Last week I announced that we’ll be doing a Break the Sugar Habit Challenge in June.
I’d love for you all to join me, and some of you have already said that you’re in (either enthusiastically or somewhat reluctantly, both of which I’ve experienced myself since deciding to do this challenge!), but I’m sure some of you are wondering why I would even want to give up sugar.
I mean, one look at my Yummy Desserts board on Pinterest is enough to convince any person not to give up sugar.
But there’s really no denying the fact that refined sugar isn’t good for our bodies. It’s been linked to everything from diabetes to cancer, and there are many mainstream researchers who believe it’s not just addictive but actually toxic.
Despite that research – and the way sugar makes many of us feel (bloated, fatigued and craving more) – Americans now consume, on average, more than 22.2 teaspoons of sugar a day. (source)
What This Means for Our Family
Even though our family has made some pretty significant strides in our attempts to eat healthier, eating more whole foods and less processed foods, I can clearly see this playing out within our home.
From sugar cravings in the afternoon and wild blood sugar highs and lows (for me) to requests for “treats” around the clock (for the girls), we clearly have an addiction to sugar. And to be completely transparent, I’m so addicted that it’s taken me six months to gear up for the no-sugar challenge, although the girls have – surprisingly – been on board since I first mentioned the idea back in December after reading this post at Simple Homemade.
On top of the medical risks of consuming too much refined sugar, it also has a surprising effect on energy and mood.
As someone who struggles with PMS and afternoon fatigue, I’m hopeful that eliminating sugar from my diet completely for a season, and then eating it only in extreme moderation after the challenge is over, will result in increased energy and mood stability.
To be clear, my goal is not to eliminate refined sugar completely and forever. I want to be able to enjoy Wegman’s Ultimate White Cake or the amazing desserts in my friend Shaina’s new cookbook, Dessert in Jars. But I want our sugar consumption to be intentional and not just because we can’t resist a craving or because it’s found in everything from our bread and crackers to spaghetti sauce and salad dressing.
Amy from Kingdom First Mom and I have been brainstorming together about the difficulties of this challenge and strategies for overcoming them (which we’ll share more next week!), and today she’s sharing her reasons for kicking sugar to the curb as well.
But What About Natural Sugars?
Because we want to retrain our taste buds to appreciate subtle sweetness as opposed to sugary sweets, our family will be eliminating all sweeteners, including stevia, agave, sucanat and honey. (I reserve the right to use raw honey if we catch a summer cold, though, since it’s one of our go-to remedies!)
Most natural sweeteners should still be used in moderation anyway, but they do offer a great alternative to the refined stuff, so after the sugar challenge we’ll be using these natural alternatives instead of white sugar.
However, this challenge should work for you, not against you, so if your family wants to give up refined sugar while still using natural sweeteners in various recipes, then that is absolutely a viable way to go about the challenge. Most of the tips and recipes I’ll be sharing will be 100% sugar/sweetener free, but feel free to adapt the challenge however you see fit.
More About Why
Most of this post is about my personal reasons for doing this challenge. Be sure to check back on Wednesday, when I’ll be sharing a ton of resources – including other people’s stories and some of the scientific research out there – so that you can do your own research and decide what’s right for your family.
Will you be joining the challenge? What are your reasons for wanting to give up sugar?