A 5-Step Plan to Kick Your Sugar Habit in 10-Days
- Mel’s weekly food picks:
Take your pick from this extensive list of your favorite foods without added sugar!
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
In last week’s post I mentioned how, over the years, I slowly trained my taste buds to prefer less sweet. But I didn’t tell you how to do it yourself! That’s why I’m back with a plan to help you kick your sugar habit…in just ten days!
And just in case you need a good reason to say goodbye to sugar (at least for now), click HERE.
If you’re serious…
If you’re serious about cutting sugar out of your diet, I’d like you to join me from April 23rd through May 2nd for the 10-Day FED UP Challenge. It originated from the 2014 Documentary “Fed Up”—a movie supported by the Institute for Functional Medicine—which exposes the truth about sugar and the processed food industry. You can view the movie online at: www.fedupmovie.com.
To participate in the challenge, you are asked to give up all forms of added sugar for ten days.
Sounds easy enough, right? The rules of the challenge are simple, however the challenge itself will probably be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding feats you’ve ever accomplished…but I know you’re up for it!
Your taste buds are trained, by you, to crave the very foods you are placing upon them. So if they are used to getting sugar, they will crave sugar. But don’t worry; your cravings will subside after a couple of days, so hang in there!
If you’re up for the challenge, I’ll be posting tips on my Facebook page to support you, so go ahead and send me a friend request now!
In the mean time, here are five steps to help you kick your sugar habit over the ten-day challenge:
5 Steps to Kick Your Sugar Habit in 10-Days
Step one: Drink only healthy beverages
Refrain from drinking sweetened beverages (including ALL alcohol) and from adding sugar in any form or zero-calorie sweeteners to your drinks (Click HERE for a list of added sugars).
Zero-calorie sweeteners include: Acesulfame potassium (Sweet One; ACK; Ace K), aspartame (Equal; NutraSweet), erythritol, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, monk fruit, neotame, polydextrose, saccharin (Sweet’ N Low), sorbitol, stevia (Pure Via, Truvia), sucralose (Splenda), tagatose, xylitol.
Healthy beverages include: water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or any one of the recommended beverages from this list: Your favorite foods without added sugar.
Step two: Become a label detective
Understand that sugar occurs naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, unsweetened milk and yogurt, unprocessed grains (i.e. quinoa, oats, etc.), beans and nuts, and therefore when you look at the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts label, you will notice it contains some. Don’t worry about naturally occurring sugar because that’s not the type that will get you into trouble.
Before putting it in your cart, scan the ingredient list of all food labels for added sugar (Click HERE for a list of added sugars).
I’m not going to lie; this will be uber-frustrating at first. When you realize just how many of your favorite foods contain added sugar, you’ll probably want to sit down in the middle of the aisle and cry like a toddler sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.
Here’s a short (yet far from exhaustive) list of sneaky foods with added sugar that may surprise you:
|Alcohol mixers||Cereal (hot and cold)||Ketchup||Smoothies|
|Peanut butter||Crackers||Jerky||Salad dressing|
|Bread||Dried fruit||Nutrition bars||Soup|
|Barbecue sauce||Frozen meals||Protein powder||Spaghetti sauce|
|Beverages||Meal replacement shakes||Canned/jarred fruit||Yogurt|
Once you invest this small amount of time, your shopping trips will be much easier the next time around.
Step three: Make healthier choices with whole, unprocessed foods
Build your meals around single ingredient, unprocessed foods like: fruits, vegetables, small amounts of unprocessed grains (i.e. quinoa, oats, etc.), beans, nuts/seeds, herbs and spices, eggs, and fresh meats and seafood. If you need help with meal planning, click HERE.
Step four: Upgrade your favorite foods
Feeling deflated because you just found out your favorite brand of crackers—Ritz crackers—is made with the added sugar high fructose corn syrup (by the way…it’s true!)? Don’t worry, nine times out of ten you can find a suitable alternative to your favorite brands… without added sugar. Take a gander at THIS LIST for healthier, sugar-free, artificial sweetener-free alternatives.
Step five: Bust through cravings with these tips
This all sounds great in theory doesn’t it? But what happens when you get a craving for sugar that just won’t go away? Here are six helpful tips to carry you through your weak moments:
Tip #1: Eat something sour!
Anything sour, such as a spoonful of fermented vegetables, half of a grapefruit, a glass of lemon water, or a cup of hot water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, can really stop your sugar craving in its tracks!
TRY: Cleveland Kraut, Wake Robin, or Farmhouse Culture fermented vegetables; Fresh squeezed lemon or Lakewood Organic Pure Lemon Juice; Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.
Tip #2: Fill up on fiber
Fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans, can aid in blood sugar management. This is important because when your blood sugar spikes and crashes, hunger and sugar cravings are right around the corner waiting to suck you in! Remember, the goal is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day.
Click HERE for a list of high-fiber foods to get you started!
Tip #3: Eat a piece of fruit (and pair it with fat!)
It’s amazing how incredibly sweet fruit tastes to me now…even grapefruit! But it wasn’t always this way. I had to gradually reset my taste buds almost to baseline in order for this shift to happen. Like an infant getting her first spoonful of pureed peaches, it’s a pretty intense-level of sweet too!
As you go through this challenge, and find yourself in the mood for something sweet, grab a piece of fruit, like an apple or pear (leave the skin on!) and combine it with a tablespoon of fresh ground almond or peanut butter, a small handful of nuts, or a piece of cheese to level your blood sugar.
You will soon be pleasantly surprised to discover how quickly your tastes change, and I’m sure you’ll agree that fruit really is nature’s candy!
Tip #4: Try L-Glutamine powder
L-Glutamine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It is a powerful multitasker that can help you fight sugar and alcohol cravings and balance blood sugar.
NOTE: glutamine supplementation may be contraindicated with certain drug therapies and in the presence of medical conditions, such as liver disease. Check with your doctor before taking L-Glutamine powder.
Tip #5: Eat consistent meals every 4-5 hours
If you skip meals or wait too long to eat, your blood sugar will come crashing down and sugar will become irresistible. If you know more than 4-5 hours will pass between meals, plug in a healthy snack like a handful of nuts. A reasonable schedule looks like this:
Tip #6: Drink plenty of water
Thirst can disguise itself as a craving, so drink lots of water throughout the day—enough to produce urine that is pale yellow in color, like a glass of diluted lemonade. Don’t like plain water? Add a twist of fresh lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit to your water or try one of the alternative suggestions offered HERE.
You can do this!
Once you’ve completed the challenge, you can decide whether you want to return to your old sugar habits. Or maybe you’ll find that you really didn’t miss it and choose to cut way back from here on out. I have a sense you will feel so good after going sugar-free for ten days, that the way you think about the sugar in your foods will be forever changed…even if only in a small way.
Are you with me? If so, friend request me on Facebook! I’m waiting… ♥
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Sip on this tonic throughout the day and you’ll be one step ahead of your cravings!
A combination of three key sugar-busting ingredients—fiber (in the form of chia seeds or Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Fiber), lemon, and L-Glutamine powder—Craving-Crusher Water is pleasant to the taste buds and will help you meet your daily water quota!
L-Glutamine is a powerful multitasker, ideal for:
- Fighting cravings, especially for sugar and alcohol
- Burning fat and building muscle
- Protection from digestive issues like ulcers and leaky gut
- Strengthening your immune system
- Detoxifying your body on a cellular level
- Balancing blood sugar
If you don’t appreciate the texture of hydrated chia seeds, then simply replace it with the fiber powder.