One of the first questions I’m always asked by someone who wants to try sugar free living is “Can I eat fruit?”, and the second question almost always is “and what about honey?”
What you ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ eat differs greatly according to which sugar free ‘diet’ you read up on. I don’t do a ‘sugar free diet’ but instead live my life without eating sweet foods so the only advice I can give is to try out avoiding the sweet foods that I avoid on a daily basis. I once read an article about a woman who ‘went sugar free’ eliminating pretty much everything including apples and even peas. She was miserable throughout, and I would be too. Yes, apples have sugar in them, but they’re certainly not a bag of pick and mix or a slice of cake!
Before I get into the listing of foods I avoid its important for me to note right away: I have eliminated the below foods from my diet because sugar makes me feel unwell. It is not necessary to completely eradicate sugar from your life, but if you can reduce the amount you eat/drink by one or even two teaspoons a day, just imagine how much sugar that is in one year. Try to visualise over 700 sugar cubes. I think we can all agree that a year with 700 less spoons of sugar in our lives will be a healthier year all round.
Or imagine this: if you’re a regular fizzy drinks consumer. Let’s say you reduce your intake by just one can a day. Perhaps that can has 6 spoons of sugar in it? Over one year that’s 2190 spoons of sugar. 2190!!
Here’s a list of the foods that I initially started out avoiding, but have now eliminated from my diet:
Sugar in hot drinks
Sweeteners (natural and artificial)
It’s pretty clear from this list that I no longer eat any sweet food. Here’s what I do eat:
Everything else!! Broken down into:
Dairy – cheese! Cheese! Then a bit more cheese!!!
Nuts and nut butters
Grains (wheat can trigger IBS but not always)
Lentils, beans and pulses
Complex carbohydrates (I avoid white bread, pasta, rice and potato)
Fats – butter, olive oil, coconut oil
Oily food – avocado, fish, nuts etc
I’m sure I have forgotten some foods from this list but basically if it’s a natural, unprocessed ingredient then I cook/prepare it and eat it. That’s not to say I don’t eat ANY processed foods – far from it. I like crisps! I also eat crackers (the cheese needs to sit on something!) and many other savoury processed foods.
I rarely have any problem ordering something delicious in a restaurant. I’ll often go for a skinny burger, no fries, with extra coleslaw/cheese/fried egg/guacamole/bacon or all of the above! Or a curry with a little bit of rice (not a whole massive plate full), or a steak with lots of veg, garlic butter and coleslaw. I often choose a full English breakfast but hold the toast, beans and fried bread.
If I want a quick snack I’ll have fruit/veg, or cheese, or nuts. If I have a bit more time I’ll hard boil an egg. It’s just 60 calories and filled with nutrients and good fats, and is delicious too. There are so many delicious snacks to choose from, it’s just about thinking differently.
Here’s an idea: maybe don’t go Sugar Free. Just go ‘Sugar Reduced’, and if that works for you, go ‘Sugar Reduced Even More’. It worked for me!
Read My Sugar Free Journey here