My no-empty-calories-challenge (sugar free since January 2016)

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 🙂


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  1. Mai 15, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    I think these are great! Wish they were available where I’m at so I can give them a try =)

    – Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  2. Shannon
    Mai 16, 2016 / 4:39 am

    Wow you go girl! No sugar would be so hard for me! I have a major sweet tooth!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  3. Mai 16, 2016 / 11:15 am

    Aww that’s great! I hate sugar and rarely eat something sweet, so I totally support you in that challenge! Have an amazing day and Good Luck!

  4. Mai 16, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    For me it is no problem with sugar but with chocolate (small version-40/50 g). 1 month ago I was without chocolate for almost 3 weeks and it was great (no more cravings!!) but we are so surounded with birthdays and offering and.. 🙁
    I also like to use honey (good also for immune system) and rarely agave syrup; also like dried fruits specially cranberries!
    Kiss, Silvy

  5. Mai 16, 2016 / 6:37 pm

    Liebe Larissa, Gratulation, wie Du das durchziehst! Ich esse generell wenig Süßes (bis auf Nachspeisen und am Wochenende ab und zu Kuchen), aber habe keine Ahnung, wie es mir ohne Zucker gehen würde. Ich liebe allerdings Honig im Tee, ich bin mir nicht ganz sicher, wäre der erlaubt? Ansonsten denke ich auch, dass man mit Zucker seinem Körper nicht unbedingt Gutes tut, und bin froh, dass ich wenig Verlangen nach Süßem habe.
    Eine schöne neue Woche für Euch!
    xx Rena

  6. Mai 16, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Good for you! I love sugar, so this would be really tough for me!

  7. Mai 16, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Very interesting post, actually from January I eat much less refined sugar than I used to. Even though I bake every weekend, I don’t eat a lot of it, I mean I share a lot with our family when we go for a visit, I eat literally few small pieces,like 2-3, so I don’t consider it as much sugar in my diet. During the week I almost dont eat sugar at all, I used to put sugar in my tea, but I stopped that months ago and I like it that way:) And of course I always read the ingredients lists on any product I buy. And trust me, if only I had more money, I would totally order smth from your site to support you, I really really wish I could, too bad it’s too expensive for me:( Actually too bad that a lot of those healthy products are kind of expensive even in shops… Hope it will change:) Have a lovely evening, hugs:)))

  8. Mai 16, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    And about last post spirituality, I’m so glad you discussed my opion and you like it!:) Have you ever thought about making a post about some sort of spirituality? I know it’s a bit private topic, but if you will have some thoughts about it, it would be so great to read it:)

  9. Mai 16, 2016 / 8:43 pm

    Wow you are doing so well!! I don’t think I’d be able to do this though as I really struggle with my blood sugar levels and get very dizzy and shaky and have to have a sugary drink or a biscuit to make it stop. I also think I’d miss chocolate and cake way too much if I was completely sugar free though. I’ve definitely been trying to eat a lot more healthily though and I very rarely eat processed foods anymore and cook everything from scratch myself from soups to sauces 🙂 xx

  10. Mai 17, 2016 / 12:52 am

    We’ve been eating pretty much a plant based diet during the week, cheating a bit during the weekend, but honestly, I don’t really crave or miss meat or dairy at all because there are so many different recipes out there that are just as delicious. The thing I find most challenging is finding replacements that aren’t processed because a lot of the vegan cheese or meats are heavily process and contain SO much sodium! Anyway, I haven’t really tried to tackle a sugar free diet yet, but I’m sure the health benefits are amazing and worth the try. I’ve never tried a date spread before, it sounds delicious! Thanks so much for sharing, beauty, and I hope you’re having a great start to your week so far!



  11. Mai 17, 2016 / 2:59 am

    Good for you to make changes and endure from January until now!!… I’ve been minimizing sugary sweets from my diet for about a month or so. I’m not as rigid about it as you… but I don’t go for doughnuts, cookies, cupcakes, etc like usual. If I’m in the mood, I have a frozen yogurt, no toppings… and I don’t count the sugar in booze or flavored lattes (though I know it counts!) but I feel better about cutting out the sugary treats. I was addicted. I’d eat like chocolate, cupcakes, etc all in one day! It was bad… and so unhealthy… I’ve cut out sweets before, but never lasted more than about a week, so I’m proud of myself. For me, it takes about 3 days for any cravings to go away, day 3 is the hardest…but once I passed that it was easier!! I had a muffin this morning and thought it was WAY too sweet… yet natural sugars, like in fruit, tastes juicy, sweet and satisfying!

    I wish we were a healthier society as a whole!

    All the Cute 🎀
    Today’s Post: Casual Style

  12. Mai 17, 2016 / 11:16 am

    Meine Schwester lebt auch schon lange so zuckerfrei wie es geht. Sie verträgt Industriezucker generell gar nicht gut und macht daher mittlerweile einen großen Bogen drum herum. Es gibt ja zum Glück mittlerweile auch viele Süßigkeiten ohne Zucker etc.pp. Ich habe festgestellt: die schmecken auch gar nicht schlecht. 😉

    Dankeschön für deine Worte zu den Japan Polaroids!
    Ja, ich plane wieder eine Reise. Dieses mal wird es eher landschaftlich viel zu sehen geben… 🙂

  13. Mai 17, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    I think I would just stay on consuming sugar on the fructose form instead of glucose, much healthier. I know how you feel in the tea thing, cause I drink a lot tea 2 kettles and more. First I use sugar, then honey, but since the last 2 years I have been drinking tea without any sugar on.

    Aly In Wanderland | ^_^ | xx Alyssa

  14. Mai 18, 2016 / 9:25 am

    Wow, congratulations! I am thinking about it but I know that it will be hard but there are lots of good replacements and recipes now!!
    Have a lovely day 🙂
    Rosanna x

  15. Mai 18, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    A lot of information, thanks for that 🙂

  16. Mai 18, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Hut ab, ganz auf Zucker zu verzichten, ist schon sehr schwierig. Umso mehr, da du ja quasi für zwei (oder anderthalb 🙂 ) essen musst!


  17. Mai 22, 2016 / 3:44 am

    Going sugar free is something I would really like to do. I feel so great on days that I eat a lot of vegetables and little to no sugary foods, and I feel so sluggish whenever I eat high carb or high sugar foods. I would love to hear more about your sugar free journey!

  18. Amy Arnold
    Juni 2, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    So impressed this is now your lifestyle. Good for you! I do love using dates too.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  19. Juni 3, 2016 / 12:37 am

    Wow, good for you for doing this! I’m trying to gradually cut out unnecessary sugars from my diet– but it’s proving to be quite the challenge. Props for you for keeping up with it for so long!

    Mili | Sharmtoaster