Sugar Free February 2017: Can I do it?

I just ate a whole 100g bar of chocolate, half a tub of Alpro yogurt and 2 Boost balls (from my Health Bloggers Community goodie bag). Why? Because tomorrow is the start of Sugar Free February. That means that I will be staying away from sugar for a whole 28 days (thankfully it’s not a leap year!).

It’s probably not the best idea to overdose on sugar before I cut it out almost completely, but I’m only human! Plus I couldn’t deal with knowing that I had chocolate in my flat and not eating it for a month!

I want to cut sugar out for health reasons and as a challenge. Eating too much sugar has been associated with the development of chronic diseases and other health problems. Whilst I probably eat less sugar than most of the population, my consumption seems to have been creeping up recently, so I’ve decided to go cold turkey!

Luckily, I know quite a lot about ‘hidden’ sugars in things that you might not expect, for example bread, soup or pasta sauce. Plus I know a lot of sugar free recipes! I think the hardest part for me will be changing or cutting out my after dinner snacks – at the moment I eat some chocolate or dates or peanut butter mixed with maple syrup and cacao powder. I expect to have some serious cravings without it!!

SUGAR FREE CHALLENGE

Here are my goals for Sugar Free February

  • No added sugars or dried fruit – that means that delicious sweet treats like the one in the picture (made with dates) are off the table.
  • Up to 2 portions of fresh fruit per day – some sugar free diets recommend that you cut out fruit, but I think that fruit is full of nutrients and contains fibre to slow down the absorption of the sugars into your blood stream. Fruit makes me happy (just ask my boyfriend how excited I get when I see fruit on offer at the supermarket or eat a ripe fig). It would be hell for me to cut it out completely. I think that only 2 portions a day is going to be enough of a challenge- sometimes I have 3 or 4 just at breakfast (e.g. banana oats with warm berries or a smoothie)!
  • Write a blog post on  ‘Resources for Sugar Free February’ to explain more about what going sugar free means and how to do it
  • Write an accountability blog post with my experience each week
  • Post one sugar free recipe each week

Exceptions

  • If I’m eating out I will try and pick something that I think wouldn’t have added sugar, but it’s impossible to be 100% sure there’s no sugar,  so I won’t worry too much. I want to improve my health not be unable to eat out or develop an unhealthy relationship with food/sugar.

Sugar Free for Charity

Sugar Free February is an initiative run by Cancer Research UK. I have been incredibly fortunate and none of my close family or friends have been diagnosed with cancer, although I do know some people who’s lives have been affected. For that reason I don’t feel particularly close to that charity.

I am going to raise money for a charity in Sheffield that helps homeless people. There seem to be an astonishing number of homeless people in Sheffield. On my 12 minute walk to work I get asked for money from a homeless person at least 5 times – if not more depending on which way I walk! I’ve only given money a handful of times, but I want to do something to help.

Since I have only just decided (about 10 minutes prior to my chocolate overdose) to commit to Sugar Free February, I haven’t chosen the specific charity, but I will let you know as soon as I do. I’d rather take some time to choose a credible charity than pick one after a quick Google search this evening!

Every time I cheat in Sugar Free February I will donate £5 to the charity! I will set up a page so you can donate online if you want to support my sugar free challenge- watch this space in the next few days.

 

UPDATE 05.02.2017

My donations page is now live.

I will be donating to Nourish, a local business who have a scheme to provide meals to the homeless and people who cannot afford a warm meal.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE AND DONATE PLEASE CLICK HERE.

 

Are you taking part in Sugar Free February?

Or what are your thoughts on going sugar free? Do you have any tips for me?

 

SUGAR FREE FEBRUARY POSTS (ongoing update)

No Added Sugar Recipes

Week 1 Recipe: Easy homemade oat cakes
Week 2 Recipes: What I ate in a day – ingredients included

 

Accountability Posts

Day 5: Questioning, craving & 3 tips
Day 7: I’ve cheated … twice

 

Advice/ Resources

Check the Healthy & Psyched Facebook page for daily tips throughout February

Why sugar is bad for your teeth & how to protect them

Going Sugar Free: Advice from Nutritionist Jenna Hope

How to break your sugar habits (Guest post from SJ Health)

 

 

 

30 Comments

  1. February 1, 2017 / 9:33 am

    Helllo Rachel,

    last year I started blogging about my allergic life. You have been the person who likes my postings most freguently. I have been wondering, since I write in Finnish now. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me that someone leaves a trace when visiting my blog.

    Since you are so kind doing so, I will promise to donate 5 Euros to your charity.

    I have been two times sugarless for a complete year. The other time 1.5 years. It is so much better life without it. I have also run two times programs where I helped other people quit sugar, and have a lot of material in relation to it. I was planning to blog about it too, and have already in past written about how to substitute white sugar in baking.

    I was not going to go sugar free completely this month, but since seeing you liking my churro recipe posting I decided to support you there too. Because of you, all my recipes that I will post this month I will make white sugar free, trying to avoid dates and other dried fruits (love them too :-).

    Have a wonderful February!

    Best Regards, Helena

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      Hi Helena,
      Thankyou so much for your message, you have made my day.
      I can use Google Translate to read your blog, which seems to do a good job most of the time. I don’t really like to unfollow people unless they have posted something I really disagree with, so I want to keep on following you and supporting your journey.
      – I will try and find your blog post about how to substitute white sugar.
      – I am planning to make a resources page, so if you do make a blog post I will be sure to link to it 🙂 and I would be really interested to read it
      Looking forward to seeing some recipes
      xx

      • February 2, 2017 / 9:31 pm

        Hello Rachel and thank you for your message. I’ glad to hear that you can use the Google translate. I actually reposted yesterday the sugar substitute article and mentioned you in it. It is here https://helenakemppainen.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/sokeriton-helmikuu-haaste-2/
        As you can read, I have mentioned that you have a great blog and linked my readers to it. If you ever want to make a visiting post, I will be happy to post it in my blog. My readers are very interested in anything about naturally gluten free, egg free, milk free, grain free, sugar free and now AIP diets.
        Looking forward hearing from you.
        BR, Helena

        • Heathy & Psyched
          February 2, 2017 / 9:36 pm

          Amazing, thank you 🙂

  2. February 1, 2017 / 10:42 am

    I’ve recently started trying to loose weight and am trying to go easy on the sugar intake too! I do think you’re right about fruit though, it is full of nutrients, I couldn’t cut fruit out of my diet! It’s fine in moderation 🙂 Great post, really helpful and inspiring, thank you for sharing xx

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 1, 2017 / 10:52 am

      Thanks for your comment Sara. I don’t want to go too extreme! Hopefully you will like my next post with some resources to help reduce sugar intake.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Hope you’re not finding it too hard to reduce your sugar intake. I thought I would be quite strict about the amount of fruit I was eating because it’s meant to be a challenge and otherwise I could just eat tonnes of fruit and get no benefits. I’m already fantasizing about watermelon though!

  3. February 1, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    Good luck cutting out sugar from your diet, I don’t think I could do it as sometimes I need a bit of a sugar boost x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:28 pm

      Thanks Rhian. Fair enough – I hadn’t really thought about that, but sometimes I do feel like I need a sugar boost. I suppose the reason people cut out sugar is that if you remove sugar then you might have more stable energy and not need the boost.

  4. February 1, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I might challenge myself to try and eat at least 1 piece of fruit per day. I don’t have enough per week, let alone a day!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:27 pm

      Haha! I always eat so much fruit. I find it really easy to eat it at breakfast in a smoothie, or with cereal/porridge, or even on toast (I saw someone put kiwi on toast before!!)

  5. February 1, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    Hi Rachel
    You might know that since I was diagnosed with angiosarcoma I quite sugar twice. In 2015 for a half year, and last year almost full year except the ones when I was eating out. From my experience I can tell that the hardest part is up until the 2-3rd week, afterwards you are not crave that much. Good luck I will see how it goes. If you are running out of recipes – which I am sure you won’t 😛 – let me know.
    xoxo
    Anita

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s good to know that it gets easier! What was your favorite recipe? I’m going to try and make sugar free granola!

      • February 2, 2017 / 4:28 pm

        Actually I was eating fruits so fruit soup was one of my favorites.

  6. February 1, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    I’m not taking part as I’m heading already suffering with malnourishment, and as far as I’m concerned, some food is better than no food. But I think what you’re doing is fantastic, esp with raising money. Wishing you best of luck x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Oh definitely not a good option for you! Hope you are feeling better soon.

  7. February 1, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    I have been struggling to give up processed sugar for quite a while now, it is so difficult! I think I need to get some courage and just go cold turkey instead of trying to slowly cut down like I have been doing. I really love the fact that the sugar free February challenge is raising money for cancer research. I wish you much luck in the challenge!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Thankyou so much. Actually the only reason I decided to blog about it was so that I’d stick to it. I think I would have given up already if I didn’t have people expecting me to do it now!

  8. February 1, 2017 / 10:39 pm

    Wow, I don’t think I could do this! Saying that, I really cut down on sugar (not on purpose) by doing Veganuary – I only occasionally had it in my tea or in a couple of fizzy drinks. I do think it will make a big difference though! x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      I think cutting down as a result of positive dietary changes is a really good thing 🙂 This seems quite hard because if I tell myself I can’t have it then I want it!!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 2, 2017 / 4:17 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 Great advice for new bloggers in your post. I’m sorry I’m not posting these anymore – I have done a few before .

  9. February 3, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    Wow I have never gone completely sugar free because I am a lil lazy when checking what I put in my shopping trolley. But I dont drink sugar in tea or coffee consciously. Way to go. Keep doing

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 3, 2017 / 10:41 pm

      Hahaha, I understand that checking labels is such a pain. Usually I am quite food at remembering what has no sugar so I just have to look once then I know for next time I go in.
      Thank you for your support

  10. serenityyou
    February 4, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    I really should take part in this, as I am addicted to sugar. I do try to use substitutes like Natvia in my tea

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 5, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who said that they don’t feel addicted to sugar! Using substitutes is a great start though. I used to have sugar in my tea, then one day I decided to stop- took a bit of getting used to but now I can’t stand it with sugar in!

  11. February 13, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    these sounds great, i use sugar for tea’s and coffee’s and couldnt quit no matter what. I tried sweetener but taste awful!neither honey. I perhaps should try again, as your post encouraged me a bit

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 13, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Hey Anna, I used to always drink my tea with sugar and one day (a few years ago) I decided to stop. It took a little while to get used to but now I can’t stand it with sugar!! It totally changes the taste doesn’t it- I’d say put a bit more milk in if you’re cutting out the sugar so it isn’t so strong and bitter.

  12. February 15, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    Hi I’m in the middle of Sugar Free February which I’m doing for Cancer Research with more research into Pancreatic Cancer, as I sadly lost my Finnish mum to this 18 months ago. I’m having some very good days and some very bad ones too! However I feel so much better, my skin has improved and I appreciate the taste of fruit now so much more. I have lost 6lb in weight too. I have found it staggering how much sugar is in products particularly savoury ones. I am certain I will continue to cut back on sugar considerably after February. However I would love to sink my teeth into a big bar of Dairy Milk!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      February 16, 2017 / 11:06 am

      Hi Sam. Condolences about your mum. Fantastic that you’re taking part in this to help raise money – it’s something a bit different from the usual fundraising events.

      Great to hear that you feel better and your skin has improved. I’ve noticed my skin is better as well, but I have actually put on a few lbs …. I’ve been solving my sugar cravings with peanut butter which I don’t think is the best idea!

      OMG- I spent like 10 minutes at the supermarket the other day looking at soup! Usually I make my own, but I couldn’t be bothered and I really wanted soup but most of them had sugar (or milk, which I don’t eat).

      Hahah, I bet when we do eat chocolate again it will taste far too sweet!

      Only 12 days to go!! 😉

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