sugar-free lent update #1

23 Feb

One week down.

5.5 weeks to go.

It has been a full week of no sweeteners. That’s right folks, not just sugar, but anything that can be disguised as sugar and other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and agave. And yes, this also includes sugar substitutes like splenda, aspartame, NutraSweet. (For the record, these are disgusting and should be avoided anyway – in my opinion.  I’m not going to get started on that today – I could ramble on forever.)

There are now three of us doing this challenge.  Here are the players:

Posh Spice, Banana, Ms. Alaska Reject

Otherwise known as: Jen, Amanda, Meghan – a very serious group of women.

I will give an update of our progress each Wednesday.  Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about how much sugar is out there and some fun things to eat instead.

These updates are in each of our own words.


This Lenten challenge is perhaps the biggest I’ve ever undertaken. I’m a girl who likes my sweets. I need a treat after every meal. Including breakfast. In fact, I need a treat after my treat. However, I think the ‘no sugar’ challenge is good in that it is so all encompassing. It’s all or nothing and that’s what it needs to be for me.

Still, it’s confusing. The rule I’m going on is if sugar, any sugar substitute, or any sugar word known to me (Fructose, sucrose, etc) is in the ingredients, it’s out.

Things I’m craving that I can’t have:

Because of the season…Shamrock Shakes, Peeps, Cadbury eggs, cinnamon dolce latte, and PIZZA! I just know there is sugar in that sauce. Even if it is on a whole wheat crust and come from the Homemade Pizza Co.

Non-sweetener substitutes that you love:

All natural applesauce in my oatmeal.

Accidental (or not) cheat moments:

Honestly, I haven’t cheated…but I’ve wanted to. I quickly handed the brownie batter on the spoon off to my niece before I attacked it! I even washed my chocolaty fingers in the sink before licking them! It’s hard not to try a treat you have made!

General thoughts: has it been hard? Anything specific that you are noticing?

I like the awareness that comes with this challenge. I bought all new salad dressings among other things. I never really thought about sugar in my salad dressing before. I had a headache and was a little light headed the first few days, but I think that was just me coming off my addiction.


Oh the joys of lent… in some strange fashion I look forward to taking this journey with Jen every year. There is something to be said for willingly signing up for this seemingly insane type of thing with a friend. Typically I start the journey in all the wrong ways… I usually fill my head with something along the lines of “I know this is good for me, but why in the world am I getting myself into this.” But this year is different. I actually got excited about giving up sugar and look forward to the incredible surge of energy I was sure to feel once I detoxed all of this stuff out of my body. Well friends, while I am still excited to see how well my pants fit come Easter I am going through one heck of a detox. I crave sugar like I would imagine a crack head craves crack. Up until this morning I would say at least 50% of my thoughts surrounded how badly I wanted sugar. And not straight up deserts sugar but my favorite bread, or pita chips or a silly yogurt and granola parfait. And this incredible surge of energy or wonderful feeling of being “clean” from sugar? Well… I am still waiting for it.

Sugar is in everything. It is scary how much sugar we consume on a regular basis. I consider myself a rather conscientious eater and I am awe struck at how many things I can’t eat. But alas, today started a new day where my sugar cravings are starting to subside. That is until tonight when all of my friends are drinking and all I want is a big fat 7 and 7!

Things I’m craving that I can’t have:

  • 7 and 7’s – sadly that is the biggest thing I miss. What does that say about me?
  • Honey roasted natural peanut butter. I eat it by the tablespoonful daily. I have switched to almond butter. It is yummy, especially with the new Orange Marmalade I found that has NO SUGAR!

Non-sweetener substitutes that you love :

  • Oatmeal with cinnamon, milk, almonds and blueberries. It makes me smile every bite I take. Something about the fat from the milk helps me forget there is no maple syrup
  • Orange flavored sparkling water with a splash of natural fruit juice cures my crazy soda cravings
  • Raisins are my new best friend
  • Lara bars make me happy all of the time, but especially now and especially the banana bread and PB and J flavor

Accidental (or not) cheat moments:

I had a veggie sub from Jimmy Johns yesterday on the 7 grain bread.  I am sure there is sugar in that bread but I couldn’t handle caring at that point.

General thoughts: has it been hard? Anything specific that you are noticing?

  • This has been a pretty hard week but thankfully I have always been picky about what goes into my body so a few tweaks here and there keep me on the right track… until I go out to bars with friends… which has always been another story. :)
  • Pants are still tight-waiting for the magic to happen.


Can I say I’m happy one week is over? I’m also hoping the next 5 1/2 go quickly. I think so much of this challenge is wanting what you can’t have.  I’m a pretty healthy eater and am very conscious of the types of food I put in my body. Therefore, I never really thought I ate all that much sugar or other types of sweeteners.  I think I was wrong.

Things I’m craving that I can’t have:

Chocolate. It could be that Brette has made 2 batches of chocolate ice cream since lent began. It could be that I’m used to a square of chocolate after dinner most nights of the week. It could just be that I can’t have it. I want some.

Non-sweetener substitutes that you love:

  • I’ve been really digging mashing up a banana into my morning oatmeal and yogurt. It adds enough sweetness that I no longer miss the agave I had been drizzling on top.
  • Raisins have been nice when I need just a little hit at the end of the night. Though, they do not taste like chocolate. Neither does grapefruit.

Accidental (or not) cheat moments:

Yes, I cheated. Remember the ice cream that Brette was making? He was so proud of it and it looked so good! It wasn’t just chocolate ice cream but Chocolate Chili Gelato. I know! I had two little bites and I must admit, I don’t feel bad about it. It was that good. As I write this, he’s working on another batch. I will not touch it. Promise.

Yes, I have one other cheat moment. I had a bite of an almond torte that my friend Carin made on Sunday. I know she slaved over it all day so I had to at least tell her how it turned out, right?

Okay, confession over. It’s a new week and I’m determined to be as good as gold.

General thoughts: has it been hard? Anything specific that you are noticing?

Yes, I think it’s been hard. I’m a nibbler and a sampler – especially as I’m cooking. I made a batch of granola (post coming this week) last night for Brette and not being able to sample it was so hard!

There are things I didn’t realize even had sugar in it – the pita bread in my fridge and dry roasted peanuts for example. Sugar in peanuts? What?

So, I’m going to leave you all with a challenge. Read your labels. Notice what has sugar in it. It could also be disguised as fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (that one is particularly nasty), cane juice, cane syrup, or a zillion other things. Let me know what you find!


6 Responses to “sugar-free lent update #1”

  1. Fav Sista February 24, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    I am so impressed with you all. I am committing to following the challenge for the next week. I can say my biggest challenge will be missing my frosted mini wheats each morning. Sugar or not, I love my frosted mini wheats. However, I love oatmeal and am willing to try the mashed nanner. Count me in this week! Upon completion, I may continue – we’ll see. Yup, you can hear I am not 100% committed long term but I am this week.

  2. Amanda February 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I take back the cheating thing. Just realized there is sugar in my salami sandwich! I swear it’s the one label I didn’t check at T-Joe’s. Whoops! I’m halfway thru, so I’m finishing it today. Then no more!

  3. dph February 25, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    While pizza is a main food group it has to have sugar to “balance” the acid in the tomatoes. I had a feeling that your thought about sugar in bread might be off. This is the dietary fact sheet for the veggie sandwich. No mention of sugar.

  4. dph February 25, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Here’s your peanut butter fix: Parker’s farm. You’ll find it in the refrigerated section at Mississippi Market.

    • jen February 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      Dennis – that’s my favorite peanut butter! Meghan likes it too – just the version with the honey in it. :)


  1. sugar-free update #2 « She said. She said. - March 3, 2010

    […] Here are the updates from the field. It’s just Amanda and I reporting this week as Meghan was experiencing some technical difficulties. You can check out the week one update and see our pretty faces here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: