Knowing our society’s obsession with all things sweet I have a feeling this could be the most difficult “real food” mini-pledge yet. But don’t feel discouraged because even if you only join us for a day or two, I promise it will still be an eye-opening experience proving just how sugar-obsessed our society really is. And I am not just referring to white sugar and other refined sweeteners, which we already tackled a few weeks ago. I am talking about all added sweeteners even including honey and maple syrup. As I’ve said a thousand times before, no matter what sweetener you chose (natural, organic, raw, etc.)…a sugar is a sugar and it should always be used in moderation. So what better way to learn how to reduce your consumption of sweeteners than to completely live without them for a few days? And if you think this challenge sounds like a daunting task then right there is my proof that we really are sweetener-obsessed after all.
So here is next week’s mini-pledge, which starts on Monday:
Mini-Pledge Week 12: Avoid all added sweeteners including, but not limited to: white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, date sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice.
It blows my mind looking through cookbooks when I see recipe after recipe for things like pancakes, soups, and sauces that call for a tablespoon or even a teaspoon of sugar…is such a small quantity even necessary? And then at the grocery store they sell product after product, even savory items like bread and crackers, that can’t make it on the shelves without being sweetened. And I admit I am just as guilty as the next person with my big ol’ sweet tooth, although my taste buds have definitely changed – for the better – since taking our 100 Days of Real Food pledge. Abstaining from highly processed junk really gave our palates an adjustment and now just a little bit of sweetness seems to go a long way.
Aside from preferring the added flavor of sweeteners I think we might have a mental obsession with it as well. How many times have you sprinkled a little sugar onto your dish or into a recipe without even trying it first? Just the other day I decided to put this little philosophy to the test. Whenever I fix my girls oatmeal I always drizzle a little honey on it before adding the cinnamon and raisins, yet I admit I’ve never even tried serving it without any honey at all. So after a little mental struggle on if I should or shouldn’t “roll the dice” by leaving out the sweetener all together I decided to add extra cinnamon just in case it could help make up for the loss of honey. And what do you know…my 4-year-old gobbled it down like it was the same bowl of oatmeal I’ve been fixing her for years. I was honestly a little surprised, but of course pleased!
As I’ve said for every mini-pledge it is up to you if you want to join our weekly challenge and it’s also of course your decision if you want to sign up for the entire week or just for a day or two. This is the perfect pledge to try on a smaller scale because I would much rather everyone give this a chance rather than not do it at all. And following are some resources and meal ideas to help you along the way!
Articles regarding sweeteners:
- Experts Say Sugar is Dangerous & Bad for your Health
- Is Sugar Toxic?
- 10 Ways To Sweeten Food Without Sugar
- Real Food Mini-Pledge Week 9: No Refined Sweeteners
- Sweeteners 101
- What is the Healthiest Sugar?
Sweetener-free recipes and meal ideas:
- Eggs, bacon and fruit
- Whole-wheat biscuits
- Store-bought shredded wheat or puffed corn cereal
- Oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and nuts
- Pan-fried matzo with mashed fruit instead of jelly
- Fruit smoothie, PB&J smoothie, or Pina Colada Smoothie
- Whole-wheat tortilla filled with hummus, cheese, avocado, and/or veggies
- Caprese salad with basil pesto (pictured)
- Whole-wheat macaroni and cheese
- Diced avocado and brown rice with a little bit of low-sodium soy sauce
- Homemade trail mix with popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit (check label to make sure there’s no added sugar)
- Egg salad
- Tomato, corn, and black bean salad
- White gazpacho
- Easy cheesy crackers
- Whole-wheat popovers
- Almost all of these dinner ideas including quiche with a whole-wheat crust, whole-wheat pizza, and fajitas
To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and children in your household that will participate, and also share if you will do it for one meal, one day, or for the entire week. Put it in writing and make it official!