Sugar we’re going down swinging

Time to cross another one off my list – Eat fresh vegetables or fruits once a day for 30 days (April 26th-May 26th).  Check.

I was inspired to start this goal after watching a documentary called Fed Up on Netflix.  I always knew that I had a sweet tooth and that I should eat less junk food.  However, what I did not know was how much sugar is hidden in ordinary foods like yogurt and pasta sauce.

6d2e51069d4819d95d6604902f0b7354I did a week long challenge in which I limited my added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons or less per day, which is the amount of sugar recommended by the American Heart Association for women.  My average was about 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar per day during my first week.  I tried to find foods that had the least amount of sugar.  The 2 to 3 teaspoons I did eat each day came from things like whole wheat bread (2 grams per slice), plain Greek yogurt (3 grams for 1/2 cup), and granola (3 grams for 1/4 cup).

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7c7a7b79f4c042e05420357bce9894fdThe first few days of limiting my added sugar was hard.  I found myself craving sweets.  However, eating some fresh fruit did satisfy my craving.  I noticed that after I cut down on sugar, my energy level was a lot better than it has been.  Fruits and vegetables started tasting really good.  Here are some awesome new recipes that we tried.

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

Tacos with homemade tortillas.  I had no idea how AMAZING homemade tortillas could be.  So delicious, and no sugar!

Whole grain pasta with homemade pasta sauce

I used to not like the taste of whole grain pasta, but my taste buds have changed because now I enjoy it.  And homemade pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic…there is no comparison to the store bought stuff.

Shrimp Avocado Salad

Wow, this was yummy.  It made a wonderful, light summer dinner.

BLT Bowl

So good.  The feta cheese totally makes this recipe.

Chicken Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry

This was my favorite new dish that we tried.  The flavor was AMAZING.

I can say that this week long sugar challenge definitely changed my eating habits.  I started eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  I started actually reading nutrition labels, and felt shocked at what I found.  My favorite drink from Starbuck’s (tall cafe mocha) has 28 grams of sugar in it.  This one drink has more sugar in it that the AHA recommends for an entire day.  The pasta sauce I usually buy has 9 grams of sugar per serving.  The yogurt cups I buy have 32 grams of sugar per serving.  32 grams!  8 teaspoons of sugar in a small cup of yogurt?!  Mind.  Blowing.

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fed-up-comparisonI have been trying to maintain my healthy eating.  I think about my food choices during the day.  I eat fresh fruits or vegetables every day.  I switched from adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to my tea/coffee every morning to 1 teaspoon of honey.  If I do have something sweet like ice cream or cookies, I try to savor it rather than eating a huge amount.  I plan out our meals weekly so that we are prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients to cook with.

I aim to stay at 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.  There are some days where I am under this, and there are some days when I go over.  But on average, I would say that I am eating significantly less sugar and way more fruits/veggies.  I feel a whole lot better, too.

Eat-better.-Feel-better.Have you watched the Fed Up documentary?  I’d love to hear if you tried the no sugar challenge!  What keeps you on track when you’re trying to limit your sugar intake?

-A

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4 thoughts on “Sugar we’re going down swinging

  1. Oh my goodness! It’s crazy how much sugar goes into some things, isn’t it?? I was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease over the summer…despite having no risk factors and being relatively healthy. My doctor basically said I had to lay off sugar or else. It’s been hard, and so educational — but worth it, I think!

    Good luck in trying to stay on the right path! I really think it’s a better way to live, without added sugar. 🙂

    • It really is crazy! How has it been going for you to cut out added sugar? What I’ve noticed is that it definitely takes more preparation. It can be so easy to just grab a jar of pasta sauce. Making it from scratch requires more ingredients and a bit more effort, which has been challenging for me. Good luck to you, too!

      • It’s been alright. Not easy, and like you said, it requires some forethought and more cooking. I like cooking, but I’m having to get more creative as I try to cut sugar anywhere I can. Some things are easy; for instance, I was pretty much drinking black coffee already anyway, so now I always do; but resisting my husband’s homemade chocolate chip cookies? Much harder! The worst part, though, is when something I like that I would have never guessed had tons of sugar, is revealed to have as much as you need in a day. That’s always so sad! 😦

        I do think I feel better, though, I’ve noticed I’m becoming highly sensitive to both artificial and excessive sugar amounts. I can usually tell right away. So, progress! It’s a slow road, but worth it.

        Best of luck to you, too! 🙂

  2. Pingback: My 27th Year | Castles in Europe

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