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Refined Sugar and Me Week 7 — Fraught with Freebies

Let’s check in on week seven of refined sugar & me in 2017! This week I’m down two more pounds, making it eight pounds total in seven weeks. (That extra pound loss this week is likely entirely due to being sick for several days with no appetite, so we’ll see if that sticks…)

So this week, let’s talk about how the path to less refined sugar is fraught with danger for the frugal-minded. 🙂

Coffee Coffee Joy Joy

The other day I stopped by Starbucks to redeem a free drink reward. I usually visit Starbucks about once a week, where I get: Black coffee. Especially under their new rewards system, it takes forever and a day to earn a free drink that way, even when combined with the star codes from the bags we use at home — and I’ve always felt compelled to maximize these rewards by using them to get a giant free (as MashupDad likes to say) “frou-frou” drink. That’s how they got me with the chile mocha last fall. Dang are those good, so it’s lucky they’re seasonal…

This weekend, though, I stopped and thought, well, that’s silly — I actually am really tired and just want: Black coffee. So, I used my free drink reward on: Black coffee. (But I did get a Venti, because I’m not totally crazy…)

But: Cheesecake!

Way back in December a friend and I got a gift certificate to Cheesecake Factory that came with free complimentary slices of cheesecake. (This offer is long over, so don’t try to do it now, guys…) This week, we’re meeting for lunch. I’ve gone seven weeks now with no desserts at all, so my plan is to splurge on a good one by eating half a slice and taking the other half home to the boys. We’ll see if I’m at the point now where an occasional splurge won’t mess me up — but my long-term goal here is to be able to enjoy a smaller good dessert maybe once a month, rather than to fill up regularly on the empty and less splurge-worthy sugary calories of things like drugstore candy bars or ice cream.

Saturday freebies, fraught with danger

Along similar lines, let’s talk about Jewel’s weekly MyMixx freebies. (Not to pick on Jewel in particular, but just as an example.) These last few weeks have featured:

  • Noosa Yoghurt. This is delicious, don’t get me wrong — but just for instance: The 8 oz blueberry tub pictured contains… 31g of sugar, which is almost 8 tsp.
  • Maltesers Bar. Well, this is candy, so let’s not bother dissecting it.
  • Very Berry Cheerios. Click on “nutrition information” to find that Very Berry Cheerios have 9g sugar in a 3/4 cup serving (who eats a 3/4 cup serving?), and contain sugar, corn syrup, and cane sugar.
  • Evolution Fresh Green Juice. This contains only juice and no added sugar, so that’s something. But I think I’d rather eat the spinach & apples and get the benefits of the filling fiber as well.
  • Health Warrior Chia Bar. The chocolate peanut butter one I got (and High School Guy ate in about one bite) contained 5g sugar — probably because it was incredibly tiny, lol. Although this nicely contains Chia seeds and organic ingredients, it also contains four different added sugars: Brown rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic agave syrup, and organic brown rice syrup.
  • 10 oz Chobani drink. I got mixed berry — Mr. 9 drank about a third of it and decided he didn’t like it, so we tossed the rest. One 10 oz container contains: 22g sugar.
  • Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bar. More candy.
  • Annie’s Organic whole milk yogurt. Organic, yay! But one tiny four oz container of strawberry yogurt has 11g sugar, boo.

Of these freebies I only bothered to pick up the Chia bar, Chobani drink, and Annie’s yogurt because I was already planning on stopping into Jewel anyway — it’s not worth the gas and time to me when I’m not. But at Jewel or anywhere else, as a couponer, it’s really hard not to bring free products into your house — and once they’re there, it’s more difficult not to, well, eat them. 🙂

If it’s free, it’s not necessarily for me

Although you can coupon and comparison shop to save on whole foods, it’s more difficult to do so — especially when compared to the easy frees. So one of the lessons I’ve been trying to get through my own head is: Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s for me.

So, that’s me this week

How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?

Earlier installments:

Or, you can follow the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.


Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Thanks, everyone! :)

@Jane I think that the sugar in the blueberry noosa is because it's not only the yogurt that's sweetened, but also the blueberry puree is separately sweetened.

Melanie M

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Great job on omitting sugar and the weight loss! Good for you!


Tuesday 14th of February 2017

I totally ditched sugar and caffeine nearly three years ago and never went back.

With that in mind, the experts recommend that you maintain your habits for 6 months before you "cheat" or try to add back sugary foods. I waited a full year and tried to eat a brownie - and my GI system got totally out of whack. The bottom line: after a while, you CAN'T go back and eat those rich, sugary foods again (which is great, because it means that your body has truly adapted to your lifestyle change). I haven't been tempted by sugar since then.

My fear is that it is too soon for you to eat cheesecake and that you might derail your progress. I hope that I am wrong. However, seven weeks wasn't long enough for me to have internalized the new food plan. I probably would have backslided if I had eaten sweets at that point (in any portion). For me, the one year wait was the right approach.


Monday 13th of February 2017

Way to go Rachel! You're doing fantastic! I too was shocked at the sugar content in Noosa; I quickly put it back on the shelf. And yes, I have to quit the "frou frou" coffees at Starbucks too. Their sugar content is far too high. I'll have to stick with good old coffee with cream. If you want an interesting read, try "The Secret Life of Fat", by Sylvia Tara, PhD. I just checked it out at my local library ;) . It's a fascinating look at the science behind what we all love to lose.


Monday 13th of February 2017

You are doing so great! I do not understand the high sugar count in Noosa yogurt. Usually I can taste the added sugar, but I really don't taste it in Noosa. I did read the label before I picked it up. This yogurt tastes so creamy and good to me, and a little tangy, too. I am thoroughly confused... Anyway, great job you, on avoiding added sugar! I always feel like it is easier to make good choices the longer you've been at it, because you've broken the habit a little and with more time under your belt you really don't want to break your streak. I agree with you about the "frou frou" coffees at Starbucks---they are all waaayyyy to sweet for me.

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