We would like to wish you good luck with your Sugar Free September NZ endeavour, if you have decided to undertake. Good on you!

If you haven’t had chance to check out the details, it’s not too late to start (and it’s doesn’t have to be just in September).

Jacinda has all the details on her Sugar Free September NZ Facebook Page here

The challenge is to give up refined-sugar for the month of September and fundraise for Bowel Cancer New Zealand at the same time. You can either choose to donate to a particular fundraiser (like us! here’s our Real Food Generation Fundraising Page) or set up your own fundraising page yourself, within the Sugar Free September NZ Team.

For our family, we gave up refined sugars in May last year after consultations with nutritionist Mikki Williden. So during September, I’m going to document things that helped us wean off the refined-sugars with a focus on gut healing probiotic foods, which is my challenge for September for our family.  A happy tummy means you’re less likely to binge on sugary foods. Quitting the junk and eating wholefoods, will see a massive increase in your health and wellbeing like we have seen.

Here are my tips to get you started today. Hang on in there, it might be tough because sugar is so addictive, it might be difficult at times but you’ll feel amazing once you’re through.

  • Find Your Way – Have a go and keep trying. If you find you fall off the wagon and revert to the chocolate bar half way through September, just get back onto your sugar-free aim and don’t feel bad. If September doesn’t work out for you, try another month that does work. Choose a month that doesn’t have lots of social occasions because it’ll make it harder for you if temptations are in your way all the time. Once you’re through your first refined-sugar free month, your pallet adjusts and you won’t be tempted so much with sugary treats. Makes it so much easier to say no to sweet things once you’ve curbed the addiction. Then you can get back into social situations where you just naturally won’t want the sugar on offer.
  • Sugar IS Sugar – Personally we found it best to keep off all sugars, including natural sugars like agave, honey etc during this initial month. Fruit is ok, only if it’s eaten as a whole with the fibre because enzymes in the fruit slow the sugar-hit to your body and fruit also contains essential nutrients (we did a Clean & Lean plan once that omitted all sugars including fruit and we got colds quite quickly!). So our advice would be just stick to wholefoods for your sweet tooth during this first month. Once you’re through it you can then introduce occasional sweet foods, as occasional treats only (think birthday party allowances, family ice cream treats). Make treats about an experience not a habit, moving forwards….and of course, you don’t have to have sugar in your diet at all if you like it that way. It just works for us to have a little outlet now and again.
  • Constantly Re-adjust – Watch the sweet tooth too. You might do really well during the first month but be careful sugar doesn’t creep back into your diet. We find around Christmas is hard as there is so much temptation around. Wine consumption also makes it easier for us to fall back into sugar cravings too, so go easy on the top ups. Just be aware of the addictive nature of sugar and do monthly plans to omit, like Sugar Free September (no reason for you to also undertake in April for example). Whole 30 is also another good plan to follow. I felt great after the Whole 30 plan, although next time I would keep dairy in because it works for me and is a good form of satiating fat. Further details here Whole 30 programme rules.
  • Up Your Healthy Fats – Ditch the sugar (carbs) and up your natural fats. We have lots of nut oils, avocado, coconut, dairy in our diet to satiate us. More fat in your diet means less likely to crave sugar for a quick energy hit. We still have carbs, just in their natural form like kumara and veges. A good book to purchase to read up on this is What The Fat? and good news they have just landed their second print run of this, so you can get your hands on a copy. What The Fat? book. Ditch The Carbs is also another good resource to follow too: Ditch The Carbs website.
  • Follow The Experts and Read, Read, Read – I highly recommend following trained nutritionists and dieticians that base their philosophies around scientifically backed ‘real food’ insights. Like Mikki Williden, Caryn Zinn, Grant Schofield etc. I often leave our local library with a pile of about ten ‘real food’ books so it’s a great place to start. I’m not a trained nutritionist myself and not intending to be either but I do love reading and absorbing all the information progressive experts in the field are publishing. As September rolls on I’ll be posting the resources that have helped us the most to go refined-sugar free and turn our health around.
  • Final Tip – Watch That Sugar Film! AWESOME resource if you haven’t seen already That Sugar Film.