In all things human, education

So I decided to do a Pinterest board to celebrate and share the love of being sugar-free this month. To add to my board, I do a search for “sugarfree”, and lo and behold, my search returns….


They’re sugar-free, grant you. But they’re all desserts.

So I add “paleo” to the description. After all, I’m being paleo inspired this month as well. Surely that will return some more robust food options.

What do I get? Still desserts.

Add “vegan.” Desserts.

Add “grainfree.” Desserts.

What is going on?!

It’s like our decision to go sugar-free has created this gaping hole that can only be filled by replicating the very ingredient we’re avoiding!

Okay, people, let’s buck up together. I’m a fan of a good sugar-free brownie just like the rest of us. But the point in going sugar-free for a few weeks or a month isn’t to be constantly substituting for our “deprivation.” Our goal is to re-sensitize our overly-sugared tastebuds to the subtle and delicious possibilities of our palate.

Let’s take the plunge. Let’s go sugar-free for real.

So rather than adding non-caloric sweetener to make a faux blueberry crumble, let’s dare to take a step back and jump into a different diet altogether. We are not depriving ourselves; we are nourishing ourselves. This isn’t a pity party or a diet, it’s a festival of culinary possibility.

Let’s embrace the sugar free! Embrace real food! Embrace no additives, no sweeteners, no corn syrup, no calorie-free substitutions! (Except the best hot cocoa ever. You get one gimmee :))

I’m three weeks in and I gotta say, it’s not a hardship. I’m gonna keep the ship going.

Jump on in. The sugar-free water is just fine.


And PS: Check out my Pinterest board!

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Showing 10 comments
  • Suzy

    I went sugar free a couple of years ago but I also went coffee/dairy/alcohol free at the same time. Boy was it hard! But it was also amazing. After the initial aches and pains of ‘detox’ (which were insanely horrible – I couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time because the pain in my limbs and lower back were horrendous), I felt so good. I lost weight, my skin was great, I had more energy than ever before, my digestive system worked like it had never done before too lol.
    I managed to stay healthy for quite a long time but slowly, over the next year or so I began to re-introduce those pesky things back into my diet. I’m still healthier than a lot of people but I do know I need to get back to that super healthy place!
    Good luck, Rachel. I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey! <3

  • Rachel

    Thanks Suzy! Ohhhhh to go COFFEE free!! That, my friend, is the next frontier and requires putting my serious big girl pants on. While I’m currently alcohol free and mostly dairy free, I’m still putting the cream in my coffee. And tea. Because of my caffein love affair. Maybe August…or September. *Gulp.* Thanks for writing and sharing! I’ll be trucking along on my sugar free adventure for August..perhaps a good time to get rid of those pesky things again? 😉

  • Suzy

    LOL it was a little easier than I’d thought… I guess when you put your mind to it, you can do anything! I will take a leaf out of your book and try and do it again this August. Which means I’ll probably go totally overboard until then 😉

  • Heather findlay

    That is wonderful you are testing the waters of paleo and sugar free! I myself had to do the same as a Naturpath suggested it was tough but well worth it and I was reaping in the benefits! Now I do indulge in the odd sugar treat but am gluten, dairy, soy, egg free! Half vegan I like to say and mostly paleo;)
    Enjoy your food endeavours!
    All the best,
    (200hr January 2014)

  • Rachel

    Heather! Nice to hear from you 🙂 Sounds like you’re testing the waters of the latest trend: pegan (paleo-vegan)! A strange love child to be sure, but one that is gaining traction out there and been on the news of late. Think we’re onto something! Thanks for moral support. It feels good so I’m gonna soldier on. Next stop…caffeine. YIKES!!!!

  • Victoria

    Just to play devil’s advocate for a second, whatever happened to everything in moderation? As yogis, you would think we would embrace this idea. Your body does need sugar. And coffee delays the onset of Parkinson’s. 🙂 We seem to believe that there is some magic diet out there that will magically fix all of our problems. Recall that people in the “paleo” era did not live very long, and that everything was “organic” just a century ago. We seem to be looking for a food “religion”, which serves the same purpose as any old religion–to relieve and suppress the same old fears. I think that yoga is about becoming comfortable with this fear and about living “with” it, so to speak.

    While not related to paleo, what do you think about the ideas in this article? Specifically, that cleanses are a socially accepted front for eating disorders, and that weight loss is the secret motivation behind all the “healthy” food crazes.

  • Rachel

    Hi Victoria –

    You make GREAT points that are so important to the larger conversation. Oh my, I so agree about healthy eating masquerading as eating disorders. How many fasts and cleanses are really just an excuse for weight loss? And with all of the hub bub out there (gluten free, local, organic, grain free, free range, dairy free, eat for your blood type, etc), we’ll soon not be able to eat anything.

    Shall we say that ultimately logic should prevail? It’s like what grandma said (my 95 year old grandma shakes her head at me when I come over, “We just ate cream and butter, and I’m still here. What’s all the fuss??” Yes, agreed, everything in moderation. AND, to add to that, everything in diversity. Just like exercise training. More diversity = happier and more functional body. So not just yoga, let’s add in squats as well. For eating, I say, eat the most nutritionally compact stuff you can find (the most nutritional bang for your calories) and we’re on the right track.

    My personal motivation with experimentation is that I’m so just freakin’ fascinated by the workings of my body (what goes in? what does that create? how does changing that impact my mind, energy, focus, weight, anxiety? what changes?)! And as someone who has had digestion troubles for several years (oh, since INDIA!) I’m on a personal quest to figure how eating/ drinking can impact keeping ourselves well fed and healthy.

    Thank you for sharing – I love your insight. Thank you for keeping that voice of rationality – devil’s advocate, if you will – speaking softly in our ears 🙂

  • Victoria

    Thank you for your comments. It’s sometimes hard for us scientifically-minded creatures to fit into the yoga community (speaking not just for myself). One has to pick one’s fights (e.g., let go of the full moon).

  • Germangirlfsu

    Great comments all around! Last year I discovered I was having reactions to certain foods and went dairy, soy, gluten and processed sugar free. Felt loads better and was able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet. I say I was mostly paleo, but I try to just eat “real” food. If it comes in a box and has ingredients I can’t pronounce, I stay away! From your post, it sounds like you’re doing Whole30. What kinds of changes (if any) have you noticed?

  • Rachel

    I love it! I think you’re right on when you say to eat read food. Reminds me of the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and Michael Pollan’s seemingly simple solution. “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” I got rid of grains, sugars, soy. But I am still having dairy – not too much. Not really cheese – but it’s the cream in my coffee. I didn’t give up caffeine, and I LOVE cream in my coffee and tea. I think I’ll do a full debrief in a couple days once I’ve hit my month (did it for July). But summary…lost weight. Not crazy town, but I noticed a change. I feel like I finally got rid of some of the belly fat that was just sitting there – and I didn’t do a stitch of anything beside change my diet (in fact, I exercised less). AND eat all the cashews I wanted. Which is pretty darn remarkable. I didn’t exercise as much this month at all (a combination of life – and I wanted to not push my body when pulling out so many sugars). My body has felt a bit more tired, so my exercise has been more yoga based rather than endurance/ strength building. I haven’t really noticed the other changes that people seem to notice (clearer thinking, great energy, clearer skin) but I think that’s because this has been a tough month work-wise for me. It’s hard to factor out all the variables and really find a baseline.

    All in all, though, I’ll keep going with this…add back in fruit. And start exercising more fully again and seeing what I need to do to support that 🙂
    Any advice for people just starting?

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