Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Sugar Challenge

Dearest readers,

I would like to challenge YOU to take part in a challenge to cut down on sugar in our diets, at least temporarily.

I have currently gone two full days without eating sugar or any of its various forms. At least, nothing that contains sugar in the first three ingredients.

You guys. I love me some sugar. I have an enormous sweet tooth. Needless to say, this IS NOT EASY.

The Sugar Challenge was assigned by my aerobics teacher. Well, not really assigned, since it's a challenge. It's for your own good, to test your own will power. No punishment if you decide not to do it or try it and fail. The goal is to go 10 straight days without eating anything that contains sugar in the first three ingredients. (Ingredients are listed in order of most-least)

You can use natural sugars such as raw honey, Stevia, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, date sugar, and blackstrap molasses.

The forms of sugar that are not allowed:

Brown sugar
Confectioner's sugar/powdered sugar
Corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Lactose/milk sugar
Raw sugar
Sucrose/table sugar
Turbinado sugar

This challenge is making me so much more aware of how much junk I typically put into my body on the daily.

Even my lunchmeat ham had sugar as the third ingredient! I accidentally ate it for lunch yesterday because I didn't even think to check the label. I mean, it's deli ham!

I've realized that just about EVERYTHING contains sugar. It may not be in the top three ingredients of everything, but it's probably fourth or fifth.

Even besides sugar, when you really look at the ingredients on foods, there are so many funky chemicals in there that you don't even think about. I tend to turn a blind eye when I grab a granola bar out of the cabinet, or anything else that I know is processed, but even seemingly healthy things, like granola bars, are mostly comprised of chemicals. So gross, right?

We put so much unnecessary junk into our bodies without even realizing it.

Even though it's only the second day, things that wouldn't normally taste that sweet to me taste like candy now. Strawberries, for instance, taste like candy. It's kinda great.

Other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth if fruit isn't cutting it:

Special K Dark Chocolate protein bars have been my secret weapon. They have chocolate drizzled on them and chocolate chips, but sugar is the fourth ingredient so I'm allowed to eat them! When I'm craving something sweet, I whip out one of those and it's surprisingly satisfying.

I've basically been living off of these Special K Red Berries frozen waffles. They also have sugar as the fourth ingredient. Since I'm always in a rush in the morning, I can just pop two in the toaster and eat them plain. They already have berries in them so they're pretty good without syrup.

I know it sounds like I'm just sneaking around the challenge by loading up on foods with sugar as the fourth ingredient, but I really have been eating a lot healthier. I just wanted to include those to help you get by, because if you have a sweet tooth like me, this is really difficult!

For lunch today I packed a turkey sandwich with just turkey, cheese, and lettuce on a sandwich thin. I also packed goldfish and strawberries, with a Special K protein bar as my snack. This is not too far off from a normal lunch that I would pack; the only difference is no dessert!

For dinner last night (my parents are joining me on the challenge), we had chicken fajitas. One of my favorite meals, this tasted SO GOOD after a day of bland food.

I'm going to the grocery store tonight to get Chobani greek yogurt and cottage cheese, both of which are sugar free. These will be great for after-school snacks, and I can't wait to have the Chobani to make smoothies. Both alone and in smoothies, it'll be a great way to add some natural sweetness.

After this monster of a post, I hope you'll consider joining me on this sugar challenge!



P.S. It may be April 1st, but this is no April Fool's joke! ;)

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