is it possible to be 100% sugar-free?

Tomorrow marks the final day of our self-inflicted family sugar fast.

The question I got the most: Why are you doing this?

The next question: The boys are doing it to?

And third: Do you think they sneak and eat sugar at school?

So for any of you still wondering these things, here you go… I’m not entirely sure why, but basic curiosity and post-prego fat were somewhat involved. I felt like I was eating way too much sugar, and I figured there were no real negatives to eliminating it for a while.

Yes, the two teen boys agreed to do it because apparently they value money more than sugar. The adult boy kind of agreed, but his thoughts about sugar are slightly more relaxed than mine (basically he eliminated his daily Snickers bar). And no, I don’t think Mason and Milo are cheating. They are horrible liars, plus they’re continually asking me what is allowed.

So how did it go? HOW DID IT GO? It went like this…

Sorry, I had to.

Anyway, back to life sans sugar. Is it really possible to be 100% sugar free? I’m sure it is, but not if you are a normal human with a life.

Our sugar fast started with two rules: school lunch was allowed as long as the boys stayed away from foods that typically have sugar—things like ketchup, breads, etc. And any sugar found naturally (fruit-sweetened) was also ok.

The first week was the hardest. Not even so much living without candy and treats, the real pain was realizing the everyday foods we couldn’t eat. The boys’ go-to food is cheese quesadillas (judge-free zone, people), but most flour tortillas have sugar in them. As does the flatbread we buy, the bbq sauce we use, the orzo soup recipe that had just become a favorite, all salad dressings, the cereal Mason likes to eat every morning, the yogurt Milo consumes, and the breakfast sandwiches I sometimes get on my way to work.

My first coping mechanism was to eat breakfasts with eggs and veggies. Milo started eating cream of wheat without sugar, and Mason searched the internet for sugar-free breakfast recipes (he did find a really good banana pancake one).

Week 1: After carefully reading every ingredient list at the store, we still managed to accidentally buy bread with honey in it. On the second day of our adventure, Mason proudly stated he’d found himself a great sugar-free snack: an apple juice and potato chips.

Week 2: We added salad dressing as an option for the boys so they could have something to eat at school. I narrowed myself to two lunch options at work that I felt had minimal to no sugar… falafel with hummus over rice, or a poke bowl. I also learned that gum (and eating ahead) makes it much easier to say no to treats that everyone else is enjoying.

Week 3: Memorial Day weekend got me. Our complex had a bbq to celebrate our new laundry facility (if you knew the pains it took to get this open, you’d understand why it needed celebrating). The main problem was probably that I didn’t eat before I went. So I broke down and had a hot dog. On Monday we went with friends to a really good hamburger place, and although I did not eat the bun, I did have the chipotle sauce.

And the overall takeaways:

I did not crave fruit any more than normal, and nothing really seemed to shift with my tastebuds like I’d read about. Or maybe they did and I just haven’t really noticed because we’re not back to sugar yet.

Although I do think we all ate healthier overall, I was surprised at how unhealthy I could still eat. There were times I felt I was replacing a sugary snack with things like cheese or tortilla chips, which probably isn’t much better.

On the plus side, after we got into a routine of what we could eat, it really wasn’t that hard to keep going for the rest of the weeks. Yes, there were times I thought about having a piece of chocolate or taking a sip of soda, but overall it was pretty easy to just think of something else to have instead.

My favorite thing about eliminating sugar was all the times it allowed me to say no to wasted calories. Wasted calories are the things I eat, normally because they are in front of me and free, that I later regret. I do it all the time because…who even knows why?? It was so nice to just say no to these things and not feel junk food remorse. That is something I hope I can continue doing after I enter back into the world of sugar.

The other exciting thing is now that I know eliminating foods isn’t that difficult, I want to try something else! So instead of every conversation being about how I don’t eat sugar, I can talk about not eating meat or gluten instead. But seriously, I feel like I can do anything now.

And tomorrow I can even eat sugar again!!

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