Monday, May 12, 2014

No Sugar Challenge {+ Advocare 24 Day Challenge}

I've talked a little bit about it before in previous days, but we are planning to embark on a fun (well, maybe the first few days) experiment!

Today marks Day 1 of eliminating sugar and dairy!

You might be thinking...

Why the heck are we doing this?!?

Well, I've always known Americans just take in too much dang sugar! And a lot of it goes without us even knowing! I think it's really too bad that the American food industry crams so much hidden sugar in our food. 
I was at Hy-Vee searching for bread with no sugar in the ingredient list. Would you belive I couldn't find one?! Bread with no sugar. Is that really too much to ask? Bread does not, in fact, need sugar for the yeast to rise. (source)

And then the way that we have transitioned ourselves into eating treats here and sweets there. I mean, c'mon, so you really believe pop tart and donuts are acceptable foods to start our day with?!? No! I'd be a hypocrite if I said I never eat a donut in the morning. However, it is an occurrence that is few and far between. A real "treat", if you will. That said, though, I indulge more often than would like in the obvious sugar packed foods. 

A few weeks ago I started reading the book, Year of No Sugar (affiliate link) by Eve Schaub. It's a memoir about a family in Vermont going sugar-free for one whole year! 365 days! They had no sugar, no sugar substitute, no made-by-nature sugars (with the exception of fruit) for whole year. They did have a few occasional exceptions (a family dessert once per month, a trip to Italy, the kids' birthdays parties and such outside the home, etc.) but for the most part went the entire year cutting sugar out of there diet. I haven't finished the book yet but was so intrigued before getting past the first chapter. 

I decided I wanted to try it in our house, too. Mainly to become really aware of just how much we were eating it. And by cutting it out, I'm curious as to how much our bodies are going to crave and want it. Will it be easy to not have it, or will our bodies feel like it needs the addictive substance? If a few pounds disappear because of this change in our diet I sure won't be sad, but that is not at all the sole purpose for this experiment.

Why the cut to dairy, too?

The Advocare challenge stipulates cutting out dairy for the first ten days. We have actually already been cutting back on our dairy intake because Kaydin has been having some stomach issues. She complains of a twisted, knotted tummy far too often and I'm thinking it may be dairy causing this. We're finally taking the plunge and cutting it out completely. At least for awhile.

How long are we keeping this up for?

Well, the goal will be 24 days. I will feel like I've really accomplished a lot when we hit the two week mark! I'll play it by ear and keep it up for as long as possible. I predict we will slowly try a few types of dairy (cheese in small amounts occasionally, Greek yogurt a couple times per week) again after a few weeks, but I would like to keep cow's milk out of our fridge for good. I've been reading multiple studies and articles that is convincing me of this. I'll get to those findings in a future post.

Our plan, rules, and exceptions
  • Grocery shopping has been interesting. It takes longer since I'm scouring and reading the ingredient lists even closer than I normally do. It takes some time to decode all of the hidden sugars the food industry adds to our foods. Did you know dextrose, maltodextrin, and xylitol are actually a form of sugar or sweetener?
  • I will be packing Kaydin's lunches as much as I can. For her to particpate as much as possible (and to make sure she is not consuming dairy), I need to know what she is eating for lunch when she is not with me.
  • I have a dinner date with Alex for pupusas! We've rescheduled a couple times already so I'm just gonna have to bite the delicious bullet and have some cheese for dinner tonight! :)
  • Tim is participating but his exception is his protein powders. Even "healthy" protein supplements contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and sucralose but those are go-to protein sources before and after his workouts.
  • Kaydin might use honey as a sweetener. I'm not sure if I'll run into this being a problem or not. I'm going to try not to use honey for either of us.
  • I will be having dessert at my friend's wedding on May 31st. I'll stick to just one, though. :)
  • We will all be eating fruit. Fruit contains a naturally occurring sugar called fructose. Research shows, though, that fructose wreaks havoc in our bodies. However, since the fructose in fruit is accompanied with fiber and other powerful vitamins and minerals, we will still eat fruit.
  • We will not be drinking fruit juice, even the 100% versions. Juice is essentially 100% fructose.
  • We will not be eating or drinking artificial sweeteners. Exception: my Spark from Advocare (Spark does actually contain sugars, just of the artificial sort) and Tim's protein powders.
  • Sugar alcohols not allowed either.
  • I will probably chew gum. Gum is actually a pretty nasty rubbery ball full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners. I don't chew it much, only a few days per week, and will try to limit but gum is on the list for something that technically should be cut out but may not be 100%.
  • No condiments containing sugar. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, and even some soy sauces contain a ridiculous amount of sugar. These are off-limits for the next few weeks.
  • I'll try my best to cut out butter, but there may be an occasion where I spread some butter on a piece of toast--that is if I can find a no sugar version.
  • My final day of the 24 day challenge is set to be June 5, the same day I fly to Utah for Blend. My challenge may be only 23 or 23.5 days since a group of us are planning to explore SLC and most likely go out for dinner and drinks. :)


A little more about the Advocare 24 Day Challenge
  • No coffee
  • No sweets or desserts
  • No alcohol
  • No dairy for the first 10 days
  • Take some capsules and tablets (that I admittedly need to learn more about) multiple times per day with meals. These supplements help with energy, muscle recovery and appetite.
  • To learn more about the challenge read Becky's posts here, here, and here.

I'll keep you all updated on how it's going! If you have any questions or would like to join in this journey please let me know! I would love to have some more companions in this experiment!

Anyone have some recipe suggestions or tips for us to make it through? They would be much appreciated! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments or email me at molliesprinkles at

Have you ever given up sugar?