Hey guys! I did it! I survived Sugar-Free September, and am so excited to share my experience.
First of all, I need to confess that I didn’t keep things 100% sugar-free. I enjoyed a glass of champagne at an engagement party, as well as two sugar cookies that were shaped like diamond rings. I also had two mojitos when I went out with some friends, had a scoop of ice cream, and ate sweetened cranberry sauce along with my (otherwise) Sugar-Free Thanksgiving dinner. But y’know what? I feel great about it! During a regular month, I bet there are days when I’d eat 5 things with sugar just in one day, so to eat added sugars only 5 times in an entire month? I think that’s pretty awesome! Progress not perfection, right?
I actually found that I didn’t crave sugar very much at all. During a regular month, I usually crave sweets of some sort every few days, but I think avoiding sugars almost entirely eliminated those cravings. I certainly didn’t experience those strong cravings that sometimes have me grabbing for a muffin during my mid-afternoon slump. My boyfriend kept things fairly sugar-free, too, and while he normally LOVES his candy, he hardly missed it this month. One evening he said, “I wish I could have some candy….actually, I don’t!” I could completely relate. It was almost like we thought we should want those sweet treats, but we actually didn’t. It wasn’t about mustering will power and fighting cravings. We just naturally weren’t super interested in reaching for those sugary foods.
I felt great all month. I woke up each morning feeling positive. Each and every morning. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an emotionally stable month before in my entire life! Normally, I have my regular ups and downs, but I felt so consistently well all month that I couldn’t help but notice. Apparently science has noticed the effect, too!
A month without “fat days”? Heck yes! I lost 5-6 pounds this month without even trying and hardly experienced any bloating. All I focused on was avoiding added sugars, so there was none of the usual candy and baked goods, and I also avoided a lot of the carbs that I usually eat. Even though I felt like I was always eating, and never felt deprived, I lost some of that extra softness. Woohoo! On top of that, my skin was pretty clear all month and I just generally felt happy with my appearance.
One thing that I think will be a long-term benefit of this month-long sugar-free experiment is that I was forced to identify sugar-free substitutes for some of the convenience items I regularly buy. It took a little bit of extra hunting, but I did manage to find marinara sauce, granola and canned soups that didn’t contain any added sugars. I’m going to stick to buying these products since it’s such a simple way to cut out some of the sugars that I don’t miss at all. I also found sugar-free prepared chili, frozen spinach patties and bread for those times when I need quick and easy food options. I also paid a bit more attention to my fruit intake. I’d normally eat a banana or two each day, but I simply substituted apples, peaches and berries, which have lower sugar content, and only ate a few bananas over the course of the month, even cutting them out of my daily green smoothie.
I’m not going to be avoiding added sugars as strictly as I did this past month, and I’ll be more open to using alternative sweeteners like stevia, honey, and maple syrup. I’m going to keep looking for sugar-free substitutes for everyday staples to continue cutting sugars where they just aren’t necessary. I’ll also continue to explore sugar-free baking, since I now know I can make delicious muffins, pies and breads. My Sugar-Free Thanksgiving proves that I can even enjoy my favourite holiday meals without needing the usual piles of sugar, and that’s pretty awesome (go download your free copy of the menu, if you haven’t already!).
To celebrate the end of Sugar-Free September, here’s an easy recipe for Pumpkin Spice “Nice” Cream. Enjoy it on its own, or use it to top a slice of sugar-free pumpkin pie. This is a delicious dessert that you can enjoy, guilt-free. Add some granola and enjoy this “nice” cream for breakfast! By swapping in these healthier treat options on a regular basis, it means I’m able to really enjoy my special occasion treats…like those Nutella crepes I’ll be enjoying soon in Paris next week!
- 5 overripe bananas (1 banana per person), chopped and frozen
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbs pumpkin spice (or cinnamon/nutmeg)
- pinch of salt
- Place ingredients in a food processor and process on high until smooth
- Serve immediately, or freeze to harden (thaw for ~5 minutes before serving)
Did you do sugar-free September? How’d it go? Or if you haven’t tried it yet, have I convinced you to give it a shot?
Find all my Sugar-Free September posts HERE, including lots of recipes!
And don’t forget to get my complete Sugar-Free Thanksgiving menu. All you need to do is subscribe to receive updates from Home at Six, and you’ll receive a printable PDF download. If you’re already subscribed, just enter your email address to receive your free download.
- Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
- Turkey Stock and Gravy
- Roasted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup
- Thanksgiving Stuffing (Dressing)
- Turnip Sweet Potato Mash
- ……….and Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie