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Monday Mission: A No Sugar Day

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to go one day without eating any refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.

You’ll have to be a voracious label reader, as almost anything that comes in a box or bottle includes sugar, sometimes found as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, and more.

You probably won’t be able to eat:

  • salad dressing
  • bread
  • cereal
  • ketchup or BBQ sauce
  • flavored yogurt

…unless you make your own. Desserts and candies, of course, are automatically off the table. Once you start thinking about all the places sugar gets added to the standard American diet, you might be surprised!

Perhaps you’re already totally off white sugar; I’m sure many KS readers considered taking this step or already make the above from scratch. For you, try a day without any sweetener at all, natural or otherwise.

Giving something up is always a good way to find out how much we depend on that source of food.

My {Ripple} update from Lisa Byrne (author of Designed for Wellness) today was on what food is the ninja weapon against sugar cravings! If you haven’t signed up for her newsletter yet, you’ll receive a free 19-page workbook called “Break the Sugar Habit” – how appropriate! You can find the {Ripple} newsletter sign up and freebies here and her post at Simple Mom on “The Great Sugar Detox” with 3 ways to work with your body’s natural sugar cravings here.

A Sweet Sweet Summer: Exploring Natural Sweeteners Week by Week

For now…enjoy your day off of sugar. Just make sure you don’t choose a day when the family would walk to get ice cream. Winking smile

Could you go a whole day without any sugar at all? labelsny lables would you have to read to make sure there isn’t any sugar hiding?

Want more help and inspiration to reduce sugar? Check these out:

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

65 thoughts on “Monday Mission: A No Sugar Day”

  1. Pingback: Our Top Picks | The Journey

  2. Alice via Facebook

    I went without any sweeteners for ten days, just a couple of weeks ago! The birthday party ended my streak, though…

    1. I’m not Sarah, but these are some of the reasons I don’t eat fruit:

      Fruits (containing large amounts of sugar – fructose) are considered a healthy type of food. Biochemistry textbooks uniformly state that fructose “floods” the metabolic pathways in the liver, causing overproduction of triglycerides (fats causing obesity) and cholesterol. Fructose is also converted to glucose, which stimulates secretion of insulin. Over-secretion of insulin may eventually lead to diabetes.

      It is commonly accepted that a low-fat diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, reduces the blood serum cholesterol level. The truth is very different. Excessive consumption of sugars (carbohydrates) increases production of fatty acids and cholesterol, while consumption of dietary fat slows down production of fat and cholesterol by the liver.

      Large amounts of carbohydrates stimulate insulin production, which increases production of fats and inhibits their cellular uptake. That means that fats from our tissues cannot be broken down and utilised for energy, hence – obesity. Yet, officially, we still apparently do not know the cause of current epidemic of obesity.

      (the link to these quotes is in the ‘website’ attached to my name)

  3. via Facebook

    My husband and I gave up refined sugar for a month. I still have cravings, but they are so much better.

  4. Robin via Facebook

    Gave up sugars in December, have greatly reduced my refined flour intake too. I lost 10 lbs. I now have the occasional sweet treat, but there is almost no added sugar in anything I eat anymore.

    The lack of afternoon sugar crashes is totally worth the initial struggle to break the addiction.

  5. My husband and I gave up sugar and all sweeteners (natural or artificial) a year ago. Once in a great while we will add a touch of honey to something and maybe once a month, on a special occasion, we will indulge in a dessert (only if it is a really good dessert). I feel so much better now – far less inflammation. And on the days I do indulge – the next day I feel bloated and crummy. That’s why I eat it very seldom and only when it is really good. I think most people live with the bloat and inflammation and don’t even realize it is there until it goes away.

  6. Sarah via Facebook

    I gave up all sweeteners except honey a year and a half ago. Now I don’t eat even honey, or even fruit. It’s tough–I still crave sweet things sometimes–but my body just doesn’t process them well.

  7. Beth via Facebook

    I gave them up for 10 days recently (although…I may have cheated to have the once a year treat of fresh picked, homemade strawberry shortcake 🙂 I also lost weight. And when I started eating sugars again, I gained it right back. bummer. I should make it a more permanent change, I guess.

  8. I accepted the challenge and made it for 36 hours! I ate a meal at the Chinese restaurant and used soy sauce. That means I “fell off the wagon” and it wasn’t even from eating chocolate!
    The hardest time for me to not eat any sugar was between meals. Even if I came up with a decent, non-sugar snack, I still WANTED something else…like chocolate. My current favorite chocolate is bittersweet choc chips, but there is still sugar in them.
    The second hardest time was breakfast. No granola, no oatmeal(at least part of it has to be sweetened for me!), no grain-free granola…I just wouldn’t like eggs every a.m.

    I would definitely lose weight if I continued on a no sweets diet and I don’t have that much ‘extra’ to lose! I also want to find out about my pH while eating as usual and then how modifying my intake of acidifying foods affects the alkalinity of my body. That’s my next project and I will be looking for a pH testing kit asap.

    1. This is the chocolate I buy, though not from this source. Azure Standard sells it for about $12, but not knowing if you have an account to see the details, I chose this link.

      It does have sweetener, but it’s organic raw cane juice, so there are some good qualities. I find with an option like this I don’t need as much to satisfy the craving.

    2. Yep…chocolate is a TOUGH one for me to avoid completely. The aftertaste of any meal, no matter how wonderful, always makes me want to eat the tiniest sweet thing… 😉 Katie

  9. I just ordered Kelly Dorfman’s book! Thank you for recommending that as I have a very picky eater who loves milk and carbs. I can’t wait to read it. It might answer some other questions I have too.

    1. I’m trying to get it from my library to read before buying. It sounds like something we need in our home. We’ve already determined that our 5 yo son is sensitive to food chemicals, but would be interesting to see what she has to say.

  10. I guess we’ve come further than I thought in regards to white sugar. There’s still some in the house, but hubby is the only one using it. I’m trying to hink if I had anything with any type of sweetener in it today. Oh yeah, I made the adrenal support water that ModernAlternativeMama has at her blog and that has about 1T of raw honey in it. I had a sparkling juice, so fruit juice sweetened. We had a french toast casserole for breakfast with 100% pure maple syrup. No refined white sugar, but not sweetener free and doubt we ever will be. Really looking forward to this series, thanks for doing it!

  11. Great! I’m excited to read what you have to say. Will you be addressing the (supposed) connection to sugar and cancer?? I’m especially interested in that at the moment.

    1. paws – if you’re interested in the sugar/cancer connection, please follow the link with my name to Bee Wilder’s “Healing Naturally” web site and type in “sugar cancer” in the search engine in the upper right hand corner of any page. There are MANY articles associated with this. WARNING: the views shared on her website are quite CONTRARY to what the majority today believes. I love her opening statement on her main Candida article which states: “Before reading this you will need to clear your mind of everything you have learned about [candida] so far. ” Tho the sentence is about candidiasis, it can address many of the issues she deals with on her website. It is absolutely amazing to realize WE can control whether or not we contract cancer or heart disease or diabetes simply by controlling our diet.


    2. paws,
      Actually, I hadn’t heard of that one. Doggone sugar is related to so many things and so many things are pegged in the cancer epidemic…hard to know where to start. I’ll make a note of that on my list, though!
      Thanks, Katie

  12. Katie,

    This is too easy of a mission for me. Let’s see… did I accomplish this yesterday? I believe so. Yay!

    Lol. Keep up the missions. Yesterday was the first ever “Monday Motivational Challenge” on my blog yesterday. I can’t wait to see what challenges I come up with!

  13. My family started GAPS about 3 or 4 months ago and we definatly cut back on our sugar and really felt it!!! I am also starting some amino acid therapy base on the book “The Mood Cure” and am giving some to my son who shows ADD and hyperactivity signs. I havent read the book you were talking about and was wondering if you would ask the authors thoughts and reading recommendations on aminos and kids.

    1. Hi Heidi – We have people joining Bee Wilder’s program AFTER giving GAPS a try. GAPS IS good but, in our opinion, it doesn’t quite go far enough. Bee’s program is no: grains, dairy, sugar, starches, fruit or nuts. We have people on her program who also have kids who show ADD (ADHD) and autism who have gotten better by following her prgm.

      since I can’t post links, do a google search on Bee Wilder, Healing Naturally.

      There is nothing to buy; she offers her knowledge and experience at no cost. Outside of buying coconut oil and her recommended supplements (which she does not sell), you’re just buying the best food you can afford.

      1. Wow, I’ve never heard anyone say GAPS wasn’t already doing enough. Phew. So it’s pretty much meat, eggs, and non-starchy vegetables, period, eh? That would be tough to sustain for very long – how long do all those “no” items remain on the “no” list?

        Thanks for the new resource, again! 🙂 Katie

        1. Katie – according to Bee Wilder, it takes one month of good eating to heal from one year of poor eating. For most of us, that means our entire lives as our mothers probably didn’t eat properly (if they were typical Westerners, as my mother – an I – was…).

          Some people feel like they can take ‘short-cuts’ to heal ‘faster’, but the candida comes right back when they go back to a Western diet.

          And even once healed, people should not go back to a typical Westernized way of eating but do what is suggested here (cutting refined, processed foods, properly preparing grains, etc.).

          Perhaps read at her website, the posted success stories, join her Yahoo Group and just see what is said and see if it rings true for you, as it has for me. It’s Bee’s link posted with my name.

          1. Thanks, Karen! I kind of like to have that “formula” – one month for each year. At least if we’re starting young, we don’t have to detox for quite as long! 😉

            🙂 Katie

  14. Regarding your interview with Kelly Dorfman… I would be very interested in learning what opinion she has about ELISA allergy test results. Can you really have a “strong” reaction to a food on ELISA and after avoiding that food for six months not be allergic anymore? Why doesn’t that work with gluten? I don’t understand the concept of “resetting” the immune system. Thanks Katie! Looking forward to the sugars discussion.

  15. It’s my understanding that regular white beet sugar is genetically modified but that cane sugar is not.

  16. my family has really cut out the white sugar, i think completely except the occasional breyer’s ice cream 🙂
    in this endeavor, i have really cut back on my baking and general sweets. but we aren’t perfect, and aren’t totally sugar free. we do enjoy our raw honey, maple syrup, SORGHUM, and some organic brown sugar (i know, it’s still pretty processed). i always like to keep in mind that we vote with our $$ every time we go to the grocery store- so NO WHITE SUGAR. i know it is easy to paint all sugars with the same brush- which in some sense is true, esp if you’re overindulging- but if the effect of that generalization is to justify buying white sugar? no way! also many natural sweeteners, such as raw honey and sorghum and molasses do have micronutrients and other great properties so if they are enjoyed in a way not to totally spike your blood sugar (in small amounts as part of a complete fat/protein/fiber meal) i say don’t feel too guilty! indulge a little!
    Katie, please include SORGHUM syrup with your natural sweetener round-up 🙂 it is made across the mid-west, it used to be a staple crop in our grandparents’ generation. it is similar to molasses but less processed generally and also less “bitter” or strong tasting. it has a lot of iron and magnesium and other great tid bits from the good earth. SANDHILL ORGANIC SORGHUM is the best, bar none!

    1. Lizi,
      I always forget about that one, just because I’ve never tried it myself! I’m on it; thank you! 🙂 Katie

  17. Kristina – have you read “Sugar Blues”? I’m almost finished with it and just in shock how the TRUTH has been known for centuries and yet has been hushed, smashed, killed, etc. and then CHEMICAL replacements (vitamins, sugar, etc.) have been created to replace the whole foods.

    I also note the links I’m posting are not showing.

    If anyone is interested (whether for Cravings or Allergies), go to Bee Wilder’s “Healing Naturally” website. In the upper right hand corner, use her awesome search engine and search on “allergies” or “cravings” and see what you find (there will be many articles available for each and I was sharing a specific article so you wouldn’t have to read thru them all to get the meat of the idea…).

    I can do one better: article titles.

    “allergies, what they are and how to treat them”

    “food cravings and how to control them”

    1. Karen,
      Welcome, and thanks so much for all your insights and helpful direction on articles. I have no idea why the links are getting stripped out of your comments rather than the comment just getting flagged for “approval” by me (which is what usually happens). Very odd! I can’t even see them on the back end here. Sorry the system is being so finicky with you; all your resources sound wonderful!
      Thanks again, 🙂 Katie

  18. That Married Couple

    I just discovered your blog a few months ago (thanks to Family Foundations) and I’ve been meaning to do one of your Monday Missions for a while now. I’m going to try this! I’m really excited you’re looking into sugar in more depth – I only ever hear people say it’s bad and never the specifics on why/how alternatives are better. I want the details so I can make my own decisions for our family – or so I can just decide your conclusions are the best and follow them 🙂

  19. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I do think natural sugars are worth it. We all like a treat now and then, and my goal is to have ‘redeeming value’ to that treat. Having a treat with a crazy amount of white sugar is no good, because it is stripped of all nutrients and the large amount while spike blood sugar and leach nutrients from the body.

    On the other hand, raw honey and maple syrup both contain quite a lot of natural nutrients, and honey even has antibacterial and antiviral properties. There is redeeming value there. Especially if used sparingly, these can be a part of a healthy diet. And if you do use them sparingly, you will not pay that much. I might use 1/4 – 1/2 c. of them in a batch of something I bake, vs. 1 – 2 c. of white sugar called for in any particular recipe. I also don’t note the same ill effects from the natural sugars as I do from white sugar. I gladly pay for the ‘good stuff’ and simply use it in limited amounts.

      1. I agree! I do think they’re worth it because they actually contain nutrients whereas white sugar has no nutrition and actually depletes the body of essential nutrients. Of course, sugar is still sugar but you’re right, we all like a treat and why not have a treat that has at least something beneficial in it?

        Just wrote a post about this very topic!

    1. I agree! There is a HUGE, MONSTROUS difference between ordinary, processed white sugar and natural, unrefined, organic sugars. I’ve been reading Nourishing Traditions and Sally Fallon mentioned some studies done on the nutritional benefits of organic vs. conventional, and some oranges were discovered to have NO Vitamin C! None! Whatsoever! For as long as I live, I will never forget that, and it will always help me remember that the difference between conventional foods, and foods grown and prepared the way God intended is so huge that there shouldn’t even be any doubt. It kind of amazes me that Katie doesn’t know this!

      1. Laura,
        I hear you, and I have read that about grocery oranges and Vitamin C, but I also know that even unrefined sugars are still SUGAR. Meant to be consumed in quite small moderation…so is it worth paying quadruple for something that is still not actually healthy for you? Better, surely, to give up sugar and sweeteners altogether. But if someone is going to try to give them up and then end up binging on junk occasionally, I still think it’s a topic worth exploring. I think there are good, better, best, pretty bad, and super evil options. My job is to try to figure out what falls into which category! 😉

        So the question isn’t “is white sugar bad for you?” it’s just “is it worth spending lots of $ on organic sugar that still may be bad for you?”

        Keep reading, and hopefully we’ll all learn from each other!
        🙂 Katie

        1. I think there is a very comfortable place in our diets for natural sweeteners. Regarding organic white sugar, we have to consider the processing the sugar endures in order to produce those dry, bright white crystals of sweetness. Natural sweeteners contain many beneficial nutrients that make them “whole” foods, just as God intended. When we use synthetic chemicals to strip that away, it’s a lot like refining wheat, in my opinion. I guess it all boils down to a personal thing. What is the individual commitment each of us has made to eating whole, organic, unprocessed foods as God intended? Because organic white sugar isn’t one of them.
          I doubt there’s an adult left in America that isn’t aware that sugar should be eaten in moderation. But I think that rule is unfairly applied. ALL things, no matter how healthy, should be eaten in moderation. A diet of nothing but the most nutrient-dense cod liver oil won’t sustain anyone. But I think when we keep things in moderation, and leave them natural and unprocessed, then all is as it should be.

  20. FarmSchooler

    I have been off sugar for a while now as well (about 2 months). Brunch today is KC Strip steak w/ a cold Spicy Slaw and local IN SEASON peaches on the side.

    Daughter is in the kitchen now making a yummy Coconut Flour bread (sort of like an unsweetened pound cake) that I will serve buttered (homemade basil butter) to go with a (leftover) Steak Salad, fresh green beans and more peaches for dinner tonight :o) Who needs sugar!!!

    I did order 2 gallons of honey this month for the pantry. Have blackstrap molasses that I use occasionally too. I have some stevia, but have never really liked it. I DELIBERATELY canceled the 25lb of organic Evap Cane Juice this month that I used to order 3-4 times a year. Dont plan to buy it any more at all. I do buy white sugar in ONE POUND packages to make our Kombucha Tea…not sure how much longer we will keep that up though. I like my kefir well enough to be satisfied with it. May look into getting water kefir..but then again sort of have enough going on.

    Once off the sugar, you can actually appreciate the FLAVOR of real food…and its more than satisfying :o)

  21. Rene @ Budget Saving Mom

    I am trying to go 6 weeks with no sugar or processed foods other than when we go out to eat and I have no other option, but I still try to get a salad with very little dressing then. After a few days my sugar cravings went away. (-: Hopefully I can keep it up for all 6 weeks!! Hope that you and the family are doing well, Katie!

  22. W definitely don’t eat much added sugar, except for dark chocolate, ha 🙂 Raw sugar and honey are the “added” sweeteners of choice around here, unless I am making something which absolutely calls for white or powdered sugar. For example, I use powdered sugar in whipped cream (not much, of course, but I think anything else has an inferior result). Katie, I’m with you on the skepticism towards natural sweeteners. Raw sugar is cheap for me so I buy it, and I like raw honey because of the health benefits. In the end, though, sugar is still sugar.

    1. I made whipped cream last night sweetened with evaporated cane juice and the people eating it loved it. I also added pure vanilla extract.

      1. Cool, good to know! I might pick up a small bag of evap. cane juice and try that next time (I have never used it). Whipped cream is the only thing I use powdered sugar for, and it would be really nice to move away from it.

        I love vanilla in cream too. 🙂

  23. Oh I would LOVE it if you could ask her if it is a food issue that causes a few little red bumps to appear on my son’s cheeks every so often. It is not always, but often enough that it bugs me and I wish I could figure out what he is reacting too! And they are not itchy, do not get bigger, they are just small and typically anywhere from 5-10 of them appear. They stay for a while (sometimes a few days, sometimes a few weeks) then they go away.

    I haven’t been able to connect them to any one specific thing (food or otherwise) and would love to hear if she had any ideas! 🙂

    And no sugar is sooo hard for me, but something we are always working to reduce!

    1. Heather – our skin is our largest organ and the place where the body chooses to get rid of toxins.

      You might be interested to read this article on “allergies”:

  24. Looking forward to this series. I do a lot of canning and jam-making during the summer. I’d love to know what I can put in my homemade jams besides sugar.

    1. According to Joy (of Cooking) you can substitute half of the sugar in a jam recipe with honey. That would of course be for slow-cooked versions – not sure I would try it with commercial pectin! That being said, though, I just was reading the Sure-Jell website and it seems their low- or no-sugar pectin has a variation that allows for sweetening with frozen condensed juice. Now, how much of an improvement is that…? Some don’t like the fructose from the juice.

      I just made a half-honey batch and it was a little strong for me. But I just couldn’t get myself to make “brown brown strawberry jam” with sucanat!

    2. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

      It’s absolutely possible, I did a ton of canning last year without any sugar at all. I used a syrup made from a small amount of raw honey and water for fruit. Sure, the fruit did turn a bit brown, but it tasted great and I didn’t worry about the refined sugar. Sugar’s for taste, looks, and sometimes texture. It’s not necessary for the safety of the food, so you can easily skip it (check recipes on different blogs for options — I have a couple on mine).

  25. I haven’t eaten sugar in so long now that I don’t even like the taste. A sacrifice for me would be no raw honey or organic ketchup w/ evapoated cane juice…and even those I use sparingly and not every day.

  26. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I have a hard time justifying the cost of the “natural” sweeteners too. We have switched to using organic sugar to avoid the processing that white sugar goes through, and I try to use honey where I can (love those granola bars!). We go back and forth on maple syrup. We’d love to use it, but we have 5 kids who would drown their flapjacks in maple syrup if they could. Sometimes, I’ll make maple-flavored syrup.

    I personally have cut back on my sugar consumption, not that it was horrendous. However, I’ve found that by eating less sugar I have less of a sweet tooth, and I don’t crave chocolate anymore

  27. I am so excited about this series! I have wanted to explore all of those different sweeteners, but you are so generously doing the work for me. Thanks!

  28. this is just what i needed today! i usually don’t eat much refined sugar and i’m trying to learn to use natural sweeteners so i can still have a treat every now and again. but i just got back from a family reunion where i tried not to overindulge but i still ended up eating way too much sugar. more from bread, lunch meat, etc. then anything.

    anyway… i’m feeling sugared out and ready to get back to my diet. 🙂

  29. Barefeet In The Kitchen

    It won’t be this week, but I will definitely be doing this next week. I’ve already committed to making hundreds of sweets for a family camping trip this weekend. There is just no way I will be able to resist that kind of temptation.

    However, I’ll be completely ready for a sugar detox by next week!

  30. I’m doing a diet now where i’ve had 2 servings a day of fruit and no sugar in any form whatsoever. (I’m eating other things, of course.) Afraid to say i still crave sweets however. Sigh. I’m not doing any grains, either. However, i have lost 14 pounds in the past 21 days. 🙂

    Stevia is not highly priced as it takes such a small amount to sweeten things. I’ve used a liquid form and have made lemonade, and sweetened tea and yogurt with it. Next cycle with this diet i may do without the stevia, tho, to see if no sweetener at all will help kill the cravings. (I’m leaning toward the idea that my diet in the past has been so bad and messed up my palate so much that i may always crave certain things i should not have.)

    1. People who are eating things they are allergic to have intense sugar cravings as their body tries to replenish the sugar stores that get depleted as the body attempts to deal with the allergy. These usually come about 2- 4 hours after eating the offending food (but can come as little as 1 hour for me!).

      If you are curious, try tracking when you have these cravings and what you ate earlier that day. Now whenever I have that kind of craving, I know to look at what I ate and I usually find the offending food!

      Also make sure you are eating enough protein and getting enough sleep. Both of those send me to the honey jar! 🙂

      1. Katherine & Kristina – I am new to your “forum”, Kristina, but like what I’m seeing so far!

        I have been following a candidiasis program put together by Bee Wilder for about 1.5 yrs. IMO, if you are having cravings, it is simply because you are addicted to carbs/sugars.

        Check out this article on cravings to see if it rings true for you, Katherine:

        This is so appropriate with Kristina’s prompt to avoid sugar for a day… According to the pgm I’m following (i’m sure it is proven elsewhere, as well!), the more “sugar” you have in your body, the less Vit C your cells can take up.

        Remember, all carbs convert to blood SUGAR/glucose in your body.

        Consuming good healthful fats (butter, coconut oil, naturally occurring animal fat) will also help.


        1. I agree with Karen. I was going to say the same thing about good fats. I have read on these blogs that eating enough good fats, like butter with your veggies, will satisfy you and you won’t be craving sweets.
          I am working to cut our sugar intake as well and I keep reminding my hubby to eat more fats.

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