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Question for you. Are you ready to cut out refinedsugar with me for 30 days?

Or let merephrase.

Are you ready to eat SUPER-YUMMY food with me (that just happens to have no refined sugar) for the month of January?

Yes! I was hoping youd say that.

Quick Links Within This Post:

What is Sugar Free January?

Lets start with what it is not.

It is not a diet. It is not a cleanse. It is not a course.

So what is Sugar Free January? It is a simple and straightforward challenge to remove refined sugar from your diet for 30 days.

It is flexible, friendly, free, and delicious.

It is, honestly, whatever you want it to be.

The challenge starts on January 1st and end on January 31st. During that time, well be sharing a bunch of yum-town recipes that are made with just regular, familiar, real food ingredients posted here on the blog to support your effort to change an unwanted sugar habit, cut out sugar altogether, or something in between.

What Are The Rules of Sugar Free January?

  1. No rules!
  2. But if we had to make a rule, it would be this: Make it your own. Do things that will make you feel good and that support your goals. (That might mean that keeping dark chocolate as a nightly treat.)

Wait, You Can Keep Dark Chocolate?

Sure! Going sugar free can mean whatever you want it to mean. For us, it has meant figuring out how to cut out the sugar that doesnt make us feel good without dreading meals, feeling deprived, or setting ourselves up to fail.

To help with this process, you can create a Sugar Free Plan that is specific and unique to YOU.

What you can think about:

  • What will help me feel my best?
  • What sweet foods can I enjoy that will also provide nutritional benefit?
  • What will make this asustainable, realistic, and happy experience for me?

For example: sushi rice is made with sugar (!!) but maybe you decide that a Friday night spicy tuna roll is something that feels good to you, so you eat it.

Another example: maybe eating a lot of bread just makes you crave more sugar, so you watch out for bread for the month in addition to other sugars.

Its easy to want someone else to make the rules for a challenge like this, but we really dont want to do that with Sugar Free January. Instead, it is about thinking about your sugar consumption what feels good, what doesnt and getting back to the foods that really bring out your best AND bring you joy. Remember, at the end of the day: make your own choices.

How do I join this challenge?

  1. Download your Sugar Free January Starter Pack.
  2. Complete your Sugar Free Plan, and print out our weekly meal plans or fill out your own.
  3. Share on Instagram with the hashtag #poysugarfreejanuary so we can find you!

Sugar Free January Starter Pack

This is your one-stop shop for all things Sugar Free January. Whether youre a SFJ first-timer or a seasoned veteran, its got everything you need to get the sugar-free show on the road.

Heres whats included in your Sugar Free January Starter Pack:

  • Your Sugar Free January Plan: This is where youll outline what Sugar Free January looks like to you (what youll watch out for, what youll enjoy, and what your goals are, etc.).
  • Weekly Meal Plans (NEW!): A meal plan for all four weeks of the month that provide everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  • Meal Plan Template: If you want to create your own meal plan week-by-week, this is for you.

> Click here to sign up to receive your FREE Sugar Free January Starter Pack and receive updates, tips, and recipes all January long.

Sugar Free January Meal Planning Tips

Okay! Here are a few lil tipsters for your meal planning during Sugar Free January if you decide to go the meal plan template route.

  • You dont have to make something different every day.Batch your easy meals, like breakfast and lunch. I dont mind eating the same food a few days in a row as long as its really, really good.
  • Leave space for leftovers and eating out.If I make one pasta recipe that serves 6-8 people, and theres only 2 adults in the house we should be able to eat that 3-4 times. Leave space for your leftovers and for any nights or weekends you might be eating out.
  • Limit to one fancy or new recipe per week.Try doing an EASY meal prep style recipe on the weekend so that it can carry you through the week for lunch, and then just pick one or two fancy recipes to make for dinner throughout the week.

This month (and kind of always), we areLOADING YOU UP ON RECIPESso you have lots of yummy things to choose from as you decide what you want to eat during this challenge.

Most Popular Sugar Free January Recipes

Okay, the last thing were going to leave you with is a nice list of our top recipes that would be good to consider for your meal planning purposes either breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or snacks.

This should give the high-achieving super-planners in the group a highly prepared starting point for January 1st!

(Keep in mind, these are just a few of the most popular recipes if you want more, check out our complete library of awesome sugar free recipes here.)

Sugar Free January Q&A for Lindsay

What do you mean by sugar free?

Sugar Free January is a challenge to go 30 days without refined sugar.

And also: sugar free can mean whatever you want it to mean. At the end of the day, it is about paying attention: what makes you feel good, what doesnt make you feel good, and what foods support your body and your life best.

Is Sugar Free January about cutting out only refined sugars, or does it include natural sweeteners like raw honey too?

Each person should make their own Sugar Free Plan that defines what sugar free living means to them.

Some people choose to include honey and maple syrup. Some do not. Its up to you!

I personally keep eating honey and maple syrup during Sugar Free January.

What are some examples of sugar free foods?

We define sugar free foods as foods without refined sugars added to them. They also might be known as whole foods. For example:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Proteins
  • Whole grains
  • Unsweetened dairy
  • Healthy fats

What about refined grains, rice, flour, etc.?

Up to you! If youre not sure, you can read more about the effects of refined grains from a food and nutrition perspectivehere,and from a medical perspectivehere.

In years past, I have cut out white rice since I was considering it to be a refined grain.

This year, I am really loving white rice as a part of my healthy stir fries and curries. And my body is responding well to it. So now Im keeping it.

How did your body/mind feel after going sugar free last time?

I think going sugar free had an upward spiral effect for me you feel good about what youre eating, so then your body feels good, so then your mind feels good, and life in general just gets a little bit better.

The main benefit for me, though, was a more sensitive palate. Food just tasted more amazing. Fruit tasted sweeter, savory foods were more flavorful, and even just a little full fat cream in my coffee started to taste perfectly sweet to me without any added sugar.

My husband and I did our first sugar free challenge in 2014, and you can read more about the effects it had on us inthis post.

And heres what other readers have said about doing Sugar Free January:

My husband and I did sugar-free January, including giving up honey and maple syrup (we did keep wine and unsweetened dried fruit!). It was hard at times, but ultimately super rewarding for both of us! We both dropped a few lbs., and I was able to kick my gross flavored-coffeemate-plus-an-extra-spoonful-of-sugar habit, and am now drinking my coffee unsweetened with just a big splash of half and half (thanks for that tip!).


Had I not read your sugar free post I wouldve just kept on living my regular sugar-filled life. I didnt go 100% sugar free but was very aware of everything sweet that I put in my mouth. I was super surprised at how easily my sugar cravings disappeared! I guess they were habits and not cravings? I think I only had one pop (hello from North Dakota!) all month and could barely finish it. I too couldnt believe how sweet fruit tastes. I started ending my meal with fruit and soon realized I didnt need the desserts I was packing in my lunch. Thank you for an eye opening experience. And that kale Caesar salad? To die for!


I did it! No sugar/flour for the WHOLE month, the only thing I allowed myself was dried fruit (raisins mostly, because that filled my need for a sweet something after a meal). It was incredibly rewarding (down 7 lbs) and my skin improved too! Yesterday I said hmmm, what am I going to eat to reintroduce sugar, and couldnt come up with one thing in my house that was worth splurging on. I am resolved to be very choosy in sweet indulgences going forward.


How do you handle the sugar cravings the first few days?

The first few days might be the most difficult. Youre recalibrating your palate and toning down what youre used to in terms of sweetness.

Helpful things:

  • HEALTHY FAT make sure your snacks and meals have enough fat. For example, dates with peanut butter, or apples with cheese.
  • WATER Stay hydrated. Make infused water with lemon, mint, cucumber, etc.
  • TREAT YOURSELF Celebrate the small things and treat yourself with little luxuries: a candle, a sparkling water with fresh berries, a bath, a walk, a manicure, a hot tea, a good book.

But what about my birthday? Or my vacation? Or any other special occasions?

You do whatever you want to do!

If you want to draw a hard line to this no-sugar commitment, awesome. If you want to leave wiggle room for a slice of birthday cake, also awesome! There is no sugar police here.

Example 1: The first time we went sugar free, the challenge overlapped with a once-in-a-lifetime big family vacation. There was one really special night in particular that we were celebrating three golden birthdays (including mine!) and even though it was hard, Bjork and I decided to do our best to stay away from the treats. It was important to us that year to have a completely sugar-free experience. We focused on enjoying all the other foods and spending time with family playing games and laughing, and we still had a great time.

Example 2: Last year, during the middle of Sugar Free January, Bjork and I went on vacation to Hawaii. This time I had decided to take a more flexible approach, so I drank lots of (very sweet) fresh fruit juice, and I had a Coke on the beach, and one night we a dessert together. I was aware of what I was eating, and while it made coming back to sugar free eating a little more difficult, it didnt derail my Sugar Free January experience. It was just a different, more flexible approach.

How flexible you are really depends on YOU what you want from the challenge, what your goals and priorities are, and how you feel when you eat sugar.

You get to decide! No guilt, no shame.

Sugar can hide in so many things. Any tips for navigating that?

Two words: read labels.

Its tedious at first. But look for added sugars on the nutrition label, and look at the ingredient list for sugar (and its various other names). And even better, try to buy products that dont have a label! Fruits, veggies, meat, whole grains, nuts, etc.

Check out this post ofsugar-friendly productsyou can find at the grocery store and a more detailed look at how I read labels to find added sugar.

How hard will it be?

Honestly, this is my favorite part:it doesnthave to be super hard.

Let it be known: I eat my fair share of sweet things, and even so, whenever I go sugar free I always find myself so surprised at how GOOD THE FOOD IS. Were talking aboutcreamy curries,spicy taco bowls,tangy salads, andvelvety soups. Things you would want to make even if you were not going sugar free.

My number one goal with Sugar Free January is to make this a REALLY DELICIOUS, happy, feel-good experience for you.

Remember: this year, Sugar Free January starts on January 6th!

Our first recipe post will be out on January 6th to get you kicked off with something yummy, vibrant, and wholesome!

If you want to receive recipes and create your meal plan before then, be sure to sign up to download our Sugar Free January Starter Pack.

Have you gone sugar free before? Are you ready to take on the challenge with us this year? What are your questions? Wed love to chat in the comments!

The post Everything You Need To Know About Sugar Free January appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

Everything You Need To Know About Sugar Free January originally published by Lindsay on Thu, 19 Dec 2019 10:00:00 +0000 at _https://pinchofyum.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-sugar-free-january


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