A friend was asking me recently how I got off the sugar so I thought I’d share here. When I eat sugar, I suffer right away. My stomach hurts, my head aches, I get irritable and I gain weight too. It’s just not worth it anymore!
Eating a lot of sugar can cause diseases like diabetes, fatty liver disease, cavities, cancer, obesity, and heart disease. To get motivated to dump sugar, watch the movie Fed Up to understand what sugar does to your body. Here’s a peek (and as a vegan I completely abhor they experimented on animals):
So what kinds of sugar are ok? – Whole fruits and liquid stevia extract are your best friends. Everything else wreaks havoc on your body. Some, like maple syrup, are a tiny bit less damaging than refined white sugar, but it’s best to completely cut out – cane sugar, fructose, sucrose, maltose, coconut sugar, palm sugar, raw sugar, turbinado, sucanat, powdered sugar, maple syrup, honey, and agave.
Stevia is a simple extract of a sweet leafy herb. It’s hundreds times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories, and actually prevents cavities. Winning! Just use a few drops. Don’t get the processed powdered “stevia,” they’re a corrupted version.
(Tips: stevia can be an acquired taste for some people. If this is you, continue using half of your usual sweetener, plus a bit of stevia. Adjust each day, using less and less of your usual sweetener and more of the stevia. Eventually, you’ll only be using the stevia.)
5 Steps to Get Off the Sugar – for Good!
1. Know what you’re eating so you know what to replace. Awareness is key. Write everything you eat down for a week. Do you drink sugary soda? Do you have a daily latte? Do you use sweetened cereals? Be vigilant to notice added sugar. Does your spaghetti sauce contain sugar? Is your plant milk sweetened? Is there added sugar in your jam?
For example, I liked maple syrup in my morning tea, a dark chocolate bar in the afternoon, and maybe some soy cream at night. So my strategy was to replace all of those sweets with something else.
2. Clean out your kitchen. Dump all sugars and everything with added sugar. Let it go. You’re starting a new page and you’ll feel better for it.
3. Design a week’s worth of meals. Imagine your days start to finish, from tea to late-night snack.
For me, I wake up and make a pot of tea, sweetened with stevia. After my morning tea, I enjoy some of these sugar-free meals…
Sugar-free breakfast ideas: berry smoothies, granola, oats, tofu scrambles, hash browns, toast and jam (no sugar added), bagels and peanut butter, chocolate smoothies, coconut smoothies, green smoothies, quesadillas, sweet potatoes, breakfast burritos, etc….
Sugar-free lunches and dinner ideas: stews, potatoes, sandwiches, soups, salads, curries, pizza, sweet potatoes, rices, burritos, nachos, enchiladas, pasta.
Sugar-free sweet snacks and dessert ideas: fruits, dried fruit, smoothies, nice cream, fruit popsicles, nut-stuffed dates, jicama, sugar-free raw truffles, sugar-free raw cookies, apples with cinnamon and almond butter, sweet potato date pudding, date nut bars, fruit salad, chocolate avocado date mousse, baked fruit, frozen berries, melon kabobs.
4. Make a shopping list that replaces each sugary food item you’re letting go.
Sample Shopping List
(for sweet foods only, with no sugar added, duh 🙂 )
organic liquid stevia
fruit punch (for popsicles)
dried fruits of your choice
sweet potatoes (Garnet variety)
sugar-free raw truffles (or make your own with dates and nuts)
fruits of your choice but especially:
5. When eating out, make a plan. Tell your server you’re allergic to sugar so they can replace sugary dressings and dips with something else. Skip ordering dessert and instead bring some dried fruit in a baggie for dessert after. Or have some popsicles or frozen bananas ready at home to make a treat when you return.
6. Eat well balanced meals. Be sure the rest of your diet includes plenty of grains, legumes, nuts, and veggies. This balances your blood sugar and reduces cravings.
That’s it! Now you can identify your sugar habits, how to replace them, how to stock your kitchen, and what to eat at meal time.
The first three days are the hardest, but I assure you, using this approach makes it pretty dang easy. Please let me know how you do in the comments below!