I just recently finished a Sugar Free Challenge, hosted by Alex over at her sugar free blog.
Here were the rules of the Challenge:
Don’t eat any sugar for 10 days. This includes honey, molasses, syrups, artificial sweeteners (like Splenda), sugar alcohols (like maltitol or xylitol), and no refined sugar.
After reading this long list of don'ts, you may be asking yourself why anyone would ever give up sugar, but actually it's pretty easy when you have a great archive of sugar free recipes at your disposal from Alex. (It also helps that I've done this before for Lent...)
If you are still wondering: Why Sugar-Free? Here are a few facts about sugar that I have learned from my searches on Yahoo!
The average American consumes 180 pounds of sugar in a year.
Uhh.... wow! If that number is not staggering enough, think about this: There are two cups of sugar in a pound. Now do your mental math.
In case your mental math isn't the greatest, I'll help: 2 cups x 180 pounds = 360 cups of sugar per year.
That is almost a cup of sugar per day! And do you know how many calories are in a cup of sugar? Almost 800.
Now, let's move on to another statistic that may shock you. Approximately 32 percent of Americans are obese, which is up from the estimated 5 percent who were obese in the year 1890.
Guess how many pounds of sugar those people ate?
Still not great, but much more manageable with a 1/2 cup of sugar per day and only 400 calories. This shows that an increase of added sugar in our diets can definitely be considered as a cause of weight gain.
That is why I am doing this sugar-free challenge. Besides being totally fun, and of course A CHALLENGE, I wanted to go sugar-free so that I can improve my lifestyle. After this challenge was over I didn't stick with it, but I will definitely never go back to the huge amounts of sugar I used to eat a couple of years ago.
Before I tell you what I DID eat, I'll leave you with one more fact about sugar:
According to some of the leading nutritionists in America, the average person should consume no more than 40 grams of added sugar per day. This does not include sugars that come from fruit, veggies, grains or occur naturally in dairy products however. Added sugar simply means sugar that is not found in your whole foods from day one. To me, these sugars are white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave syrup and molasses. (I don't count artificial sweeteners as sugars, but they are STILL not healthy).
So, after my ramblings of what I haven't been eating, here are some examples of what you can enjoy while staying sugar free:
|Microwave spaghetti squash dinner!|
|Low-Fat Chicken and Dumplings|
And don't fear...
There is a recipe that I AM going to post tonight. It took many tries to perfect, but I am extremely happy with the final result.
Sugar-Free Apple Date Bread
Adapted from my One Bowl Banana Bread
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 60 grams pitted dates (or 1/3 cup)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup egg beaters (or egg replacement)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil (can be ommitted)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200 grams diced apples (or 1 1/2 cups)
- Dice the apples and set aside.
- Place the pitted dates and water in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on medium heat for 2 minutes.
- While the dates are soaking, measure out the applesauce, egg beaters and canola oil in a medium bowl.
- Place dates (without excess water) in a food processor and blend with skim milk. Then combine with other liquid ingredients.
- Place one cup of flour in the bowl of liquids. Measure out the baking soda and salt on top. Add the second cup of flour and mix slightly.
- Next add the diced apple and mix the batter until all flour lumps are gone.
- Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray and pour in batter. Even out with spoon or spatula.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
At only 86 calories a slice, this apple date bread would be great for breakfast, accompanying a meal or just as a snack. My favorite way to eat this bread is with of course, peanut butter!