healthy living

Giving Up Sugar

sugarThis week marks the beginning of Lent – a 40-day period where many Catholics “give up” things as sacrifices.   (Last year, I gave up Facebook and it was awesome.)  This year I’ve decided to give up two things.  The first thing I plan to give up is good ‘ole refined sugar (I’ll tell you about the second later this week).  Sugar may be delicious, but it’s one of the worst things you can put into your body.  It offers no nutritional value, is addictive, and can create a whole host of health problems.

The health dangers of sugar are numerous (read here for a list – EW), but I’m giving up sugar for a couple main reasons:

  1. I feel better.  No highs and lows from sugar crashes.
  2. My skin is beautiful.  When I lay off the sugar, my skin glows and glows and glows.  It’s crazy, but it really works!
  3. Sugar promotes weight gain.  Nobody likes that.
  4. It’s addictive!  Try avoiding sugar for a couple days … chances are you’ll get a headache or become irritable.

Of course, some sugar is good for you.  I’ll never give up natural sugar like you find in fruits (….. translation: wine) or vegetables.

Things like cookies, donuts, cake, ice cream, candy, chocolate, pastries, frozen yogurt (what a bummer) and the like are all off limits for 40 days (starting Wednesday).  I’ve generally been avoiding these things to get in shape for the wedding, but I do cheat and splurge on sugary foods sometimes.  Not gonna happen during Lent.

What about “fake” sugars?  I know the whole fake sugars debate is controversial, but here’s my take on it: it’s okay in moderation and if you opt for the natural sugars.  I usually try to use stevia or a derivative of stevia, since it’s supposed to be the best fake sugar out there.  I also don’t have any side effects from stevia like those that I listed above (mood, weight, addictiveness, etc.).  For now, I’m only sacrificing refined, white sugar.

(Try my favorite all natural sweetener, Steviva.  No chemicals, all natural, no calories.  Tastes AWESOME!)

I think a diet low in refined sugar is part of a well-balanced, good-for-you diet, anyway.  G and I don’t have any sugars in the house.  The only time we have them is at parties or when we’re out to dinner, so we don’t eat too much of anyway.  But we do like to enjoy dessert sometimes on the weekends when we’re out to dinner.  I always look forward to that, so this Lenten sacrifice will serve it’s purpose of withholding something that I enjoy.  (Stay tuned for my other sacrifice later this week … it’s more of a good-for-the-soul sacrifice.)

Do you eat, avoid, or limit refined sugars in your diet?


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  • I’m going vegan for Lent, and part of that involves refined sugar (it is often refined with bone char). It’ll be a challenge, but an interesting test of willpower. Good luck!

  • I do try to avoid refined sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup) in general, and because I’m actively trying to lose weight, I’ve done a really good job of doing so over the past few months without much difficulty. However, I do use artificial sweeteners – specifically Splenda in my tea, and Aspartame in Diet Coke. I’ve tried several versions of Stevia and just can’t get on board with it because it has an intensely bitter aftertaste for me. Boo.

    I’ve been trying to cut back – particularly on the diet coke – and as a lifelong agnostic, I had no idea that Lent was upon us – but I think you’ve inspired me to go ahead and give it up for the next 40 days.

    Wait. Lent IS 40 days long, right? Ha!

    I’m gonna do it!

  • Refined white sugar is sooo good though! I could never give it up, but I’m impressed you’ve set this lofty of a goal. I would fail…miserably. 😉 Good luck!

  • When I went thirty days without alcohol, I wanted sugary treats all the time. It took me about a week and a half to realize it was because my usual wine intake was gone. Best of luck with this! Would love to hear about the tangible results.

    • I don’t think I could give up wine for 30 days – you are awesome! I just love beer and wine so much … I always look forward to a few drinks on Friday nights after a long week. 🙂 I’ll try to remember to do a follow up post on the sugar thing!

  • First off, hello Amber! This is my first comment on your blog! I just wanted to say I’m proud of you for giving up sugar. I’ve been a bodybuilder for over 6 years now, and let me tell you, kicking the sugar habit will truly transform your body and health. My rule of thumb is to only eat food that falls into two categories: it used to be alive or it grew out of the dirt. I do recommend cheating once in a while to keep you sane in the head though haha. Nothing too crazy, just something small that won;t destroy your diet. Good luck Amber!

  • My theory with food is there is no bad food, however I avoid refined sugar, added salt and fatty meat. I prefer chicken and seafood as opposed to beef. I believe that it is okay to have everything in moderation. I drink mostly water, but I like tea and iced tea, but no sugar of any kind. No sugary soft drinks either. Is it worth it? You bet! I am fit and healthy.

    • I think that’s the best way of thinking! I tend to think that way, too. If I couldn’t have beer or wine or pizza or Mexican food, I’d go crazy … but I focus on eating healthy the majority of the time so little splurges don’t matter much. 😉

  • I’m giving up chocolate, and I’m a complete chocoholic so this is going to be tough! I think it will make Easter that much sweeter, though, and honestly it probably will have good health side effects. 🙂 Good for you giving up refined sugars! You can do it!

  • I gave up sugar a very long time ago. And like you said, my skin glows, glows and glows. I have an occasional slip ups but only once every few month’s. I love not having the need for sugar the most, now I just eat fruit.

  • So crazy! I stumbled upon this site when searching for Mexican food options with no refined sugar…since I’VE given it up for Lent AND I gave up Facebook so Lent last year too!

  • It’s hard to keep up with these tinymodels for me, even more bescaue they all seem to be blocked in my country. Is this particular one still going or she stopped modeling?I really like her but finding information is very hard for me.Thanks for her sets.

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