Divorcing Chocolate: How We (Mostly) Gave Up Sugar

The last couple of years I’ve experimented with sugar and how it made me feel. You guys, I looooooove chocolate and I’ve always taken dessert seriously. Its an important part of life.

I decided that I had to kick my sugar habit because I was addicted. Seriously addicted.

Saying no to sugar wasn’t a decision I made because it was easy or I am not a sweets person. I mean, one time my dress caught on fire at a wedding and I didn’t notice at first because I was holding a slice of chocolate silk pie. Priorities, right?

I could never just have one bite of chocolate. I felt like I needed chocolate after a tough day. I wasn’t able to say no to it. The more sugar I had, the worse I felt. I have an autoimmune disease and sugar sure doesn’t help my pain levels. I can almost always see a link between how I feel and what I’ve eaten.

Finally, my husband and I had a conversation about “living to eat” versus “eating to live” and how the food we choose to fuel our body with matters. We wanted to set the foundation for our kiddos and give them healthy food patterns.

Before you think we are crazy hard-core and that this is not something you could do, there are two things you need to know:

  1. We have exceptions! I rarely say no to a sweet treat when my kids are at a birthday party or a social event. I don’t want them to feel deprived or not enjoy activities. We have special planned treats too. Life is too big and too fun to say no always. I plan for these times, and not having sweets at home helps with overindulgence.

Note: I do keep my own (not the kids’) treats gluten-free and soy free because I don’t want to pay for it later.

  1. We have unrefined sugar in our house. Bring on the fruits! Some A lot of mornings I am wiped. It feels like no one slept, and I don’t want a cup of black coffee. I want to see that half and half swirl around know I have sweet coffee waiting for me.  I mix in a teaspoon of coconut sugar or honey and choose to enjoy my coffee. Yes, we use these sweeteners. They still aren’t great for you, but they don’t spike the blood sugar as much and have some nutritional value.

For example: coconut sugar has vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Take that, white sugar!  I’m learning to use them sparingly and still make better-for-you treats for my kiddos.  For us, it’s balanced and sustainable. If we had total removal, I’d feel like my kids were left out of fun things like waffles and a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Why We Don’t Eat Refined Sugar in Our House

  • Sugar creates inflammation
  • Sugar causes brain fog
  • Sugar creates a yoyo effect with your energy level. You get an initial rush and then have less energy than before you enjoyed a sugary treat
  • Sugar does not contain anything we need nutritionally and it is crazy addictive

I chose the blog name Real Foodie Family for a reason. We are real people with real kids and a “real” life. While my husband and I have made the decision to not eat refined sugar in our house, my kids totally have it from time to time. They also get special treats! Here’s how it looks in our house and what seems to be a good balance for us.

Tips on Taking Sugar Out of Your Diet:

  • Read labels…and read them again. I don’t want us getting extra sugar in things that have no business having sugar in them anyway (like pasta sauce).
  • Think through snack food. We eat a lot of Larabars  in our house.  Even though they have natural sugar (dates!), they have healthy doses of protein and fiber. My kids have learned to like these as much as the sugar-laden granola bars. I love them because they stick with you much longer.
  • Plan your treats and make them healthy. Friday night was our movie night (my kids watched Cinderella for the first time), and we needed brownies of course. I made these brownies, and they were a huge hit. No one complained once that they weren’t Duncan Hines.
  • Don’t keep sweets in your house. Throw out your holiday candy out or give it to a friend.
  • Don’t buy juice or sodas. (with the exception of Capri Sun Roarin’Waters  – so handy to grab on the way out to the park or the zoo and my kids love them). Instead, we love La Croix. Don’t tell my four year old that it’s not Sprite!

Removing sugar from your diet is hard, and if you’re like us you’ll fail.  And then fail again.

Stick with it. I am really thankful for this change in our diet.

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