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Refined Sugar and Me in 2017 — Week One: The Experiment Begins

I meant to have a thoughtful post all ready to go in the New Year to talk about how refined sugar fits into some of the ways Mashup Mom is changing focus in 2017, but I lost… well… focus. Blame it on the sugar. 🙂 So here’s the off the top of my head version, and we’ll continue unpacking this over the next few months.

So I’m seriously limiting refined sugar this year

I’ve tried giving up (most) refined sugar before, and made it two months and down 12 pounds earlier this year — which is when I felt great, relaxed my guard, fell of the wagon, went sugar crazy over the holidays, and now am back where I started. I’m now four days in to trying this again, and am so far down three pounds (yes, even after our New Year’s Steakstravaganza) and just slightly irritable.

I figure that posting here and checking in occasionally with you guys will help me with accountability, and also that some of you might be interested in playing along.

So here’s what I’m doing

I’m giving up desserts with refined sugar, and most processed foods with added sugar. Some of the things I’ll be talking about here include:

  • Balanced snack ideas
  • Reading material
  • How it’s going
  • What’s been frustrating
  • Affordable whole foods
  • Reading food labels and finding alternatives

And I’d love to hear experiences and suggestions from you guys along the way! This broad sugar-y theme will also influence some of the newer blog topics for the New Year, like certain of the Make It or Buy It posts.

So here’s what I’m not doing

I’m not substituting in artificial sugars, I’m not avoiding carbs in general or natural sugars, and I’m not cutting out all processed foods, just most of them. Fruit? Good. Potatoes? Not going away, guys. Lightly salted bagged popcorn is my fiber filled friend, canned beans are a time saver, and bread and bacon bits are great, in moderation. After a month or so I also intend to start adding minimal sugars back in (a little local honey in a homemade marinade or dressing, for instance).

I’m also not interested in being militant about this. Even Costco rotisserie chicken has added sugar — but at .5 g per serving and given how far one stretches, I’m OK with that. Potatoes and strawberries and rotisserie chicken don’t trigger sugar cravings and mindless eating for me, but crackers and cookies and cereal do. Your experience may be different.

And, I won’t be stopping with the weekly ALDI meal plans. (But note that I’ve always tried to weight the bulk of that ALDI meal plan budget towards fresh meat, dairy, and produce over processed packaged goods).

So who’s trying this with me?

If your experience parallels mine at all, the first week of sugar withdrawal will be especially bad — with days 2-3 being the worst. Here’s just a taste what you might get:

  • Stabbing headaches
  • Crazy hunger pangs
  • Irritability
  • Body aches

Last time I gave this a try, though, I felt great a couple weeks in. Here’s a taste of what you might get:

  • More energy
  • Better digestion
  • Better mood
  • No mid-afternoon slump

And — take this from someone who hasn’t been skinny for 35 years — you might see some weight loss, without being hungry all the time. Last time I tried this, I dropped the most weight in the first week but then it continued to come off slowly and steadily after that.

So everyone’s different

Sugar is my downfall, but it might not be yours. I know it’s super trite to talk about this in January, but it’s been in the back of my mind all through the craziness of the holiday season — and I figure I can’t be the only one. 🙂 What’s your own eating plan for the New Year?

Follow weekly updates on my journey to limit refined sugar here.


Tuesday 17th of January 2017

I applaud your efforts to go sugar free. Although it is a daunting process, it is so rewarding to veer off what I call poison to our bodies. I am currently not 100% sugar free, but am very conscious of what I buy and put in my body. I do all of the cooking and have been making my own desserts. I like to know what I am eating. When we eat the right food, (nutritious foods), our bodies get full and we do not overeat. I also make dog food for my dog, no store bought for her. She is all natural. I am all about couponing, have been a super couponer for several years but have cut back due to the products I choose to have in my stockpile. I no longer buy 90% of the processed foods I used to and I have healthy cleaning alternatives to what I used to use. Thank you for sharing your journey with all those who subscribe. You are educating people on a health concern that they might otherwise not be aware of. So thank you.

Lori Bauer

Monday 9th of January 2017

I would love to do this as I do crave sweets but after I eat them, it doesn't really do "anything" for me. I just eat it because it's there. But my question is what foods all have refined sugar? also, I am gluten free, so I am limited as to what I can eat already, somewhat.


Monday 16th of January 2017

Today's post lists a bunch of the most common names for added sugar to look for ingredient lists -- hope that helps!

Matthew Tracy

Tuesday 3rd of January 2017

I started following a paleo(ish) diet. I'm mostly paleo, but do eat the occasional home made popcorn (with just butter and sea salt), eat a very occasional corn tortilla or corn chip, etc. Paleo eliminates all sugars except natural ones - honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, etc. It really does make one feel much better!


Tuesday 3rd of January 2017

Watch the video, Fed Up. You can find it at your local library ;). It changed our whole outlook on sugar.


Tuesday 3rd of January 2017

Fed Up was amazing. I'm going to have my kids watch it!


Tuesday 3rd of January 2017

We watched it on Netflix a while back. I've been thinking about this quite a long time. :)


Tuesday 3rd of January 2017

I think this is great Rachel. I'd like to try this too!

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