Quitting sugar is one of the best decisions I have ever made and today I am celebrating my 500th sugar-free day! It hasn’t been just refined white sugar that I have abstained from, though. Nearly a year and a half ago I bid adieu to all sweeteners except these three natural options – stevia, erythritol and xylitol.
The first 100 Days Living Without Sugar were the most challenging. Then, by the time I hit 300 Days Living Without Sugar it was a no brainer. Now that I’ve reached a whoppingly glorious 500 days, I must say that life couldn’t be sweeter!
In honor of this occasion, I have condensed all I have learned into six simple steps to quitting sugar. Living without sugar is not only sweeter, but it is easier than you might think. Sure, you may have to change your ways a little, or a lot, but once you do… a vibrant new life awaits you!
Six Simple Steps to Quitting Sugar
- Install a counting app on your smart phone. Set it up to count the number of days you have gone without sugar. I use an app called Days Since. Whenever I am tempted to taste just the tiniest bit of something sugary, the thought of having to restart the counter stops me every time.
- Sequester all sugars. This includes molasses, honey, fructose, maple or agave syrup, evaporated cane juice, etc. If you live alone, toss them out. Since my daughter wouldn’t have appreciated that, I put them all on one shelf in the cupboard and pretended that shelf didn’t exist.
- Clean out your pantry. If you have any canned or packaged foods, check the labels for any form of sugar. If you don’t want to waste them, donate them to a local food bank or give yourself 30 days to finish eating them. Then, restock your pantry.
- Buy some yummy treats. When I first quit sugar, the hardest part was watching my daughter eat ice cream and chocolate in front of me. Since then, I’ve found quite a few naturally sweet alternatives that even she enjoys. Here are my top 4 favorite finds: SO Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (the products with no sugar added are in sea-foam green packaging) , Lily’s Stevia-Sweetened Chocolate (a sweet treat made by a company with real heart), KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks (a fabulous alternative to sodas and sparkling ciders), and Ice Chips Candy (sweetened with xylitol, these make great breath fresheners).
- Be creative with recipes. Over the holidays I was really wanting to be able to enjoy a cookie, so I decided to make Mexican Wedding Cakes. In place of ½ cup powdered sugar, I substituted ½ cup cornstarch mixed with pure powdered stevia. My culinary experiments don’t always succeed, but I was thrilled when these looked and tasted nearly identical!
- Just say no. When people offer sugary foods to me, I politely decline. If they press it further, I just smile and say, “I don’t eat sugar.” It’s super easy. And as they walk away, feeling either guilty or inspired, I always hope for inspired!
If you want to learn more about what sugar does to the brain and body, check out The Harmful Effects of Sugar and 10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar is Bad for You. If you still aren’t convinced, eat a dozen donuts and your body will probably tell you how it feels all by itself. It’s pretty smart that way.
Don’t be fooled by sugar substitutes, either. Even though saccharin, neotame, acesulfame potassium, aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) and sucralose (Splenda) have been approved by the FDA for consumer use, they are toxic to the body. To learn more, check out the Two Most Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners.