TAMMY’S NOTE: This No-Sugar challenge documents Ashley’s 30-day attempt to remove PROCESSED SUGAR from their diet. This challenge allows her to use natural sugars such as honey or true maple syrup, therefore it’s not meant for a diabetic alternative, simply a personal-health challenge.
by Ashley Ashley
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I can’t believe it! There is a light at the end of the tunnel after all! I have made it through three weeks of absolutely no sugar.
If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to check out Week 1 and Week 2. But what about week 3? Read on…
I must be honest with you, it doesn’t really feel like a challenge anymore, just one or two days into the third week of the challenge the cravings just stopped.
It’s almost like there was a switch and I simply didn’t want sugar anymore. I was no longer consumed (no pun intended) by the thought of sweets and junk food.
I was also finally seeing all of the benefits that I’d heard about when you cut sugar out of your diet, like more energy, an elevated mood, a healthy glow to my skin, and my productivity seemed to sky rocket at home and at work.
I was so weary of the challenge those first couple of weeks because I knew I would have cravings for the unhealthy foods I was so use to and now I look at them and have zero desire to consume them.
This has officially become the new relationship with food that I wanted.
In fact, my husband and I have been enjoying the challenge so much that we bought a book called * Foods that Harm and Foods that Heal.
It’s a great guide by Reader’s Digest that tells you what vitamins and nutrients you get out of the foods that you consume.
It now takes less food to keep me full during the day since my body is processing more of what I’m feeding it and wanted to get the most out of what I’m eating.
For example, I found that lactose (from milk products) turns into sugar when you consume it and decided to cut that out completely for the rest of the challenge.
I started drinking coconut milk and picked up a pack of vegan shredded cheese to sprinkle on salads. I chose coconut milk because there were far fewer ingredients listed on the back of the jug. Score!
Since calcium is the main reason I drink milk, I was pleased to find that certain brands of coconut milk had more calcium than milk by 15%!
Maybe I’m taking the challenge further than I had intended, but I feel better and more energized throughout the day that I really want to push myself and see what I can do.
I don’t think it is completely necessary to push what I’m cutting out of my diet, but my body is communicating with me better than ever and I’m at full attention.
Here are some tips I’ve learned over the past week:
1. Cut up fruit to keep in the freezer for when you get the wish to eat something sweet. Bananas, berries, and melons all go great in the freezer and at this point they taste like candy!
2. Change up what you’re eating every day for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to keep your palate constantly entertained. I haven’t settled for a comfortable sugar-free meal to have over and over. I’ve changed it up every morning, afternoon and night to keep things interesting and to feel less restricted about things that I am able to eat. Different desserts help too. See recipes below. 😉
3. Make savory and healthy snacks to keep around like lightly salted popcorn or oven roasted garbanzo beans when you want something easy to grab and snack on.
4. Know that being hungry is not the end of the world. If you find yourself unprepared without a snack and suddenly feeling a rumbley in your tumbley, don’t panic and grab the first thing you get to! Collect yourself for a moment and get to a grocery store as soon as you can for a healthy, sugar-free option.
5. If something has passed under the radar and you discover a food you ate had sugar in it, don’t take it as a failure. Just know it’s on the list of things not to eat for the rest of the challenge and keep going!
I’m sure there was a time or two I may have had something that sneaked in some kind of added sugar in it. That sneaky, sweet substance hides under many names. Here are just a few I have uncovered: anhydrous dextrose, lactose, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, molasses, corn syrup, and malt syrup.
I simply avoided buying anything processed and packaged to minimize any unknown slip-ups. But there is only one week left to go and I’m excited to see what new things I will learn in that last bit of time.
In the meantime, here are not one, but TWO delicious dessert recipes I have uncovered.
I don’t want to take credit for being creative enough to have created these from scratch. I have researched ways others have made sugar-free desserts and modified different ingredients to my own tastes. But I cannot pinpoint the exact starting points for these recipes.
These muffins are delicious, filling and healthy. They might even serve as a healthy dessert!
- 3 Cups Rolled oats
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3 Bananas - mashed
- 1/2 Cup Berries, fresh or frozen
- 1 Cup milk (I used coconut, but any kind is ok)
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 Cup Unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
- Cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top before baking . (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly distributed.
Spoon into muffin cups (makes approx. 24) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm.
Cool on rack for 10 minutes.
Can be enjoyed fresh or stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Feel free to enjoy these as breakfast, snack, or dessert.
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No-bake Peanut Butter Fudge
This easy no-bake and refined-sugar-free fudge will delight your taste buds while keeping you away from processed sugar. And since it's enjoyed cold it's the perfect snack for those hot summer days.
- 1 Cup Peanut butter (or any nut butter, but make sure there is no added sugar)
- 1 Cup Coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons Honey
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Sea salt to sprinkle on top
- 2 teaspoons Walnut or hazelnut extract (optional)
Mix all ingredients, except salt, in a large bowl until smooth.
Line a, 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper and pour mixture into the pan.
Cover and leave in refrigerator until completely firm. (approximately 1 hour or more)
When firm, cut into squares and sprinkle with salt. Enjoy.
NOTE: This fudge softens as it warms, so it's best stored in the fridge and enjoyed while still cool.
NOTE: You’re encouraged to read all four weeks of her Sugar-Free Challenge Journey where she shares tips & sugar-free recipes:
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Pingback: No Sugar Challenge - WEEK FOUR! (2 CHOCOLATE recipes)
Great job, thanks for sharing this journey with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
I am going to try the peanut butter fudge.
My website is (comment form won’t let me post it because it’s blogspot): teengirlreviews.blogspot
Oh my, that fudge recipe looks soooo good! It’s great that it’s sugar-free too. Thanks so much for sharing it at the #sundaysdownunder linky party! I have pinned this!
I really appreciate you and your support!
Natasha in Oz
Sugar is the culprit for many of our American diseases…. I am working to reduce our sugar consumption in our house. Processed foods have so much hidden in them.
I have not eaten sugar in 14 years!! Not even from fruit or honey, or syrups, etc. I truly believe honey is still a sugar, it affects blood sugar levels just like regular sugar. But anywho – my health is perfect because I do not consume sugar 🙂 I wish others could just get rid of it!
Love, love, love peanut butter fudge. I use almond butter instead but it’s one of my favorites. I love make fat bombs too!
I would read the book Lick The Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton. She helps you understand how sugar changes the body chemistry and which sugars/sugar substitutes to stay away from. Agave nectar is processed much like high fructose corn syrup and is actually higher in fructose. All artificial sugars increase appetite and increase the risk of diabetes.
Also, refined grains [grains in general], have the same effect as eating sugar. I would lower my grain consumption way before I cut out dairy, but that’s just me 🙂 Often times coconut milk is higher in sugar than milk, plus most of the commercial brands have carrageenan and synthetic vitamins, nasty stuff! I would suggest, if you are comfortable with it [and able], getting raw milk and making milk kefir. While coconut milk may boast having more calcium, the crucial element is whether or not your body can absorb and use that calcium. Coconuts do not contain any vitamin K2, a critical vitamin that tells your body where to put all the calcium. Calcium with inadequate amount of K2 can lead to calcification of soft tissues. Raw milk is loaded with K2. Through my research, we often get more than enough calcium and are severely deficient in magnesium and K2 because of low fat recommendations.
Staying as close to real whole foods as you can is always best. Generally any vegan, prepackage food is highly processed and not really doing your body any favors.
It’s fun to read other’s journeys and I hope that you don’t feel like I just nit picked your whole article to death. I made many changes in my food journey that I thought were great and then later found out were not the best choices to be had for me. 🙂 Baby steps to better health! Keep up the good work!!
I don’t feel like you are nit-picking at! I love the feedback since this has been a huge and drastic change in my diet and I’m learning as I go. I chose the silk brand of coconut milk because I could count the number of ingredients in it on one hand! I was trying to stay away from too much added junk like you were saying. I also have almost completely cut grains out besides a quarter cup of granola in the morning for breakfast which has rolled oats in it and now the banana oat muffins. I don’t know how accessible raw milk is for me since I live in the middle of the Dallas metroplex and it might be quite a trek to get some. I would need to do more research for all or that. I’m certainly trying to cut out all processed foods, vegan or otherwise, out but my willpower is only so strong. Lol! I’m taking baby steps but each day I get a little better at it. Thank you so much for your input and wisdom! I need all the help I can get.
Where do I start?!?!
I have defiantly skipped reading these posts- I may have read one but not even sure if I left a comment or not! Now that that’s off my chest… Hehehe, I read today’s. Because – June 11th marked 1 year that I’ve had a T2 diabetes disgnosis. With that little anniversary I remembered my goal( getting off the metformin) and realized my FAIL!
I told myself a couple of times this past week I was going to go back and read your post from week 2- never did.
I’m glad I read this weeks and wil definitely go back to read the others.
I have questions, they may already have been answered – but for memory’s-sake I’m going ahead and writing them here.
It’s just a Chalenge? The end goal is to say you did it? Will you be making a permanent switch to a sugar-free lifestyle?
Also in this post you listed other names for sugar; however one of the recipes listed Honey. Is honey not considered sugar? What about Agave Nectar… Do you know if it’s considered sugar? ( I have switched to it just this month because of the low glycemic index) it is usually listed among sugar substitutes. Yours is not the first blog I’ve seen doing this- I’ve read others doing it too. I’m considering it. But first I’m on a path to making EXERCISE part of everyday! Baby steps you know? I HAVE Changed my diet drastically since my diagnosis- and it’s true – keeping the palette from becoming bored is a big help. I like to switch things up. I’m learning the art of making Kefir– that has helped me in the dairy/ lactose area of my diet, since the lactose is eaten up by the good bacteria it is less insulin inducing (lower glycemic) and better for me. Eaten with fruit and home made granola for a snack – calms the savage sweet tooth!
Ok I’ve written enough, time to catch up; and read your other posts.
I love TMR… I learn so much here, get lots of good info and encouragement, an occasional tickle of the funny bone– and can freely confess I skip posts when I’m feeling The Rebel! 😉
Ok, I hope I answer all of your questions so here it goes. The end result is to change my relationship with food. It’s been far too easy to constantly eat bad foods and the amount of sugar in my diet was far too high. If weight loss happens during this time frame (I weighed myself at the beginning of the challenge and will do so at the end) then that’s fantastic. Since I was in the healthy height-to-weight ratio it was not a main focus. So my main goal is to be healthier. When the challenge is over, I may loosen up on how strict I’m being sugar-free, but I wish to stay as close to it as possible. This is the first week that I truly have no wish to eat any processed sweets or breads.
As for added sugars, yes, honey and 100% maple syrup are high in natural sugars. But so are bananas and strawberries. And it goes exactly with what you were saying about the glycemic index. It raises your blood sugar MUCH slower than refined sugar does and I’m eating it like I should have been doing for other things. In moderation! I use them, but not often and as small amount as I can get away with.
I’m still learning about this as I go, so I do NOT know everything that is right and wrong. I hope this will be an ongoing process to learn how to only put in my body what it needs since I only get one. I hope I answered everything and I hope it helps. Thanks for reading.