This time last year I joined the Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar 8-week program and, at the risk of sounding like a cliche, it completely transformed my health. My skin was terrible, I had near-constant acid reflux, I felt sluggish and uninspired by food, and I tried to combat both the mid-morning and the afternoon slump with caffeine and sugar. I needed change. At this point, quitting sugar sounded radical and to be honest I didn’t know if I could do it. But I did know I wanted to take back control over my health.
What can I tell you 12 months later? I am 35 lbs lighter, I don’t suffer from low blood sugar as I used to, my skin is clear and – probably best of all – I no longer count calories! Really. This is not designed as a weight loss diet, this is a change of lifestyle. Yes, there will be weight loss but this is just another effect and not the goal. I stepped on the scale for the first time in 3 months just to fact check for this article. I don’t need scales to know I’m healthy, my body will tell me just that.
Now, I do eat sugar but not like I used to. This was the first Christmas that I didn’t over-indulge, and it wasn’t even really a conscious choice. I still ate a box of Ferrero Rocher from my dad, because it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t! But, it took me 2 weeks to eat instead of 2 days and now, I’m more mindful of what I’m putting into my body.
The goal is no refined sugar and very little fructose (fruit sugar which spikes insulin levels in the blood). If you are going to have a treat, because sometimes you just fancy one, then no more than 5-9 tsp of sugar in a day; that is INCLUDING fruit and fruit juice. To put this into perspective, in 250ml of orange juice there are 5tsps of fructose. That’s your daily allowance in one go! Now you see the dilemma.
If at this point you’re wondering who made me the expert, well the 8 Week Program did; it gave me the knowledge and the tools to take control of my health and to feel empowered by my own body again. To hear more from the experts, please do have a look at the I Quit Sugar website, which has heaps of free resources to guide you. One of the most useful skills I learned during this year was how to find hidden sugar in food labels. Be warned, what you see will shock you!
If you’d like to try quitting sugar without signing up to the program, you can always pick up a copy of the I Quit Sugar Cookbook
Now, if you’re curious about what my first ‘sugar-free’ week of the year looked like as I cast of the Christmas Kit-Kats, then have a look below for some inspiration. There are links to lots of recipes and cookbooks so you can try these at home.
BREAKFAST: Coconut yogurt + Flat White on the go (Ideally you want to bulk out your breakfast with more protein to keep you going until lunch, but it was in that first-day-after-Christmas rush!)
LUNCH: Leftover sweet potato and chickpea curry, adapted from this I Quit Sugar recipe. Once you get the nack of a basic coconut + chickpea curry, you can add to it what you like and it’s such a quick and easy staple.
DINNER: Loaded veggie nachos – you heard me right!
BREAKFAST: Coconut yogurt, mango slices and a flat white to go – I’m not very good at breakfast, ok? But I try. If you’re wondering, you can have fruit in your first week of the program, when you’re just testing the water, but you’ll be cold turkey from weeks 2 – 7.
LUNCH: Leftover curry. You’ll find that you always make enough of any IQS dinner so that you can have it the next day. This helps minimise food waste AND means you’re more organised and less likely to eat out; this is something I always used to struggle with.
DINNER: Grilled Halloumi, Butternut Squash, and Greens with lime, chili and coriander sauce. This was adapted from a HelloFresh recipe card; I’ve omitted the walnuts, added more greens and you can substitute honey for Rice Malt Syrup, which is fructose-free. TIP: If you don’t want to pay out for a weekly food box subscription, you can sign up for email recipes instead!
Have your leftovers for LUNCH and crowd our your plate with more fresh green veggies.
DINNER: I’m loving The World of the Happy Pear
* at the moment, and just bought the cookbook.. I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe for Cauliflower and Celeriac soup, two veggies which I think are sorely undervalued! I tweaked it a little, as I’m veggie, not vegan so added cream cheese and also potatoes. What I love the most about this pair is that they’re really committed to food education – why not sign up to one of their classes this New Year!
Wahoooo!!! We are super excited & so proud to unveil the cover for our new book!!!! #recipesforhappiness coming May 2018. It’s just up for pre-order now. We are so proud, when we wrote our first book we didn’t know what to expect and we feel so honoured to be releasing our third book and definitely our best book yet! Can’t wait to see what you think! Link to preorder in bio.
I had a cheat LUNCH from Leon. I have to say though, if you’re going to cheat anywhere this is one of the best places I’ve found. They have simple, fresh ingredients and the quality of the food is worth the price. I had the Halloumi wrap, which might have had some added sugar in the mayo BUT I’m convinced I can make my own version at home so let me know if the comments if you’d like to see that and keep your eyes peeled.
DINNER: More of my delicious cauliflower and celeriac soup!
BREAKFAST: Treating myself a little here, for once! Grilled Halloumi with cinnamon. If you’re cold turkey, then try drizzling on some rice malt syrup. If you’re low fructose then a small amount of honey. FLAT WHITE TO GO, obviously.
I hope this snapshot has given you some inspiration for new places to find healthy recipes. and that it has given you the courage to go SUGAR-FREE!
Words by Rebecca Lavender
please note all links marked with * are affiliate links.