It is time for an update on my no empty calories challenge. Since January 2016 I am not eating any empty calories – no refined sugar, no white flour, no oils, and hence, more or less no processed foods. I told you about this challenge back in January but somehow never really made an update on how it goes. Until today 😉
So how did it actually go? In this post I will focus on the sugar, because sugar really is the biggest deal for most people (including myself). Like every year, I had quite a bit of sugar for the holidays, around Christmas 2015 and up to New Year’s, so my body was used to sugar and was craving it, when I stopped eating it from the first minute of 2016 on. The first week was pretty difficult to me (remember that I am breastfeeding – those of you who have children know how you crave that extra energy from sugar when you are breastfeeding…) and I compensated the refined sugar with loads of agave nectar. I had tea with agave, and bread with agave, and made muffins with agave. I think in the first two weeks I ate more sweet things than I did when I was still eating refined sugar. But this really was just the transition phase. After two weeks I did no longer have cravings for sweets several times a day so I stopped using the agave in my tea and stopped eating bread with agave syrup. I still used it for baking though. After another two weeks my husband and I agreed that it is too expensive to buy all this agave nectar (he is in the challenge too) and we simply stopped buying it.
Agave nectar is maybe not a refined sugar but it is not a healthy product either. I did not feel good eating a whole lot of it and felt like I was cheating on my challenge. However, after one month of no white sugar, I was ready for the next step. The bad cravings had stopped and I felt ready to go on without agave syrup. I never touched it since 😉
Before continuing, I want to say really quick that I realized the first day of the challenge that it is simply not possible to do 100% without refined sugars. I simply cannot check on every whole wheat bread that I buy if it has sugar and I cannot find a single organic vegetable broth without added sugar. So I eat miniscule amounts of refined sugar after all.
Anyway, so how did it go after the first month? I went great! I went that great that today the “challenge” is actually no longer a challenge to me but rather just the normal state. I am rather disgusted when I see a sugary product than tempted (like with meat or dairy – I do not perceive these as food). And do I miss sweets? Well, no, because there are soooo many really healthy options out there which are very sweet and which are 100% natural and healthy. For example dates. I have SUCH a crush on dates! I make sweet banana-date milks, I make sweet, creamy ice-cream with frozen mango, banana, strawberries etc., I make muffins and cakes sweetened with raisins and dates, I make bliss balls and other treats out of dried fruits. And sometimes, I am lucky to get some pralines to try, or some dates-based sandwich spread 🙂
I was really happy to get to try these yummy products. They really are the proof that you can find exclusive, delicious and healthy treats without any refined sugar or empty calories. Its soooo easy to go sugar free :)!!!
So just a little bit about SEKEM. This brand really has an intersting history. For more than 30 years, products including fruits and vegetables, medicinal herbs, cereals, and fodder have been cultivated in Egypt in an organic way. SEKEM turned the desert sand into fertile soil, among other measures, by means of professional compost production. Today, they employ nearly 2,000 employees, ensuring a fair livelihood for them and their families.
Another brand worth of support! And seriously, this date-cream is sooooo delicious! Its made of dates, cocoa and coconut and this combination simply is the bomb! I will try to make it myself as soon as the jar is empty 😉
And now I am curious – have you ever tried to go sugar free? What experiences did you make? Are there any sugar free, healthy produts that you think I should know and try?
In case this posts made you curious about going on a whole food plant based diet, eating nothing but good things and hence, feeling nothing but good (true story!), I am always glad to help with recipes, motivation, information, or sharing my experiences 🙂