Good news! You do not need to become obsessed with removing all forms of sugar from your diet. There are plenty of natural sources of sugar that can be part of a healthy diet, and, honestly, giving into your chocolate craving every once in awhile isn’t going to ruin your life.
If you’re someone who has developed a dependence on sugar, it can be impossible imagine your life without it. It does get easier, I promise! Every time I do a Whole Foods Challenge I hear how impossible it will be for all of the participants to give up X, Y, or Z (chocolate, pasta, bread). But, they all do it for five days and the all feel amazing after.
Once you've gotten rid of some of the obvious sugar demons, start looking for places where added sugar can sneak in. Look closely at everything with a label. Sugar is notorious for hiding in sauces, soups, salad dressings, almond milk, and nut butters. Once you get through the tough first few days, you’ll find that actually stop craving the sugary foods, and begin to appreciate the taste of real food. When your palate isn't being sabotaged by refined sugars, foods like beets, berries, and even carrots can taste sweet and more delicious. Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing that you are nourishing your body instead of stealing nutrients from it.
One thing to be aware of is that this definitely won’t happen unless you make sure that you have solid replacements for the foods you’ve cut out. Stock up on healthy fats and meet your energy needs with whole, nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrate like starchy vegetables and fruits. Eliminating sugar also doesn’t mean that you can never have it again, it just means that you are choosing foods that support optimal health more often than not. There is room for sweet treats when you choose to have them, not when you are ravenous and need a quick fix.
If you need a little extra help to detox yourself of the harmful effects of sugar I'd recommend a Whole30. If you're not ready to commit to 30 days, you can join my next 5 days of whole foods challenge. You’ll feel fabulous when you're done and be ready to tackle five more days, then ten. Soon you'll hardly remember what your life was like before you cut out sugar!
Here's a handy downloadable guide to help you identify all the sources of sugar you might encounter. Enter your email address below to download this printable guide for fast and easy access!