Real Food Week 9 Recap and Week 10 Challenge
Oh man. No sugar for a week? That is REALLY HARD. We started the week a bit off as we learned that our salami has sugar in it. Ooof. After correcting that snack item, we moved forward. I baked some banana bread with honey (and coconut oil – yum!) so I would have some sort of baked good when the cookies at work called to me. I also made some ice cream sweetened with honey, but I also didn’t end up having dessert every night. And you know what? I survived! But it was a challenge – we had to drive to a special bakery to find bread (BREAD) that was both 100% whole grain AND had no sugar in it. Yikes. We did find a loaf at Whole Foods, but they don’t always have it, so that’s not a guarantee. We did eat out a couple of nights – once we had pizza, and it’s likely (although not guaranteed) that the sauce had some added sugar. Sunday night I broke the week’s sugar fast a bit early to make some icing for a cookie-baking get together today. Afterwards I tried out some peppermint ice cream we had in the freezer (SUGAR!) and it honestly felt way too sweet. So maybe over time I can recalibrate my taste buds.
Going forward, we’ve agreed that when we’re buying things to eat at home, no added sugar if it’s at all possible. We actually found a salami that doesn’t have sugar (yay!) or any added sweetener. And now that we know where to look for items, we can more easily cut it out. As for daily consumption, I’m still going to have sweets, but hopefully they’ll be ones I make myself. Sugar will be around, but for now my goal is no added sugar before dinner. I don’t really need a morning muffin from the café or an afternoon hot chocolate.
As for other added sweeteners, this particular challenge suggests that maple syrup and honey are the best because they are the most natural and least processed – but they are still clear that all sweeteners should be used in moderation. However, that isn’t the only concern about sweets. Another issue is how it affects your blood sugar levels, and what that does to the body long-term. It does seem to have less of an effect on blood sugar as compared to table sugar (I’ve yet to find information on how honey impacts blood sugar), but some say that it is basically just as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup. This article, for example, seems to suggest that the glycemic index evidence is debatable, and it’s as not good for you as any other sweetener. I’m a bit torn, and probably won’t seek it out, but I may experiment with it a bit in baking, since if you have to use less than sugar then you’re at least ingesting less of it.
Ugh. It’d be so much easier if I didn’t like my sweets so much! Luckily there’s lots of fresh fruit around – apples and pears especially – so I can go to that for my fix if possible.
This next week we are to avoid all refined oils. This one will be near impossible if we eat anything not made at home from fresh ingredients. But that’s a fun challenge! We’ll avoid fried foods and commercially baked goods, and look to buy things at home to replace the not good items we have now. For example, thanks to the sugar experiment, we found unsweetened ketchup. And since the mayonnaise we have has vegetable oil in it, we’ll have to find a different kind if we want to use mayonnaise in our cooking.
We may take another break after this next week as the challenge is absolutely NO sweeteners (including honey and maple syrup), and it’s Thanksgiving. I’d still like my pie!