Well, my oldest and I are one third of the way through our refined sugar fast, so I thought I would post an update as to how we are doing!
Things are going fairly well. I'm still flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to meal planning, but for the moment, that seems to be working. For now. Over the weekend we stocked up the kitchen with lots of fruits, veggies, and healthy foods to make our meals easy to plan and prepare. I have been perusing Pinterest to mix things up a bit and keep our meals and snacks from being boring. I'm making more from scratch, as it's either hard, or just plain too expensive to find even some basic ingredients that are made without refined sugar or a substitute. We are using a lot of agave and stevia when appropriate. The other day, I made homemade ketchup and a homemade version of our favorite store-bought dressing. The dressing was a little tricky, because I also had to make a homemade version of condensed tomato soup, replacing the tomato juice with pureed canned tomatoes, and of course replacing the sugar with agave in the dressing itself. But let me tell you, this extra bit of work is so worth it! The homemade versions taste way better than the store-bought, and obviously, they're healthier!
I've replaced my soda consumption by making a lot more use of our Soda Stream. Hubby has found a combination that I really like. Carbonated water, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice, and a little liquid stevia. We also have a few different bottles of liquid stevia that are flavored, that we can use with the Soda Stream.
Another thing that I've mourned the loss of is yogurt and ice cream. Unless you buy plain yogurt, there is going to be some form of sugar or sugar substitute in there. And ice cream? Well, that's obvious. :-) I've satisfied my longing for both of those with one simple dessert. Greek yogurt, fruit on top (my favorite combo is sliced strawberries and bananas), then drizzled with agave or honey. What's ice cream again? Oh, yes. Well, I don't miss it at all. And then, there's this little number I can whip up if I start get a hankering for chocolate. :-)
Finding different ways to make our favorite foods without the refined sugar has turned from being a pain, into being a challenge that is often fun! I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, but this takes cooking-from-scratch to an even deeper level, when you have to get creative or find ways to make even some basic ingredients without the refined sugar.
What is going without refined sugars doing for my oldest and myself? Well, I've noticed our attitudes are a lot more mellow. I've noticed we're both thinking a little more before flying off the handle about silly things. We're getting along a lot better with each other, as well as with the rest of the family. We've always been a loving and LOUD family, but he, as the oldest, and I tend to butt heads more than anyone else. It hasn't exactly gone away, but it's...changed. In a good way! :-) Physically, things are changing, too. I don't notice a massive energy boost or anything. However, I did get a cold just before the weekend, and it was done with by Tuesday. That's one of the shortest colds I've had that I can remember! There are some foods I momentarily wish I could have, but cravings for eating when I'm not hungry have completely gone away. My tastes are changing already, and in some cases, healthy food that was perhaps tolerable to me before has become downright yummy! Also skin blemishes and a few other irritations I've had have almost completely disappeared. I've also noticed that with my son. For a couple of weeks before we started our fast, he had been getting a pretty bad outbreak of acne, especially on his forehead. Almost-twelve-year-old hormones at work, I'm sure. :-) When I noticed my own acne had gone away, I called him over so that I could get a close look at his face. Sure enough, his, too, was almost completely cleared up! So, yes, we are definitely reaping some benefits of staying away from sugar! Oh, and the fact that I'm dropping some pounds isn't bad, either. ;-)
Realistically, I can't say that we will stay completely sugar-free when our fast is up, but there are a few things I definitely want to establish. I definitely want to stay away from both corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. I definitely want to make sure that if we do consume refined sugar, it's a TREAT, and not a regular occurrence. And, I definitely want to stick with making certain things from scratch, not only because it's cheaper, but it's just plain better-tasting AND healthier than the store-bought version. This has been a learning experience for sure, and has shown me that, yes, it IS possible to stay away from refined sugar and still enjoy eating!
To God goes ALL the glory! I know that without Him, and if it weren't for the fact that we are doing it for Him, there is no way we would have been able to get even this far without at least a little cheat.