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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).

Day 12: Unhappy Meal

A family sat near me on the airplane this afternoon and brought their Big Macs on board. The smell of their food was “driving me crazy” – perhaps the Big Mac “Special Sauce“. There are lots of reasons to eschew Big Macs. Sugar is one of them – one Big Mac has 9 grams of sugar which is more than 2 teaspoons of sugar (1 teaspoon = 4 grams of sugar). The WHO recommends that maximum daily sugar consumption be limited to 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men.
 
Food Log
quinoa, spring onions, garlic, garbonzo beans
yellow onion, asparagus, green kale
Cava Organic Roasted Onion Hummus
Manna Multigrain bread
skim latte
kumquots
Kit’s Organic Cashew Fruit & Nut Bar
dried figs
clam chowder (Lite) – verified ingredients first
Grilled salmon (no sauce)
 
Tip
To control the sugar content of the foods you eat, bring your own prepared snacks with you for the airplane ride rather than relying on fast food from the airport cafes. Here is what TSA says about bringing food through security:
All food must go through the X-ray machine. Do NOT bring food to the
security checkpoint unwrapped. Food must be wrapped or in a container. Unpeeled natural foods like fruit are okay, but half-eaten fruits must be wrapped.

Day 11: Sweet

Day 11 has been pretty much like Day 10, a trip to Whole Foods without any mishaps. I had not eaten today and did feel pretty hungry. So I grabbed another of Kit’s bars, this one the Organic Cashew Fruit & Nut Bar. No sugar added: Organic Dates, Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Sea Salt.
 
Food Log
(leftovers) quinoa, spring onions, garlic, garbonzo beans
Cava Organic Roasted Onion Hummus
Manna Multigrain bread
skim latte
kumquots
Kit’s Organic Cashew Fruit & Nut Bar
watermelon
dried figs
steamed vegetables: yellow onion, asparagus, green kale
 
Tip: When preparing a large pot of steamed vegetables, make double the quantity so you can start your next day with an effortless super-healthy meal of leftovers.

Day 10: Easy as 8, 9, 10

Challenges are the usual. Skipping the vanilla soy latte at Starbucks, avoiding the bakery case at Whole Foods. I bought a Kit’s Fruit + Nut bar while shopping at WF instead. No added sugar, just organic dates, organic peanuts, organic almonds, sea salt.
 

Food log
Swiss Chard, leeks
Quinoa, spring onions, garlic, garbonzo beans
Skim latte
Manna multigrain bread
Kit’s Fruit + Nut bar
 
Tip
Go to the grocery store after eating so you are less vulnerable to snacking while you shop. If you have an irresistable urge to snack, have a mental list ready of snacks that work within your rules.
 
Product Tip – snacks with no sugar added
 

Day 9: Walk On By

I’ve always had a weakness for the cookies and scones in the Whole Foods bakery section. I would arrive at the checkout register with just a piece of crumbled wax paper. By 9 days into this sugar-free challenge, the desire is gone.
 

Tip
To resist cruel temptation, don’t go near the bakery case at the supermarket. Take detours. Big bonus: you’ll get more exercise. Or, as Dionne Warwick says, “Walk On By”.
 

Day 8: The Girl Scout Cookies Dilemma

Most of us who were Girl Scouts like to buy GS cookies to support the kids. I’m kind of a thin mint addict so I knew this was danger, but I was feeling bad about just walking by the table. I found out that the Girl Scouts have a program for people like me: I can make a “Gift of Caring” donation, which donates a box of cookies (or however many I buy) to a partner organization serving people in need. Problem solved, and my Day 8 was safe, “8” having nothing to do with eating sugar.
 

Food Log
Dried figs
Manna multigrain bread
Samplings of a group lunch: 3-bean chili, sweet potato soup, vegetable tart, curried chicken salad sandwich, turkey and avocado sandwich
 

Tip
Satisfy any craving for sweets with your favorite fruit.

Day 7: Read the Label

A travel day. Dangerous for the diet – but managed with black beans and a slice of avocado from the burrito bar.
 
Arriving at my destination, someone offered me oatmeal. The oatmeal was sweet – and I quickly fell under the sugar spell. Later, I looked at the label – 10 grams of sugar (evaporated cane juice) – nearly half the daily maximum recommended!
 

Tip
Read the label before eating the oatmeal.

 
Product Tips – Organic oatmeal with “no sugar added”
Nature’s Path Organic Hot Oatmeal Original (6 boxes, 8 packets per box)
 

 
Nature’s Path Gluten Free Hot Oatmeal, Homestyle (6 boxes, 8 packets per box)
 

Day 6: Avoid The Dirty Dozen

After working inside all day, I wanted to get out, go to a restaurant, bring my laptop, get some food – pizza with cheese and tomato and avocado topping. But, I can’t do it, the crust and sauce probably have sugar. So I stayed inside, ate leftovers, problem solved.
 

Food Log
Cafe au lait
Green kale, red kale, baby bok choy, carrots, shallots, garlic
Quionoa, green onions, white kidney beans, garlic
Blueberries and walnuts
 

Tip
Avoid non-organic blueberries (see the Dirty Dozen recommendations). The Dirty Dozen is a list of all the foods you should never eat unless they are organic.

Day 5: Halfway to Completing the Fed Up Challenge

5 days into Katie Couric’s 10-day No Added Sugar Challenge!
 

Another big challenge met: I had lunch at Legal Seafood without buying their maple bread pudding (or anything with sugar) – just a piece of salmon and a cup of lite clam chowder (hold the rolls with difficulty, but done).
 

Food Log
Organic kale and sweet potato soup
Lite clam chowder, salmon
Organic almonds – way too many, they are going on the don’t buy list
Green kale, red kale, baby bok choy, carrots, shallots, garlic
Blueberries
 

Tip
In restaurants, avoid bread and crackers unless you can verify the source and the ingredients.