So I decided last week to give up sugar for at least 28 days. I was going to start once I got all of my sugar out of my house. I still have about 3 containers of yogurt to eat that have sugar in them. I figured instead I’d just blog about what I eat every day and the number of sugar grams I consume during these 28 days. The first few days will have some sugar, but the rest should have zero. The first day I have 0g of sugar will be Day 1. I already started weaning myself and I have to say I’m proud of that little bit of progress. Aunt Flo is on her way and normally, I binge the week before she gets here. I do it knowingly, yet helplessly. It is a battle I have yet to win. This past Friday, after teaching Zumba®, I head to Kroger to get my normal binge eats: sugar and salt. I am looking for a slice or two of cake or a small container of cookies (my binging has decreased I’m not eating whole cakes anymore, or even half of a cake, go me!) and a bag of Baked Cheetos. As I head toward the Cheetos, I realize that I wouldn’t be getting any cake or cookies. What for? If I’m giving up sugar, why buy sugar laden foods? Didn’t make any sense, so I didn’t buy it. As I left the store with my Cheetos, I couldn’t believe it. I, Monique Little, left cake in the store the week before her period. The Baked Cheetos, however, are already gone. Yeah, smashed those 11 servings in the span of 24 hours. I’ve yet to learn to take responsibility for that behavior; I still blame Aunt Flo and her pending arrival. But I hold on to my No Sugar Victory, a new NSV if you will.

I used to read food labels and ingredients to make sure my food was clean (kosher clean, not Tosca Reno clean). Now I’m reading the label to see if there is any sugar or hidden sugar (high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, honey, molasses, etc. You started singing Jill Scott when you read Honey Molasses, didn’t you? Yeah, I did, too). It is literally hiding in everything, even bread. I’m not a big bread eater, so that won’t really be an issue. I bought a loaf so that I could get rid of the last of my deli turkey. Not only because the deli meat has sugar in it (honey), but because of the nitrates/nitrites. It was my first time buying deli meat in quite some time and it’s been in the fridge probably a month. I ate the last of it for breakfast this morning, so that’s gone. Yeah, breakfast of champions. Anyway, I’ll probably be giving the bread away so that it doesn’t go bad.

The major challenge of this 28-day detox (cuz that’s what it may as well be called) is going to be my water intake. I get my fluids from not only water but juice, crystal light, and iced tea sweetened with Truvia. Welp, no more of that. I don’t even drink a lot of juice, maybe a glass every other day. But I will drink Crystal Light and use Truvia. That’s all dead now. Last week I started putting frozen berries in my water as ice and flavor. Guess what I noticed when I read the label on those? Yep, sweetened with sucrose. And I usually make sure my frozen fruit (used for my smoothies) is not sweetened. I’m not sure how this even made the cut. I guess I was off my game that day. Anyway, I have been drinking more water and I even made a pitcher of unsweetened iced tea. That is going to take some serious getting used to, but it’s doable.

Breakfast cereal I thought would also be a challenge. I *heart* cereal, but all of the cereal I eat is sweetened. My Kashi Go Lean Crunch Honey Almond Flax, my Smart Start, everything. I do not eat oatmeal (or any other hot cereal). I just don’t like how it feels in my mouth. But I am going to give it a try with some homemade baked apples and a little cinnamon. We’ll see. Just in case it doesn’t work out (which I suspect it won’t), I bought something I haven’t eaten since I was a kid: shredded wheat. Plain, bite-sized shredded wheat. The only ingredient? Whole grain wheat. Nothing else. My grandparents used to eat this all the time. They would crumble those big biscuits up in a bowl, pour on some milk, and go to town. I used to put sugar in mine when I was little, but it would always just end up in the bottom of the bowl anyway. So I think I’ll be able to make do with shredded wheat, unsweetened almond milk, and an egg white omelet for breakfasts. The shredded wheat actually has a decent amount of protein (6g), a whopping 8g of fiber, and the serving size is huge (1 ¼ cups). I may not even need the omelet. We’ll see. I used to be of the belief that only flake cereals (Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes, Smart Start, etc.) should have bananas in them. I have never put bananas in any other type of cereal or used any other fruit in my cereal. Y’all know I have a rule about fruit in your food? It’s wrong. That’s the rule. My only exceptions to this rule have been bananas in flake cereals, apple pie, and just recently, in yogurt. I think I may try bananas in the shredded wheat to add some flavor and sweetness. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be a culinary disaster.

I haven’t decided what’s going to happen at the end of this 28 day detox. That ultimately depends on what my body looks like. Tosca Reno’s book, Eat Clean Diet Stripped, says I can lose 10lbs in those 28 days, which is 2.5lbs per week. That will be 2.5lbs of fat, because I will still be building muscle as I go. I’ve kinda been slacking on my weight lifting lately, but I’m getting back into the swing of things. I’d gotten down to only once a week, and I only did that because I was afraid of muscle atrophy. I don’t want to lose the definition I’ve worked so hard to get. So I need to lose the fat that is hanging on to my back, my abdomen, my upper arms, and my thighs. When I am finished, I should be a walking billboard for myself. I will look marketable as a trainer. Then I will have a new set of before/after pictures. And I might even put them on my business cards. If that happens, I will begin to reintroduce unrefined sugars to my diet. Right now the only ones on my list are sucanat and pure maple syrup.

When I first decided to do this 28 day sugar detox, I was dreading it. Now I’m looking forward to the results I’ll see because of it. And that will be the motivation to keep the sugar out of my home and out of my mouth. I went to Half Price Books to look for the book Sugar Blues, but they didn’t have it. I still have it on hold at the library, but I’ll check Amazon today to see how much they have it for. They have to have it; Amazon has everything. From what I understand, reading that book will be further motivation to keep the sugar out of my home, mouth, and body.

Reuben is going to HATE this. He had a meltdown just last week because I wouldn’t give him any candy (consequence for throwing a temper tantrum because he couldn’t have candy before dinner). He will have to get used to it and he’ll be better off because of it. Plus, he has a grandma that will give him all the sweets he needs! I still have a bag of candy in the pantry for him, so it will last him quite a while (it’s from Valentine’s day and it’s still there). And I told him that we’ll bake no sugar cookies using dried fruits as sweeteners. I have never done this and I have no idea how they will turn out. But we are going to give them a try. He loves helping out in the kitchen and especially baking cookies, so hopefully the sugar-free cookies won’t be a culinary disaster.

Here’s to a new phase in my journey of health and wellness!