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Sugar Free

Posted on 11 April, 2014 at 22:35

Join James and I in the 'sugar and refined carbohydrate free' revolution (heck - let’s just call it sugar-free!).



Now don’t get us wrong, we are both strong advocates of ‘everything in moderation’. And I’m particularly passionate about learning to listen to your body and conquering reasons behind non-hungry eating as a starting point for any nutrition-related behaviour change. However, sometimes it’s good to just plain challenge yourself.


So, we've decided to go sugar-free for 1 month. Please join us, it’s not complicated! Challenging yourself to something like this will not only show you’re capable of what you set your mind to – it also allows space........

Space for new thoughts, new foods, new recipes…space to build new habits….space to create a new normal.

Our reasons for this refined carb-free month are - well, sugar is a bit of a hot topic at the moment. With more and more research pointing towards less sugar being better for health. The thing is - as a world, we seem to have reduced our fat intake, but replaced it with refined carbohydrates including sugar in our diets in our bid to get healthy. This has only led to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. The World Health Organisation is up with the play and have drafted a change in recommendations:

• WHO recommends reduced intake of free sugars throughout the life-course

• In both adults and children, WHO recommends that intake of free sugars not exceed 10% of total energy. This is about 9 tsp (an Organic Phoenix Juice will provide you with close to this!) .

• WHO suggests further reduction to below 5% of total energy.

The thing with refined carbohydrates including sugar, is they’re whole plants high in carbohydrates that have been processed by manufacturers to a point where they are so broken down that the body processes them very quickly, generally causing a high rise in blood sugar (glycaemic response). This processing also usually removes the fibre and most of the nutrients in the food. A high intake of these foods can lead to cravings, weight gain, lethargy, insulin resistance and more and more research is pointing towards their role in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So many reasons!!

To us sugar-free is a step towards a more whole food approach of living. Out of all the different eating habits and styles out there – I think we can all agree that this is a good thing?!

Refined carbs and sugars aren't a huge part of our diet (speaking more for myself than my husband), but they're definitely there. Marshmallows, chocolate, ice cream… least one of them features on a weekly basis. Not in huge quantities and I do believe there is a time and a place for these things every now and again- but not this month ;).

So if you want to join us or just observe from afar, here are our guidelines for this challenge:

For us ‘sugar-free’ means consuming nothing containing free or added sugars. That is:

anything we call "sugar" including granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup.

Here's a list of some of the possible code words for “sugar” which may appear on a label.

Agave Nectar

Barley Malt Syrup

Beet Sugar

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown Sugar

Cane Crystals (or, even better, "cane juice crystals")

Cane Sugar

Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar

Corn sweetener

Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids

Dehydrated Cane Juice



Evaporated Cane Juice


Fruit juice concentrate


High-fructose corn syrup


Invert sugar



Malt syrup


Maple syrup


Palm Sugar

Raw sugar

Rice Syrup


Sorghum or sorghum syrup




Turbinado Sugar


Grains that have been made "white" by stripping the germ and/or bran from the grain. This includes white flour, white rice, white pasta, and couscous.

Anything called "starch" - corn starch, modified food starch, etc.

Grains that have been turned into flakes, puffs, shreds, etc, rarely are made from whole grains, but in any case are generally processed to the point where they are very glycaemic.

The key being 'ADDED TO FOODS BY MANUFACTURERS', i.e. not found naturally, as in milk where lactose is found naturally, and fruit where fructose can be found naturally . Just think whole foods, i.e. as you would find them in nature and you'll be fine.


We realise that Easter falls in the midst of this, so on Sunday we will enjoy Easter eggs and treats with the family, but in moderation and only on this day!


We thought it might be fun to take some baseline measurements so we can do the whole 'before and after' thing. If you're joining us, you should too.


James being the fitness man that he is will be doing weight and skin folds at baseline and in one month. I’m 23 weeks pregnant so we’ll do skin folds just for fun, but my aim is more about increased energy levels. I’ll use a scale from 1-10 and access myself once a week at the same time every week – very subjective I know, but hey, it’s worth a shot!! I also developed gestational diabetes in my first pregnancy, so it will be interesting to see if in a month when the test is done if it’s any different this time around.


What are we replacing sugar and refined carbs with? I’ll be posting sugar/refined carb free desserts and recipes – successes or fails. And I hope that those who join will be doing the same! Follow us on" target="_blank">Facebook, do posts or PM us to let us know how you're doing!


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."


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