Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to cut back on the amount of sweetener you add to your life. (Not the my-kid-is-so-cute sweet, but the caloric, satiate-the-sweet-tooth kind of sweet.)
You know how in college some groups of kids think it’s “cool” to drink as much beer as possible? Most folks take some time to “get used to” the bitter taste of beer, but because it’s “cool,” many train their tongues to first endure it, then tolerate it, then appreciate it and even enjoy it immensely.
Wouldn’t it be great if eating real, wholesome, traditional foods were viewed in the same light?
Don’t love the tang of sourdough bread at first? Keep trying; it’ll grow on you.
Addicted to sugary sweetness? Wean yourself down; you’ll get used to it.
At times, I’m utterly appalled at how much brown sugar my husband adds to his oatmeal or white sugar or honey into his homemade yogurt. I swear he tried to add a fourth cup to his steaming oats the other morning, and I practically karate chopped his hand. I didn’t, but I gasped and freaked the baby right out.
I’m thankful he usually has the option of stevia for the daily yogurt, since it’s a mostly natural option that saves him a lot of carbs and calories.
I wouldn’t have thought anything of it 4-5 years ago. I was right there with him.
I didn’t even realize how “weaned” from sugar I had gotten, or that I was really trying to do it, until this juxtaposition at breakfast.
I eat oatmeal regularly with zero sweetener, just virgin coconut oil, cinnamon, dried fruit and milk. If I add sweetener, it’s a minor squirt of maple syrup, and that is all. And I still enjoy breakfast.
I do put honey in my plain homemade yogurt with fruit, but not always. If I use cinnamon applesauce, I don’t need any sweetener at all. If I have a particularly mild batch of yogurt or just the right fruit involved, or I just need to skip the honey so my 3-year-old will not ask for it, I still enjoy my yogurt (sometimes enough to want to lick the bowl, for real).
I’ve worked myself from despising yogurt of all kinds seven years ago to enjoying plain yogurt without any sweetener.
You can do it too. Be one of the cool kids.
The thing is, I don’t think everyone needs to cut out all sweeteners (although we’d be healthier for it). You gotta have some fun in your life, especially at the table.
There are some groups of people with certain immune deficiencies or bodily weaknesses who certainly should cut all sugar (diabetics come to mind). There are many people, myself included, who should go on a sugar detox from time to time to clean out and sort of “reset” the system.
I have given up sweet things for Lent for many years, and the first year I started blogging, I gave up all white sugar. It was a revelation to me how many products I was still eating at the time that included sugar!
By the following year, I was making so many of my own foods that giving up white sugar was not nearly as hard. I could add honey or maple syrup to just about anything or skip it all together.
This year for Lent, I’m considering what sacrifices and prayers I’m going to offer to God. I’m discerning: Should I give up all sweeteners (except for some high quality dark chocolate to keep me sane) for 40 days? Would I make it? Would I drive my family nuts?
- Sugar Detox: a free eBook from Donielle at Naturally Knocked Up
- 19-page Break the Sugar Habit workbook from Lisa Byrne
Cutting the white sugar in particular is very important for natural fertility; if that’s something you’re interested in, the Fertility Flower software will help you track your cycles and even remind you to get well nourished with a checklist of wholesome foods for fertility. (And no white sugar!)
If you’re still consuming a lot of white sugar, you may want to start weaning yourself simply by switching to more natural sweeteners. Check out what we’ve covered in the series:
- Why is White Sugar Bad for You?
- Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar
- Does Raw Honey have Health Benefits?
- How to Bake with Honey (and Honey Recipes)
- Unrefined Dehydrated Whole Cane Sugar (Rapadura, Sucanat, Panela and Muscovado)
- Facts on Stevia: is it natural?
- How to Use Stevia
- The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
Need Some Baby Steps?
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 made a printable checklist so you can track your progress.
Sign up to get the checklist and 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.