It’s Q & A Saturday! This is a special weekly post of answering reader questions in more elaborate detail.
This weeks reader question is from Michele:
"I MUST get off sugar. I did good not drinking soda and one day thought, I haven't had one in a while, it will just be a treat. Bad idea. I haven't stopped drinking that treat since!
What is the best way to go about doing the no sugar or no sugar most of the time? It's in EVERYTHING!"
Michele is right , IT is in almost everything you buy that is processed and packaged. Unfortunately doing no sugar MOST of the time and then adding it back SOME of the time is a battle I just can't win. And believe me I tried it. Occasionally having some sugar in products only produced the desire and cravings for more.
I can't tell you if you are the person who NEEDS to eliminate the sugar for good like I had to do. I can't tell you if you can handle eating sugar products just one day a week or only at parties and go back to a sugar free life style without a problem.
I can tell you my experience and what worked for me. I HAD to eliminate ALL forms of refined sugars for GOOD because that was the only way I could get away from the cravings and become more disciplined. I was addicted to the stuff and if I open myself up to having even a bite, those cravings will come back like a roaring, ravenously hungry lion. How do I know about that roaring lion? We have wrestled before and I finally won. 🙂
Here are the steps I must follow to this day to maintain my weight loss and be free from the sugar addiction.
Step 1: Become a Food Label Expert.
You MUST read the label on everything that is store bought from salad dressings, protein bars, cereals, sauces, yogurts, pretty much everything. Follow the rule that if you find sugar listed within the first 5 ingredients you just won't buy or eat it. Plain and simple, not gonna happen. END OF STORY. Click here for my How to Become a Food Label Expert Series.
Step 2: Make it Yourself.
The only way to truly eliminate refined sugar in your food is to cook/bake it yourself. That's how this blog came to be for me. I had a desire to make healthier, sugar-free meals and wanted to share it. I know it can be challenging to cook wholesome, homemade meals but in the end it is so worth it. I know exactly what is in my food when I make it myself. In fact you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Have you seen how many dessert recipes I have on my blog? You must decide how bad you want to lose weight, be free from sugar addiction or just lead a healthier life style. Set aside time one day a week to do some freezer cooking. You will find when you have something ready to heat and eat, you will be less likely to grab an unhealthy option.
Here are some of my favorite freezable Meals: Personal Sized Baked Oatmeal, Apple Oatmeal Muffins, Barley Salad, Beef Orzo Soup, Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts, Meatloaf, Turkey Mini Muffins, Italian Spinach Pie. There are a ton more, just look around.
Step 3: Daily Commitment.
You can do anything for one day you know. You really can. Each day of making the choice to leave refined sugars behind is one more day you are getting stronger and more able to say no when offered something. One more day to build your confidence in yourself and one more day that those cravings will have less and less of a pull on you.
You must decide what you will allow in your body.
I only allow myself certain types of sugars that are less refined. Read this post to learn more about my sweeteners of choice. Will you allow yourself to use artificial sweeteners? I don't because they just fool my taste-buds and still make me crave everything under the sun. Read this post all about Splenda in case you are thinking or are currently using it.
Check here to start with my 3 Day Cleanse & Detox Plan!
One thing I want to make sure you know. If you give in, mess up, eat something with sugar in it, the world will not end, you will not die, you will be OK.
All you must do is get back on track and focus on the next meal. Say NO to whatever it is that calls your name and defeat that lion.
HUGS to you,
I too, want to thank you for your blog and I also have a husband that isn't interested in being sugar free but I'd love to experiment with some of his desserts. How do I replace the sugar with the drops? And would I use vanilla flavor and not use vanilla extract? Or is there just plain stevia drops? I've thought for years about getting rid of sugar, and since finding your blog, I feel like I'm so much closer to doing that. Thank you! I can't wait to make ketchup, and BBQ sauces and things like that that have so much hidden sugar. Thank you again! Angie
Hi Brenda. I am so glad I found your blog. I don't feel as overwhelmed about getting sugar out of my life anymore! I have a quick question, may be a stupid one- several of your recipes call for white whole wheat flour. I have found soft wheat flour and whole white flour...are they the same thing???
I appreciate your help. LOVE your blog!
Hi Michelle, soft wheat flour would be fine but the whole white flour sounds fishy to me. If the first ingredient say whole wheat then its fine but if it says enriched wheat it is just refined white flour.
Thanks so much for your blog, recipes and great info! Hopefully this article will be just what I need to start to kick the sugar habit. I haven't switched to stevia yet - what are you thoughts on honey!?
Thanks again for all your helpful info!
You're welcome! I use honey but occasionally and sparingly. Stevia is mostly what I use day to day.
Hey brenda, I just want to thank you so much for sharing your story and all of this info. I can not tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm 2 weeks off sugar, and its been great, but the biggest problem I was facing was being sugar free and feeding a family. And thanks to you, and this page, I'm on the right track, AND I realized I don't have to give up all desserts, *praise the Lord*, which has my husband more interested as well. I've realized that I, like you, have to just go completely sugar free, I can't just have some and then go back to normal. But I was wondering about the rule you have for foods with sugar 5 ingredients in. Do they not trigger you to eat more sugar?? And is it okay if the 5th ingredient is sugar?? I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!!! Take care. : )
HI Amanda, thank so much for the kind words. I haven't noticed a difference in any cravings if sugar is the fifth and I've been following this rule for years. I truly do not crave sugary foods or even desire them in the least. I really think the fifth ingredient is a very small enough amount that it shouldn't bother you but as time goes on you may realize what you can have and what you need to avoid. Just avoid your trigger foods and you should do well! It's true that you really can live a life free of refined sugar and not feel like you are missing out in the least. You're family will love you for it. God bless and keep me posted!
I will for sure, thanks again! : )
I just want to thank you for running this blog! Recently my holistic doctor put me on a no-sugar diet. I was already in the middle of doing a sugar cleanse and went to go see him about being constantly sick. He checked me over and told me if I wanted to get better I had to go off sugar for good. Ever since then I've been eating the same things, hating my life (honestly, there's only so much that a 21-yr-old college student has time for), wishing that someone out there had a sugar free blog with realistic snacks and desserts.
I just found yours today, and for the first time in several weeks, I'm excited about food again! Thank you so much for running this! It is a blessing 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your story! I'm happy you are here and joining me on this sugar free journey!
I have never really been a sweets person, having a cookie or muffin about 1 time every couple of months. Now that I have learned how to read nutrition labels correctly & am trying to cut out all sugar from my diet-I have found myself craving them 🙁 its been about 4 weeks & my consumption of sweets has gone crazy! Did you go through anything like this & if so how did you beat it? I know most food has sugar of some sort in it & if I do eat something with sugar in it, its not life threatening or anything like that but it could be if I cannot stop! Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to send my way.
I commend you for trying to cut out all the sugar. Although you never ate cookies or muffins but once a month you probably didn't even realize how much sugar you consumed in all other foods you ate. That craving is definitely showing you that you probably had much in your system and detoxing it by eliminating and reading food labels is the best thing to do. And OH YES, I had BIG time withdrawals and cravings. But I can say that you are through the worst of it if its been a month, it will get easier and eventually you won't even want any of the sugar at all. But if you have given in during this month, unfortunately those cravings will just come back stronger and it will be like having to begin again to detox. Stick with it, you are almost through it!
Well you've probably already heard this a million times. I know what you're saying is true BUT reading your words has actually given me the strength to get sugar out of my diet. YOU ARE A BLESSING. I cannot thank you enough for putting this information and your recipes out there for people like me to use. I don't have to buy a book. I don't even have to be a chef. You are making it simple and possible even saving lives in the meantime. Thank you so very much and God bless you!
Kathleen I have had some really sweet comments BUT yours is by FAR the biggest, sweetest, nicest compliment I have ever received! I so want to help others and encourage people. I am so happy that I, my blog/recipes do come across as being simple and doable in busy lives. Really appreciate you taking the time to encourage ME! Blessings to you!
Becca from It's Yummilicious
Thanks for the great tips, Brenda! I'm hopeful that when I go on my month-long carb & sugar purge that I'll be able to use your recipes and your testimony as great motivation.
It's not going to be easy...at ALL... especially since I'm horribly addicted to carbs AND because Brian isn't ready to make that kind of drastic change in his life. He's supportive, but there's no way he will want me to stop baking him his favorite cookies and muffins. All things I'll have to plan for, I guess!
I know where you're coming from Becca because my hubby is not sugar free either. He is supportive but not where I am as far as sugar is concerned. But it doesn't have to stop you from doing what you need to do. You can experiment with his favorites muffins, etc and show him they still can taste great without all the sugar.
Good reinforcement for me today, thanks! I've done so well this week with reading food labels and being really aware of what I'm putting in my mouth. I feel so much better already. Love your blog.
Thank you, so glad it is helpful to you!
Just love this, it's what i needed to hear this morning. Thanks
You're so welcome 🙂