There is no denying it: I have a sweet-tooth. I crave sugary flavors after savory meals and I would rather snack on milky chocolate than carrot sticks. Despite my habit, I am aware of the negative implications that refined sugar (i.e. white sugar) can have on the body, so I avoid it whenever I can. I substitute honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or other natural sweeteners when cooking and baking, and I avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose like the plague.
Refined sugars hide out in places you would least expect them: in juices, condiments, and just about all boxed cereals. If you’re not sure if something at the supermarket is naturally sweetened or packed with sugar, have a peek at the ingredients list; if you see “high-fructose corn syrup”, “fructose”, “glucose”, or even just plain “sugar”, put it back on the shelf. It is likely that there is a much better alternative.
I decided to go completely refined sugar-free for one whole day, and it wasn’t as hard or as bland as I expected it would be. I wouldn’t have done it without my trusty companion: The Australian Women’s Weekly Sugar-Free Cookbook. This book is great. It has over 100 delicious recipes, all free from refined sugar, a comprehensive breakdown of different options for naturally sweetening, and the photography is absolutely stunning (you will want to eat the pages!). I snagged this book for a steal, it was only $5.99 at Chapters! I recommend it fully to anyone reading this.
Here is what I ate that day:
Breakfast – I started my day with a recipe from the Women’s Weekly cookbook: “Quinoa Porridge”.
Lunch – Smashed avocado on toast with a fried egg, yolk runny. This lunch is my ride or die. Yum.
Supper – Burrito bowl. Quinoa topped with corn, black beans, peppers, guac, cheese, and tomatoes. Skip the salsa (or make it yourself!), there are refined sugars hiding out in there. Be sure to make it Insta-worthy!
Drink – Remember what I said about refined sugars hiding in juices? Avoid them by making your own! I made the “Kiwi-Sippers” from the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook.
Dessert – Ah, finally, my favorite meal of the day. I love love love these “Salted Date Caramels” from the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook. They are so scrumptious!
Snacks – throughout the day, I snacked on honey roasted chickpeas, frozen green grapes, cashews, and a grapefruit.
There you have it! Not so hard, was it? You may have noticed a few trends in my diet:
- a lot of quinoa. Quinoa is a fantastic source of dietary fiber, so sometimes I enjoy it in multiple meals.
- a lot of avocado. Okay, maybe not a lot, but enough. Avocado (and the cashews I snacked on) is a great way to consume all the healthy fats that our bodies need.
- a lot of colours. Colourful food is the best food! Not only is it mega-nutritious, but it makes meals prettier and more fun to eat.
I truly enjoyed my day of refined sugar-free eating, and because of it, I am more confident in maintaining a diet that is mostly refined sugar-free. This doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t indulge or that you shouldn’t indulge. I believe in moderation. Have a couple of Oreos, or a piece of birthday cake, or a salted caramel frap with extra whipped cream. Don’t deprive yourself, just maintain a balance and listen to your body.
Let us know in the comments what your fave refined-sugar free foods are! And definitely, let us know if you decide to pick up a copy of that cookbook. We love to hear from you!