Sugar Addiction: Avoiding Sugar During the Holidays

Sugar Addiction: Avoiding Sugar During the Holidays on http://www.theculinarylife.com
I am very proud of myself. I managed to get through an ENTIRE Halloween season without eating a single piece of candy. For me, that’s really big. What’s huge, though, is the fact that I didn’t even realize it until today. That means I didn’t even think about candy for almost all of October.

Sure, I had a cupcake when I made my Ghoulishly Gluten Free Halloween Cupcakes – only one. I made a dozen of these gorgeous little buggers, and gave them all away. In fact, I think that I may have only eaten half a cupcake, leaving the rest because it was just too much sugar for me in one sitting.

If you follow this blog, you probably know that I battle a refined sugar addiction. I honestly believe that refined sugar is the most insidious of the white powders. It’s so dangerous because it’s seems innocuous to people – it is not nearly as taboo as other addictive substances like cocaine and amphetamines, so people consume it daily without a second thought. This has led to an era of serious, nation-wide health problems.

Now, we’re getting into a really dicey time of year: the holidays. Christmas is notorious for being a sugar-coated holiday, and I’m determined to not feel like crap this year because I fell off the wagon, so to speak. How am I going to make sure I keep an eye on my health and not the platters full of cookies that will inevitably float by? I’ve got a few key tips:

  1. Explain to people what you’re doing, and why, early in the game. This way they won’t feel offended when you don’t take their special Christmas cookies, which they are probably proud of and eager to share.
  2. Pack healthy snacks. For me, this means Lara Bars, bananas and organic corn chips.
  3. Dried fruits, like apple and mango, make great alternate sweets. Just make sure that they’re not artificially sweetened – some varieties, such as cranberries, are often sweetened with sugar.
  4. If you’re only cutting out refined sugar, consider natural sweeteners for yogurt, coffee, etc. Great alternatives are stevia, honey and agave nectar.
  5. Differentiate between crap and worthwhile indulgences. For me, this means that I keep a really nice bar of chocolate around, and when I just want a piece of chocolate, I take a small square off the good stuff and not a Snickers. I don’t feel deprived, but I’ve also created a boundary between me and the junky candy that’s always within arm’s reach.
  6. Avoid fast food joints. Yup, there’s sugar in them thar burgers. If you’re stuck in the mall, famished from Christmas shopping, look for healthier alternatives, like salad or soup.
  7. Avoid drinking. Not only is alcohol high is sugar, but one or two cocktails can really, really weaken your resolve. Plus you’ll feel like crap the next day, and isn’t the whole point of this avoiding sugar thing to feel better?
  8. If you get a mad sugar craving while you’re around sweets, try drinking a big glass of water. It will fill you up somewhat, and giving your body a megadose of hydration will make you feel stronger and more in the moment.
  9. If you’re still new to the low/no-sugar game, pass up making cookies and candies this year. You will probably get to the point that you can make sweets without eating them all, but until then, be kind to yourself and don’t put yourself in temptation’s way.
  10. And finally, don’t beat yourself up if you falter. It’s not a failure, and it’s not a “cheat.” You’re an adult and you made a decision. Just try to make a different decision next time. :)

What are your tips for not succumbing to sugar? Or do you have a story to share about your experiences?

Comments

  1. All About Food says:

    Great tips! It’s not easy going sugar-free during the holidays, or anytime. You’ve inspired me to at least be conscious of sugar intake. I may not wipe sugar from my diet entirely, but I know I’ll be making better choices. Thanks!

  2. I really love that you took the time to share your tips. I agree with you about how insidious processed sugar is. I find that I feel best when I just steer clear of all the white processed stuff. I like your last point about not beating ourselves up when we don’t always eat healthy. Thanks again!

    • I’m so glad you appreciate this. It was hard to write – it’s never easy to admit you’re not perfect, you know? ;)

  3. Almost Slowfood says:

    I’ve also been fighting a lifelong sugar addiction! I just try to limit myself to one serving once a day…
    .-= ———->Almost Slowfood

  4. Great tips. I share lots of them with you, including the really good chocolate and the Lara bars (love the cherry pie!). They satisfy my sweet tooth really, really well. I think a lot of people push sugar on other people so they can allay their own guilt they suffer from eating it :)

    • I don’t know what I would do without Lara Bars. Vegan, gluten free, raw and no added sugar. It’s the perfect purse-food! And I totally agree about the guilt thing… like drinking alone.

  5. Wonderful tips! Although I’m not avoiding sugar, its good to keep these in mind so the sugar-eating doesn’t get out of control =D.
    .-= ———->Lauren

    • Indeed! Moderation is your friend – I wish someone had taught me that when I was a child. Life would be so much easier now…

  6. High five girl! I am battling the same issue with sugar. I made it through Halloween watching all three of my kids gorge on the ‘baaad’ white stuff. It was hard, but I did it! I eat a couple bags of potato chips to stave off the craving(not a good choice, but whatever). It’s been a month without sugar now, and I used to have to have it you know? Not anymore, and I’m not suffering either. I bake stuff with natural sweeteners and it is satisfying. Three cheers for no sugar!
    .-= ———->Chelsey

    • I totally know how you feel. It’s like I don’t need it anymore, though if I have a bite or two, that need comes rushing back. I totally love that you’re cooking with alternative sweeteners. Did you see the Baking with Agave Nectar Book? I just got it but haven’t made anything from it yet.

  7. Melanie McMinn says:

    I should eat less sugar. I really, really should. I’ll have keep these tips in mind.
    .-= ———->Melanie McMinn

    • It’s so hard – it took me many months to get to where I am now, able to bake and not eat more than a few bites. Honestly, a month away makes everything too sweet anyways, so it’s a lot easier once you reach that point. ;)

  8. Mojito Recipe says:

    No sugar is truly an impressive achievement!
    .-= ———->Mojito Recipe

  9. I love this photo. Halloween is not celebrated in this part of the world. We more than make up for it with sickly sweet Christmas goodies though.

  10. MarthaAndMe says:

    Thanks for these tips. I have successfully cut back on a lot of sugar, but still eat some. The holiday season is the hardest for sure. Like you, I do keep good chocolate around for necessary nibbles!

  11. Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart says:

    I’m trying to be better about sugar too because it’s throwing my triglycerides off the charts. My main efforts include just being more conscious about the gratuitous sugar and the weird places it hides. I’m also using the choose-quality-over-crap method.

    Thankfully, for me, alcohol is easy to give up.

    Happy holidays!
    .-= ———->Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart

  12. Kerry Dexter says:

    I’ll chime in on the idea that the longer you are away from sweet stuff the less necessary it seems. It’s worked for me, though it’s taken a few tries to get there.

    At the holidays, I make two forms of classic chocolates that my friends really like, and now I give them in small batches, along with other things, respect it it when I know they are working on getting away from sweets and would rather have something else, and feel no need to eat more than a bite or two myself. What isn’t given away goes on the shelf for really good chocolate occasions.
    .-= ———->Kerry Dexter

  13. A friend always organizes a cookie exchange party at Christmas. This year I am going to ask if I can bring fruit, like cherries or tangerines, instead for those of us trying to avoid over-indulgence.
    .-= ———->Alexandra

  14. Jennifer Margulis says:

    I can’t believe you made it through Halloween without ONE PIECE OF CANDY. That is amazing. I need to not eat sugar (I do fine with agave though) but I just sneaked a cookie an hour ago. Then I’m sorry because I get hypoglycemic and since I’m nursing, I’m worried about getting a yeast infection. Life without sugar is so much better and I really appreciate all these smart tips. I hope you’ll report back on how it goes after the fact…
    .-= ———->Jennifer Margulis

  15. Alisa Bowman says:

    Great tips! I can’t live without chocolate, but I go slightly low sugar by eating the dark variety with the higher cocoa content.
    .-= ———->Alisa Bowman

  16. Good reminder and ideas about how to avoid the sugar rush–and the crash that comes after!
    .-= ———->ReadyMom

  17. Donna Hull says:

    The photo of the woman with the sugar-encrusted lips? That’s me. Thanks for tips to help me survive the holiday season as sugar-free as possible. I agree with you about the quality chocolate. Just knowing it’s around the house helps.
    .-= ———->Donna Hull

  18. Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey says:

    It’s just nice to know others are thinking about sugar and how not to OD on it. Great tips you’ve outlined here.

  19. Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey says:

    It

  20. avoid sugar? i love it, maybe limit it is easier for me. my aunt does this & lost a lot of weight, but she’s cheap & afraid of getting cancer.

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