I have high-pitch hearing loss and a constant ringing in my right ear, he is suspecting a Meniere's variant of some sort, in case you were wondering.)

    Anyhow, I know this new change in eating has been tough for me (sodium is in everything, both healthy foods and those that are practically poison). I'm so glad to hear that your husband and family have been supportive of your efforts to better yourself and improve your health. Can't wait to hear how it all goes for you!

    Best wishes and thanks for sharing your blog with us!

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  11. Yes! I am so excited about this! Sometimes a challenge is just what is needed to start something! My one question is this-I need coffee or tea (any caffeine, really) in the morning, but I have a hard time drinking it plain. Do you have any suggestions for a sugar free option??

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    1. Hi Liz!

      Hmmmm, I'm not a coffee drinker so I'm not sure what you could sweeten it with since sweeteners of any kind wouldn't work. BUT I do have suggestions for tea! Why don't you try some flavored tea - a raspberry yerba mate tea will probably wake you up, or any other kind of tea. Do you like green tea?

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    2. I'm willing to try it! Morning caffeine is going to be my biggest challenge.

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  12. Wow, this sounds like a great challenge. I looked at the Eat Clean site and they are also doing a weight loss challenge where you can win some great prizes, including $3000 so if anyone is interested that would be great motivation as well!

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  13. Really loved this post, very interesting.I have been dieting on and off for the past few years, and more seriously in the last month. I always vow to give up processed foods, but always find it so hard, just because it feels like everything is processed! I have done Atkins a few times, which obviously has no processed foods, and it makes me feel very trim a lot less bloated. Although I do think Atkins is unhealthy.

    I really like the idea of generally eating clean, this post definitely makes me want to give it a try. I think cutting out sugar would be hard though, especially as I eat a lot of fruit. How much fruit are you allowed on the eat clean diet?

    I also found the bit about your moods interesting. Mine always vary so much throughout the day and I do notice feeling worse after consuming sugary things.

    Thanks for your typical meal list - I always find it so hard to think of different things, and variety is key to me having success in healthy eating!

    I apologise for this long and rambling comment haha!

    Beth xx

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! I'm sure it's been incredibly difficult at times and rewarding at others, and it's nice to hear both sides. I would really like to try this out, so I think I will take the challenge when you post it!

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  15. I want to try this! :)

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  16. Thank you for this! There are some great resources you've posted and I'm checking them out now.

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  17. This is just what I needed to read! I just finished up the Eat Clean Diet: Recharged book and I've been more interested in eating healthier (and more natural). Just thinking of changing my eating habits and how to incorporate a new eating "style" is daunting (especially cutting back and/or eliminating sweets - major sweet tooth here). I'm certainly looking forward to the challenge and hoping I will have the courage to jump on board and give it a try... I'm sure my face will appreciate a sugar break as well as the rest of my body!

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience with this! It is very motivating! :)

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  18. Is honey allowed? I would think not right?

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    1. No honey! I asked my doc the same question. :)

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  19. You're AMAZING Danielle!! This is a super hard commitment and it made me smile when i saw this post. Ever since I've been Vegan,GF and have been added a lot more whole foods in place of processed foods in my diet,Ive felt 100% better! You will start noticing how much better your workouts are as well when your not weighted down by all that junk. I cant wait to hear more about your journey and maybe when you come to SF we can go to my favorite restaurant and get BIG kale salads :)

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  20. This is one of the many reasons I love your blog so much. I come here for inspiration and positivity, but I also like to be reminded that even you struggle with remaining positive sometimes. And this post could not be more timely- I've been trying to incorporate more whole foods into my diet, but it's been a struggle. Your sugar-free challenge is just what I need. I'd love to see more of what you eat in a typical day!

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  21. Ooh, if you do a one week challenge i am in! I've done cleanses before, but never for longer than 4 weeks. I don't think it's a lifestyle i could maintain (everything in moderation, including moderation is my motto) but there is definitely room for improvement in my diet!

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  22. Ahhh! I super want to do it. My main anxiety is around shopping for and cooking for me, my husband, and the kids when everyone eats different stuff. I know I can make most of it overlap but I'm afraid it might get so complicated. Lots of preplanning I guess.

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  23. Thank you for committing to post about your new challenge. I am very interested in it because I have been having issues with breakouts at age 30 as well. It's hard to feel good about the way you look when you have a breakout no matter how much other people tell you they don't notice it. I look forward to hearing about your results! I don't think I am quite ready for this challenge but I think I can at least make some improvements little by little. Thanks Danielle!

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  24. YAY!! I've been waiting for this post. I really want to try it. I think it will help with my aches and pains from the Spondylolisthesis as well as get off the few extra pounds I need to shed to help relieve pressure on my spine. My two biggest issues is: what on earth can I cook? I need recipe ideas AND what do I feed my hubby in the mean time? I have low will power so its hard for me to cook the hubs some pasta or something and then not eat it. BUT, I am willing to try this!!

    You gave some food ideas above.... what all can you drink, besides water?

    Can't wait to read more, I am intrigued!

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  25. I'm starting a paleo diet tomorrow. I want to see how I feel on whole, natural foods. I love that you're eating dairy.

    Can't wait for a challenge!

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  26. yay! i'm so glad you put this post together. i experience similar up & down mood swings throughout the day, and it totally makes sense that it could be my body crashing from a sugar high. i commented here earlier about how drastically my health and lifestyle changed when i cut out gluten, so i'm really tempted to give this a try too! thanks for all the advice and tips. i will definitely be doing your challenge next week!

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  27. I've always wanted to try this- having a bit of online support might help. I'm up for the challenge!

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  28. OMG since recently going vegetarian i eat sooo much Quorn! No wonder it tastes good with those ingedients though, i also assumed looked at the packet assumed it was healthy and didn't look much closer at the ingredients.
    Just the other day i ordered the book "Sweet Poison" and i can't wait for it to arrive so i can educate myself about going sugar free and decide wether im ready to give it a try!
    thanks for sharing your experience.
    :)
    xx

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  29. This was such a great post, Ive recently been trying to adapt some of these things into my diet, or more so kicking things out of my diet.
    The recipe posts will be great to get me on track for the next week :) Cant wait to read them,
    Amy :)

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  30. I wish I could do this but natural healthy foods are usually so expensive :( well over in the UK they are anyway!

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  31. Im so looking foward to this!!!
    I cut out wheat from my diet almost 3 years ago and am ready to cut out sugar too, youve opened my eyes!

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  32. I found it really interesting reading about your experiences. However, I have to say that I'm not as excited about your 'no sugar challenge' as the other commenters seem to be. As you mentioned, you aren't a nutritionist or doctor, so I think that it's pretty irresponsible for you to challenge people to drastically change their eating habits without consulting a medical professional. The diet plan you are following was specifically put together with your lifestyle and health profile in mind, and it probably isn't wise to advise other people to do it 'along with you'. I don't agree with the idea of making sudden, dramatic changes to your eating habits. Every doctor or nutritionist I've ever spoken to about improving my diet has advocated gradually cutting out things like processed food or refined sugars to allow your body time to adjust and compensate, and this is the approach that I prefer to follow when I want to improve the way I'm eating.

    I'm glad that you're seeing such wonderful results. However I won't be taking part in your challenge.

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    1. Hi Nessbow!

      Thanks for reading. I am actually surprised I didn't receive a comment like this earlier; in a way I think I was almost waiting for it! I think you bring up some great points...however I don't think it's irresponsible at all to encourage people to give up processed food. I'm not promoting a diet to lose weight, diet food, or cutting calories. I'm getting people excited about eating real food. How is this any different than sharing clean-eating recipes or getting people on board with healthy eating? I do 100% see where you are coming from though, and when I post the "challenge" I will be sure to address it even more than I have. I apologize if you were turned off by it, but I also wanted to thank you for articulating your opinion in such a polite way. I appreciate you explaining where you're coming from.

      Have a good day-
      Danielle <3

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    2. I also don't think there is anything wrong with promoting good eating habits. I've always been leery of processed organic and "health" foods and I'm happy you wrote this post to bring more awareness. I'm all for it! Now I just have to eat all of those oatmeal cookies I made last night before Monday ;)

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    3. No body on this planet will see adverse effects from cutting sugar and processed foods out of their diets, these foods are addictive and give us ZERO in the form of nutrients that our body needs. I applaud anyone who jumps in and takes healthy living into their own hands because certainly relying on modern medicine is just making us sicker. I am living proof and my husband and children haven't been sick one single day in over a year...

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    4. I just wanted to clarify something. I'm not opposed to cutting out processed foods or refined sugars from your diet. On the contrary, I think that's a really positive step to take, which is certain to have a wide range of health benefits. However, I think that slowly reducing your intake and weaning yourself off these foods can be a better approach. It's true- processed foods and refined sugars ARE addictive, so if you have a high percentage of these foods in your diet, suddenly removing them altogether is going to have a huge impact on your body. If a person who consumes a large amount of sugar each day suddenly stops eating it altogether they're going to experience a huge comedown, which could make it more likely that they'll relapse into eating sugar again. I think that making gradual, progressive changes to improve your diet is more likely to have long-term results. It depends on the individual, which is why I think that any person who wants to try this should consult a doctor or nutritionist to come up with a plan that is tailored to their own eating habits and health profile.

      I'm also wary of any diet plan that recommends cutting out fruit. While fruit does contain natural sugars, it's also packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre which are great for our bodies. Many fruits are also low GI, so they release energy steadily, rather than blasting it into your body in one hit the way that refined sugars do.

      I'm all for encouraging healthy eating habits, and sharing your experiences. I hope that this post inspires other people to make positive changes to their eating habits.

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    5. Hi again!

      Thanks for the clarification- I actually totally see where you are coming from. I think you'll see in my post tomorrow that I absolutely took your words to heart and it definitely made me think of things a little differently. Thank you for that!

      <3

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  33. I thought my boyfriend and I ate really quite healthily - most of our food is made more or less from scratch and we don't have many sweet treats - but then I started using a nutrition app to try and figure out all these headaches I was getting. It was amazing how much sugar (and how little vitamin A) was managing to sneak in there... So, maybe...

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  34. I'm in. I recently borrowed Eat Clean from the library, so I'll be studying and meal-planning this weekend.

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  35. so informative. funny how (fake) 'sugar' is such a staple in my diet. made me think! (don't know if i can convert to the no sugar side...but will think about your one week challenge:). doesn't hurt to try. :)

    xx

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  36. Thank you so much for posting this. Going sugar-free has always been something I have thought about doing. Perhaps I will give it a go!

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  37. I'm in! Since the new year I've been making a conscious effort to eat whole, natural foods, but every few days a cookie or sugary snack sneaks in and I end up feeling awful and tired. I want to try this no-sugar challenge to see if it really changes my moods and how my body feels. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  38. This is very close to the paleo diet except with beans and less meat. The focus is really just minimally processed foods (especially no grains, soooo processed), but encourages the consumption of meat & fat because it's not as evil as people say.

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  39. I'm in too! So, if you end up only having sweets occasionally or sometimes then you literally will be "sometimes sweet" :) haha

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  40. I honestly agree with being sugar free. If you need to be convinced any more of how absolutely devastating sugar (fructose) is for your health, I can highly recommend reading 'The Sweet Poison Quit Plan' by David Gillespie. Everyone is walking around, addicted to a substance which disables our bodies' ability to tell us when we're full, and which does the same thing to hormone receptors in our brains as illegal, mood altering drugs. That's why quitting is so hard.. you're giving up an addiction cold turkey!! So keep on keeping on, Danielle! It's so much better in the long run!

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  41. Uuuh, cool idea! Im off sugar for a while now but id love if you set up a linky so we can see whos participating and maybe people wanna share recipes and such!

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  42. First: I knew there were a lot of names for suger, but I had NO IDEA just how many, wow!
    Second: I have been eating fairly healthy for a while now &I've cut out a lot of unnessesary ("bad")fats, sugars &processed foods, but lately I've been feeling that I need to rid my diet of processed items even more, almost completely. You were just the motivation I needed! Thank you for that. I dont think I'll be going quite as sugar free though because I love me some whole wheat pasta! Looking forward to more food sharing in your coming challenge blog.

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  43. Hi, I'm a reader from Sweden. I love your blog and the way you inspire me (and others I guess) to a happier and healthier life. I was just wondering about tattoos and the ingredients in different inks, and hopeing you might know something about that? I have a few tattoos and I'm thinking about having more, but the poisones part of it is holding me back. I try to eat healthy, and I only use natural oils/products on my skin and hair so it is quiet hard to motivate putting ink in my skin that I know are unhealthy. But if you have some information about it, I might be helped. Maybe it's just poisones during the healing part, and after that its fine?
    Sorry for any wrongspellings, my English isn't perfect...
    Looking forward sharing your coming challange!
    /Malin

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  44. We discuss topics such as this one almost daily on TheIronYou, stop by sometime!
    Peace
    Mike

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  45. What a great read - I can't believe the coincidence though, as I set up a "secret" group on Facebook for myself and a handful of friends which I called "Sugar-Free Me"! I guess it has a ring to it! Our plan was to do a 30-day sugar-free challenge and we're feeling SO good we're just carrying on. It's been an educational journey I can say!

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  46. I think this is a fabulous idea! I've gone back and forth with cutting out various things, but in a slow manner since I tend to get on a kick, see results and then go right back into old habits. But if there is a timeline (such as only a week!) I can stay focused and then evaulate where to go from there. I'm excited, and really glad you're seeing such positive results!

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  47. Yesssss! Loved this post. I used to be vegetarian. Like you, I always thought that vegetarian foods like Quorn were good for me (where do we get these ideas?), but came to the same realization. I was the most unhealthy I'd ever been, eating sooooo much processed grains and sugar. Today, there is not much I won't eat, as long as it's a real, non-processed natural food. I'm a baker, so I could never say goodbye to my treats and baquettes, though now I make sure I use the best quality ingredients, and only eat these things in small rations (More like a French woman, less like a college student pulling an all-nighter. Hehe) And you're so right that sugar is very sneaky. It is in pretty much everything that is processed. I nearly gasped ever time I looked at a my old favorite food labels in the super market. When it comes to sugar, now I play this game where I bank grams of sugar in my head. If there is an item with sneaky sugar I'm considering buying, I tell myself to get a healthier alternative and save the sugar for when its worth it - I'll make little deals with myself and on Friday, I'll eat a beautifully made cupcake from the natural bakery I love. This way, I eat super healthy all week long, but still enjoy a treat once and a while. And to be honest, I never feel deprived, because I'm making healthier versions of meals from scratch, I've become a way better cook, and you know what? Ezekiel bread and Wasa crackers are pretty darn good, anyway. Those happen to be two of the few packaged items I buy. Heck yeah!

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  48. So interested in this! I have absolutely no self control when it comes to eating. I need to get better or it's not going to be pretty. I definitely want to try to cut out sugar so I'll definitely partake in this challenge. I eat fruit like it's going out of style so that will be the hardest for me. I have a total sweet tooth but cutting out bread has already made me feel so much better! So excited for this I can't wait to keep reading about how this produces positive changes in your life!

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  49. You are so right! It takes work to stay positive. Every morning you have the choice of which side of the bed to get off of. I like to stay positive even in the worst of situations. I hope it rubs off on my daughter!

    I'm interested in this kind of diet. Like I told you the other day...Its the candy and sugar that get me every time. But your a real motivator! I need to try this! Thanks!

    Callmesnakke

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  50. I've done cleanses before and they are not easy. This time of year is the best to do it because I think most of us feel like we have all indulged through the holidays. It's a great way to start the new year. Plus, with all your working out it's perfect to supplement it with excellent eating habits. I think it's great! If I weren't breastfeeding I would do it too!

    Kacie

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  51. I'm so insanely excited about this! I've been looking at the Whole Living one month challenge I saw on My New Roots, but since I found it a little late, I told myself I'd start in February. Now I have so much motivation with your post and that post! Thanks for this!

    xo kristen
    thosesunnydays.blogspot.com

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  52. I'm so excited about your posts next week! In the past couple years, I've become very interested in food and eating healthy (although I am no expert, and I don't always eat healthy foods). I'm so going to try this though...I struggle with staying positive as well and keeping my emotions even. I think the most challenging thing for me will be the cream and sugar I have in my coffee every morning! Nonetheless, I'm determined. Thank you for sharing :) Love your blog!

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  53. I have been sugar and grain free(Paleo) for just over a year now and I can't tell you how wonderful it has been for me.. Weight loss, lower BF% but best of all gone are all my medical issues. I am med free and dodged many health bullets!! You are on a great journey, not easy at first, but OH so worth it!

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  54. I'm really looking forward to these posts! I recently moved and that was the perfect time to rid myself of all the junk food in my cabinets and let me tell you it's so much easier to eat healthier when there isn't anything to tempt you at home. Also, thanks for the My New Roots blog recommendation, I've never heard of it before and it's awesome, glad you shared!

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  55. AUGH! MSG in Quorn products?!? So bummed.

    But I'm sensitive to MSG and now I totally understand why I wake up feeling a little "eh" after using their product in my dinner the night before.

    Thanks for sharing your progress. It's inspiring!

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  56. Honestly, like the comment above, I've been a little hesitant to jump aboard this! I've been playing this over in my head a lot, as I've been trying to make some changes in my lifestyle as well. I actually went to sleep with this on the brain! Before I say all of this, I'll also say that I'm not an expert, I just really felt I needed to voice my opinion on this one. I'm not going to call you irresponsible, but I am a little concerned for those who decide to do this. Unless someone has a dietary need to refrain from fruits in their diet, as prescribed by their doc, I don't think people should be quick to cut it out of their system. Fruits are a source of some important nutrients! While I know they can be found elsewhere (leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc- you seem to be doing great!) I'm not sure everyone who might choose to partake in this would understand that and boost their intake of these food items enough to replace the nutrients they were receiving from fruit. It's also a little scary when many may have deficiencies that they aren't even aware of (this has been me a couple times!) As far as grains, I was very relieved to see that you are getting some to maintain your energy level. It is also important to note also, for those who may think this may be their ticket to weight loss, cutting carbs will reduce water weight by sucking out stored carbs, but will be restored when they begin to eat them again. Of course, if people are really interested in this sort of diet and are feeling in a slump they think they can attribute to their current diet, it would be best for them to get in touch with a dietitian or doctor. :) Getting a health scan, a personalized plan, and educating yourself is so necessary. With ALL of that said, I'm all for cutting back on sweets, white breads, pastas, and processed foods! I think that is a great thing to promote and something I need to work on, myself. I have the biggest sweet tooth & am a pasta-lover. They're my poison! In the end, the whole process you're suggesting is only a week, so I don't see it posing a huge risk. Hopefully people will listen to their bodies and see if it's the right thing for them.

    Excuse my book of a comment! ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lindsay,
      Thanks for the comment. I've already written up my post to go up tomorrow, and while writing it last night it actually morphed into an eat-clean challenge. I realized that although I have a lot of background with eating healthy many people don't and I have to keep that in mind. I go into it a lot more in the post but I think it will alleviate all of your gripes and be a better idea for everyone. Have a good day.
      Danielle

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    2. p.s. I don't mind the book of a comment! I love it! <3

      Delete
  57. I've been on a very restricted diet - to lose all of my extra second-baby weight - since New Years. It requires no sugar and very little fat. It's 6 weeks long, and 6 weeks more of "phasing" back into normal eating. I've lost weight, and I do feel great. It's not my typical route of dieting, I normally just cut back, try to eat well, exercise, etc, but I've been doing it to help give myself a kick start and take off the extra weight from having a baby that I just can't seem to shake.

    I do feel good. I've thought about the possibility of doing clean eating after this diet is done for me. However, one thing bothers me about it: everyone should eat well, and eat good for themselves on a daily basis as a part of their life. I feel that it's a mistake to say that sweets should be relegated to only very special occasions. (In your case, I realize you said that the sugar gives you highs and lows.) But sweet treats, pastas, breads, fruits etc shouldn't be thought of as special or "bad", or no-no foods. It's just my opinion, but I think eating, on a daily basis, should be joyful and fulfilling. (NOT to pig out everyday on whatever you like, that's not what I mean.) But, my LIFE philosophy, on everything, is this: "everything in moderation." My current diet is extreme, but I don't think of it at all as a thing to do for life, and once I begin thinking about doing a similar diet, (like clean eating), for life, I begin to realize how little joy I would have in the everyday.

    So, like I said "everything in moderation." I think clean eating should be more of a springboard for learning to eat healthfully on a daily basis, but not as something to do stringently for the rest of your life.... Anyway, I feel like I rambled a bit, but I hope my overall point came across. And these are just my opinions... please no one attack me for them.

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    1. Hey Natalie!

      I promise NO ONE will attack you for your opinions here- if so I will promptly delete them! This is an open forum for ALL people's thoughts and I welcome a difference in opinion. :) With that said, I agree and disagree with you. Eating clean doesn't mean you can't indulge in the everyday and enjoy- all it means that if you are going to eat cookies, make them yourself using whole ingredients or look for smarter choices with ingredients you can pronounce. I totally get that it is not for everyone and most people probably share your view. But for me (and like you pointed out) I feel 100% better when I don't eat processed food and limit my sugar intake. After these 6 weeks you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be experimenting with different healthy treat recipes so I can enjoy but also feel good. And you can also bet that if my Mom was to offer me some of my favorite jam thumbprint cookies I will absolutely have one. Just not my normal 8. ;) haha.

      Thank you for your comment!
      <3

      Delete
    2. Haha, 8, huh? Sounds like my Mom's gingersnaps. Well, good. I understand, then, and I wish you luck, Dani! I'm glad you feel good!

      Delete
  58. I am doing something like this as well. Oh my GOODNESS is it hard. I havent even gone a full day without "cheating" yet. (although this is only about day 2). Great job though and keep up the good work! Im sure you know this too, but PINTEREST has SOOOO many great food recipes!

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  59. Just watched a great video online of a lecture by Doug Lisle called The Pleasure Trap (he originally wrote a book with the same title) about helping people avoid the psychological factors which draw them into a self-destructive rut regarding food. It was awesome! I would strongly recommend! :)

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  60. Great post Danielle!! I took have become lax with my clean eating and have indulged waaaay too much in the sweet treats. I'm on board for the challenge!!

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  61. Very informative and well-written (as per usual). You are sweet and sugar-free!

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  62. love the post, pictures with what you ate would be awesome =)

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  63. You have completely inspired me. At the beginning of your post when you were discussing how you were feeling and how your mood skips up and down, how drinking then puts you on a down for days after the drinking. Not even from drinking loads either. Negative thoughts in my head and always feeling quite depressed and down. It was very uplifting realizing your not completely alone. I've really been trying to eat more healthy and like you enjoy waking up and going to the gym first thing. Only problem is I tend to eat a lot of fruit =/. It's my go to food instead of a bit of chocolate. I am really wanting to push and challenge myself with this. I've looked at your links and really love all of the info that you shared. I hope to get a positive outcome from this although I know it might not be for everyone. From what I have read on your amazing blog we can be quite similar( and I mean that in the least stalkerish way, I understand with the world wide web you can probably feel pretty invaded at times by readers.) I hope it keeps going good for you and am excited for monday :) Thanks again for the little pick me up post. It was really the sunshine I was looking for in my day.

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  64. I think this is amazing that you are sharing this with us!I can't wait to try your challenge...I think it will help with so many of us trying it at the same time, it's all about support, right? I am excited to read your next post on this issue!
    Thanks!!

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  65. I don't have the time to read all 76 comments to see if anyone else has mentioned it but Sarah Wilson wrote an e-book about quitting sugar (http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/i-quit-sugar-ebook/). I bought it, with the intention of trying this out, getting healthier, but have barely started reading it. With your positive feedback on cutting out sugar and your posts starting on Monday to help us all follow along, I think I'll read the book this weekend and follow along and definitely try it out for *at least* a week!

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  66. I am PUMPED for this challenge! I have been on a whole foods / no dairy / no gluten diet for a few weeks now, but am finding myself getting a bit bored with my meals, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what sort of example menus / meal plans you have in store. I find that peeking in at other people's food diaries is a great source of motivation.

    Also, I LOVE My New Roots! I love that she draws inspiration from what's around her. "I liked the colors of these fallen leaves, so here is a sesame crusted squash with pomegranate seeds." Genius.

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  67. This is amazing. I admire your will power! I think I need to start eating healthier and avoid too much sugar. :-)

    xoxo
    ida

    http://asplashofida.blogspot.com

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  68. I would highly suggest the book Potatoes not Prozac.

    http://www.amazon.com/Potatoes-Seven-Step-Stabilize-Cravings-Recognize/dp/0684850141

    Its great and talks a lot about the same things, plus I know you like you read.

    sara

    www.saradecemberrose.blogspot.com

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  69. oh gawd. im a total sugar whore. i dont even think i could make a commitment to SAY i would even try! proud of you and an your sweet adventure!

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  70. I am so inspired by your blog! I am a school teacher as well and I get sooooo lethargic midday and especially after lunch. I come home and crash and usually take a nap. I don't want to do this anymore. I have made myself go to the gym this week but I want to eat better and I am totally going to do this with you next week.Thanks so much for the inspiration. Your awesome!

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  71. this is awesome danielle. i'd really like to try the challenge! this is something i've often thought about and would love to try. thank you for posting this!

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  72. I think I commented before telling you that I have cut out most of these foods in general except for on Saturdays. I'm surprised to see that you're "allowed" one fruit each day! I do allow myself fruit every few days because I still appreciate the vitamins they have to offer, but I don't eat them every day. Have you gone without fruit at all? And if so, did you really notice a difference since it's not a processed sugar?

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  73. I've been sugar free since last Monday and I feel great as well! The thing I've noticed the most is I don't snack as much throughout the day. I definitely miss it and occasionally feel the 2 year old temper tantrum coming on: "WHY CANT I JUST HAVE SOME FROZEN YOGURT OR A BOWL OF SUGARY CEREAL?!". But I do my best to get rid of that thinking.

    I need to be better about processed foods, though. I've been eating more bread this week than I was last week. Mostly because I don't want it to go bad. But the other fun part about this is I've really gotten into cooking!

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  74. Have you heard of Xylitol? Do you know if it has the same side effects has sugar?

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  75. Are you drinking coffee? Do you use sugar substitute?

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  76. You know I stumbled on your blog a couple of weeks ago. It's all been very random. But I've read more and more of your posts when I have spare time, and found them so insightful. I too suffer with tiredness and low moods, at the age of 33 my face has recently decided to break out, which has really knocked my confidence. I suffer with migraines, at least one a week which doesn't help at all.
    I saw your post about your visit to the naturopath at the weekend, and your update to say that it was going well and your face had begun to clear up. I've always been interested and drawn to healthy eating and natural medicine/homeopathy. Something clicked in me and I thought, yep I'm doing this! I eat quite a lot of sugar, I try to avoid processed white sugar, but I get so tired that I always opt for something sweet to pick me up and give me energy to get through the day. Since Saturday I have not eaten sugar, added sugar to my hot drinks, and only allowed myself to have just a small amount of honey now and then. I've had huge cravings, but stuck with it. Today I feel the best I have in months if not years. Truly. So I'm going to stick with it. I've spent this evening looking for sugar-free recipes in vain, I found a few but nothing really inspiring. But then I saw this post and all the helpful information you have put together here for us, the links to the website and blog (I almost yelled with joy when I checked the blog by the way, sugar-free banana cake pancakes! And I'm happy!) and the examples of what you are eating. It's really brilliant.
    So I just wanted to say in a very long winded way - Thank you!
    Your writing is informative, clever, helpful, positive and motivational.
    Please keep going it's great.
    Sam :)

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  77. I'm so excited you decided to share this with us! I am very much looking forward to learning more! I know sugar and carbs are a problem area for me so I am so ready for the challenge! :)

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  78. i didn't read through all 91 comments here, so if someone already mentioned this i don't mean to bring it up again...
    i fully understand that quorn products are considered "processed foods" namely because they are not "whole" and are made with more than a few simple ingredients...but i'm curious to find out where you heard that they have msg and hydrogenated oils? when i read that i was shocked because i am very very sensitive to msg and always get a headache after eating it (usually unknowingly)...chad and i eat quorn products all the time and i've never felt any adverse effects. i too am a huge label reader and those are the top two ingredients i look for, even before animal products. as soon as i read your post just now i went to the freezer to read and re-read the ingredients on each and every package of quorn we have and i even referenced the website to triple check...i can't find any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils or MSG listed...not even by any sneaky twist of words that i'm aware of. i mentioned to the doctor that i do eat quorn products and she only suggested that i eat them in moderation because while they are natural they are still processed...but because we don't eat meat, and have a hard time considering it, using a soy-free alternative isn't all that bad in the grand spectrum. i'm not calling you out...i'm just checking the facts. ;) let me know what you know or what you find out because i'm super curious.

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  80. You sounded like you were telling my story. I gave up sugar because my doctor said I needed to in order to feel better. I was so skeptical at the time. It took some re-education on what to eat, but then I went for it. In two weeks the pain I was experiencing disappeared. Who knew? I had so much energy that I was amazed. That's when I found a Zumba class and found an interesting and fun way to exercise. Now 70 pounds lighter (on a 5'3" frame). I'm in to a much healthier lifestyle. Websites like yours inspire me with the honesty of what it takes to eat a healthy diet with foods you like.

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