If the thought of going completely off sugar kind of scares you, welcome to the club. But if we want to gain back our health and lose the weight we’ve been trying to lose so far, it’s important to learn how to go sugar-free. Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
Back in January 2015, I was at one of my regular classes at the gym when the teacher asked us if we had made any New Year’s resolutions about losing weight. She said that if we really wanted to get serious this year, we could make one little change that would go a long way towards improving our health: give up all sugar.
I considered it for a moment before she expanded on her statement; giving up sugar meant all forms of it, including white pasta, all foods made with white flour, rice, potatoes, since all these foods convert into sugar very quickly in the body.
Well, THAT would be impossible, I said to myself. And I dismissed it totally until I heard about the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
One of the things that scared me the most about trying the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan was having to go sugar-free. I wasn’t sure that I could be successful at totally cutting out all sugar, pasta, bread or potatoes…they were all the mainstays of my diet. Although I was happy at the freedom to eat things like bacon and butter, I was about half convinced that I would fail right away, like I did with all the other diets I had tried.
But now it’s been 5 months since I started the plan, and I’ve been sugar-free ever since. How did I do it? Determination to get off sugar was part of it, but I would say that finding alternatives to sugar was the most important part of being successful at going sugar-free.
Finding Healthy Alternatives to Sugar
I’ve got such a big sweet tooth that I eat something sweet everyday…things like chocolate cake, cowboy cookies and muffins in a mug. These might sound like cheat foods, but they’re not, because they are made with on-plan sweeteners and low-glycemic baking blend.
We all know about sugar substitutes like Sweet n Low, Splenda and Equal, but these kinds of sweeteners are artificial, and while science says they are safe, we just really don’t know what their effects are in the long-term. If we are taking the time to get healthy, we want to avoid putting fake ingredients into our bodies.
While starting on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I discovered natural sweeteners like Stevia (affiliate link), xylitol and erythritol. Stevia is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant, while xylitol and erythritol are natural sugar alcohols. These sweeteners have little to no impact on your blood sugar, and, while they take some getting used to, are what enables you to continue having the sweet treats you love.
For example, one of the things that gives me the most pleasure in life is my morning cup of coffee. Before I started THM, I was putting almost 1/4 cup of sugar into 12 ounces of coffee each morning, along with half and half. I didn’t start out with that much sugar in my coffee…it was just that over time, the sugar started tasting less and less sweet to me, so I had to keep adding more, and giving myself a huge blood sugar spike each morning!
After trying different sweeteners in place of sugar, I now use THM’s Gentle Sweet (affiliate link) in my coffee, and it tastes perfect.
While there is a learning curve to these sweeteners, I consider them to be my lifeline in this weight-loss journey, because without a good-tasting cup of coffee and a sweet treat every night, I would have failed on this plan a long time ago.
How to go Sugar Free using these sweeteners
Stevia (affiliate link) is the mainstay of the THM plan. It is so much sweeter than regular sugar that you only have to use a very small amount to make your drinks tastes sweet. I love it for sweetening my tea, smoothies and my Good Girl Moonshine (a THM drink).
Unfortunately, stevia doesn’t pair well with chocolate or coffee. It tastes pretty bitter, actually. When I want a chocolate muffin or a good cup of coffee, I use Gentle Sweet (affiliate link), because the mixture of stevia, xylitol and erythritol tastes more like real sugar.
While I prefer THM’s brand of stevia and other sweeteners, there are also a few other brands that you may enjoy as well:
Swerve Sweetener (affiliate link) is made of mostly erythritol and tastes great in baked goods. I didn’t like the powdered version very much, however.
Pyure Organic Stevia All-Purpose Blend Sweetener (affiliate link) is an erythritol/stevia blend, which I’ve heard good things about. I haven’t tried it personally.
I also haven’t tried any other stevia brands except the one that Aldi carries. I used Aldi’s stevia when I was first beginning, and it was good, but a lot of other brands can taste very bitter. You also have to be careful when buying stevia at the grocery store, as sometimes it will be mixed with a form of sugar, such as dextrose or fructose.
I hope this information will help you decide to kick the sugar habit once and for all, now that you know that there are realistic alternatives to sugar. Once you eliminate sugar from your diet, your body will be much healthier!