Lessons from no-refined sugar January

January is almost over.  And I’ve gone through the whole month (and the week after Christmas Day) without eating any refined sugar (but I have had maple syrup), meat or dairy.  It’s only been this past week that I’ve started having some animal products (eggs and honey in baked goods).  Still no dairy or meat yet … not quite sure how my system is going to react when I start introducing them again.

And the big news is … I won the challenge!  On the 20 January, I got a note from my colleague saying he had 2 donuts that morning so I win.  I’m still waiting to collect my winnings – he was going to make me a Paleo pumpkin pie, which I’m interested in trying out!

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you know some of the things I’ve learnt while cooking a vegan, no-refined sugar diet for just over a month.

Some things should not be tried to be made refined-sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free etc

As you will see in subsequent posts of my US National Food Day Challenge, I had no real choice but to try to make things like peppermint patties and creme-filled chocolates to fulfil my quota of 4 out of 7 days.  Let’s just say, these did not turn out too well.  The photos worked well, but didn’t taste good … AT ALL!

I can still eat too much in a day, even without any refined sugar

There were days where I just had cravings for peanut butter (not really that odd for me!) and granola bars, and granola.  And I ate them.  Lots of them.  And I also ate stuff while experimenting in the kitchen … lots of stuff.  I ended up just a little bit lighter in weight than at the beginning of the month, but when I did over-indulge, my system recovered a lot quicker than if I would pig out on cookie dough containing ‘normal’ sugar.

Eating too many beans on subsequent days leads to ‘beanie belly’

Beanie belly was a phrase I thought up … it means I had a lot of bloating, leading to lots of gas and discomfort, leading to a lot of noises in the toilet (trying not to give too much information away!).  I narrowed it down to when I had black beans two days in a row.  But strangely enough, having chickpeas in burgers and hummus didn’t seem to lead to the same discomfort.

Some recipes actually taste better when no refined sugar is used

I made up some really cool recipes during the month, based on stuff I had found on the internet, and adapted quite a bit.  I even managed to get Abby to eat a frosting made of dates (she absolutely hates dates!).  I’ve posted some of these recipes already, but watch your inbox for some others that I’ve done and really love!

Overall I’ve enjoyed the month of being refined-sugar free.  It just got a little painful towards the end when I couldn’t eat cheese, eggs, honey etc.  At the moment I’m not craving any sugar, or meat, but I know I’ll get back into the meat shortly.  I’m looking at limiting the amount of stuff with refined sugar to maybe 1-2 times a week maximum.  I’m also looking at staying basically vegan/vegetarian for my lunches at work and MAYBE having stuff with meat with the family for dinner.  We’ll see how it goes!

I’d love to hear any comments/suggestions you’ve got about this journey of mine!  And any adventures you may have had in a similar experience.

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!


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