Over a year and a half ago, a health coaching colleague recommended I check out the I Quit Sugar program from Sarah Wilson. Like Sarah, I was a sugar addict. Like Sarah, I didn't look like a sugar addict. I wasn't drinking pop or eating refined white sugar or really indulging much at all in anything processed.
What I was experiencing, though, was tremendous dips and swings in energy, an insatiable hunger, extra weight sticking to my body that I couldn't shed no matter how hard I worked out, and a feeling of puffiness that I carried around all the time (I referred to it as "my snowsuit").
My sugar habit extended to agave, honey, chocolate, vegan frozen yogurt, KIND bars and whatever it was they were sweetening vanilla almond milk with. I craved sugar all the time. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and eat two bowls of cereal (and I don't really eat cereal). The draw from the sugar was just so strong, it was actually waking me and asking to be dealt with.
Not to mention I was incredibly moody - vacillating between euphoric and tremendously irritable - depending on how long it had been since my last snack. It was getting a little ridiculous and I am ever grateful to the colleague who suggested IQS.
I tried out the 8-week IQS program with a little hesitation: after all, giving up sugar for two months? Even fruit sugar? Hmm. How challenging would that be?
But as soon as I dove into the ebook, I realized I was onto something awesome: eat more fat? Have an appetizer for dessert? Make a ritual out of making tea? I could get onboard with this.
The steps were so clearly laid out, I barely had any trouble adjusting to being without sugar and almost right away, I noticed a change:
- Puffiness, gone
- Energy, way up
- Cravings, all but eliminated (and when they popped up, a simple root veggie mash was the perfect antidote)
- Hunger, regulated
Suddenly, my body knew what it wanted. It could identify that hummus would be a more satisfying option than chocolate. After a couple of weeks, I felt calmer and more consistently energized between meals. I didn't need to snack. I wasn't freaking out about every next food choice.
I've since directed numerous clients to the plan and have used elements of it for helping others to reset their systems in a condensed short term way. I can't speak highly enough about the impact this plan has -- especially because the way it's written is so easy to integrate into each day.
Imagine my delight, then, when Sarah Wilson released the print version of IQS! Not only does it include the 8 week program (which is a great reminder if you've done it, and a great place to start if you haven't), it's packed with incredibly delicious + simple recipes that fit with the plan: both in the initial eight weeks and after your official plan is done and you start to reintroduce low GI fruit and natural sweeteners like brown rice syrup and coconut nectar.
I love Sarah's cooking methodology. It's very similar to my own:
- cook simple recipes
- use what you have in the fridge
- rely on a set of staple ingredients that can be prepared in bulk and varied throughout the week
That last one is probably the best part. Many of the recipes call for eyeballing (ie. A fist full of chia seeds). What it lacks in precision - in a good way - the recipes make up for in flavor and flexibility. If you're digging the recipes on the From the Ground Up blog, the recipes in IQS will also likely be right up your alley!
For example, this Pea Herb and Almond Crush took about 6 minutes to make, using things I had in the kitchen.
These Fluffy Squash and Chia Muffins were a fun baking project over the weekend; again, using ingredients I happened to have in the kitchen, and with very little skill or baking know-how, they turned out amazingly. (I even swapped in some vegan substitutes without an issue; that's a marker of a versatile recipe!)
And, this Make Me Over Mojito Smoothie might be the most delicious fruit-free, dairy-free smoothie that has ever happened. Who doesn't love a morning mojito, right?!
I intend over the next couple of weeks to cook my way through the non-meat dishes in the cookbook (while many of the included recipes are Paleo-friendly, a ton are vegan/vegetarian); everything is, of course, refined sugar free. Keep an eye out for the recipes and reviews. I have a feeling it's going to be an incredibly delicious few weeks. If you're not subscribed to the newsletter, jump on the list here. In addition to receiving updates with all of the recipes as I release them, you'll also get your own handy-dandy sugar-free eCookbook.
If you're itching for your own copy in the meantime, check out the I Quit Sugar online store, where you can pick up the ebooks or the print versions of the 8-week program and a variety of cookbooks (including kids and holiday recipes). Score!
Happy sugar-freeing! It's simply delicious.
Hey, this post contains affiliate links to IQS. I really stand behind what Sarah's doing and want to share this work with as many people as I can! When you click on the above links and purchase any of her products, I make a small commission (which goes directly into our kale fund... which indirectly fuels this blog.) I appreciate your support and I am so excited for your sugar-quitting adventure. xo