The first week, my sugar cravings were pretty consistent. Every afternoon around 3 pm they would arrive. I would try to keep them at bay with some red peppers and hummus or crackers and cheese. Staying hydrated was pretty key too.
But after that first weekend, I was one tired mama with my husband out of town. While searching for something in our pantry, I came across a half eaten box of Raisinettes from a movie we went to recently. Those were gone in seconds,without another thought.
I also had a handful of Annie’s Party Mix (leftover from Jackson & Ella’s birthday party) before I looked at the ingredients and, low and behold, there was sugar. And then at book club, I just had to try my friend’s pudding pie. (It was fantastic!)
So for a while I was a bit hard on myself for “cheating.” But that’s not a good way to feel. Still, I kept on the challenge and tried to avoid refined sugar as much as possible. Along the way, I realized that what I thought of as “cheating” wasn’t really important. Overall, I have drastically reduced my refined sugar consumption. And isn’t that the purpose of this whole challenge?
Here is what I have learned so far:
- Unsweetened ketchup is pretty good. By itself, it tastes like concentrated tomato juice but when you add it to a hamburger or baked potato wedges, I love it! I’ve been using Westbrae Natural’s Unsweetened Ketchup and it’s a keeper.
- With natural sweeteners, a little goes a long way. I’m really enjoying maple syrup in my morning coffee. I have found that since maple syrup and honey have more flavor than white sugar, I don’t need to use as much. Better flavor, less calories… win-win!
- Many other ingredients can provide a sweeter taste, not just sugar. I made this recipe for Baked Oatmeal Cups, and the applesauce and banana give it a nice hint of sweet. Also, if you want to reduce sugar content in a baked good, try adding a little more cinnamon or vanilla extract. Those flavors go so well with sugar, they can trick you into thinking there is more sweetener than there really is.
I’ve already passed the halfway mark this challenge. I’m sticking with it and will be mindful of what I am eating, but if I slip…I’ll get right back up again!