It’s the first Monday of the new year, and Sugar-Free January is officially kicking off today!
If you’ve been reading Happy Healthy Mama for a while, you might remember when we did the Healthy Year Challenge back in 2016 with a new challenge every month. January was Cut the Sugar month, and I’ve gone sugar-free in January a few times since then and I always feel better when I do.
Since it’s more fun (and effective!) to do these types of challenges with friends, I’m bringing Sugar-Free January back to the blog.
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Support can be key in any endeavor, and it’s especially helpful with a challenge like this. That’s where the Happy Healthy Mama Community comes in.
Over in my private Facebook group, I’ll be sharing tips, bonus recipes, and you’ll get tons of support all month long for Sugar-Free January. We’d love to have you join us whether you’re reading this today or in the middle of the month. It’s never too late to start!
What is Sugar-Free January?
Sugar-Free January is a month long challenge to cut sugar from your diet. This can look different for each individual. This challenge is for YOU, so you should make it work for YOU. I’m following certain guidelines, but that doesn’t mean yours have to look exactly like mine.
Sugar-Free January is about being intentional for a month with eating less added sugar. Chances are, you’re eating more added sugar than you realize. (Check out this post highlighting 12 foods with HIDDEN added sugar.)
Why is this Important?
The average American eats 152 POUNDS of sugar every year. That equals out to 3 POUNDS a week! Visualize that in your mind. Think about three 1-pound bags sitting on your counter at the beginning of the week, and then emptied by the end of the week because YOU consumed them.
Because added sugars are in more things than we realize and can add up so much more quickly than we expect, taking a time to be intentional can be helpful. We are resetting our taste buds to appreciate and crave the natural sugars found in plant foods and train our bodies to need less added sugars to be satisfied.
Sugar consumption is connected to just about every major disease out there. Yes, eating less sugar can help you maintain a healthy weight, but it’s about so much more than how our body looks. This is about having a strong immune system and a body that functions at its highest level.
What Should I Eat?
You can be as strict or loose with Sugar-Free January as you want. Make this work for you!
I’m trying to avoid all added sugar, but maybe you want to avoid all refined sugar, but allow for some added sugars from unrefined sources, like maple syrup and honey.
Where you’re at in your health journey will determine how strict you should be. I recommend making it a challenge, but a sustainable challenge. You don’t want this to be easy, but you want to set yourself up for success and create guidelines for yourself you’ll be able to follow.
The graphic below gives you a general, not exhaustive, guideline for which foods you should enjoy, and which foods you should limit or avoid for the month.
Limited processed foods is the easiest way to make sure you’re not eating added sugars. However, if you’re eating processed foods, you need to become a label reader! It’s crazy how many different names for “sugar” you’ll find on a food label. Check out the graphic below for some examples that all mean a form of sugar has been added to the food product.
Different Names for Sugar
Are you ready to make some intentional choices for your health this month? Please join us for Sugar-Free January! I’m looking forward to hearing how you feel at the end of the month. Remember, if you’d like ongoing support, join my free, private Facebook group, Happy Healthy Mama Community.