The Sugar Detox Challenge - Naturally Knocked Up

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The Sugar Detox Challenge - Naturally Knocked Up

The Sugar

Detox

Challenge

by: Donielle Baker of Naturally Knocked Up

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The Sugar Detox Challenge

making your way to living free of sugar

Copyright © 2011 Donielle Baker

photos copyright © 2011 Donielle Baker (unless otherwise noted)

All Rights Reserved.

warning/disclaimer: this mini ebook is not meant to be medical advice, only a reference

for healthy living. None of the following have been evaluated by the FDA. or Please

consult your health care provider for specific dietary recommendations. The author is

not responsible for any adverse effects that may result from the application of

information contained within this mini ebook.

No part of this publication may be copied, shared, or republished without express

written permission of the author. If you would like to blog about your experiences on

the challenge, feel free – but refrain from posting anything written verbatim except

for small quotes. If you would like to lead a group through the challenge (either online

or in real life) please direct others to www.naturallyknockedup.com to download their

own free copy. Because even though this ebook is provided for free, it is still

protected by copyright laws.

About the Author:

Donielle is a recovering sugar addict, blogger, and student of herbalism. She works to

encourage others to make healthy choices when it comes to what they put in their

mouths and on their bodies, so that they too can overcome different health issues.

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My Story with Sugar

In my first 25 years of life or so, I don't really remember going a day without some

type of sweets. We're talking ice cream, M&M's, Little Debbie snacks, “fruit” snacks,

“fruit” roll-ups, homemade cookies, brownies and cakes, candy bars, chocolate chips,

cans of frosting........ So let's just say I was a sugar connoisseur.

When I was quite young, it was a daily treat. But by the time I hit my teens, I was

surviving on sugar alone. Since I could buy my simple wants, I'd pick up a Coke on the

way to work and drink another while I was there. I'd make myself coffee full of

sugared flavorings (I worked at a coffeehouse) and often skip most meals.

Yea.....I ended up with PCOS because of it.

But because I was always within my ideal weight range, I never thought eating

indulgent foods was going to be a problem. After marriage, we continued on with the

same tradition on buying whatever we wanted, often eating half gallons of ice cream in

a couple days – sometimes in one day.

Once I realized what I was doing to my body by eating high amounts of sugar, I

started to cut it out of my diet and it was hard. My blood sugar levels had to have been

going nuts given how crummy I felt for weeks. I craved sugar and carbs like they were

going out of style and I was constantly tempted at work.

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Reducing and/or giving up your sweets is difficult, but let me tell you the best part of

my story. After giving up most sweets (and using only natural sweeteners occasionally

as well as other dietary changes):

• I started ovulating regularly for the first time. Ever.

• my migraines disappeared

• eczema was greatly reduced

• I wasn't sick once a month anymore with colds/virus's

• my mood was more stable and people enjoyed being around me more

So, What's Wrong with Sugar?

1. Eating excessive sugar causes an imbalance in our blood sugar levels (especially

harmful if you suffer from hormonal imbalances. Insulin and your reproductive

hormones are closely tied ) and actually reduces the quality of a woman's follicles

and a man's sperm. It can also cause acidification of the cervical mucous, making

it a hostile environment for sperm.

2. Cancer cells feed on sugar. 'Nuff said.

3. The consumption of sugar will suppress your immune system. By some accounts,

your immune system can be lowered by up to 90% within the first 15 minutes after eating

sugar. (Dr. Stoll) Other stats are not as drastic, but by most accounts just one

can of pop can lower your resistance to disease and illness for 6 hours.

4. Sugar is commonly known as an “anti- nutrient”, meaning it robs your body of

essential vitamins and minerals during digestion. So even when you thinking you

are eating enough healthy foods - you're really losing more than you're putting in

if your diet contains sugar.

5. Sugar contributes to weight gain, not only because of the empty calories, but

also because when your body responds to a rising blood sugar level it produces

insulin to bring it back down. Once it comes down, it drops to low, signaling you

that you need to eat in order to bring it back up to functional levels.

6. The consumption of sugar is also linked to adrenal fatigue. When we eat too many

foods that cause blood sugar spikes, insulin is released to bring the blood sugar levels down.

Then they drop too low, which causes the adrenals to produce cortisol. This cortisol will

bring blood sugar back up to levels needed to feed the brain. (Ever feel

'comatose' after lots of sweets? It's because your blood sugar has dropped too

low and there is no food for your brain.) When consuming too many carbs, the

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adrenals have to work harder to balance your blood sugar.

7. Sugar eaten during pregnancy and lactation can influence muscle force

production in offspring, which can affect an individual's ability to exercise.

(source)

8. A diet high in sugar during pregnancy can result in yeast issues before, during,

and after the birth, included but not limited to: positive test for group b strep,

classic yeast infections, thrush, mastitis, and yeasty, painful diaper rashes.

9. Sugar also feeds yeasts in the digestive system, including Candida. This causes

everything from lowered immunity and general fatigue to eczema and even

depression.

10. Your body uses its stores of Vitamin B to help process and rid itself of the

sugar. Vitamin B (especially B6) helps regulate your hormones levels, so a

deficiency can cause irregular menstrual cycles, a progesterone imbalance, as

well as poor egg and sperm development.

11. Sugar weakens your bones due to the fact that your body uses calcium, sodium,

potassium and magnesium to try and make use of and metabolize this incomplete

food.

12. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness in

children.(source)

13. Sugar causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function - the more sugar you eat,

the more you lose.(source)

14. Sugar is a sticky substance and if left in the bloodstream (instead of being

burned as energy) the particles will start to stick to the cells. As a result, if you

consume a lot of sugar each day, you will get more wrinkles and dry brittle nails

and hair, experience a lack of mobility in the joints, and a range of other health

problems.(source)

15. Sugar can cause gallstones.(source)

16. Sugar reduces the helpful high density cholesterol, known as HDLs.(source)

17. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body, causing chromium and

copper deficiencies. (source)

18. Sugar can contribute to eczema due to feeding the bad bacteria in the gut,

which then causes skin issues. (source)

19. Sugar interferes with the body's absorption of calcium and magnesium.

20. Sugar can contribute to food allergies and sensitivities. Sugar aids the yeast in the

digestive system, the gut wall becomes permeable, and particles of food (like gluten or casein)

can then travel into the bloodstream.

21. Sugar increases neural tube defects in embryos when it is consumed by pregnant

women.

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But is will power enough?

Can we one day just announce that we'll never eat refined sugars again and drastically cut our

consumption of natural sugars? For most of us, we'll be able to for awhile.......until we

cave. For others, they won't. Sugar has emotional effects as well as physical ones: we

need something sweet at parties or after a long day, or the comfort foods we crave

when sad or sick.

Dealing with an addiction to sugar needs to be done holistically; you need to treat ALL your

symptoms . Take care of your body and help it overcome cravings with the right

nutrition, but also take care of your emotional self, and find the root cause of your

desire for sweets. If you can do both at the same time you'll have more success in

ridding your life of constant sugar consumption.

As our Standard American Diet dictates, most of us are addicted to refined sugar. Not

only do we dump it into our coffee, and inhale cookies, it's hidden in almost every

processed food we buy. And the problem is, the more we eat it, the more our bodies

crave it. The unfortunate thing is that sugar can greatly impact our health.

During this 8 week Sugar Detox Challenge we'll be tackling different issues related to

sugar: how to cut it out, what to eat instead, etc. And not only will this challenge help

you to reduce your sugar intake, it'll also help you to focus on nutrition as a whole,

since a 'normal' American diet is full of different refined sugars. We'll start you off

slow and work our way up. Yes.....you can go cold turkey, but a lot of folks find that a

slow transition works better and they stick with the changes longer. And I personally

found it was the easiest way to get my husband on board. I made small changes at first

and slowly switched over to natural sugars before eventually cutting our consumption

down over the course of a couple of months. He didn't even know it was happening!

Know Your Good Sugars

The following is a list of sugars. These may not be health foods, but they're healthier

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alternatives to white sugar, and we'll refer to them as "natural sugars" in this mini

ebook. Use all in moderation.

Honey

Used since ancient times, honey is made by honey bees using the nectar of flowers.

The bees carry it back to the hive inside their ‘honey sacs’ where different enzymes

begin to break down the sugars, basically pre-digesting it. The evaporation of water,

combined with a warm environment, transforms this nectar into honey.

Honey should be purchased raw, never heated (over 116 degrees), and only minimally

processed; look for 100% pure. Because it's unprocessed, it has wonderful antibacterial,

anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Local honey is especially good for those

who suffer from allergies, it also contains natural anti-oxidants, and some studies show

that honey may help your body control blood sugar levels. And raw honey tastes leaps

and bounds better than regular old store bought honey – you'll find you won't need to

use near as much.

Honey is useful for both baking and sweetening drinks, etc. When used in baking, use

less than the sugar than called for - about ¾ cup instead of a whole cup. Also lower the

amount of liquid in the recipe by at least 1/8. Food may also brown more easily so lower

the temperature by 25 degrees.

Maple Syrup

Over the winter in colder climates, the maple trees store starch within their roots

which rises up the tree in the spring, becoming sugars. This sap is then ‘tapped’ from

the tree, collected in buckets (piped in large operations), and concentrated by heating

and evaporating off excess water. It’s also a source of the trace mineral manganese as

well as a good amount of zinc.

Maple syurp is often found in two different grades: A and B. grade A syrup is a lighter

and slightly sweeter syrup, whereas grade B is darker and the flavor a bit more

intense. Grade B also contains a bit more minerals than grade A.

Maple Syrup is useful in baking (though lower the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/8

of the total amount) and also good for sweetening drinks and using in desserts.

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Maple sugar is also made from the sap from the maple trees – it's just boiled down

even farther than the syrup until it crystallizes.

Organic Whole Cane Sugar

(also known as Rapadura, Panela, and Sucanat) This sugar is made by crushing the sugar

canes and evaporating the liquid sugar syrup over low heat whilst stirred by large

paddles. It is then ground into a grainy sugar. This sugar product contains both the

‘sugar’ and the molasses and contains its original nutrients making it easier for your

body to digest. Very useful in baking and cooking, it can be used in the same amounts as

white sugar. It also has much of the same texture that white sugar has – making it an

easy swap for those looking to transition their families into natural sugars.

Some sources say that sucanat is different than other whole cane sugars because the

sugar stream and molasses stream are separated during processing and then reblended

to make for a more consistent product. It's best to check with each individual

supplier though – internet sources are not always the best. ;-)

Muscovado Sugar

This is processed in the same manner as whole cane sugar, but traditionally uses both

lime juice and coconut milk during the heating process to remove impurities (which rise

to the top as a foam). It may have a higher moisture content and tends to be a bit

sticky. Use in the same amounts as white sugar, though you may find you need to very

slightly reduce the liquid in the recipe.

Coconut or palm sugar

These are made from the sweet sap of the flowering stem at the top of the coconut

tree. The sap is boiled and concentrated to form a granular sugar, though the

consistency can range from a paste-like substance to a moist granule. These are useful

in baking as well as sweetening beverages.

Molasses

This byproduct of making refined sugar-making, is made from the third boiling of the

sugar syrup after the sucrose has already been crystallized. It contains many nutrients

like manganese, calcium, and iron. It can be useful in cooking (think baked beans and some meat-

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ased meals). Look for unsulphured blackstrap molasses s made from organic cane sugar.

Sorghum syrup

The sorghum grain originates in Africa, and like our maple syrup here in the United

States, is a seasonally made sweetener. After the harvest of the grain, the stalks are

pressed and milled to extract the juice which is then heated and reduced to a thick

syrup. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium and

potassium. It can be used in place of other liquid sweeteners.

Stevia

This sweetener is actually not a sugar, but an herb that is sweeter than sugar. Often

found in grocery stores as a white granulated powder, the plant is actually green – so

the completely unprocessed version is going to be a green powder. There is both

anecdotal evidence and at least one study that suggest stevia, when used medicinally,

may have negative effects on fertility. But when used in moderation, this sweetener

doesn't affect blood glucose levels, so it may be a good choice for someone with severe

insulin issues. To find out the in's and out's of stevia, check here.

Know Your Bad Sugars

Refined sugars are those that are stripped of their natural properties, to give them a

longer shelf life and lighter flavor and whiter look.

White Sugar

Often referred to as a poisonous, addictive drug, white sugar is added to a wide array

of foods nowadays and consumed in mass quantities in baked goods, desserts, and

candies. The sugar is the result of a process that takes sugar cane, or sugar beets, and

processes the sucralose out of the whole food/plant. So what we end up with is just a

very small part of what we started from. Wonder how molasses is so high in nutrients?

It's the part of the sugar cane that's not included in white sugar. The whiteness is often caused

by a form of bleaching, or by adding chemicals to the mix to lighten it.

Brown Sugar

Simply put, brown sugar is exactly the same as white sugar, but with a very small

amount of molasses (not even enough to affect the nutrient quantity) added back in.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) comes from corn that is milled into corn starch and

then processed to yield corn syrup which is almost entirely glucose. Enzymes are then

added to make it about 90% fructose. This fructose is then remixed with an amount of

glucose to make high fructose corn syrup. Depending on the application and sweetness

desired, it can be mixed at different ratios.

Another name for HFCS on ingredient lists is fructose. (table sugar, it's sucrose) The

difference between these types of sugars is the way our bodies break them down.

Sucrose is broken down before it ever finds its way to the liver and is converted into

both fructose and glucose, which our body uses. It does get kind of tricky when you

really focus on sucrose, because it is actually composed of both fructose and glucose.

With sucrose our bodies break it down during digestion through a process called

hydrolysis through which it is able to regulate the rate of breakdown. Without this

breakdown, our bodies have a harder time controlling the rate at which the sugar is

absorbed into the bloodstream.

On the other hand, fructose finds its way to the liver almost unaltered, and the

amount of fructose overwhelms any amount of glucose in it. Our liver must then work

harder to break up this substance and remove it from our bodies. We don't want to

overwork an organ that needs to function properly to expel old hormones.

Agave

I always hesitate to mention agave as it's such a controversial sweetener. Some

nutritionists (even those well-versed in traditional diets) recommend it alone to their

diabetic patients. Others say it's no better than HFCS. Personally I think it's one to

be avoided as it's extremely high in fructose and hard for the body to process. It's no

longer made from boiled agave leaves as was traditionally practiced, but from the

starch of the plant. For more info check here.

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Week One: High Fructose Corn Syrup

We've already talked a bit about how certain sugars can cause health problems, and I

find the best one to get rid of first is going to be high fructose corn syrup. Not only is

it one of the most processed, it's also one of the most prolific in processed foods. So

not only will you be cutting out sugar in the challenge, you'll be slowly cutting out many

different boxed, canned, and frozen foods and replacing them instead with whole

foods made at home. Double bonus!

Check your cupboards, all your bottles of condiments, all your boxes of cereal and

crackers, your bread bag, and basically anything you buy premade from the store. If

it's something that another family member still wants to consume (*ahem* husbands

that aren't on board with change yet), just mark it with a permanent maker "Do Not

Eat!" and make a note to search for a hfcs free item the next time you buy it. (Many

times this means buying organic – also a plus – as HFCS is not allowed in these products. )

This week, begin replacing these foods with “no HFCS” alternatives (and you might as

well start making sure you don't buy items with any type of corn syrup in them). By the

end of the week you should be eating free of any type of corn syrup.

Week #1 Challenge: Purge and avoid high fructose corn syrup.

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Photo credit

Week Two: Choose Whole Grains

Why yes, this is the "Sugar" Detox! But because your body processes white flours in the same

way as refined sugar, it causes all the same insulin fluctuations as white sugar does inside

your body.

Whole wheat products include all three parts of the wheat berry (the bran, the germ,

and the endosperm). Eating these three components together benefits digestion as

well as nutrient absorption. Here are some quick facts on whole grain:

Naturally has more fiber

• Because it has more fiber, it helps with digestion and leaves you fuller longer.

• Contains more vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid, copper, zinc, and

manganese.

• White flours and grains are stripped of nutrients leaving you eating empty

calories and not supplying your body with the nutrients it needs.

• White flours and grains are digested much in the same ways as white sugars,

using up your vitamin B6 stores.

• Refined grains increase the insulin response within the body, causing the

pancreas to send out insulin to deal with the increasing amount of sugar in the

blood.

Week #2 Challenge: Avoid white flours and any refined grains.

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Week Three: Desserts

Dessert used to be the hardest thing for me to give up! I grew up with dessert each

night after dinner, cookies were baked weekly. And this week we're giving up all

sweets!! This means, no cookies, no candy, no soda, or cakes. I don't even care if you

make it with a "healthy" sugar - it's got to go!! Even unrefined sugars feed that deep

craving for sweets and in order to get control over your diet, sometimes we need to

cut something complete out for awhile. (This does not include sugar added to things

like coffee, tea, or baked goods like bread.)

And how many of you reward yourself with treats? I know I do. When I've had a long

day, nothing sounds better than some chocolate or ice cream. To be honest, it's almost

an emotional addiction. When I'm tired or stressed or just overall emotional, I reach

for it.

So how do we stop craving? Well, for me there is no easy answer, but I have noticed

that the longer I eat a healthy diet, the less my cravings are satisfied by sweets. And

the funny thing is, it just doesn't seem to have the same taste it did years ago when I

lived off the stuff. I'll buy something to satisfy that craving and it just doesn't taste

as good as I had hoped. Now I try to simply remind myself how much sugar is actually

in those candy bars at the checkout. Is it really worth the blood sugar imbalance that

will come from eating it? Do I really want to risk upsetting my delicate hormone

balance for just a few moments of chocolate pleasure?

Week #3 Challenge: Give up all desserts and sweets.

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Week Four: Refined Sugars

Last week we gave up all desserts and sweets, this week we're going to go completely

without refined sugars! You'll need to watch your labels really carefully and you'll have

to swap out refined sugars for natural sugar in your baked goods at home. No more

white sugar, brown sugar, organic white sugar, evaporated cane juice, or any other

processed sugar product. No more adding any type of refined sugars to recipes or

drinks.

Make sure to refer to page 7 of this mini eBook for a list of acceptable natural

sweeteners!

You should be continuing on with the previous weeks' challenges as well!

Week #1 Challenge: Avoid all high fructose corn syrup.

Week #2 Challenge: Avoid all refined flours and grains.

Week #3 Challenge: Give up all desserts and sweets.

Week #4 Challenge: Avoid all refined sugar.

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Dealing with Cravings

While we're at the point of giving up all refined sugars, I think this is a good place to

start talking about cravings. Because the further we go into living free of sugar, the

more our bodies might revolt – cravings will intensify. Sugar cravings are tough.

Why We Have Cravings

Reason #1 - a sign of hormonal imbalance caused by a diet rich in sugar and refined

grains. You see, when we don't eat the right nourishing foods for our bodies, it causes

nutritional deficiencies and bad digestion. When that happens, our hormones are out of

whack. Both of these things (nutritional deficiencies and imbalanced hormones) lead to

low serotonin. And wouldn't you know, sugars and simple carbs give us a short boost of

serotonin - a quick mood booster if you will.

Reason #2 - adrenal fatigue, or lowered function of our adrenals. Again, this one is

tied to our bodies trying to elevate our mood. When we are stressed for periods of

time our adrenals have a very hard time regulating hormones and mood, which of course

make us crave the things that can elevate it, even for a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, these short little pick-me-ups do more harm than good.

Reason #3 - Candida yeast overgrowth. What you need to know is all of us have

bacteria and yeast in our digestive system. Problems arise when Candida grows too big for its

britches! The overgrowth can easily be provoked by a round of antibiotics, which kills all of the

good bacteria in your system along with the bad. After antibiotics you may be sick over and

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over again, unable to fight off future infections, and stuck with symptoms of yeast

overgrowth (eczema, fatigue, cravings, unstable mood). This yeast actually feeds on

sugar! So when you begin to cut sugar out of your diet, it begins to die off, which is a

very good thing. Problem is, the yeast doesn't want to die off, so your body then gets

signaled to eat more sugar.

This of course is just a short list of the reasons we crave sugar, but how do we

overcome them?

I'm no expert, but I'll share with you the few ways I've always dealt with them.

• Remove all sweets from the home. Since I rarely buy sweets for home or bake

sweets at home, this was quite easy for me.

• Have fresh veggies cut up and ready to snack on in the fridge. This helps me out

immensely when I just want something right now!

• Have a glass of water. Sometimes when I think I'm hungry, I really just need to

hydrate myself.

• Drink a hot beverage. I've been sipping on cups of tea sweetened with a touch of

honey as well as Teechino/herbal coffee sweetened with maple syrup. The fact

that it takes so long to sip, seems to melt my cravings away.

• I'm making sure I eat some homemade sauerkraut each day or yogurt and/or

kefir smoothies. These fermented and cultured products are a wonderful source

of good bacteria to help me balance my gut flora and take away cravings.

• Increase my intake of quality protein and fats.

• Consume more coconut oil! One of my favorite oils is also an anti fungal which

helps get rid of the yeast. I've also heard that coconut oil can help because the

medium chain fatty acid breaks down and is rapidly metabolized to glucose thus

providing a source of the energy your sugar craving is telling you that you need.

• On the same note, garlic does the same thing, so I whip up some garlic herb

butter to spread on toast, potatoes, or rice.

• Drink a mix of honey and apple cider vinegar.

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Week Five: Quick Breads

Although you should already be cutting out white breads, all breads do effect insulin

levels to some extent, even whole grain breads. Every time you eat a sugary or starchy

food, it actually enters the blood as glucose. And it's the job of your hormone insulin

to make sure that the glucose taken out of the blood blood stream and into the cells of

your body. Insulin is also responsible for turning unused glucose (like when you eat a

diet high in starchy carbs) into fat and storing it (on your hips!).

Quick breads include; pancakes, waffles, muffins, banana/zucchini breads, and

basically any flour product made without yeast of some sort – crackers as well.

Why not ALL breads? Well......I've found that most people really don't like the drastic

change in diet. :-) So don't worry about breads made with yeast (sandwich-type bread). It's still

legal at this point; we'll discuss it later. And quick breads tend to be either made with a lot

of sugar or a lot of sugar is used “on” them. And even though the sugar used is

considered "whole" it is still sugar!

*Note for pregnant and nursing women - At this point in the challenge I personally would not worry

about cutting out quick breads. Your body needs major nutrients from other foods, so cutting out these

empty calories may be beneficial to you. But I also know that pregnant women often crave carbs for

quick energy, and in that case – consume whole grain products made with natural sugars. If you are

concerned, talk to your health care professional.

Week #5 Challenge: Avoid all quick breads.

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Week Six: Limit Natural Sugars

It's getting tougher.....and you've all been doing phenomenally well. You've given up high

fructose corn syrup, you've given up any and all refined sugars and last week you gave

up quick breads. This week we're going to severely cut our consumption of even

"natural" sugars. Because while these sugars contain all of the God given nutrients in

them, they still affect our insulin levels the same way that white sugar does, just more

slowly. They also feed the desire for sweets.

This challenge this week is to not consume more than 1 tsp of natural sugars per day.

This means in any beverage you drink, topping for oatmeal, and honey on your yogurt.

Become accustomed to noticing how much extra sugar you put on and in your foods.

*Note for pregnant and nursing women - At this point in the challenge I personally would not worry

about cutting back on sugar to this extent. Your body needs major nutrients from other foods, so

cutting out these empty calories may be beneficial to you. If you are concerned, talk to your health

care professional.

Week #6 Challenge: Limit added natural sugars to 1 tsp per day.

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Week Seven: Breads and Starchy Foods

"You want me to do what?!?"

"But I've already cut out sweets, and even limited natural sugars!!”

Before we get to this week's challenge, let's talk a bit more about what we're trying

to do here. We’re not depriving ourselves of sugar just to see how long we can last,

we're doing this to put an end to the hold that sweets have over our taste buds and

our body as a whole! Sometimes this takes completely cutting out the foods that

trigger our senses to want more. It helps bring our bodies back into balance, so that

when we do have small amounts of sugar, we're satisfied and content without

consuming the entire bag of M&M's.

I'm preparing to see a large number of you bolt and run as fast as you'd run if I told

you to go eat liver. {I won't. Not yet anyways.} But I hope you'll press through and

make it to the end! Your body deserves this. You deserve this!

This weeks challenge will be multi-layered as we focus not only on the "sugars" we

consume, but also on the starches.

***If you have a severe issue with sugar addiction or are trying to overcome health

issues due to yeast overgrowth, we'll be cutting out as many starches as possible. This

includes breads, chips, potatoes, pasta, rice, oatmeal, etc. If you must, try to include

just one serving per day and eat it earlier rather than later. Fill your meals with quality

protein (eggs, chicken, beef, dairy) and extra veggies instead.

***If you're the type of person that can have a bowl of chocolate in front of you and

not be tempted and you don't eat sweets or crave starches everyday, you don't have

to be as strict, but let's try and keep one meal a day free of these major starches and

cut out those 'snacky' starches like chips.

*For pregnant and nursing women - Become aware of the quantities of starches you're consuming and

begin to change the ratios you see on your plate. Instead of 2 rolls for dinner, have another helping of

veggies and consume just one. Your baby might just thank you for those additional nutrients. :-) But

please don't go crazy and severely restrict your diet, lest your body head to detox mode. If you are

concerned, talk to your health care professional.

Week #7 Challenge: Limit starchy foods.

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Week Eight: No Added Sugar

You're on week eight of the challenge......just one more week of cutting and snipping

foods out of the diet. As we get near the end, this final challenge may be one of the

toughest of all - no added sugars in anything. That means no honey, no whole cane

sugar, no maple syrup.....no sugar!

And yes, you can do it.

You have the drive and the willpower, you may just need to dig a little deeper! Switch

to meals where sugar won't be missed (eggs for breakfast instead of oatmeal or

pancakes) and use fruit when you need something a little sweet.

Week #1 Challenge: Avoid all high fructose corn syrup.

Week #2 Challenge: Avoid all refined flours and grains.

Week #3 Challenge: Give up all desserts and sweets.

Week #4 Challenge: Avoid all refined sugar.

Week #5 Challenge: Avoid all quick breads.

Week #6 Challenge: Limit added natural sugars to 1 tsp per day.

Week #7 Challenge: Limit starchy foods.

Week #8 Challenge: No added sugars of any kind.

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I hope you've enjoyed and learned a lot over the last couple of months. And I truly

hope that you're now on a path to better health! If not - if you've been delayed, or

fallen off the wagon a time or ten - don't beat yourself up. We all fall; we're only

human. Just know that eating healthy is a journey and you'll get there. Take it just one

day at a time.

The Good Points of Sugar

Now with so many weeks gone by where you've learned about the negative aspects of

sugar, let's talk about the good aspects. Because many whole foods (fruits, veggies,

etc) do contain natural sugars.

Our bodies actually use small amounts of sugar on a regular basis for brain function.

Although the brain makes up a small percentage of the overall body weight, it uses

about 50% of the sugar energy in the body. (source) Problems arise when we consume

too much, as our brains experience a "high" and then a major lull when insulin pulls

blood sugar levels back down. This leaves us feeling foggy and unproductive. (More

reading on glucose and the brain)

It's also been shown that small amounts of sugar help in the movement of our "quick

moving" muscles. Makes me think that maybe it was quite the Divine plan for our sweet

fruits to ripen in summer and fall....the times we need to move at a faster pace and get

more done! No - I don't really need to think about that at all, the Lord always plans his

creation perfectly.

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So not all sugar is bad, and even consuming a sugary treat every now and again is just

fine once you've gotten past the point of cravings and have a healthy body. The

problem is that we've become so accustomed to eating sugar all the time that we

create emotional and physical attachments to it. Once we've been able to deal with our

issues of overindulgence, we can work to create new, and healthier, relationships with

dessert.

From Here on Out

The challenge is over. So how do you go about eating now?

Well, diving head first into a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter cups is not the way to go

about it! Nor is baking a cake or batch of cookies. You see, eight weeks is really a very

short amount of time to try and get your sugar cravings under control. Different

doctors and nutritionists liken sugar addiction to cocaine addiction, saying it takes

years to fully get over the addiction to sweets. And your body is probably loving you

right now, allowing it to function at its peak level.

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Living without sugar will be different for everyone, but all of us need to be mindful of

the foods we eat. Here are a few basic guidelines to help you decide what your diet

should look like.

• Dessert does not need to be consumed everyday. (In my opinion, it's a once a

weekly indulgence – if that.)

The good Lord gave us honey and maple syrup as well as other natural

sweeteners - yet this does not mean we should overuse them.

• Your health dictates how much sugar you should consume. If you have any health

problems, you should stay away from sugar as much as possible.

In Nancy Appleton's book "Suicide by Sugar" (recommended you read if you can

borrow/buy a copy) she recommends no more than 2 teaspoons at a time (of any sugar)

and no more than 2 Tablespoons in one day. Both seem to be very appropriate

recommendations! And very sustainable in a diet.

side note - 4.2 grams of sugar are equal to 1 teaspoon, so if you're checking

labels - 25 grams would be about 2 Tablespoons of sugar. I also suggest

measuring for the time being, until you get used to what a teaspoon of sugar looks

like.

In my home, living without a lot of sugar has become a way of life. And the days we

begin to consume more are the very days we see our health declining. We regularly

stick to honey, maple syrup, and whole cane sugar, and they are currently the only ones

I have in my home. For me they are budget friendly when used occasionally, and often

available in my area.

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The pictures scattered throughout this ebook are actually sweets and desserts I've

made using natural sugars. The best part is – no one can tell the difference!

My favorite ways to use honey:

• On Homemade Yogurt

• Fake Almond Joy Cookies (raw)

• In Black Bean Brownies

• Raw Fudge

• Raw Chocolate "Pudding"

• Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

My favorite ways to use maple syrup:

• Homemade Marshmallows

• Whipped Cream

• Vanilla Kefir Ice Cream

• as a sweetener in chai tea or herbal coffees

Favorite uses for whole cane sugar:

• Chocolate Mousse Cake

• Kombucha

• Kefir Soda

For more recipes using natural sugars, you can check out the ones I use myself at

www.NaturallyKnockedUp.com/recipes or you may be interested in purchasing an ebook from:

Kate at Modern Alternative Mama - her book is Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts, includes 32 recipes

and sells for $7.95.

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship also has an ebook called Smart Sweets that includes 30 recipes and sells

for $9.95.

Marilyn at Just Making Noise has an ice cream ebook, Just Making Ice Cream, that includes over 70

recipes for ice cream, gelaots, and sorbets. This book sells for $12.00 and proceeds go to their mission

work in Hondurus.

If you've enjoyed this mini eBook and want to share it with others, please refrain

from sending your copy to friends and family. Instead, please let them know they can

find their own copy at www.NaturallyKnockedUp.com. Thank you for showing respect

for the work I do.

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