When I mentioned in passing a few weeks ago that I was thinking about doing a no-sugar challenge, I got a lot of comments from readers who, like me, know that giving up sugar is something they need to do for their health. I’ve been debating doing this — or, more accurately, procrastinating — since December, and so next month I’m finally going to bite the bullet and give up sugar for four weeks.
The Break the Sugar Habit Challenge launches on 6/2, and I’d love to have you join me. I’ll be sharing more information and tips the week before the challenge starts so that you’ll have plenty of time to prepare yourself, your family and your kitchen.
In our home, we’ll be focusing on eliminating all refined sugars plus natural sweeteners. Our plan once the challenge is over is to stick to natural sweeteners, but because we want to break our bad habits and sweet tooth addictions, we’ll be eliminating sweets altogether for the duration of the challenge.
Your family may choose to eliminate refined sugar and use natural sweeteners instead. That’s okay! The purpose of this challenge is to set a goal and encourage one another along the way, but that doesn’t mean your goal needs to be the same as mine!
Break the Sugar Habit Challenge Schedule
Each Monday I’ll post an article about the current week’s theme:
5/28 – This first week we’ll be looking at why you would even want to go sugar-free and what the Break the Sugar Habit Challenge will look like for our family.
6/4 – If you’re already convinced that the challenge is a good idea but not sure how to actually make it work, this week is for you. We’ll be talking about how to successfully cut sugar from your diet and break a sugar addiction. I’ll share tons of meal and snack ideas.
6/11 – As the challenge progresses, we’ll focus on more sugar-free recipes. Because our family is eliminating all sweeteners for the month, I’ll be sharing recipes that don’t require any sweetener at all.
6/18 – I’m hoping that by two weeks into the challenge I’ll already be seeing and feeling some of the benefits of eliminating refined sugar that many other people have talked about. We’ll talk about the short- and long-term benefits of eliminating refined sugar.
6/25 – To end on a high note, we’ll talk about what life will look like post-challenge and tackle issues like dealing with sugar at social and family events and how to substitute natural sugar alternatives for refined sugar.
Each Wednesday I’ll follow up with a long list of links so that you can do more research, hear more inspiring stories from people who’ve already broken the sugar habit and find plenty of recipes to keep your family well fed throughout the month.
And each Friday we’ll do a Break the Sugar Habit Challenge check in, where I’ll share our family’s struggles and successes and you can do the same! I’ll open up a linky for anyone who wants to blog their experiences during the challenge, and you’ll be able to share your stories and experiences in the comments as well. I’d love to have you join us whether you have a blog or not!
To Participate in the Challenge
Between now and 6/4, you’ll need to:
Decide how your family will participate in the challenge. Will you be eliminating all sweeteners? Just refined sugar? Are you going to participate for the whole month or just a week or two?
Clean out your fridge and pantry. For the greatest level of success, I highly suggest packing up the sugar in your home so that you’re not tempted to cheat. You may want to finish up any snacks and then pack your ingredients away in a storage bin for the duration of the challenge. I am debating giving away my refined sugar altogether so that I can’t go back to using it once the challenge is over!
Decide on any exceptions. For example, I will still be adding a couple drops of liquid stevia to my daily apple cider vinegar water, although I’ve decided to cut the number from 5 to just 2 so that it’s not too sweet while I’m trying to recalibrate my taste buds. This cheat is worth it to me because I drink ACV for its health benefits, and stevia is a very healthy choice as far as natural sweeteners. My older girls are also attending VBS at my mom’s church during the third week of the challenge. I’ll share more thoughts on this later, but my plan is to limit their sugar consumption that week but not forbid it.
Make food lists. I recommend making lists with as many meal and snack ideas as you can come up with so that you don’t feel discouraged by the limits on your diet during the challenge. I’ll be sharing ideas as well, but the earlier you start on this list, the better position you’ll be in.
“Anything in life worth having is worth working for.” ~Andrew Carnegie
There’s a reason we’re calling this a challenge. No doubt it’s going to be tough — not just at home, but especially when eating with other people. I expect that I’m going to have to fight my cravings, especially at a certain time of the month, and remembering to read labels and watch for hidden sugar will be a whole ‘nother issue.
But I truly believe that finding freedom from my sugar addiction and learning to enjoy food without sugar to prime my tastebuds will be worth it.
Will you join me?