Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quitting Sugar!

I read an article recently, and perhaps you did too, about a family that gave up sugar for a year.  Just today a friend posted  it on Facebook and queried whether she could do that and, if so, how.  So this post is dedicated to her quest to be sugar free.

First, we have to define what that means.  Does she want to just cut out all sugar, even naturally occurring?  Naturally occurring sugars can be found in a lots of foods!  Fruit, milk, yogurt, and basically anything with carbohydrates -- potatoes, pasta, many vegetables...  the list is lengthy.  So I am going to guess that no one is going to go fully sugar free, at least not from a naturally occurring perspective.  But no added sugar?  That I can wrap my head around.  So the dilemma then becomes what does she use as a sweetener substitute in baking or other cooking?  There are choices like honey, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, etc.  Or she can just eat naturally occurring sugars.

First, substituting.  I use honey or coconut sugar for almost all my sweetening.  Another great substitute is Medjool dates.  They add lots of sweetness and are very versatile.  If I want a brown sugar taste, I use blackstrap molasses or coconut sugar.  Remember though, just because it's clean doesn't mean you should overindulge.  Treats are treats, and everything in moderation!

Next, read the labels!  And research all the ways they disguise sugar in the ingredients:  glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, the list is pretty long!  And that particular linked list includes honey.  But I am focused here on not using white or brown processed sugar.  And let me tell you, the less you use sugar, the less likely you will crave it.  Take it from an old sugar addict!  Once you bust the addiction, you really won't want it.  And if you do eat something really sweet you won't enjoy it.  Since I started eating clean, I never enjoy processed anything, especially store bought sweets.  They taste so fake to me!

It might be hard to go all in on this especially if you're used to sugar in your coffee or tea.  So start small.  Cut out the desserts.  Then cut back on the sweetener in your coffee.  And keep cutting back until you aren't using any at all.  I think it's great to ease into these things and makes it less likely you will fall off the wagon.

Okay!  But what are you going to eat?!?!?  That's always the question, isn't it?  Even in my house where I make menus and do a prep work on the weekends!

If you find that you "just to have" a sweet, be sure to keep things like good quality dark chocolate around.  A little bit of that goes a long way and satisfies the craving quickly.  Or keep an easy to make treat in the refrigerator or freezer.  Here's one of my favorites to get you started:  Apple Pie Balls!  These are so good!  And so quick to make... which makes them a favorite with me.   And here's another one I recently found that is a great grab and go for breakfast.  Peanut Butter Granola Bars.  I made these over the weekend and cut them small.  That way I could have one for a snack or two or three for breakfast!

And here is one of the first clean eating recipes I ever ate.  This one includes whole wheat and some clean eaters don't eat wheat.  But if you do, these are the best ever!!!  And remind me of something my mom used to make.  Cinnamon Raisin Braids.  Go make you some!  You know you want to!

Edit!  One thing I always forget to mention is drinks.  Sodas, juices, etc.  The reason I forget to mention it is because I only drink water, black coffee, and tea with nothing added.  It never occurs to me that you  might be drinking scads of Diet Coke.  My personal advice, just quit.  If you really don't like to drink plain water, slice up a lemon and throw it in a pitcher or drink bottle and pour water over it.  It will add some nice flavor but nothing else.  Soon, you will be able to even skip that step.  That's how I got myself to drink more water.

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