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How to meet the challenge of a sugar-free life: a daily diary of pitfalls, overcoming obstacles, psychological skirmishes, and tips for us all. This is a diary of “going sugar-free” for the next two years (730 days).

From the Archives: Day 3: Taste the Coffee, Not the Sugar

Editor’s note: This post is from March 17, 2015, the first attempt at two years without sugar. First round, I was not going for dairy-free.

 

Made it through Day 3! This included going to Starbucks and getting a tall skim “cafe au lait” instead of my usual and favorite tall vanilla soy latte.
 
A tall vanilla soy latte has about 29 grams (7 teaspoons) of sugar, more than the recommended daily maximum for everything eaten. A tall skim misto (caffe au lait) has 8 grams of sugar (in the form of lactose – not added sugar) This is about 2 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a daily maximum number of 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 for men.
 
Reference: 1 teaspoon of sugar has about 4g of sugar.
 
Today also included another success: going to Whole Foods and not buying a bakery cookie and not buying two squares of chocolate and not buying a bottle of coconut water – sugar off the chart! That was my normal routine BNS (Before No Sugar).
 
Food Log
Rainbow chard, red cabbage, asparagus, carrots
Almonds, banana, quinoa, green onions, white kidney beans, garlic
 
Tip
Switch from vanilla latte to cafe au lait or just coffee for your cup of Joe.

From the Archives: Day 2: Good Leftovers

Editor’s note: This post is from March 15, 2015, the first attempt at two years without sugar.
 
Feeling charged up today by my accomplishment to make it through Day 1. Planning on Day 2 success with the help of a refrigerator full of leftover steamed vegetables.
 

Update: Made it through the end of the day with the help of a small snowstorm which kept me inside and away from temptation. Now, onto Day 3!
 

Tip
Use excuses to avoid going out when you’re hungry.

 
Food Log
Rainbow chard, red cabbage, asparagus, carrots
Walnuts
Manna bread
Apple

From the Archives: Day 1: Saying No to Pizza

Editor’s note: This post is from March 14, 2015, the first attempt at two years without sugar.
 
It’s difficult living in shouting distance of a gazillion restaurants in Harvard Square and Porter Square.
 

Today, out walking, I managed to resist pizza and everything else on the avenue.
 

Yay for Day #1.
 

Tip
Before you go out to an area with food venues, eat a good meal at home where you have control over ingredients.
 

Food Log
Sweet potato, red onion, green kale, white chard, red cabbage, garlic, asparagus, carrots
Walnuts
Manna bread
Blueberries
 

From the Archives: Day 0: OK, Here’s the Plan

Editor’s note: This post is from March 13, 2015, the first attempt at two years without sugar.
 
My intention is to post every day for the next two years about my challenge of going without sugar, eating “organic”, and moving towards a vegan diet. I’m using this blog as a way to track my progress.
 

Companion blog: Healthy Pipes: Working to Stop Heart Disease, One Leafy Green at a Time ( http://healthypipes.net )
 

A good reference about sugar is here: What Happens When You Eat a Ton of Sugar?
 

Tip: If you want to try to go off sugar, a good way to start is with Katie Couric’s 10-day Fed Up Challenge. You can read about it here.

Day 17: Yearning a Living

I was in line to order a skim latte at a favorite place in Cambridge, the 1369 COFFEE HOUSE. A guy in front of me was buying an “Almond Joy: Our house made hot chocolate with almond and coconut. Better than the candy!”
 
I didn’t walk in the door planning on an Almond Joy hot chocolate, but it WAS a cold wintry day, and I admit I did have a bit of yearning (stayed with the plan).
 
Food Log
Life Alive’s “home made” almond milk
skim latte
sweet broccoli, red onion, garlic, rainbow carrots, red cabbage
banana
Manna whole grain bread
walnuts
dinosaur kale
dried apricots
coconut water
apple

 

Day 16: Proof of Concept

Today’s challenge: See if I can go to my favorite brunch place and not have mini frosted muffins (or anything with added sugar). Results: No muffins – and didn’t crave ’em; removed home fries and toast from the order; and had nothing else with sugar. Feels like a huge accomplishment.
 
Food Log
omelet with organic asparagus, organic tomatoes, and organic goat cheese
skim latte
sweet broccoli, red onion, garlic, rainbow carrots, red cabbage
hummus
banana
Manna whole grain bread
walnuts
dinosaur kale

Day 15: Snow Day

It is snowing today, a good excuse to stay inside (recovering from a broken femur). I just steamed vegetables for two days of meals, watching the flakes float lazily down outside the kitchen window.
 
Later: Out into the elements for lite clam chowder and grilled salmon. This time, I verified with the server and kitchen that no sugar was in either.
 
Food Log
sweet broccoli, red onion, garlic, rainbow carrots, red cabbage
hummus
banana
Manna whole grain bread
walnuts
salmon
lite clam chowder (clams, carrots, potatoes)
dinosaur kale
apple
Kit’s organic cashew bar

Day 14: Saved by the Bell

I would like to claim that a fire alarm (for real) pushed us out of the restaurant before I could order my favorite dessert, bread pudding. In fact, as much as I love the dessert, I was not going to break my pledge so my day’s efforts were safe. Or so I thought. The next day, reflecting on how good the arugula salad (with dressing) was, I came to the conclusion that the dressing HAD to have added sugar. I just called the restaurant and they confirmed, sadly, that the dressing has added sweetener. Buzzer. Fail #2 but good lesson learned.
 
Food Log
salad: organic arugula, baby tomatoes, citrus vinaigrette (with sugar)
skim latte
hummus
Manna bread
walnuts
plain organic yogurt
blueberries
Kit’s cashew bar
 
Tip
Watch out for hidden sugar in salad dressings. Even your server may not know. Ask the server to check with the kitchen. Odds are good you need to order that salad without its salad dressing – or plan to bring your own no-sweetener-added dressing.

Day 13: Mostly Having It All – Without Sugar

Tonight, I dined at my favorite northern Italian restaurant. I ordered one of my favorite meals (no added sweeteners and organic): pasta, cabbage, and potatoes. Proving to me, once again, that there is life without sugar.
 
Earlier in the day, I opened a package of organic Manna bread and very soon, had eaten half the loaf. The bread was tasty, like a dessert. It seems that eating bread made with dates and raisins switches on the sweet tooth. Something to work on. Not quite cheating but…
 
Food Log
pasta
savoy cabbage
potatoes
brussels sprouts
Manna bread (cinnamon and dates)
apple
dried figs
skim latte
walnuts
 
Tip
Avoid sweetness in bread, even if there is no added sugar. You’re likely to return again and again to the loaf, eating way too much bread for any healthy diet. I recommend the Manna whole grains product. Just as tasty without the sweet.