I love it...
I need it to live...
I cannot live without it...
These have all been thought floating around my head my whole life. I didn't realize how much I craved sugar until I no longer ate sugar. My kids like any typical American children were also addicted to sugar, and I didn't have a huge problem with that just as long as they ate it in moderation.
There are many articles going around about sugar and the problem with consuming too much. I started to take these things to heart and decided to make a change in the health of our family last year. Our family eats whole and natural foods as much as possible, but in the area of sugar we overlooked a lot of things.
We had tried saying no sugar in the past, but the kids had a hard time without the sugary taste added to cereals, snacks, cornbread, etc. They were so accustomed to things tasting sweet, and anything not sweet tasted funny to them. It was a huge adjustment and we weren't quite ready for it. We would give up and like everything else a cycle would begin. Start. Stop. Start. Stop.
Last year, I decided to quietly do some things about the removal of sugar and within the last few months sugar is completely gone from our life, with the exception of a treat every now and then for the kids. How did I do it?
(I do want to mention that we have never served sugary drinks for dinner. We also never have a dessert after dinner unless we have company. If we did, that is where I would have started with step one.)
Step One: The first step I made was to remove all snacks from the lunch box at the beginning of the year. To my complete surprise no one complained. After a few weeks I was asked why they didn't have a treat, but I simply said that if they ate their lunch they could have a snack when they got home. I didn't hear anything else about it.
At this time I also removed milk from the house, replacing it with Almond milk. This has been an awesome switch for us. I was shocked again to see that no one complained.
Step Two: I started adding in whole wheat everything. I don't think the kids even noticed. They haven't said a word to me about it.
Step Three: Stop setting a double standard. Because of my weakness with sugar I would tell them no, but they would see me with something they couldn't have. God immediately spoke to my heart and asked me to stop. I have since stopped and am so thankful that I did.
Step Four: Stopped buying sugary cereals, jellies, condiments, etc. I thought this was going to be the hardest switch for the kids. Let me just say, there are not many choices in healthy cereal, but Garrett loves cereal so I decided allow him cereals with no to very little sugar. I haven't heard the first complaint.
I honestly think that their taste buds are getting used to not having sugar. They don't even realize the absence of it.
Step Five: This for me has been one of the hardest steps. I have stopped making desserts for company. This is huge for me. I LOVE making desserts. I have not made a dessert since January 1. If I make a meal to take to someone's home...I don't make a dessert.
Side note: I have a friend that makes tons of these great no sugar desserts with whole/raw foods and they look excellent. I just haven't gone there yet.
Final Step: Altered our entertainment choices. This is also a very hard step for me especially when it snows. Our snow routine is to pack in the car, go to get doughnuts, and drive around watching the snow fall. It's not as fun when we pass the doughnut place as we are driving down town, but I have noticed the longer I go without it the more I don't even want that doughnut.
Have I noticed any changes? Yes
We enjoy foods we didn't enjoy before.
Everything has more flavor including veggies.
We have tried other ways to flavor instead of reaching for the sugar.
Our minds are more focused.
We have more energy.
Fruits are so much sweeter than they used to be.
Do I still allow my kids to have sugar? Yes
I know there will be times when sugar in unavoidable and I am 100% okay with that. There is a gentleman at church that hands out candy every week and all the kids in church love it. There are class parties, church events, and special occasions that will come and go. I have no problem with those things as long as they learn moderation, healthy choices, and self control.
My children now make better choices, they think before they eat, and they enjoy what they are eating so much more. The neatest thing about the whole process is my family hasn't really noticed the absence and I am glad. It truly has been such a great thing for all of us.
And, the best thing...I don't crave sugar anymore!!
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31