Pour Some Sweetened-Only-With-Fruit-Juice Preserves On Me

I’m doing it.

I’m jumping on a bandwagon.

I hate stupid bandwagons. Especially as they relate to food/diet/nutrition.

But I’m letting go of sugar.

I’m not doing the whole “sugar detox” thing where I rid it from my diet completely for X amount of time. But I’m cutting it DRAMATICALLY. I’m only leaving it in where I haven’t found a good replacement yet. For example? I’m still using one packet of sweetener in my coffee. I always thought I was doing good with that because it was “stevia” but it turns out it’s not “green leaf stevia” which is what is the “okay” sweetener, it’s “white stevia” which is evidently almost as bad as aspartame.

YAY! for making good decisions and finding out later you did it wrong!

But my coffee is necessary on SO MANY LEVELS for me and until I find a decent replacement, I’m still using one packet.

As I go about my day, I may discover sugar in things (that’s the problem – it’s in EVERYTHING) that I’m not ready to do without yet. Things that are not inherently sweet, so I didn’t consider them. I haven’t looked at the label of my vegan refried beans, or my salsa, or my white corn tortillas, but that “snack” is a staple to my day and I often eat it 2 times so going without that would be hard until I could find a suitable/quick replacement.

So…this is a learning process. But I think I’m dropping it all together.

I have known for awhile that I still have an issue with “sugar” and I know it’s an addiction on many levels, but I haven’t really wanted to give it up. At all. But I was listening to a podcast yesterday about “habits” and they discussed “keystone habits” which are the habits you change that have a type of snowball effect and will change tons of things in your life as a result. The mentioned that exercising is one, if you can start exercising, tons of other habits will change without you meaning to change them. They also discussed that the keystone habits are the hardest and the most scary to change. And when I think about dropping my sugar habit? It scares the SHIT out of me.

But I need it. It’s an addiction and I know sugar messes with my emotions – both when I’m craving it, and when I’ve obliged myself with it. You hear that it triggers a similar response in rats as cocaine and this does NOT SURPRISE ME AT ALL. It know a lot of my emotional relationship with food is connected to sugar and since this is the ONE HABIT I just struggle with the most (the emotional eating) I think it’s time I battle it from the chemical standpoint and – instead of trying to just not stress eat – I think I need to work on the chemical addiction that probably plays a huge part in that stress eating behavior.

Because y’all? When I crave “sweet” it’s INSANE. I become a crazy person. Seriously. And I crave it often, especially when I’m stressed, which I am constantly now that I’m trying to get my house on the market and trying to get the kids used to living differently as we have to keep the house “show ready” at any moment in time. The stress? IS SO HIGH RIGHT NOW. I actually feel like I’ll be LESS stressed once the house is on the market because – hopefully – that means I’m done with everything I was supposed to do. But right now? STRESS SO MUCH + CRAVE SO MUCH + EAT SO MUCH = CRAZY PERSON.

So…I’m not doing the whole “detox” thing because it’s not practical right now. But I’m going to try to keep my sugar/sweetener grams as low as possible (one packet of my “white stevia” has 3 grams of Erythritol which is one of those sugar alcohols they say are SO bad for the whole “addiction to sugar” thing) until I can find replacements for things. One packet of this sweetener in my coffee is about as low as I can tolerate and still drink it. AND I MUST HAVE MY COFFEE. That is not an addiction I’m willing to deal with today.

But – I’m hoping most of the things I normally eat in a day are okay. It will be a learning process, I’m sure. I’m going to log my sugars but not stress over “raw” or “unrefined” sugars that come in things like fruit juice. (I sweeten my oatmeal with a brand of preserves that are “Only Sweetened With Fruit Juice” so that stuff is in the clear, thank goodness.) And when I find out something (like my not-green-leaf-stevia packets) has a sweetener or sugar alcohol or artificial sweetener in it – something that is a stable to my diet – I’ll reduce it as much as possible until I can find a replacement. And really – my goal is to avoid things TASTING sweet. So, if I can reduce it (like with my coffee) to tolerable, but it not taste really sweet, then that is a huge step with the emotional/mental triggers.

And if 10 days of this “concerted effort towards a major reduction” doesn’t show me the TINIEST bit of change in my emotional relationship with food or my psychosis-inducing sugar cravings, then I’ll consider the full “official” sugar detox.

So! Whatcha’ know about sugar detox?

22 Comments

  • Shannon

    i did a 10 day sugar detox and I felt fantastic. I need to do it again, this time for good. My anxiety was SO much better…I felt tired though, and that’s probably what made me go back to sugar. 🙁

  • Alli

    Have you tried black coffee or bulletproof coffee? I cut out the sugar in my coffee and lost 5 pounds. Now I love my black coffee. I tried bulletproof coffee for awhile but I was hoping for an effect that really didn’t happen, so I decided to stick to black coffee because it is simpler.

  • Roseann

    Have you tried honey? I eliminated a lot of the sugars in my life, and the ones I wanted to keep, I switched out with honey.

  • Monica

    I am a sugar addict, too. I have not tried to get off it and am too afraid to try, not only for my sake but for the sake of those around me. But my friend swears by agave nectar as a replacement for sugar. It is lower on the glycemic index and is natural.

    • Kim Zoot

      I tried the Agave Nectar in my coffee and I’m not 100% against it, but I didn’t like it. I’m going to mess with it a bit more though to give it a try – and I might like it better in my tea!

  • amyd

    I used agave nectar now to sweeten my coffee. Not sure if that fits in your plan, but I much prefer it to white sugar sweeteners.

  • LC

    GOOD FOR YOU!! You have much better willpower than I. I sincerely admire you changing a keystone habit.

    I also use one packet of sweetener in my one cup of coffee in the morning, Stevia in the Raw. According to my chemistry-nerd girlfriend, it is good for me. We have totally cut out all “diet” stuff that contain all the bad no-calorie sweeteners in them. (I had no idea!) If I want a soda (which is maybe once a week), it is Blue Sky or something similar with raw cane sugar. And I put a little brown sugar in my oatmeal. I have tried honey in my coffee and no matter how I try to mix it, it never seems to sweeten the whole cup….just the last drink or two (it seems to settle to the bottom). I still use it though when I drink stronger coffee and one packet of Stevia isn’t enough.

    • Kim Zoot

      Okay. Question for the chemistry-nerd girlfriend. This is my confusion. I was using Truvia which I thought was just another brand of Stevia but then I read that Truvia is “bleached” or “white” stevia and what I’m supposed to be using is “Green Leaf Stevia”. Is that what “Stevia in the Raw” is? I saw that at the store and almost picked some up but I wasn’t sure. I did get some of that Agave Nectar to try with my coffee instead of my Truvia packet but I didn’t like it, so I’m hoping the “Stevia in the Raw” stuff is the same as “Green Leaf Stevia” that I saw was okay to use.

      Why is this so complicated?

      Have you tried preserves in oatmeal? It’s my FAVORITE. I make my oatmeal now with unsweetened almond milk and one TBSP of blueberry preserves (no sugar, sweetened only with fruit juice) and it’s SO GOOD. I was a huge fan of brown sugar oatmeal until I switched to preserves!

  • Corina

    Oh man, good for you and good luck! I did something very similar about 18 months ago. I didn’t cut out sugar ENTIRELY, because that just wasn’t going to work for me, but I cut back as much as I could stand. For me the thing I couldn’t get rid of was white sugar in my morning tea, but after about two weeks my palate had re-set to the point where I needed about half as much to get what seemed like the same level of sweetness. It took about two weeks to notice the change in my palate, and about a month for the cravings to be almost entirely gone. But oh man, I’ve never felt better. I had more energy, my skin was clearer, and I was PISSED because I love sugar and I hated the thought that drastically cutting back could be as good for me as all those smug types were insisting it was. You know, now that I think about it I didn’t have my usual bout of February depression last year. I attributed it to having a spring Mexican holiday to look forward to, but maybe cutting the sugar addiction actually had something to do with it? I dunno. I don’t want to assign it that much power, but maybe. All that said, I’ve gradually fallen back into the sugar pit this fall and this post (and remembering how smug and great I felt last year at this time) is making me think I need to start climbing back out. DAMN YOU KIM AND YOUR SENSIBLE EATING! *clutches pumpkin chocolate chip cookies* *weeps*

    • Kim Zoot

      I need these stories because today is ROUGH. I’m exhausted and sad I can’t bing on my sweet stuff. How long before you felt the GOOD effects to counterbalance the BAD?

      • Corina

        I think the first two weeks were the hardest. After that the cravings started to slowly dissipate and my energy began to rebound. Not gonna lie that it was easy. I think a month was when I gave in and admitted that it was really worth it. I drank a LOT of hot green mint tea for energy during those first two weeks. (Mint seems to counteract sugar cravings for me and green tea gave me a little energy boost when I normally would have reached for chocolate.)

  • LC

    From the chemistry-nerd:

    Raw stevia is to white stevia what raw sugar is to white sugar. Chemically, they should be the same, but the white version is more processed and refined than the raw. I say “should” because we’ve found that many white stevia powders use fillers like maltodextrin to cut the sweetness of pure stevia (and, presumably, to make the companies more money by increasing volume). When companies start adding fillers, you start getting into the territory of the–cue dramatic music–ominous GMO.

    Regardless of how you feel about GMOs, I think the bigger issue with some white stevia is just flat-out not getting what you’re paying for. If I’m buying a sweetener, I obviously want to use it to sweeten things. Why do I need someone else to make it less sweet, so that I have to use more volume to get to the desired sweetness level?

    All of that said, I think the the term “green leaf stevia” does refer to raw stevia. All stevia is produced from stevia leaves, all of which are green unless they’re dead, which makes the term a bit of a misnomer. Either version is leaps and bounds better than artificial sweeteners. Beyond that, I would read labels and use raw/white stevia just as you would raw/white sugar, according to your own tastes and thoughts on food item refinement.

    • Kim Zoot

      Great. This is enough information that I can give the Raw Stevia a try instead of this Agave crap which does not make my coffee taste the right kind of sweet! Thanks 🙂

  • karen

    Good for you for taking this big step! I’ve done a ‘sugar fast’ several times in the past, usually Feb when all the holiday candy is gone (eaten by me!). I find that cinnamon tricks me into thinking things are sweet. Cinnamon tea, sprinkle of cinnamon on oatmeal, etc. RE stevia–try and find stevia leaves. A tiny pinch (1/4 tsp) in your coffee grounds is all you need to sweeten the whole pot. I also add it to my loose tea.

  • sarah

    The book (which has a TERRIBLE title) The Science of Skinny does a great job explaining sweetners from a chemistry perspective. I got it from the library on my kindle & ended up buying it, so that I could refer to it as I wanted. In the book, she says that Truvia is a trademarked formula/product – so processed all to hell – and doesn’t have the health benefits of stevia (which is anti-viral/bacterial).

    Anyway, good & useful book. Which podcast were you listening to that made this click for you?

  • cara

    My husband cut out all refined sugars and flours over a decade ago now. He detoxed (literally, he was shaking) for 3 or 4 days and then his energy level shot up. He was up and bouncing every morning with enough energy to actually make me a bit crazy. Now when he eats any he can immediately feel the impact – sluggish, bloated, even a bit sick to his stomach. Oh, and when he cut out all artificial sweeteners to boot, weight just melted off.

    This is, however, specific to his body chemistry. Because we don’t really have it in the house and I don’t view it as healthy, I eat very little sugar/refined flour either. (Well, more with a kid around, but I had a good ten years before that.). When I do eat them, though, I don’t have the same reaction. Then again, I don’t have the sweet tooth or weight gain he had. My body seems to handle it differently. So, you know, your mileage may vary and all that.

    Two other quick things: once you cut way down on suga for awhile, things will suddenly taste sweet to you that didn’t before. Like salt, your taste buds seem to adjust. And, because of this, I easily sweeten my coffee with a good quality honey. It needs to be a dark one to have enough sweet, but also a mild like wildflower or orange blossom to avoid flavoring the coffee. If you’ve already cut down on your sweetener, honey might be enough.

  • Hillary

    A nutritionist had me cut out sugar for a month. At the end of the month when I could add them back in, I found that sugary stuff felt way too sweet — with the exception of a little honey in my tea. I cannot drink plain tea! The first few days are rough, but having fruit did help a bit. And I found that after the first week or so, I had more energy. Plus I got fewer headaches than usual over the course of that month.

    Good for you for trying this and I hope it helps!

  • WendyB

    I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox (http://balancedbites.com/category/21-day-sugar-detox) last year because my SIL wanted company and it was amazing! I had so much energy, skin was clear and lost 20 pounds too. But it was a little too hard core to stay on, so I added things back in until I was back to all my old habits and the weight is going back too. I still want all the carby sugary things when I stress.

    I have kept coffee with just 1/2 and 1/2 no sugar which I thought would be the hardest to do. Tried a bit of maple syrup?

    So many great thoughts and ideas in the comments. Would love to hear how you are doing, you can totally do this!!

  • Jared

    I don’t know if I’ve shared it with you, but Halee and I have been doing Carb Nite (researched by John Kiefer) off and on for about a year and half. It’s basically an ultra low carb diet, with on 6-8 hour carb re-feed a week. Of course you’re just talking sugar, but the guy who has done all the research for Carb Nite and Carb Backloading (for people who resistance train) did a podcast about artificial sweeteners a couple of weeks ago that was interesting.

    He has gone back and forth on their use and which ones (any that end in -tol are bad, those are the “sugar alcohol”s you mentioned, and your body gets an insulin response just like it does with sugar) are safe. Might be helpful. has certainly changed our body chemistry.

    I know you aren’t talking about weight loss but a lot of his research deals with how our bodies uses carbs and how similar they are to drugs. Worth a read if you have time and I’d be glad to answer any questions, though I’m not a scientist nor do I play one on TV.

    • Kim Zoot

      Have you all seen Food Inc? It specifically brings up the reaction of sugar in lab rats v/s cocaine and they liked the sugar better! So I’ll definitely check out your sources. The more information I ingest reminding me it’s terrible MIGHT help my brain actually avoid the consumption in the first place.