How to go sugar free: Our new family challenge
Do Sugar Free Snacks Exist?
Sugar Fuels Cancer?
- Sugars: The Fuel for Cancer! | Dr. Ben Lerner
After reading this article about sugar being a fuel for cancer, this has reaffirmed my belief that sugar is not good for you. This information is icing on the cake-if you want to be healthy and avoid diseases like cancer, then stop consuming sugar.
It all started with a realization
Eating sugary and sweet treats have always been a a bit of a release for me. Lately I've been finding that I've been projecting my bad habits onto my kids. Treats are often used in our home as a reward or as an incentive. The power that refined sugar has on us is strong-I've found that lately, our 3 year old has been experiencing a lot of manic behaviour. These meltdowns, we've come to realize, were all a part of his relationship with sugar (or treats). Unhealthy snacking between meals has become a problem for us and for our child. Most of the snacks that we have been consuming are full of sugar and are highly processed. We've experienced sugar induced behaviour as well (my husband and I), just showing up in different ways. Lately I've been feeling more tired lately (could be the sun, but I think it relates directly to my sugar intake). Anyway, because of my son's behaviour as of late, and his picky eating habits, we're hoping to stop the madness by taking out ALL refined sugars from his and our diet and we're learning how to go sugar free.
Another realization I had was that we (my husband and I)consumed a lot of our treats after 9 pm, once the kids were all asleep. Not only should we NOT be eating after 9 pm, we should not be loading our bodies up with refined sugar at night, when we can't even burn off the calories. Sugar free snacks will be essential for us in the next while.
How to Go Sugar Free: Where to Begin
We began our journey of going sugar free by simply removing all items from our cupboards and fridge that contained refined sugar. One exception we made was to keep bread around for our 3 year old, a picky eater, who basically lives on bread. Which brings up a potential challenge for kids-what food items can be easily removed and which food items need to stay, for the time being? You can't just start 100% from scratch when it comes to changing your kids' diets.
Next, we began to research sugar free foods and sugar free recipes and ideas and started our first healthy grocery list. It's amazing how there is refined sugar in almost EVERYTHING! Pasta sauce, bread, canned soups, salad dressings, just to name a few. I guess we'll be taking out processed foods altogether and making a lot of things from scratch. My first trip to the store after coming up with a make-shift plan was the first one in months that didn't include buying a ton of sugary treats. And no ice cream either.
On the sugar free food list so far:
- Rice (we've discovered rice bowls and rice wraps)
- Rice wraps
- Seaweed snacks
- Steel cut oats
- Peanut butter (sugar free and all natural)
- Sugar free jam
- Plain yogert
- Coconut milk (for cooking)
- Meats (chicken, beef, sausage)
- Fish (salmon, white fish, shrimp or prawns)
- Peaches (fresh from the tree in the summer)
- Cut up veggies with humous (I keep a constant supply in the fridge for snacking)
- Romane lettuce (I use these for wraps-great bread substitute!)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Celery sticks (we put PB and raisins on top)
- Cucumber (with tzikki)
- Sweet potatoes (you can make great homous dip with sweet potatoes!)
- Homemade, sugar free muffins
- Homemade pizza
- Homemade sugar-free popsicles (current favourite is coconut banana pineapple)
- Various nuts and seeds
- Sparkling water (we make our own with our soda stream)
Sugar free diet plan
Sugar free diary
Even after one full day of going sugar free, I'm still reaching around in the cupboards for something sweet and chocolatey, but no luck. Our cupboards are cleared out of anything sugary.
I love to bake and I'm not planning to give this up, going sugar free. So I'm learning about sugar (and white flour) substitutes. I made some delicious zuchinni banana muffins the other day (see recipe below). I used coconut flour, coconut oil (a good, healthy substitute for butter or other oils) and honey. The best part about the muffins is that my son loves them (he's pretty picky) and they have VEGETABLES in them! And no refined sugar to boot!
Last night was my sisters bachelorette party and we did a pub crawl. I threw out the sugar free rules for one night because, guess what? Every single drink has sugar in it. Except water, but I wasn't planning on drinking just water on such a memorable occasion. After a night of drinking, I couldn't stop myself from buying candy at the convenience store that night. Sugar is really an addiction, once you start, it's really hard to stop.
Zucchini muffins (grain free, dairy-free)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup Spelt or almond flour
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 4 Eggs
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 cup unpeeled, shredded zucchini
- Preheat oven to 350F. Fill muffin tin with liners or grease.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Pulse together eggs, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and pulse.
- Let mix sit for 3-5 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb. Add the apple cider vinegar, banana and zucchini and pulse.
- Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 min.
Sugar free snacks: Healthy, delicious muffins
Sugar free foods can be delicious
Quick and easy sugar free and gluten free recipes
Sugar free substitutes-for baking
How to go sugar free
Clear out everything with refined sugar
Make a sugar free diet plan and make a grocery list of supplies, sugar free snacks and sugar substitutes.
Talk to your family about how you want to see sugar free foods introduced to your family's eating plan. Even preschoolers will be able to understand and benefit from an explanation. It's important for everyone to know why you're doing this. The bottom line is to be more physically healthy as a family.
Make a plan to slowly take the sugar out of your kids snacks and foods. If there's a food item that they love that IS sugary, see if there's a way to modify it. For example, flavored yogerts have a TON of sugar in them. If your kids love yogert, just feed them plain yogert with some honey or maple syrup mixed in with some fruits. Slowly cut back the amount of sweetener over time.
Continue to find delicious and nutritious recipes that your family will enjoy.
Just because it's sugar free doesn't mean it's good for you
In being more diligent about reading food labels and ingredients, I've some to the conclusion that just because something is sugar-free, doesn't mean it's healthy. Some products are low in sugar or even gluten free but the sodium levels are sky high! And let's be logical people, just because french fries or potato chips don't have sugar in them doesn't mean they should be on the sugar free food list.
© 2013 healthygurl