Oh, sugar… how I love thee. We’ve had some fun times. Like the years I stuffed candy in an empty pillowcase and ran from house to house every Halloween. And the time I had ice cream delivered to my door in college when I had the flu. And every road trip that was made perfect by a Cherry Limeade with the ice that never melts. Not to mention our daily visits… in my coffee, a sweet afternoon treat or something to nibble on with my nightly tea.
My whole life, your were there in the good times and the bad. You helped comfort me when I needed it most. But I’m starting to see your evil ways. This relationship isn’t working out anymore. And this time it’s not me, it’s you.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? I’ve known for a long time that sugar has a hold on me like no other. I seek it out, enjoy it, and then hit a huge slump. Cycle, rinse, repeat.
For the specifics, I am planning on removing refined sugar from my diet while still allowing natural sugars – mainly honey and maple syrup. This goes along with my “baby-steps” attitude and will be easier for me to stick with. Also, though honey and maple syrup still have calories like sugar, they are both lower on the Glycemic Index, which will result in not as much blood sugar variation as refined sugar.
This weekend I’ve done some preparation for the change. I thought about where I am currently adding refined sugar in my diet and ways to replace them. My biggest sources of refined sugar are:
- Desserts (Chocolate, Ice Cream, etc): This will be difficult, since their main purpose is to be sweet. I will abstain mostly and think of ways to adapt recipes using only natural sugars. I’ll probably be eating mostly fresh fruit but maybe some Baklava too!
- Ketchup: We already use a natural ketchup with no HFCS, but that still has regular sugar in it. I did find a bottled ketchup with no added sweetener and I’m interested to see how it tastes. (I also found sugar-free ketchup and ketchup sweetened with agave at my natural food store). I would like to attempt a homemade ketchup this month too.
- Barbecue Sauce: I don’t eat barbecue often, but it is June. Prime time for backyard barbecues. Most of my recipes include brown sugar, which is not on the plan. I’ll probably tinker with my recipe to include honey. All of bottled bbq sauces at my grocery store had either refined sugars or artificial sweeteners, even those labeled “Honey.”
- Sandwich Bread: Most of the 100% Whole Wheat store bought bread that I saw included sugar, but I found one without. I’ll also be breaking out the yeast this month to get into making my own.
- My morning latte: Oh, this one is going to be hard. I used to be a Starbuck’s addict. Spending way too much money and consuming way too many empty calories. I’ve toned it down over the past few years, and now all I have is one homemade vanilla latte per day. Decaffeinated and made with my own vanilla syrup (a blend of white and brown sugars with high quality vanilla extract). I’m hoping a latte made with maple syrup and some vanilla is equally as good.
I’m the only one in my family that will be fully participating. The rest of the family will certainly gain the benefits, but I’m not going to be a stickler. I’m looking forward to this little experiment and will make sure to give updates on my progress throughout the month.