During the first 21 days of the Fueled & Fit EDGE 90-Day Challenge, (READ ABOUT THE ENTIRE CHALLENGE HERE) we are going to remove refined sugar from our diets. YIKES, right? I know!!! That IS a challenge!!!  The challenge will start on January 31st and we have lots of tools, helps, and sugar free recipes for you! So, let’s answer some questions about going “sugar free” and what that means.

Sugar Free, in a nutshell, means without refined sugar.

Why go sugar free?
Going sugar free clears and cleans out our bodies, so we can feel better and fully appreciate whole foods.
Going sugar free “forces” us to eat better and truly recalibrates our palates to taste and appreciate whole, unprocessed foods.
There is an endless list of major health benefits to consuming less sugar.
Ultimate goal: To have more energy, sleep better, and ward off all the pesky winter viruses going around! Side goal: Weight loss!

Is going sugar free about cutting out only refined sugars, or does it include natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, etc., too?
Each person should make their own sugar free plan and covenant list that defines what sugar free living means to them. (You can go here to download the Sugar Free Covenant Worksheet.) For me, sugar free living does include some natural sweeteners like maple syrup, although I usually lean toward using the sugar-free version. There are so many items on the market these days that are sugar-free alternatives, without harmful ingredients and no after-taste. Many items are highlighted HERE, with purchase links.

Can you have coconut sugar? Is that a refined sugar?
You really have to make this decision on your own. As you “detox” from sugar, you may want to be really strict and then introduce items like coconut sugar after your 21 day detox time.

What about artificial sugars?
I only include pure Stevia (I use Sweet Leaf brand). I also keep erythritol in my diet because it does not have the side effects of other sugar alcohols. If you feel the inclusion of these sweeteners hampers your results or detoxification, I suggest you cut them out altogether for 21 days, then add them back in at the end of your sugar free 21 day detox.

What are some examples of “sugar free” foods?
For me, “sugar free” foods are foods without refined sugars added to them. For example:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Proteins
  • Whole Grains
  • Unsweetened Dairy (or nut milk products for dairy sensitive)
  • Healthy Fats

Do you do any cheat days?
Not really. I choose my foods carefully when getting my “covenant” list together and try to follow that list fairly strictly. Twenty-one days isn’t really that long to adhere to a sugar free diet.

How did your body/mind feel after doing sugar free last time you ate a sugar free diet?
I felt great! Your energy level surges which makes you more prone to exercise and just generally get more done! Getting more done and exercising, boosts your confidence. It’s a spiraling effect on ALL levels!

What are the benefits for your body?
Here are just a few of the health benefits of a sugar free diet:

  • It may lower your blood pressure
  • It may lower your bad cholesterol
  • It may decrease your heart attack risk
  • It may keep your brain sharper
  • You’ll be less likely to have Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • You’ll be less likely to suffer from depression
  • You’ll break your addiction to the sweet stuff
  • Your skin will look younger and more clear
  • You’ll lower your risk of diabetes
  • It may help prevent fatty liver disease
  • It may help reduce your risk of certain cancers

How do you handle the sugar cravings the first few days?
Okay, not gonna lie—it’s tough! You WILL experience withdrawal. There’s the brain fog, the headaches, and the general cravings for all the sweet things. BUT, here’s the good news! YOU CAN DO IT!  Just keep a few things at the ready. Some examples are: Medjool dates. These taste great with a smear of nut butter on them. An apple with nut butter, RxBars, LaraBars, etc. Also, go to the recipe index and search out a healthy “dessert” or two to get you by. So many of the recipes are healthy alternatives. BE CAREFUL to not replace your cravings with just more sweet tasting substitutes, though. You want to break that craving for something sweet.

What about pre-packaged items, like crackers, etc.?
Read those labels. I also try to set a limit for myself for grams of sugar per day. For example, I usually set 10 grams for myself, which is not very many at all!!  You might also set a limit on yourself of not eating any packaged foods that have added refined sugars. Again, this is something you will have to decide upon.

What about refined grains, rice, etc.?
In my sugar free covenant, I’ll be cutting out refined sugar AND refined grains. So, no white rice, white bread, white flour, or regular pasta for me. Here are the definitions for refined grains and whole grains, respectively. Refined grains, in contrast to whole grains, refers to grain products consisting of grains or grain flours that have been significantly modified from their natural composition. The modification process generally involves the mechanical removal of bran and germ, either through grinding or selective sifting.  Whole grains are the whole grain kernel with the bran, germ, and endosperm intact. Refined grains started out as whole grains, but they are processed to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life. During this process, the bran and germ are removed, which also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.

How long is the sugar free portion of the 90-Day Challenge?
The Fueled & Fit EDGE 90-Day Challenge includes a 21 Day Sugar Detox Plan.

What about meal planning?
You can download the Sugar Free Meal Planner to use for listing your meals and snacks. Also, all the tools on this website, such as the recipe index, meal planner, shopping list generator, etc. are extremely useful in planning your sugar free meals and snacks. Simply do a search for “Diet Levels 1-5” and all the recipes that pop up will be sugar free! You can then pick and choose the recipes and snacks that best fit your sugar free covenant.

What about alcohol?
Personally, I don’t drink at all, so this is not an issue for me. However, again you must choose what you are keeping during your 21 days of sugar free eating/drinking when you fill out your Sugar Free Covenant.

What about accountability?
Get yourself a “buddy or sister” to do the sugar free program alongside you!  This will make all the difference!! 

How do you make it work when you go to a party or to a friend’s house for dinner and can’t control what’s served?
This will be different for everyone. But there are things you can do to alleviate the pressure in social situations. Remember…it’s only 21 days.  Following are some examples:

  • You can let people know in advance so they don’t make a special dessert for you.
  • Try describing what you are doing as a “health experiment.” In other words, let them know that you haven’t been feeling your best lately, so for 21 days you are cutting out sugar to see how you feel without it.
  • Go ahead and make an exception when it’s a small part of a pre-made meal and out of your control. (For example, a sweet sauce on chicken at a dinner party.)
  • Politely declining when it’s a group of 4-6 or more. (For example, at a dinner party with 6 people, it’s not too hard to pass on dessert because 5/6 people will still eat it.)

I love my morning coffee and/or tea with milk and sugar – any suggestions for alternatives?
You might want to try a higher fat dairy, such as half-n-half, which only has 1 gram of sugar per serving. There are also a lot of creamer alternatives available (nut milk varieties, for example) that are unsweetened. Making your own cashew creamer is also something you might want to try.

To recap—so, what are the “Rules” of the 21 Day Sugar Free part of the challenge? Well, YOU make your own rules…sort of.

  1. Cut out refined sugar for 21 days.
  2. Be committed, but don’t drive yourself or anyone around you crazy!
  3. Make your own INTENTIONAL choices. (Using the TOOLS provided.)

We all have to make our own choices and set our own boundaries.  That means that going “sugar free” can mean whatever YOU want it to mean. For me, I plan on cutting out all (or almost all) of the refined sugar in my diet, without setting myself up to fail. So, that means I need to be very specific in my listing of foods I intend to cut out or keep during my 21 days. Doing the sugar free detox this way, keeps me from “beating myself up” during the process.  I’m going to be sure to make my list “doable!” (FORM TO USE: SUGAR FREE COVENANT)

In my Sugar Free Covenant, I will keep Sweet Leaf Stevia, Erythitol, and sugar free maple syrup. I am also going to place popcorn on my “keep” list, so I can have this as a treat on the weekend. Popcorn isn’t bad for you, if you buy “organic” and don’t pile on caramel and sugar! See what I mean? Own it. Trim it down, but make it doable. Questions to ask yourself are: What is going to help me feel my best? What can I sustain over the 21 days (or longer, if you wish)?

So, are you ready to sign up for the Fueled & Fit EDGE 90-Day Challenge? Want to know more about the entire challenge first? Go HERE.

  1. Go to the sign up form HERE
  2. Download your calendar HERE
  3. Download, print, and fill out your SUGAR FREE COVENANT
  4. Download and print your SUGAR FREE MEAL PLANNER

That will get you sailing along on your first 21 days of the challenge! Be watching your emails for further instructions regarding other components of this challenge! For now, you are ready to go sugar free for 21 days!