September is here and we are so excited for you to see some great benefits to a sugar-free diet starting this month!
Several years ago, we decided to drastically decrease the sugar we consumed. As we learned more about sugar, we worked on omitting it from our daily diets and turned to natural sweeteners like honey, stevia and maple syrup. Cutting sugar in our everyday baking led us to choose natural flours, fats and salts for a more healthy diet overall. We’ve loved the way these foods taste, and more importantly, the way they make us feel! While this Sugar-Free September Challenge is not about making drastic lifestyle changes, it is about recognizing steps that we can take in the right direction. Small weekly or monthly challenges can have an incredible impact on your life and health. We know that crushing the sugar addictions will help you get to where you want to be. We can always make changes for the better!
Why are we passionate about cutting down on sugar? Sugar can wreck havoc on our bodies and immune systems. If you’ve been following our blog, you know we’ve battled candida and other bad sugar symptoms due to sugar abuse. If you’ve checked out our cookbook, we explain how sugar can be so detrimental to our health. We don’t usually get all sciencey, but let’s explain how sugar is hard on our bodies, especially the liver.
The human body is not equipped to quickly metabolize processed sugar. The liver attempts to manage the sugar consumed by depositing some of the glucose from the sugar into the bloodstream or stores it for later use. If the liver is already completely full of glucose it stores the extra as triglycerides, or fat. Fructose, another component of sugar, also has to be managed by the liver and is stored as glycogen. The liver can only hold about 100 grams of glycogen before it has to convert the rest to fat. Once the liver is filled with glucose and glycogen it becomes overtaxed and a whole host of problems can surface. When the liver is constantly overloaded with sugar, it becomes susceptible to liver disease. Also common for people with diets high in sugar, is insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes. Insulin resistance also creates a highly toxic atmosphere throughout the entire body, allowing cancer cells to flourish (The Everything Naturally Sugar-Free Cookbook, pg 11).
If you’ve had sugar addictions for years like we had, you can imagine the hard work our livers do. On top of straining our livers, we know that sugar is highly addictive. This causes us to repeat our sugar consumption and cause more burden on our organs. Going sugar-free at least for a month or every so often helps us manage our sugar cravings and gives our organs a break!
There are a few other facts about sugar that help motivate us to go completely sugar free.
Being aware of all these sugars and how common they are is half the battle. During this month, we’d like to pay special attention to the sugars we consume. You can decide how strict you’d like to be with this month, but please stay away from processed white sugar, brown sugar and high fructose corn syrup. We also sometimes unknowingly consume lots of sugars when eating out with condiments and sauces. Sugars often hide in ketchup, salad dressings, peanut butters and spices. When eating out or when preparing foods at home, ask the restaurants and read labels. We’re going to be staying away from all disguised sugars as well: dehydrated cane juice (often in Trader Joe treats), maltodextrin (sometimes in cheese!) and of course, plain old sugar.
We’ll be sharing lots of sugar-free recipes this month using sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, erythritol, raw honey and fresh fruit. These sweeteners are less harsh on “sugar addictions” and will help you beat those sugar cravings! We promise that after a few days of filling your diet with cleaner foods and having lots of healthy snack and dessert options, choosing sugar-free foods will become habit. You will slowly see sugar cravings decrease and after this September, when you do eat sugar, it will be a conscious choice, for treats that you truly love and enjoy!
Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss any of our tips and recipes! Browse our Recipes and Sugar-Free Challenge Pinterest page for lots of ideas! Best of luck! This is going to be a great month!