We are now on day 10 of our month-long challenge to give up sugar. My children (aged 6 and 9) have been amazing. They have really taken on board what we are doing and the reasons why, which appears to have really inspired a lot of you!
(btw: they are very pleased that they are inspiring you and read the comments you make on our social media posts – please keep them coming)
Of course, there have also been a few negatives or personal opinions about what we are doing.
“You aren’t sugar free if you are eating fruit”
My answer to this one is this: fruit is a healthy, natural food full of fibre, antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals. I DO NOT advocate any diet that removes natural foods, especially when it comes to children! Who in their right mind would remove fruit from a child’s diet!?
[disclaimer: unless a medical condition means you must remove certain foods from your diet]
I think most of us can agree that using the term ‘sugar free’ means excluding all refined and processed sugars from the diet.
Removing refined sugars is a significant challenge when it comes to kids (see below)!!!
“Why can’t your daughter have an ice-cream, it’s not going to kill her”
My answer to this one: my children eat a very well balanced, healthy diet which would include from time to time the odd ice cream, sweets etc. However, for the purpose of this challenge which has been fully discussed and agreed with my children, we are excluding all refined sugars for JUST 1 MONTH!!!!
“We had loads of sugar growing up and there’s nothing wrong with us!”
My answer to this one: there is so much wrong with us I don’t know where to start. We have seen the biggest rise in life threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s in the past 40 years. We have 1 in 3 kids currently over weight in Primary school, we have seen a huge increase in mental health conditions. We are NOT a healthy nation and have not been since the second world war. So many changes to our diets and lifestyle in such a short space of time our bodies cannot cope.
If sugar were a cigarette!
Would you give it to a child?
I appreciate this statement is a little extreme, BUT I want you to STOP and think for a minute! What does sugar actually do for you, especially if you regularly consume over the recommended daily amount?
[click HERE for recommended amounts]
1. It has absolutely NO NUTRITIONAL value whatsoever!
2. It’s addictive, it lights up the same part of the brain as cocaine & heroin.
3. It affects your mood and in studies has been shown to increase your chance of depression.
4. It causes tooth decay.
5. It causes inflammation in your body – joint pain anyone?
6. It makes you fat.
7. It accelerates the aging process.
8. It feeds cancer cells.
9. It causes fatty liver.
10. Which leads to the condition insulin resistance.
Do you see that sugar is NOT a treat? It is the biggest NON-TREAT ever! It is making us very very ill and there are companies making a fortune from it.
Now I like sugar just as much as you, but I actively CHOOSE to limit it because of the above reasons.
I make time and prioritise cooking from scratch, reading the labels, making good choices BECAUSE I care – I care about my health, I care about my kid’s health and I care about YOUR health.
Processed foods are laced with sugar. I’ve really been made aware of this in the last couple of weeks. Processed foods are not just ready meals but also anything made in a factory and put in to a jar, can or packet.
There are certain foods that I buy to make my life a little easier. For example; I would love to make my own bread everyday but instead I buy it to save time. Bread can contain a lot of added sugar and so I choose brands without it added.
You really do have to check the labels and understand the information it is giving you.
They do not make it easy to understand the labels. They (the food industry) do not want you to understand the labels!
The food industry is making unhealthy foods cheap AND addictive!
BUT, you can stop this happening by choosing not to buy their ‘s**t’ food! Hit them where it hurts – their profits!
Why did I ask my family to go sugar free for a month?
To prove that it is possible for a family to avoid processed and refined sugars. To show you that children are not missing out because it’s the school holidays. To prove that you can still enjoy a huge range of delicious meals and snacks. To inspire you to look at your own sugar intake.
Have we succeeded yet?
We still have 20 days left to change your view on sugar.
The equivalent of 6 desserts a day
Your liver only has a limited capacity to metabolise sugar. This means that when it reaches its capacity it has to change the sugar to fat. This has a devastating affect on the body.
The sugar capacity of your liver has been calculated at no more than 5 teaspoons for a child and no more than 10 teaspoons for an adult (although some studies suggest this is more like 6-9).
So why would we give our children 15 teaspoons a day and up to 22 teaspoons to ourselves???
This is what we are currently doing to ourselves and the result is showing in the obesity predictions and current statistics, in the number of people with type 2 diabetes and the rise in mental health conditions.
We are basically eating 6 desserts a day EVERY DAY!!!
Are you ready to reduce your sugar intake?
Are you starting to realise that sugar is not a treat?
I’m not suggesting we NEVER ever have cake or enjoy a bar of chocolate!
I’m recommending we stop having sugar every day, stop using the word treat, stop using processed foods with hidden sugar and no nutrition and instead nourish our bodies with whole, natural foods and on the odd occasion (that’s not every day or every week) enjoy a little cake (or whatever it is you love).
You can start by downloading my recipes here.