Our Life Without Sugar

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

There’s something I haven’t been telling you.

For the last 60 days, Bjork and I have taken on the challenge to live without refined sugar.

And it is TOTALLY a weird person thing to say and do, and I know you’re thinking the same thing right now, since you know me for my love of chocolate chip cookies and brownies and chocolate chip cookies and brownies together in one dessert. Which I still love. Like, hi. This is a monumentally bizarre situation.

A few months ago, a nice person named Jacqueline emailed me and asked if I had any interest in joining her course called Go Sugar Free. I said NO WAY NEVER EVER (in my mind). Then I said THIS COULD BE INTERESTING (to Bjork). Then I said SURE I’D LIKE TO CHECK IT OUT BECAUSE I’M INTERESTED IN SEEING HOW YOU RUN THE COURSE (to Jacqueline). I specifically told Jacqueline at that time: We are not really into this whole sugar free thing. That’s just not us. We won’t be participating, but I’ll just follow along in order to do some “market research.”

And so then the lessons started, delivered to my inbox every day in the form of a nice, concise, and extremely information-packed email. It was such a wealth of information that even after just three or four days I was crazy curious about this whole sugar free lifestyle. I would come home from work and just talk Bjork’s ear off through an entire Office episode about Jacqueline-this-and-sugar-that and isn’t this all so interesting?! One day, my curiosity reached a tipping point slash I became a new, open-minded person and I told Bjork I was going to participate with the course and commit to living sugar free for 60 days. He said: Okay, I’ll do it too.

Hold the phone. Crazy. Town. This was SO not something we would normally have any interest in and yet there we were, along with about 75 other people, committing to live sugar free for 60 days.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

We started by creating our own version of what it meant to be sugar free. For us, this meant cutting out refined sugars (white sugar brown sugar fake sugar syrups etc etc etc) and sticking to all natural sweeteners in small amounts, like real maple syrup, raw honey, and fruits. It also meant cutting back as much as possible on refined grains and choosing whole grains whenever possible.

Okay, get ready for this shock of your (and my) life: I think the biggest surprise of the whole experience to me was how… easy it was. Most of the time. It’s not like we were doing the no-no finger shake at sugary foods – we were just embracing other foods that we might not ordinarily have chosen that were equally as delicious and made us feel even better. And when I say embrace, I mean loving up on them. There are some really amazing, whole, delicious foods out there that don’t need any added anything to be wonderful and satisfying.

Our Life Without Sugar

But, I mean, don’t get the wrong idea. There were challenges.

Two weeks after we started, we went on vacation for 7 days with my family. Because apparently we like to test our goals with extremely difficult and tempting situations right off the bat. Smart. We shed a few silent tears at the table when my mom pulled a pan of warm brownies out of the oven and we pined (I mean, it was intense desire) for that cool, creamy, sugar cookie crust fruit pizza. And my family, being very supportive and loving but also being superexcited about desserts, all probably silently judged us and/or felt bad for us as we tried to muck our way through these new choices. *pout* That was probably our hardest week – it was still so fresh and we weren’t super comfortable with making the decision public and redefining ourselves in this totally out-of-the-box (for us) way.

But in the better moments, which was most of the other 53 days, we really enjoyed not only what we were eating but how we felt about ourselves. It’s been such a positive lifestyle change for us that we’re indefinitely choosing to live a “refined sugar selective” lifestyle. Meaning that the new norm is choosing other whole foods and snacks over refined sugar desserts on a day-to-day basis, but also recognizing that truly special, social times every now and again deserve a real dessert. Like, for example, having a piece of cake at my high school bestie’s wedding next month. It’s special and it’s social and it calls for the real thing.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

Jacqueline describes the sugar free lifestyle as a true freedom from wanting or needing sugar all the time, and retraining your palate to taste the natural sweetness in things in ways you never did before. And this has definitely been true for me.

Along those lines, let’s get a top ten list going here. You guys, I love listicles. So much.

Top Ten Positive Things About Living Sugar Free

  1. A new appreciation for fruit. Fruit tastes amazing. Fruit IS amazing. Beautiful, colorful, and perfectly sweet. I ❤ fruit. Current faves are cherries and raspberries.
  2. More sensitive tastebuds. Things that used to taste plain to me now taste sweet. I can put 2 tiny teaspoons of real maple syrup on my oatmeal with a tiny bit of real cream and it’s sweet perfection. My old ways would involve dumping half the syrup bottle into the oatmeal bowl and topping it with extra sugar. Joking sort of.
  3. Discovering new whole AND packaged foods that we love for meals and snacks. Like Medjool dates, Pellegrino, poached egg and avocado toasts. And new brands of spaghetti sauce, Greek yogurt, and crackers with no added sugar.
  4. Losing weight. This was not a big part of what motivated us to take the course, but has definitely been a side effect of living without sugar. I lost, like, two pounds, which… is fine. But Bjork lost 15 pounds and he looks ahhhmazing. To the max.
  5. Flatter bellies. I feel really spammy writing that, but I promise this is not secretly a google adsense segment where I talk about the one secret trick for losing belly fat. It’s just a natural side effect of eating less sugar and more whole foods. I lost 1 1/2 inches around my waist, and Bjork lost 4 (count em – 1-2-3-4) inches. Go get a tape measure and see what that looks like – it’s a HUGE change.
  6. No regret. I feel like every morning when I wake up and think about what I ate the day before, I feel clean and healthy and proud. I don’t feel that oh-no-I-ate-five-brownies-just-before-bed regret that I used to after a wildly good time at the dessert table.
  7. The upward spiral. We’ve felt really good about the decisions that we’re making regarding sugar, which leads us to want to make more healthy decisions. Yesterday Bjork went for an 8 mile run. By choice. Things are getting weirdly awesome around here. When you start feeding your body good things, you want the upward spiral to continue so you make good decisions to continue to progress.
  8. Simplified decision making. Do you want a piece of fudge? No thank you. Period. No decisions to be made. You just pass on it and find something else to enjoy.
  9. Being smarter. I feel like I have a better understanding of nutrition and sugar and food and maybe most importantly how to form and keep good habits that has and will continue to empower me to make smart choices.
  10. Feeling better, all around. This could be purely psychological or it could be a result of true physical change. I don’t even care. We both feel great.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

So the whole point of this post is to come clean and just let you know that this is what we’ve been doing, and what we’ll be continuing to do for the foreseeable future: eating more whole foods, less refined sugar, and leaving just a tiny bit of room for high quality, real deal dessert on the most important occasions.

Even though I haven’t specifically told you about our new lifestyle shift here on the blog (other than the occasional vague mention), ALL of the recipes of the past two months have been fitted to our version of refined sugar free. You might not have even noticed, which makes me super happy. If you ask me, refined sugar free = eating really really well. Delicious yum more of the good food.

Last thing that’s really important to say: I pass no judgement on a lifestyle that includes refined sugar. None! You guys, please hear that.  This is not about nutrition wars or making blanket statements about what’s best for all the people everywhere or making someone behave the same way I do. I have always been a dessert lover and I get a lot of joy from a big, frosting-loaded slice of moist, rich chocolate cake. For right now, for us, this refined sugar free experiment has proven to both Bjork and I that it’s a good fit for us.

Our Life Without Sugar - a journey to a refined sugar free lifestyle. | pinchofyum.com

Finally, if you are interested in checking out the course that we did that guided us to our 60 days of refined sugar free living, you are in luck!

You can visit Jacqueline’s website to learn more about Go Sugar Free. This is an affiliate link since we highly recommend Go Sugar Free and the way Jacqueline supports, teaches, and encourages throughout the duration of the course!

Thanks for being bestie readers, guys. I totally and completely and overwhelmingly appreciate the support, positivity, and open-mindedness that you bring to Pinch of Yum! XOXO

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Comments

  1. Reading upon your post and saying that sugar free will lost the “belly”, the initial recation was, ” I am sold!” Since we have history of diabetes in my family, this is completely a good idea. But on the second thought, there is fear fo getting out from the comfort zone of trying baking all my cakes /recipes using honey, maple and etc. I may try this intermittently, as what I am doing now, but jumping completely feels so difficult.

  2. I think that is great that you and your husband have decided to do that. I too have gone through phases where I did not add sugar to my diet and you physically feel better! You do appreciate the natural flavors of food a bit more. I think I can understand what you are saying as far as being more selective. Maybe I will take the course and see what comes of it. But you know this all goes out the window when someone decides to make homemade oven baked chocolate chip cookies,right? My hope is, if I do this, that the cookie or whatever refined sweet will taste so sweet that I won’t want it.

    • It’s so funny, Nicole … that’s totally how I felt the first time I had a bite of a sugary food. It was overwhelmingly sweet to me!

    • We’ve cut back on our sweets lately too, and I was surprised to find that when I did have a small, special occasion treat (like the wedding cake that you mention in your post), I got really shaky from the sugar, a headache and ended up not really enjoying it! What an eye opener! Definitely makes it easier to pass on the sweets knowing that there are going to be some immediate ill effects, but still can be pretty hard to pass up in the moment!

      • That’s so true! We haven’t had a major indulgence since finishing the course but even when I have just little things (jam on toast, for example) I can tell right away that my body isn’t used to it – it’s like a shock to the system! :)

  3. I love your takeaway. My family eats refined sugar for special occasions and every-so-often treats maybe once a month. Dessert is delicious when you save it for those occasions. Summer would be a hard time to start the challenge, though. I mean, ice cream, Lindsay. Ice cream.

  4. this is pretty interesting to read. I am so proud of you both. I am always up for challenges :) I would love to hear what were some of your favorite brands when it comes to pasta sauce, crackers and such..

    • me too… can you do a blog in which you are a bit more specific. I know the ‘plan’ is individual and you want to support your friend in her blog, but a list of 5 top new favorites would be helpful. Also could you maybe do another list/blog from all the recipes you made over the last month(s) or so that fit this new eating style so they are easier to find on your site?

      • Michelle says:

        I second this, please!

        • Same here. Your blog really spoke to me as my husband and I have started getting more serious about being thoughtful on how often and when we indulge. I’m down with the less/no refined sugars but I’m not ready to spend half my paycheck on co-op food so would love any budget-friendly brands you use to stick with your sugar-free life.

          Also, thanks for being so non-judgmental towards those who still want to ride the refined sugar train.

          • Thanks for the feedback Sara! I’ll try to put together some resources in a separate post sometime soon! I can tell you quickly that for my spaghetti sauce, I found a Costco brand that I really like (I think the brand itself is called Kirkland). Lots of flavor and texture but no added sugar!

      • Yes, I think it would be helpful if I categorized “sugar free” recipes so people could look through those recipes all in one place. Thanks for the tip Stephanie – I’m on it! :)

        • I was inspired by the GoSugar Free experience you shared and am seriously considering doing that. Thanks to the others who suggested putting those sugar free recipes together for easy access because I was just about to ask you to please do that. Anxiously awaiting…

          My brother-in-law is almost 70 and has the look of a high schooler and I think his sugar free lifestyle has a lot to do with that. No belly fat! I love that! And want it for myself!

    • I always look for sugar in secret places like store-bought pasta sauce, and so I usually get either the Italian Spices or Tomato Basil versions of 365 Organic sauces (Whole Foods brand). Weirdly enough, their conventional (non-organic) sauces *do* have sugar.

  5. Nice one Lindsay and Bjork! I have been trying to do this recently too and while it’s hard I definitely feel the benefits.
    I can’t believe you stayed strong in the face of chocolate brownies. That would be my downfall.

  6. Sounds like a really cool deal. I don’t know if I could do it!!!! Could I be that strong? Not sure!!! Brownies call my name! I love ice cream! EEK!

    • You could totally do it Lori! I think the people who have the biggest advantage for something like this are people who can be creative and inventive with food – that has your name written all over it!

  7. Way to go guys! I am a total sugar addict, evidenced by the fact that I try to eat sugar free two days a week and often fail at that. But. I have significantly cut back on processed packaged foods and focused on whole foods and all home-baked treats. I can already see how my tastes have changed and even what used to be an awesome store-bought birthday cake is now pretty disgusting.

  8. And I love you guys even more now, if that is possible. I think it is fabulous and because you are such a huge blog, you have the ability to influence so many people into eating healthier.

    I am a sugar lover as well, but do stick to unrefined sugars as much as possible. I have to admit though on our family vaca last week I gave in…big time. If I would have read this post before maybe I would have had more will power to refrain.

    And no, I didn’t notice the change in your recipes.

    • Thanks Suzy! Really appreciate that and glad you didn’t notice a drastic change in the recipes! I didn’t feel like anything was too different except for maybe posting fewer dessert recipes. :)

  9. Kuddos to you and Bjork! I have definitely found the “upward spiral” principle to be true! The more I fill up on good, clean food, the more I love it, and the less I *need* the refined, mad-made stuff. Looking forward to more great POY recipes along these lines! :)

  10. I feel like I have gone in the other direction. I was pretty good about cutting out refined sugar for awhile, but then in the last year, I’ve started doing more baking. And even though I try to bake without refined sugar and adapt recipes to be healthier, sometimes I like to the make the recipe the old-fashioned way to begin with so I can see the difference when I health-i-fy it. Slippery slope! But this post inspires me to get back on the no refined sugar train. Or at least to hop back on the train for a little while. :)

  11. Hi Lindsay. . I loved reading this!! I’ve seen the benefits with my own eyes when friends around me have cut out sugar so I know it’s a good thing and obviously does wonders. I love your take on it. . the “refined sugar selective” lifestyle. As a mother, I’m always trying to cook healthy, reduce the sugar intake and make smarter choices for them. . as a food blogger and baker, it’s hard, yo. But I love this. . you’ve got me thinking.

  12. I don’t think I could do without sugar completely, but maybe gradually. I have given up processed food gradually since I became sensitive to soy. (It is in everything in a package.) I will say it makes it difficult to eat at restaurants. I have also become kind of a food snob. (A nice food snob.) Once you start eating unprocessed food your tastebuds just become more discriminating.

    btw, why do men always loose more than women? Congrats to you both. :) You are such a cute couple.

    Madonna

  13. Nice! Alex and I don’t eat a lot of refined anything, and we truly feel so much better for it. We use stevia (not Truvia) to sweeten things up when need be. And, like you, a drizzle of maple syrup in oatmeal.

    Keep it up Bjork! There’s nothing like running to whip you into shape.

  14. That is wonderful! Love – love – love your blog and recipes.
    Congrats to you both! It must have been easier to go through the challenge together.

  15. I just wanted to let you know that you are an awesome writer. It is such a skill to be able to encourage a new, slightly scary lifestyle change without alienating your readers and making them feel bad about their choices. You made me feel like I could do it!! Thanks for the support you probably didn’t even know you offered. Will be trying those recipes from the last two months!

    • This was my favorite comment on the whole post. So encouraging and exactly what I wanted to come across by sharing our story. Thank you Marissa!!

  16. Wow! Congratulations! It is amazing the direction our lives can take when we take a leap of faith and try something totally new. I don’t think I am ready for that kind of jump…but will certainly be examining that direction. Thanks!

  17. Rachel Marti says:

    This has been one of my favorite posts of yours. I get recipes off the blog just about once a week and I have also been trying to cut back refined sugar. I like your approach to the subject, it is very refreshing to see a “normal life” approach instead of a “sugar is the devil. If you eat sugar yout body will be against you forever” type of approach. I have found a good place for a good treat without feeling like you ate a treat is Ecopolitan in Uptown on Lyndale Ave. They have a “banana cream pie” that is made with dates and cashews. It is out of this world! Looking forward to more delcious recipes!

  18. Thanks for sharing, Jacqueline’s program sounds great and I hope to try it. Did you notice that you craved sugar the first few days? Anytime I’ve tried, I can’t get past the first week. I hope it gets easier after that!

    • The first week was the hardest for me. Maybe even the second or third day. But I think once you pave a new way for yourself with a bowl of fruit instead of a slice of cake or whatever the trade off is, it just becomes the new normal and it gets easier and easier.

  19. This is so great! I’m actually on day 24 of a 90 day fitness training program and I’m not eating refined sugar, added salt, or added fat. It’s been so crazy, I feel like my palate has been completely re-set. Fruit tastes SO sweet to me, and I find that a little lemon juice or vinegar usually replaces my need for salt.

    I love hearing what you two are up to!

    p.s. flat bellies rock!

  20. Years ago I read “Sugar Blues” and decided to go sugar free. I read labels (What? No ketchup?) and eliminated all sugar. I can’t remember how long I did it, maybe a month or two. I do remember how my taste buds awakened. It was amazing! Not only did fruit taste sweeter, as you say in #1, but I learned how sweet vegetables can be.

    Since then, sugar has become a once in a while treat pretty much reserved for special occasions. Maybe I’ll have to revisit going for a totally sugar-free spell again. Great post!

  21. I started cutting out the refined sugar at roughly the same time, though I didn’t take that awesome-looking course (which I may do) – just decided to do it! My experience has been similar to yours – it’s really not that tough. Of course, I’ve been going through more pure maple syrup and honey than I used to, so I probably need to not use those natural sweeteners *quite* so much as a crutch. I definitely have noticed that I don’t need nearly as much sweetness as I used to. I think there’s no truly downside to eating this way most of the time!

  22. When I’ve cut back on refined sugar in the past, it’s always been the first 4 or 5 days that is the toughest, and then I lose the craving. I truly don’t want it anymore. When I have had sugar indulgences, my body reacts by becoming fatigued As in…I need to nap RIGHT NOW. There really is something to be said for cutting back on sugar. Great post, Lindsay!

  23. Hi, I just did this challenge also a couple of months ago (10 day) after Katie Curic came out with a movie/documentary etc. I found it difficult as there are so many products that contain sugar – Peanut butter, salad dressing, bread! As I was the only one in the house of 4 that was attempting this, it was hard to do. Its good to have everyone in the house on board take on this lifestyle change. Its amazing to learn how many products that processed sugar is added to. – And don’t forget all the other words that are used that mean sugar,,,….glucose..sutrose, etc. Crazy.

  24. This is something I’ve been considering to do for a while. Recently, I actually looked at the ingredients/nutrition stats on a container of (flavored) Greek yogurt and could not believe how much sugar was added. I’m now eating cottage cheese with fruit in place of my daily Greek yogurt. It’s crazy how many “health” products have added sugar. I think the simplest way to do this is to just avoid processed foods, ya know? Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s great to hear that it can be done! :)

  25. Wow, congrats on the experiment and on liking it! You made me want to try it out at one point.

    It feels though that it would be hard to go without Pepsi – I’m guilty of drinking one a day – and hard to track all of it.

    Do you have a tip to know which ingredients / products are full of refined sugar?

    In my quick research I’ve seen that I would have to look at the “Carbohydrates” on the nutrition facts of the products, but what if they say “carbohydrates” but they don’t specify it’s sugar?

    Thanks and great read Lindsay!

    • Marc,
      A quick tip would be to look at the ingredients list. Anything that is a syrup is sugar. Anything that ends in -ose is sugar. Fruit juice concentrate is added sugar. Really almost anything with the word juice in it usually means concentrated, added sugar like: cane juice, cane juice powder, evaporated cane juice, cane juice crystals.

      Hope that helps!

    • I usually look at the ingredient list (like Suzy said) and just look for sugar, cane syrup, or the -ose words. Sometimes I look at the grams of sugar, too… yesterday I bought a health food brand granola bar that had “no sugar”, just honey, and was super excited to try it. I took one bite and was blown out of the water with the sweetness… 15 grams! For me, that should be more than half of my daily added sugar. So bottom line is I’d look at the ingredients and the grams of sugar. :)

  26. Yeah, this is something I should try, but I just love beer too much :)

  27. Wow! So inspiring! I didn’t even notice on the recent posts. I’m so inspired by this post. Sounds challenging but the lists of pros is evidence.

  28. I have just lost 50 lbs. I do not recognize myself. I just started eating lots of fruits in place of sugar and it was not long till I did not even think about sugar. I could have it, but it no longer had any hold on me. And I only want fruits in moderation. I fully believe that we have not learned anything if we cannot even have something in moderation. This is a life style. I can take a few bites of desert when out with others and not have a problem. I control the food, it does NOT control me. THAT is real freedom!

  29. Congratulations!! I loved your story and your list of awesome benefits. I have been cooking without refined sugar for about a year (except for a few really special things like my boyfriend’s birthday cake), and I really don’t miss it. I love your point about the “upward spiral”–it’s SO true!

    The only clue to your healthier lifestyle was the shout out to raw honey in your mini fruit pizzas post–I was pumped to see that, and it inspired me to try raw honey since I usually just use regular :). Raw is a different and more delicious (albeit often more expensive) animal.

    Thank you for the great read and the inspiring list of benefits!

    • We’ve been on a quest for the best raw honey around, and after buying some from just about every grocery store in St. Paul AND even ordering some “raw honey” online (tech boy’s idea), we found that the best taste/quality raw honey was from a local co-op, just packaged simply into a mason jar straight from a bee farm (?) in Wisconsin. It was $8 for the whole jar which was a great price compared to the others we had been buying. Co-ops win!

  30. Love this! We’ve been without refined sugar (mostly) since we returned from our year living in Peru. It’s been torture to watch you post delicious sugary recipes (Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies? Hello yum.) knowing that I wouldn’t make them unless I was giving them away. (Whole wheat flour and maple syrup and applesauce, a Double Chocolate Fudge cookie does not make.)

    But really, I got super duper excited when I saw your post for the almond tarts with fruit. And I thought, hmmm looks like Pinch of Yum is becoming a place where I’m able to look at the dessert recipes now! :) Those tarts kind of inspired me to make Lemon Almond cookies with almond meal and chia seeds and dates and they were awesome!! (My thought at the time: If those dessert-lovers at POY like almond meal, then other people will too, right?)

    K that’s enough from me. I’m happy for you! Now just let me know when you figure out that Double Chocolate Fudge Cookie cookie recipe for the refined-sugar free. ;)

    • I will never let applesauce touch those cookies. Some things just have to be the real thing! :) Thanks for your comment and I’m so glad to hear about your yummy Lemon Almond cookies!

  31. That was pretty much my reaction when I went Paleo…man, I missed the sugary stuff for a bit, but mostly, it was so EASY to just use natural sweetener. I had a bag of sugar in my pantry that wasn’t touched for MONTHS. It was awesome.

    Funny how the “belly bloat” goes down as you cut out sugar! I didn’t lose much weight, but yeah, flatter tummy. Now, I’m too excited about my new ice cream maker to be dedicated enough, but I definitely eat less of the stuff than I would have. One or two bites is enough to curb that sweet tooth now :)

    • Isn’t that weird? It’s like you think it’s going to be the worst thing ever… but then it just becomes the new normal. I think making the commitment was the hardest part for me. Once I decided, it went (mostly) smoothly from there.

  32. Nice post. I’m glad you were able to make the switch. I did a sugar free month last summer and I felt great. This summer I tried again and somehow I wasn’t on the right set of mind. I failed big time.

  33. E. Teller says:

    OMG! Congrats! I am so happy/proud of you 2! I bet it feels amazing! Being brought up on costco sized boxes of candies and literally ordering dessert as an entree {hello no rules household!} i have been addicted to sugar my whole life & i would love to do something like this. Also, not sure if you and Bjork experienced this moving back to the US from the Philippines but everything was soooo sweet!

    Congrats on your new lifestyle, yey! : )

    • Yes, in the Philippines we got used to less sweet desserts – my favorite was made with just sticky rice and coconut milk and hardly any added sugar. SO good!

  34. I had sent my 8-week Nutrition eCourse material to Bjork to review and give me tips on content delivery… guess I should have sent it to you too! :)

  35. As if I needed another reason to absolutely LOVE your recipes! You are a woman after my heart. ❤️

  36. I have done the exact same thing being sugarfree for almost one year! It’s without a doubt the best thing I have ever done for my body and it wasnt that difficult at all. I have replaced the refined sugar and refined grains in all my favorite recipes and it tastes SO much better!

  37. Oooo I totally related to point #2! I seriously dump SO MUCH SYRUP on my pancakes and oatmeal. It’s delicious, but it’d be awesome if I could enjoy the same meal with a little (lot) less sugar.

  38. What an inspiring post. I’m not big on sweets, but it would definitely be hard to give up sugar all together.

  39. I love your blog and recipes, Lindsey! I’ve been sugar free for years and its been so worth it. You think it’s going to be so hard and terrible, but end up loving the effects and finding it easier than you thought and so worth it! I loved your post because your better with words than I am. I have so many friends that ask me why I do it and can never explain it quite like you just did.
    I tried to share your post on Facebook and found I could only Like it! It would be great to share individual posts.

    • Hm, if you copy the URL and paste it into your status update, you should be able to share it! Otherwise I posted it on my Pinch of Yum FB page and you could share from there. Thanks for the sweet comment and for sharing Belinda! :)

  40. Back in December, I did a clean-eating cleanse for 21 days because I had been feeling so sluggish and bloated and gross. It basically consisted of eating only whole foods and eliminating processed foods, added sugars, flour, and caffeine for the duration of the three weeks. After about the 4th day, I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how much better I felt! I also discovered that dates could be dessert during that time! I still do eat some sugar and flour now, but it’s much fewer and farther between and more on the “worth it” scale. It pretty much broke me of my sandwich habit, and definitely “reset” things for me. Glad you both had a good experience!

  41. I too made the fruit pizza tarts and loved them! This recipe was easier than one I tried previously and it was tangy and not too sweet, that even my husband loved them and when he took them to work, all the women thought I made such a decadent dessert! He told them what ingredients I used and they were in awh! love recipes like this….Keep up the good work! I would also love to see a list of recipes you made during this challenge and go for it! thank you !

    • So glad to hear that Andrea! Most of the recipes we were eating are ones that you I shared on the blog during these last two months – several salads, a few pasta things with whole wheat pasta, and lots of poached egg and avocado toasts! My new obsession. :)

  42. I try to practice clean eating by reducing processed foods including sugar. I think it really helps you taste real food, and cuts down cravings for junk.

  43. Good for you guys!! It’s such a simple yet extremely hard choice to make. I’ve done no sugar for a few weeks at a time and try to eat clean most of the time but let me tell you I LOOOVVEEE desserts. Like, really love them. I will go from, “no, I don’t need a cookie,” to “well, one cookie is fine,” to “I just ate 12 cookies,” in a matter of minutes. Your post has inspired me to just do it. No sugar for 60 days! I also absolutely love your recent carmelized banana recipe. I was searching for a recipe like made with oat flour and without refined sugar that I would feel good about feeding my kids when I found this one. I made it to for my 2 year old and 11 month old (they loved them) but everyone else in my family gobbled them up too! I added more oat flour and a few tablespoons of coconut flour instead of whole wheat flour to make them gluten free. I’m excited for more recipes like your most recent ones! Thanks for being awesome!!

    • I’m so glad Austyn! Those recipes (with things like oat flour, wheat flour, and caramelized bananas instead of sugar) take more time to develop and test, but they are totally worth it when I hear stories like that. :)

  44. So appreciated reading these reminders! I have enjoyed seeing all of your healthy recipes. We also try to consume mostly natural sugars, but it’s hard when everywhere you go is SUGAR!! I always feel better when I eat less sugar… wish I could convince my kids that they would too. :)

  45. My husband and I have also recently gone sugar free and I can’t believe how much weight he’s lost. Funny how these things work so much more quickly for our men!)

  46. I’m kind of in the process of the same kind of thing right now! Although I’m using it as a fasting situation, but can genuinely say I feel so much better!

  47. I love this post. How it is written and the information. Definitely into look more at a sugar free lifestyle. Maybe not always but 90% of the time.

  48. Congratulations! It is always great to see how daily changes can really have an overall impact. Also, it has been great to see so many healthier recipes on your site as always, it makes it much easier to decide what to make when I know that the choices are all good :)

  49. This would be perfect for me. I absolutely need it and I’m getting married and can’t breath in my dress because i eat emotionally and this ends the day before my wedding. PERFECT! But entirely too expensive and not financially possible *cries. Give away a free entry:)?

    • Jacqueline is going to be giving three scholarships for this upcoming course. Keep an eye on the Go Sugar Free website for more info! :)

  50. Hannah Elizabeth says:

    Lindsay, you did such a good job with writing this post! I have read so many, many different food opinions out there, and it seems that a great deal of the time, when people write about their opinions, experiences or diets, it comes across with a high-and-mighty attitude, like, this-is-the-only-way-to-eat-and-be-a-healthy-happy-individual. You, however, just shared your experience, where you are right now and your projected goals, and all throughout, I never felt like you were judging anyone for the way they were eating. Thank you for being so thoughtful and for keeping such a balanced perspective!!

    A little over a year ago, I switched to a diet/lifestyle plan called the Metabolic Effect Diet, which emphasizes regular strength training and a low-carb, high protein, low-sugar diet. I’ve been so happy my choice! Most of the sugar that I eat is in the form of fruit (although I love, love, LOVE desserts!), and even though I never believed my friends who went sugar-free who told me that it changes your taste buds, it really does, like you said!! Things before that I never thought tasted sweet now do (like balsamic vinegar ;) ). I also totally agree with your stance on the fact that you need to splurge every now and then.

    We’re with you all the way, wherever this journey takes you! :) Love you, Lindsay!!

    BTW, LOVE that picture of you and Bjork. :)

  51. One of the best and most useful lessons I learned when I went vegetarian for a few years was that it was actually better not to try to find substitutes for the things I thought I’d miss. I just cut it out cold turkey (um, so to speak). At least at first. There are so many beautiful foods out there, I went with the naturally vegetarian choices, and it was so easy. I think if I had delved into tofu (which was new to me at that time), looking for a meat substitute, I would’ve been in for a world of disappointment and grossness, as it took a while for me to learn to how to properly cook tofu (thank goodness for Kiersten Frase). Sounds like you guys did it smart! (And about the substitute part, I’m don’t classify maple syrup and honey as substitutes, but rather part of the “beautiful foods” that I mentioned. Maple syrup in salad dressings was a transformational discovery….)

    • Karen – this is so genius. I have tried a few times to make “healthier” desserts and, in general, I’m just not that into it. I would rather have a tiny bite of the real thing and leave it at that. :)

  52. My fiance and i just did a thing called the “whole 30″ for 30 days which is no sugar (plus a variety of other things like dairy, carbs, etc…) and were surprised at how much we liked it too! It’s crazy how much your tastebuds adapt ~ More than anything it taught me where sugar hides in all the things that you wouldn’t even think of it being in! I love how good you FEEL too! You’re so right! While doing the ‘whole 30′ for a lifetime isn’t really feasible (for us, at least) but your version sounds WAY more doable ~ and yes, HE lost like 15 lbs!!! Just from the change in diet alone!

    • I’ve heard awesome things about Whole30! Sounds like something worth checking out for people looking for something a little more comprehensive (not jsut sugar). Thanks for the comment Natalie!

  53. Kristen says:

    Thanks! This was the kick I needed to get back on the sugar free (ish) wagon….I read the book “Sugar Shock” in the spring and was very dedicated for a couple months but birthdays and vacation gave way to a “temporary” break, which has lasted much longer than expected. Sometimes you just need a reminder that its doable and how much better your body feels. Good luck!

  54. PS – isn’t your skin like glorious and amazing now? Mine was. lol

  55. So…Lindsay, I just poured myself a big bowl of fruit loops (the kids are with my Mom, so I feel free to eat whatever I want…lol! ) and I went to read your latest post which so happened to be about your life without sugar. LOL (again)! As I ate the fruit loops…they weren’t tasting so good. Seriously, you’ve inspired me. I most definitely want to try 60 days without sugar. Your recipes have been looking completely amazing!! Thanks for the inspiration, friend! xoxo

    • Jamie, you are so awesome! Thanks for the comment and you’ll have to let me know if you decide to do the course or anything. Thanks for always reading and being supportive, sweet friend!

  56. I have been desperately been needing to eat healthier!! But lack of time and stressful work schedule kind of puts a huge kink in that. I’m on vacation next week and looking forward to trying new recipes, HEALTHY ONES!, to add to my repertoire. So reading this makes me excited to go back and look thru your latest recipes! THANKS! :D

  57. Valencia says:

    First, I find a great recipe for lentils. Then I read your spot-on entry about leaving the teaching profession. Now I read this timely entry about reducing sugar from one’s diet and enjoying the benefits. Your blog is great!

    During my first attempt at kicking the sugar habit, I found that drinking copious amounts of water helped me curb my craving. I’ll try it again. Thanks for the reminder!

  58. So wait, you kicked sugar because Jacquiline emailed you and asked you if you wanted to put affiliate links to her page about being Sugar Free so she can charge $299 for a weight loss program and you get to share the revenue?

    The move to sugar-free hardly seems noble, it appears that it is far more motivated to simply improve the monthly income report.

    • Pepe,
      Remember that this blog is an actual business. The point of a business is to make money. Drop the judgmental tone.

    • Hi Pepe, just to clarify, both my husband and I actually complete the course because of the health benefits, and I would like to genuinely recommend it to others based on our positive experience. Sorry for any confusion that might have caused.

  59. What a great choice to make! I’m planning on going on a 10-day no sugar challenge starting August 1. Can’t wait to blog about it! Not only will I be taking a long needed break from refined sugar, but I also won’t be having natural sweeteners of any kind (yikes!) and no white flour, bread, rice, or potatoes (double yikes!). It’s nice to know I can come here for more recipe ideas that are healthy choices.

  60. Lindsey! Ok, so I never comment because I always check your site from my phone, but I love love love it!

    Now that that’s out of the way… I can’t believe I’m doing this… but I am signing up for the course! It’s not that I need to “learn” about eliminating sugar, it’s that I need structure and a good kick in the pants. My last pregnancy made me sugar-crazed, and now that my little girl is almost 4 months old, it’s time to get back on track.

    I’ll have you know I ate one of your cookie-brownies while typing this. Doesn’t start until August 6, right?

    • Andrea! Good for you – I’m so excited for you. I think you’re really going to love Jacqueline (nicest person ever) and the whole course format. It’s so positive and encouraging. I’ll be so eager to see how you like it! Congrats on making the commitment. :)

  61. You’re from Minnesota, so I assume that you know the band Storyhill or they would have kicked you out of Cambridge or something. And one of my favorite Storyhill songs is “Parallel Lives,” and in so many eery ways, I feel like you and Bjork and Eric and I have led similar lives. Cue to the fact that I’ve been planning a bit of a refined sugar fast for the month of August, and I come to read that you’ve been doing the same. Moral of this comment? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I do know Storyhill! But I don’t know that song. But I do know what you mean about the parallel lives! And I’ll be emailing you soon. ;)

  62. An honest and thoughtful recap of your sugar-free experience. thanks so much for sharing!!

  63. Great post Lindsay!
    I totally agree with everything you’ve said!! A year ago, I would have said NO WAY JOSÉ, but after cutting out sugars I’ve felt better than ever! I feel like I have so much more energy! Also, you are glowing in the photo – you both look fantastic!

    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

  64. Sooo interesting … I sort of had noticed that you hadn’t been posting too many desserts lately but didn’t really think too much of it. Over the past year or two, I’ve been reducing the amount of sugar in baking recipes and most of the time I find that you really don’t miss the extra sugar. :-)

    • Yeah – that was the thing I worried about most was not posting desserts, but honestly, I love cooking and posting “meal” recipes so it wasn’t nearly as hard as I anticipated. And I think there are so many dessert recipes on the internet that it’s probably okay to scale back on them on Pinch of Yum. :)

  65. Wow. So cool Lindsay. I’d love to take on this challenge some time. I do fear I crave sugar far too often.
    Great stuff. Thanks for inspiration. :)

  66. Cindy O. says:

    Fantastic! In my 20s (35 years ago) I went totally meat, white sugar, white flour, preservative-free in my diet. Over several years I gradually went back, but in the last few years I’m a vegetarian again and mostly sugar-free. I also use only local honey and maple syrup when needed (however, I do eat a square or 2 of dark chocolate every day and, hence, not totally sugar-free). I’m excited that you might be now developing recipes using natural sweeteners…I’m always looking for them. I’ll be looking up Jacqueline’s website. Good post!

  67. This is so interesting! I’m currently having gastro problems and undergoing all kinds of tests to find out what’s wrong, but in the mean time I’m going through phases of cutting things down/out. I started looking more at labels and was so shocked by how much sugar is in things, even savory things are sometimes packed with sugar! I pretty much cut sugar out for about 2 weeks and I definitely felt better, at the moment one of my symptoms is a bloated tummy, so I can’t really comment on whether or not having less sugar helped though! But I can totally understand how much better it makes you feel, I was pretty shocked! I’m definitely going to continue keeping strict tabs on any sugar I eat, I don’t think I’ll cut it out completely, but I’ve been looking at more alternatives and enjoying more fresh fruit, so I’ll still bake all my cakes, cookies etc, but I’ve become more aware of how our bodies don’t need all this refined sugar!

  68. It’s not as bad as you think! You can do it. I did Whole30 with my hubby and results are amazing! Sleeping better, so much energy, lost weight, no mid aftrnoon slump. I mean the list goes on. So good for you. Stay healthy!

  69. Congratulations! What a wonderful life decision. I look forward to reading more sugar free cooking ideas here on your blog.

  70. I am so impressed at yall for taking a challenge and making it into a lifestyle change!
    Kudos to the both of you! I am curious (not judgy)- do y’all drink coffee? I tried the sugar free thing, but just gave into sugar in my coffee…but am always open to learning new ways…so wondering if yall used a substitute…

    • Yes, I do drink coffee and Bjork LIVES on coffee. He’s always been a person who puts honey in his coffee, so that wasn’t really a change for him since we kept raw honey as an acceptable sweetener. I always thought that was gross, so I stopped using any sweetener altogether when we started the sugar free course I was drinking it black for the most part, or just really strong with a little real cream. Sometimes I still drink it black, but when I do want to sweeten I use honey. :)

  71. This is so awesome! My boyfriend and I are total sugar addicts. Especially in its most obvious candy form. I did do a 10-day cleanse last year where I totally cut out sugar. I think it’s time to try seriously reducing our sugar intake again. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. It’s so beautiful and so many great recipes I’m excited to try, and now hopefully I’ll get some sugar-free inspiration too.

  72. Awesome job! I had noticed your recipes were using dates instead of refined sugar ;) Its funny right because I had this epiphany a few years ago when I went to buy more sugar “why am I buying this? should I be buying this and putting it in my body?”. So I stopped buying refined sugar and was SHOCKED at how quickly my taste buds changed! Lots of former favorites are WAY too sweet for me now.
    PS my husband lost a crazy amount of weight too when we changed our eating habits, me not so much. Sort of unfair.

    • Love hearing your experience Lauren! And about the guys’ weight loss. I know. I guess I am thankful that I wasn’t really needing to lose a lot of weight… otherwise if that would have been my goal I think I would have been a little disappointed.

  73. This is super interesting to read about Lindsay! We pretty much eliminated processed foods in our diet a while ago and definitely noticed some of the changes you did (enhanced tastebuds, feeling better, etc). Your story makes me want to try going further and eliminating more refined sugars in what I cook. I’m glad to hear you were pleasantly surprised by how easy it is and I totally didn’t notice your recipes for the past two months had low/reduced refined sugar…both of which bode well for giving it a try. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  74. Awesome! I’m glad it was (relatively) easy for you guys to kick the habit. When I ditched refined sugars, it was hellish for me – I was a total grump, and would have chewed my own arm off for a handful of chocolate. I made it to the other side, though, and am much better off now. I actually had noticed your recipes were becoming healthier and I assumed that was due to reader feedback and the popularity of your new e-cookbook. Can’t wait to see more healthy recipes!

    • Thanks for the honest feedback Sondi! I think because of what we chose to cut out (and keep) it made the process a little easier. I would have been a disaster if I had been completely sugar free, but the refined sugar free gave us some good boundaries that kept it realistic for us.

  75. Thanks for sharing your info on going sugar free! I have tried to cut out a lot of processed foods and sugars from my diet. I made the change about a year and a half ago and have felt so much better. Not that I felt horrible before, but I noticed a difference in my fatigue and headaches.
    I will say the hardest thing to give up for me is sugar. Like you, I have a major sweet tooth. While I’ve cut back, I haven’t give up refined sugar completely. I try to reward myself on special occasions (or the weekends, that’s a special occasion, right?) but occasionally falter (like this afternoon when I ate a bowl of ice cream). It’s a challenge sometimes, but I have to remind myself how much better I feel when I follow a healthier lifestyle.
    Thanks for sharing all of your natural sugar recipes. It helps to have tasty recipes, to keep me on track!

    • Yes! it can taste delicious – that’s my favorite part. Also, Jacqueline really encouraged me to think about rewarding myself with non-food things like going for a walk, a long shower, or buying flowers for myself. I always think about rewards in terms of food so that was super eye-opening to me.

  76. Oh dear. I’m addicted to sugar. I look at the dessert BEFORE I order dinner at a restaurant and yet I’m intrigued by your commitment to this ‘no sugar’ cray cray idea. Here is the kicker.

    August 6th is my birthday! Do I dare start on my bday? I LOVE chocolate cake. Can I take the very first day off . . .

    • Oh my gosh. ON your birthday! I will say this: when we were in our second or third week of the course, we went on vacation with my family and we held strictly to the sugar free commitment even during that time. There was, however, ONE dinner that was a celebration of all my sisters’ and my golden birthday, and my parents hired a chef to come and make dinner at the beach house where we were staying. Bjork and I decided that this was a special enough occasion (how often are you celebrating your golden birthday AND your sibs golden birthdays!?) so we “indulged” and had dessert. Afterwards, we found out that the chef had made the dessert using fruit and real maple syrup to sweeten. Surprise! Amazing. :)

  77. I LOVED this post. I need to be more conscious about what I’m putting in my body every day, and it sounds like this is a great way to start doing that!

  78. Since there is nothing but positive feedback on this no refined sugar ever (or least 60 days) decision I just want to post a little counter argument for the no sugar thing. I’m a strong believer that balanced eating is the key to healthy eating and eliminating any food item entirely (rather than simply reducing) tends towards the rigid, obsessive sort of eating that is (at least mentally) unhealthy.

    Our society so often supports disordered eating as so called “healthy eating.” I do not want to argue that this decision to cut out sugar is a bad decision but I am a little frightened that everyone on this blog is so immediately supportive of it, or contrastingly, those who love sugar seem so ashamed to admit it! I’m linking an article does a really great job of discussing how little decisions to cut this or that from your diet might not actually be the MOST healthy decision. https://gokaleo.com/2014/06/13/diet-talk-has-become-inescapable/

    • I really appreciate your feedback Mayah. I was hoping to get a mix of opinions here, so thanks for speaking up! I think when you present the other side of the coin, it helps create a healthy (sorry to use that word here) dialogue about food and lifestyle choices. Thanks!

      • I know I am late to the party on this one but I completely agree with Mayah on this one. I applaud you for looking at the amount of sugar in your diet and moving towards a pattern of healthier eating, but find it interesting that everybody seems to focus on removing baked goods rather than truly examining all the other sources of refined sugar in their diets. We have been eating a wholefood diet for years now, and the biggest part of this is removing processed goods, which are your biggest source of sugars. Label reading is key.
        I love to bake, and bake often for my family. But my baking these days is very different from how I used to bake. No more white sugar/white flour. I use unrefined sugars, wholegrain flours and lots of nuts. Baking is more challenging with these products but infinitely more interesting. There is nothing wrong with sugar per se, but I use an unrefined rapadura which has all the vitamins and minerals still intact rather than the pure sucrose in white sugar. It is less sweet and is great in baking. And we eat a lot less sugar because it is only in these foods and not everything else we eat.
        I look forward to seeing your food journey develop.

  79. I read your post with interest. It reminded me when I was pregnant how I changed my eating habits. And how some of those habits naturally stuck after many many yearsl I never did regain my salt craving or having sugar in my tea for example. I could easily see how this could work. I think your attitude in regard to it while in the program and here at the end is healthy too. I am going to have to take a look at her program. Thank you for sharing.

  80. Oh my goodness. I hadn’t even finished reading the entire post before I posted this comment, because, “listicles”. OH MY GOODNESS I AM LAUGHING SO HARD RIGHT NOW. I’m doing the Conscious Cleanse for two weeks starting in August which means not only no refined sugar (which I don’t do much of anyway) and NO GLUTEN. Oh man. This will be interesting. Ok, I’ll go back and read the rest now. Still laughing.

  81. Wow! I applaud your efforts for eating clean and healthy. My husband and I fasted once for 21 days without sugar and meat and we were amazed at how different and wonderful everything tasted. I look forward to more of your incredibly healthy and yummy recipes!

  82. That’s wonderful! I always enjoy your recipes and look forward to seeing what other recipes you have in store to keep up with this new outlook in your life! :)

  83. Lindsay and Bjork,

    I am so happy to hear about this!! I started cutting out refined sugars 3 years ago, and I feel so much better now. I still eat it on special occasions though…hello Christmas cookies!!! Isn’t it crazy how many foods in the supermarket have hidden sugar…like pretty much everything, haha! It has really helped us eat healthier.

    I love the your list of positives–they are all true! You know, when I have a sugary treat that I used to love, I don’t even enjoy it that much because my tastes have changed so much and I’ve become super sensitive to sugar.

    I haven’t found it to be a problem at home…if it is a small quantity I’ll just omit it, or use a little honey or maple syrup…easy peasy! When I’m out with the family though…like you said, it’s a challenge. And I’m pretty sure they judge me for it too.

    I did notice that your recent recipes have been healthier :) LOVE your new change!

  84. Lindsay, thank you for sharing such a wonderful post! Like a few of the people who have commented here, I have a history of type 2 diabetes. However, I am just a normal girl who loves sugar, cake and food – and it is so hard to give these up whilst I am still young and essentially, “don’t need to worry…” but I can verify everything that you have listed! I went ‘sugar free’ (no added sugar or sweeteners) for about a month last year. I felt amazing. I was no longer hungry/always craving food. Even milk tasted super sweet. I love how you described the new found love of fruit – it is so real and true! However…I always question how sustainable this is in a world where sugar = daily life and baking = my hobby. It was a huge sacrifice to make and I take my hat off to you guys! It really inspires me to perhaps make more of an effort to reduce my sugar consumption a lot – everybody knows that it is a deadly substance but most of us don’t want to face is because baking/eating with it is so beautiful!

    Food for thought…
    Tash x

    • Thanks for the comment Tash! I totally feel ya – I love baking, but I’m kind of coming to terms with the reality that for me, baking = eating way too much sweet stuff! So it’s all a balancing act, I guess. :)

  85. Natalie says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    Great article and congrats to you and Bjork!
    Not sure I got this right, but are you still continuing eating sugar free?
    Does this mean there won’t be any sweet recipes on your blog anymore? :( That would be a shame, I looooooved your cake & muffin recipes!

    • Not necessarily, but there will probably be less of the traditional white flour and butter and sugar stuff. I still love it but we are feeling great eating this way so we’d like to continue! :) Sally’s Baking Addiction is a great resource for the sweets!

      • Natalie says:

        Thank you for your reply Lindsay! Actually I might get use to the new “sweet” desserts on your blog…who knows! ;)

  86. Way to go guys! It’s inspiring to read about your healthy lifestyle change :) I have a theory of not eating sugar unless I take the time to bake it (or am at a special occasion). That helps me avoid useless sugar in yogurts, granola bars, etc. Here’s to “real food”!

  87. Cutting down on the consumption of added sugars is definitely a good idea. As a Registered Dietitian I would advise people though to be careful where you get your nutrition advice from. The creator of this program as no training in nutrition. From someone you has two degrees in nutrition and is licensed to actually provide nutrition advice this bothers me. There are too many people out there giving advice with no educational background to do so, including Katie Couric!

    • Jennifer, Thank you for being a voice of reason. No where did I here anyone comment of the fact that honey, maple syrup and fruits are metabolized as sugars , albeit at different rates and in different ways. A friend with diabetes was specifically told that honey and maple syrup were just as bad as sugar just easier to digest. I personally try to avoid sugar and most over processed packaged foods with ingredients I can’t pronounce. lol. A little bit of everything is good for you.

      • Cathy I agree. Limiting just white sugar and still having even pure 100% maple syrup in your diet seems kinda silly – they both are sugars. But at least u are avoiding all the other crap that comes with processed foods like perversatives, food coloring, and soy that are often in “healthy” foods. But if haven’t ever had a sugar fast or a lifestyle change this idea is a good way to start. I would recommend ditching the other kinds of sugar except whole fruit too for a heathlier challenge. You might surprise yourself :) whole fruit has sugar but also in small amounts like 1-2 pieces per day -imporant fiber and vitamins.

        • Steph, Agreed, but you do have to limit fruit somewhat or you get the, how shall we say ,over abundant fiber effect. tee hee. Also never eat anything you can’t pronounce….

    • Thank you for your feedback Jennifer. Jacqueline was a present, devoted mentor offering daily support and compassionate accountability during the 60-day course. The lessons were based around current nutrition research around sugar consumption, human psychology, and lasting habit change, otherwise I would certainly not recommend the course. That being said, I would always want people to think critically before deciding to commit to something like this, so thank you for the reminder.

  88. Congratulations on trying something new and “weird” and discovering even more amazing things about food and your bodies. It really is a fun adventure.

    And isn’t it amazing how your body can respond to a “simple” change in diet? I’ve been eating vegan and raw-ish for more than three years, and recently been moving to more and more whole foods. The initial changes to our health, weight and energy were amazing, but I’ve always had this thought that “I could go back” if I wanted to (or on special occasions).

    But the other day, I made the healthiest, most amazing vegan chocolate cake for my daughter’s fifth birthday, using raw, organic sugar, and I couldn’t stand the taste! So sweet and icky, and the taste lingered on my tongue for ages afterwards. So I guess I’m going to have to stick with this whole “healthy eating” thing ;)

    Apparently our bodies do know what’s best for us!

    • Isn’t that funny? I totally get the same sickly aftertaste now when I eat a bite of something sweet, even if it is “healthy” sweet. :)

  89. Wow! I don’t know if I could do the same. I mean, I’m picky about my desserts (not a fan of cakes, pies, donuts, etc), but I have a strong sweet tooth. White sugar is in so many things too. Good for you though! I should really cut back. :/

  90. I loved this post, Lindsay. I cut out refined sugar about two years ago and I feel so much better for it. I also cut out artificial sweeteners. I had more energy, I didn’t get that 3 p.m. slump as much and like you found some delicious wholefoods. I felt less bloated, lost weight. About a year into my having gone pretty much refined sugar free (except for special occasions obvs, ain’t no way, now how I’m not having cake on my birthday or Christmas pudding on Christmas Day) I bought an old favourite, a caramel latte, while I was waiting at a train station to jump on a train to see my friends, and it was so sickly sweet, I couldn’t finish it and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I’ve been put on an anti-inflammatory diet recently and that was really hard as this week me and my hubby to be went away, it was a lot of salads and fish and grabbing fruit, veg and nuts from supermarkets. But I did it, I didn’t stray, even though the ice cream as eyeing me up on a super hot day.

    • Exactly! The 3pm slump was much less significant for me. I still do get nap-happy in the afternoon, but I think that’s just a result of a cozy house and working from home :)

  91. I could probably never go sugar free, If that would means to cut out every source of sugar! But as long as I can have as much fruit as I want and some unrefined sugar, well I’m in!

  92. Dr Viswanathan says:

    Oh boy. Please put the sugar back into your foods. Whole grains are a lot more toxic to your body than sugar ever will be. After making a villain of cholesterol for a few decades now the guns are pointed at sugar, unfairly. Its a step in the wrong direction. You might want to read up some Ray Peat materials and maybe listen to a podcast or two.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/sugar-issues.shtml

    http://thehealthyjessie.com/2014/01/17/how-the-super-healthy-low-carbsugar-paleo-diet-ruined-our-health-and-sanity/

  93. Dr Viswanathan says:

    http://crohnsdad.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/clin-rev-allerg-immunol-leaky-gutautoimmunity.pdf

    The above article is hard for a lay person to understand but it will give you the foundation to understand why the paleo people feel better off the grains in the first place. Between avoiding gluten and industrial seed oils you could have a good quality of life without ditching sugar.

  94. Dr Viswanathan says:

    “I do drink coffee and Bjork LIVES on coffee.” The sugar and coffee are what people use to replace the general hypothyroidism that sets in after decades of unsaturated fat use. Stopping both is cruel and unusual punishment. Yes you will perhaps lose weight initially as the stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines kick in. But that wont make you healthy in the long run. Using something saturated that wont supress your mitochondria like coconut oil and using maybe some thyroid supplement is needed will let you back off the coffee safely. If thats what you want. Not that coffee is bad for you anyway.

  95. Good for you!! It really is a lifestyle change! I have my master’s in nutrition, and always get so frustrated when people tell me they need to diet for some event they have. No! Just eat healthy (while not totally depriving yourself! That cake at your friend’s wedding – absolutely!!) and your body will always be happy and healthy!
    Great job to you both!! :)

  96. Thanks for the incentive to start my own sugar free journey! Quick question- what brand of Greek Yogurt do you use? I’m having trouble finding one with no added sugar. Any ideas? Thanks and great work :)

    • Well, we were completely smitten with Greek Gods Honey flavored yogurt which is thee most divine thing you’ll ever eat off a spoon, but it’s a sugar disaster. So we switched to Fage, plain. Honestly, I don’t love it. If I were to choose, I think I’d pick Greek Gods nonfat plain – it’s just a little lighter tasting. But Bjork does love the Fage and he eats it with fruit and honey, and I just eat less yogurt now since Fage is our new norm. :)

  97. I gave up refined sugars years ago, and don’t miss them at all. I use small amounts of honey and molasses, but otherwise sweeten everything with fruit- and after a while, fruit starts tasting so much sweeter, and when you actually take a bite of a “normal” baked good, it just tastes awful! Too sweet.

  98. I happened upon your blog about 2 years ago when a friend of mine shared your recipe for the alfredo sauce (which if you’ve never tried, it is a MUST). I’m currently in my internship working to becoming a registered dietitian, so I’ll admit when I first saw terms such as “healthy” that I was skeptical. I must say that after thoroughly searching through your blog I now use it quite often to share with friends of mine looking for ideas for new recipes. I think it’s great that you share your experiences but also don’t come at it from the stance of being an “all or nothing” mindset. The reality is that in our society it is quite difficult to completely remove certain things from our diet, however, I think it’s great when people recognize positive changes that can be made and use that experience to help encourage others. I love that your husband is so supportive! It helps so much to have accountability and to have someone to motivate you. It’s folks like you that encourage me even more in my journey to becoming a dietitian, because it shows me that people genuinely DO understand how important nutrition is for their overall health and well-being. You can have your cake and eat it to, just in moderation of course. :)

    • Forgot to mention this! If you’re interested in lifestyle changes, check out the website for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This is the best resource for information on food and nutrition. It can get messy trying to determine what is a reliable resource with everything that is thrown our way.

      http://www.eatright.org/

    • Oh my gosh, what a great comment. And it’s so true about having a supportive spouse or someone who can really encourage you and walk alongside you. This would have been way harder if we weren’t drinking our Pellegrino and eating our little bowls of dates and almond butter side by side. :) Thanks for your encouragement Katie!

  99. Great job, you two! We eliminated white sugar from our diet about 6 months ago, and now only eat maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar and sometimes brown sugar – but we don’t eat it often. After quitting white sugar, I found that my tastes changed (like you did, Lindsay), and that a lot of sugar was really overpowering!

    • I haven’t tried coconut sugar – I might give it a go! But where do you buy it? I secretly hate making extra trips to specialty grocery stores… #lazy

  100. Oh my goodness, I love your blog even more now! I started eating clean 2 weeks ago, and was a little sad thinking I’d have to give up your blog for it, but then I found 2 of your recipes that were without refined sugar (power cinnamon pancakes and the red lentil curry-which actually had a tiny bit of sugar, but I switched it to honey instead.) So, yay! Super, super excited!

  101. By the way, please share your newly found food that is refined sugar free. I’ve heard of Rao’s spaghetti sauce that is sugar free, but wondering what else you have found. Thanks!

    • Kirkland’s brand spaghetti sauce! Also, Blue Diamond makes a few nut/seed crackers that don’t have any added sugar. Wheat Thins on the other hand… sad face. Sugar is the second ingredient!

  102. Melissa says:

    Fantastic! I am so interested in the no sugar thing, I recently got the ‘I quit sugar for life’ book and have been really intrigued by it!
    Would love to hear some of the meals you created whilst doing this, inspiration to get my butt into gear!
    Love your blog & recipes

    • I bought the book “I Quit Sugar” (are we thinking of the same one? mine was by Sarah Wilson) and to be completely honest, I was wayyy overwhelmed by it. Our approach is a little less strict since we kept fruit, honey, maple syrup… but it was totally mind blowing to me to think about limiting sugar to the point where you would not be able to have fruit or honey (which was sort of the feeling I got from I Quit Sugar). All that to say – if you like it, great! But also keep in mind that there are other less extreme perspectives on it. :) And as for the meals, anything you’ve seen posted here over the last 2 months (June/July) would be something that we’ve been eating.

      • Melissa says:

        I must agree it does seen a little extreme yes and I now there are many mixed feelings about Sarah Wilson & her views. I definitely don’t think I could go totally as extreme as her, and it does seem crazy with some diets how you can’t have dates for instance because of the sugar content…… Its fruit??!! Did u try and stay off bread totally or eat certain varieties?
        Thanks
        Melissa

  103. I feel like my taste is more sensitive even after a day without sugar. Congrats on your successful sans-sugar life! Those are some pretty solid, excellent side-effects :)

  104. Hi Lindsay, I have followed your blog for awhile now and have loved it from the start. When it comes to diet & lifestyle I believe that it’s all about finding what works best for you and that there are so many ways one can live a healthy life. One of the reasons I have really enjoyed your blog is because you have a good mix of recipes. Some indulgent, some healthy, some in-between. I will say that it makes me a little sad to think there will be no more dessert recipes that aren’t ‘healthy’. You’ve shared some awesome desserts over the years! I just hope that even with these types of changes that your recipes will still offer a little bit to everyone.

  105. I really like the way you wrote and structured this post. It was supportive and thorough, without being an OMGFANGIRL BESTDIETEVAAAR type of post (which I despise).

    I think cutting out most refined sugar is a great way to live – the odd indulgence, but on the whole, having fewer sweet things seems to attune your tastebuds so you just don’t really need that much sweetness.

    I (mostly) live like this and there are now a number of products that I just can’t stand anymore because of how incredibly sweet they taste – ketchup and prepared pasta sauce are the worst ones for me. But also many salad dressings are sooooooooo incredibly sweet.

    Anyway, just want to say I liked how you posted this – it was balanced and done with integrity. :D

  106. Excellent and congratulations!

    I know how challenging it is to give up sugar. My partner and I did a “No Deserts Diet” for 30-days (which is the only place I get sugar because I don’t cook with it) and the results were similar to yours. I posted my concluding observations here:
    http://eatmovebe.com/no-desserts-diet-conclusion/

    Such a wonderful blog and gorgeous photography. Keep it up!

  107. Ah reading posts like this makes me SO happy. I love the little lightbulb that goes off when people start being “kinder” to their bodies and head in a more natural direction. As someone who not-so-long-ago was a candy ADDICT, I now know that if I stay away from the refined stuff (especially sugars and grains like you mentioned), my allergies/sinus issues are a thing of the past. And that makes it totally worth it. Thanks for putting posts like this up… it really can make a huge difference to someone who might truly need it.
    Morgan

  108. Valerie B says:

    For a number of months I have been thinking that I need to find a way to break free of my reliance on sugar. I have heard of this program but I have to tell you that I am convinced to try it now thanks to your sharing of your experience with it. Your blog is always a place of integrity, compassion and grace, and never more so than in your sharing about this experience. Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  109. I’ll be honest – I went into this post thinking “Pfft, someone else trying to tell me why sugar is bad for me” and within the first couple sentences I realized that you’re not that type of person. I don’t know you personally, and probably never ever will, but you come across as a such a genuine, wonderful person, that the last thing I should ever expect from you is a holier-than-thou approach to an individual’s lifestyle. I mean, you’re a food blogger!

    Anyway, I was happy to hear that your endeavor had wonderful results and the more I think about it, the more I think I need to try something like this. My other half is leaving next month for work. He’s gone until Christmas, then back out after to February, if I’m lucky. I’ve decided that while he’s gone, I need to change a couple things about my daily lifestyle, including my eating habits. Honestly, I think we do okay. I make most of our meals from scratch – when I can. I don’t put a lot of processed food into our diet, but we do enjoy going out to eat. It’s been cut down to a minimum in recent months, due to my unemployment and me not expecting him to pay my way.

    One of the things I’m going to attempt while he’s gone is better meal planning. Pinterest has been my best friend for discovering new food blogs (like yours!) and finding wonderful, mostly healthy meals. I should be training for a 10k currently but I’m finding myself in a post-vacation funk I can’t shake. It’s a bummer, lemme tell you! Anyway, it’s too bad Jacqueline’s course is so much money. I bet it really would be enlightening to read about it. I’m sure it’s worth it, but when you’ve got zero extra money to throw at non-necessities, things like that get pushed to the wayside. Ah well. I can probably find some information on the internet to try on my own.

    Best of luck to you and Bjork continuing this journey.

    • Hey Kasey

      Good on you for knowing the things you want to change, but also knowing your limits.

      Just a thought: I don’t think you need to enrol in a program to eat healthier or to remove/limit your sugar intake. I did it myself for 30-days as an experiment, and I’m sure you can to. Think of it as a mini-challenge and establish your goal, if you need accountability with a partner, if you will allow a “cheat meal”, and where you want to be/how you want to feel at the end of the challenge.

      I wrote about my 30-days with no deserts here: http://eatmovebe.com/no-desserts-diet-conclusion/

      Anna also made a great point about eating cherries and peaches that can be used to satisfy your sweet craving, in place of real sugar.

      • Darren – I think part of the intrigue with the course is mostly wondering what she can offer, what sort of e-mails were able to tip Lindsay off that “oh wow, this is such a great idea” slowly but surely. I’m sure I could Google pretty much every question I have and get an answer. We know how the internet works, though. Not everything is a reliable source. Some of it’s (wrong) opinion, and some of it’s just shy of the truth.

        For the most part, I don’t eat much in the way of dessert, however, the flaw in all of this is that I own a small home-based baking business and when I get everything squared away, I will be having to eat refined sugar products. Not in great quantities, but we all know taste testing is crucial. For the time being, I can’t adapt my recipes to not have refined sugar, and I’m not sure I could get the same results in my products if I did try to adapt them. That’s a whole other beast for another day.

        But anyway, thank you for sharing your adventures without dessert. I’ll take a look at it.

    • Thanks so much Kasey! A few things… first of all, Jacqueline is offering three “scholarships” for this upcoming course. She has information about it on her site, so I’d highly encourage you to check that out for a chance to take the course for free. :) Also, as far as meal planning goes, my ebook Everyday Healthy (on sale through the end of July!) has a meal planning package that comes with it that helps to set up grocery lists, meals for the week, month, etc. and a template for making a white board calendar with meal magnets (have you seen those things on Pinterest? all color coded and awesome?) where you can fill in your own recipes and move the pieces around on the calendar depending on when you want to cook them. All that to say, sounds like you’re doing some awesome things for yourself and your significant other and keep up the good work! :) :)

      • I’ll definitely look into the “scholarships”. I’m interested to get the information you got, to see what made the light go on in your head. I’d like to believe we all know how to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle, some of us are just lazier than others. Guilty as charged, right here. That’s where my issues with meal planning come into play. I’ve set up meals for an entire month, I’ve made my grocery lists, I’ve gotten everything squared away, and gotten in the groove. By day 4 or 5, everything I’ve designated as a meal for the month sounds awful. Nothing appeals to me. Or we go out to eat and I allow myself to let the plan spiral out of control instead of just moving that night’s meal to the next day or skipping it and continuing on with the plan.

        Fortunately for us, we do love things like fruit and vegetables and I have a fiber problem, so I’m constantly stuffing fiber and protein where possible. I have a feeling my next 5 or 6 months without my boyfriend is going to be successful for me; I think his next 5 or 6 months without home cooking is going to results in many “fancy ramen” meals and a vitamin deficiency. For his sake, let’s hope that’s not the case.

        That you for the book recommendation and keep on keeping on!

  110. This is a great post! I have been trying to cut down on my sugar intake for a while. Its mostly worked but yesterday I had TWO Trader Joe’s Almond Croissants and now I am feeling BLAH LOL. My fruit of choice for the past month has been cherries and peaches! Yum!! So good although yesterday I bought some figs that I cannot wait to have with prosciutto. Thanks for sharing your journey :) <3

  111. Nice job, Lindsey! It can be a real turn off when (good intentioned) folks preach about their fabulous new lifestyle. I think sugar is like a lot of other things (wine for example)… everything in moderation. Some things more than others. And you are so right, everything is SO much sweeter when you stop the intake. I do like me some flavored sweetness in my morning coffee, but I have discovered another trick to curb that as well. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing. It takes the bitterness out, gives your coffee a hint of flavor, is good for other health reasons, and I seem to want less flavored creamer!

    Thanks for sharing! ~Julie

    • That’s so funny – we’ve been doing the cinnamon in coffee thing at the cabin this week and it’s been great. :)

      • COFFEE! Ahhh a must =) what was the take on Stevia? I don’t know that I could do coffee without Stevia and a drop of almond milk in it these days.

        • There are no for sure rules, so I know a lot of people in the group used stevia and I think as far as sweeteners go, it’s a pretty good choice. I just don’t like the taste of it :P that’s why we didn’t really use it.

  112. alexandra says:

    i actually just came across your blog today for the first time since I haven’t been super successful in the blog thing alone, but i was contemplating doing another with my boyfriend and so i’ve become really inspired by your truly wonderful couple-blog. do have a question with this refined-sugar, thing as its something i fiddle with here and there – do you cut out white potatoes, too? looking forward to catching up with your blog and enjoying your posts! thank you!

    • Nope – I mean, it’s kind of up to you with this program what you want to keep and what you want to cut out. We cut out white sugar and products with added sweeteners as the FOR SURE not having it food, and then things like potatoes, white rice, etc. were kept in moderation. One thing at a time helped us isolate the sugar and attack! :) heheh.

  113. This was such an interesting post to read! Proud that you guys have stuck with it for so long! It really gives me some insight about my own diet and makes me realize that I should probably be cutting back on the sugar intake.

    I saw above that you’ve been putting cinnamon in your coffee. Sounds interesting! I think this would be my greatest challenge as I’m a cup-a-day type of gal who puts sugar AND flavored creamer in it! (Slightly cringing as I typed that!)

    Either way, this has certainly sparked my curiosity to try something like this!

    • I used to do the same thing! Honestly, the hardest part of the day for me to NOT overdo it on added sugar is right away in the morning when making coffee. I almost feel like I could use up all my 6 daily teaspoons in a few cups of coffee and then be done with sugar for the day. :)

  114. Hi Lindsay it is great to hear about your experience going sugar free. This is something I’ve considered doing for awhile but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I’m wondering though how you manage this when you eat out? Our lifestyle at the moment consists of a lot of meals out between work and social life. Obviously you can skip the dessert, but as you’ve said you find sugar in a lot of non-dessert items and when you eat out you can’t control what goes into every dish.

    Cheers, Julie

    • That’s a great question – we just avoided the high sugar things as much as possible: barbeque sauce, white breads, any sort of sauce that we suspected had sugar (sweet and sour, raspberry dressings, that sort of thing). We tried not to freak out too much about certain things, like we went out for sushi once to a place that didn’t have brown rice so we just ate the white rice. But then another time, we called around to a few Thai restaurants to find one that had brown rice and then tried to order dishes that we felt were less sugar-loaded. No sugar drinks or desserts was the easy part. It’s definitely more tricky with foods where there is more grey area.

  115. It’s definitely a hard decision BUT I agree, I feel so much better when I’m not eating refined sugars. I did a month of mostly raw foods and no sugar and at the end of it when I treated myself to a chocolate chip cookie it just wasn’t very good. I’m re-inspired to go back to my sugarless days.

    Pragati
    http://www.simplemedicine.co

    • Same! Just had a smoothie today made with all fruits and even that was starting to taste too sweet after a little while!

      • Hi! I LOVE this post =) soooo inspiring! Did you just use water as a base for the smoothie or something like almond milk?

        • I usually use almond milk as the base for my fruit smoothies, and I throw some ice cubes in there too for more moisture and the chilling effect. :)

  116. Congrats to you both! So glad to read that the challenge worked for you and that you shared that slight shift on your blog!
    Hope to read more delicious recipes in this new lens :)

  117. Great Job! I love honey for cooking… except it’s messy :) My challenge lately is to not only drop the white sugar/corn syrup gunk but also my grains are limited-mainly no wheat. I started switching everything over to oats for my kids diet, with some spelt (straight from the grower) but then I found out I’m sensitive to oats :( Seeing my allergy specialist soon so hopefully I can get back on track and stop cheating as I was feeling pretty discouraged. Thank you for quinoa recipes and all the healthy good stuff you post.

  118. I noticed right away that you were doing this, and I loved it! I recently cut out refined sugars as well, and so it was perfect timing for me to see all these yummy recipes that I could enjoy too. :-)

  119. This is so wonderful, Lindsay! I am so glad to hear about your positive experience with natural sweeteners! And now maybe you won’t think we are quite as crazy either? hehe This makes me think back to the first dessert we made for you with natural sweetener back in the day – strawberries with balsamic, mint, and yogurt! :) I’m so glad it’s been such a great experience for you two — and makes me inspired to cut back more on sugars! (I’ve developed a somewhat of a dependence on honey and maple syrup…! :) )

  120. my daughter suggested she and I cut out refined sugars for a month after reading your story (she is an avid follower) and this sparked quite the discussion. of course our bodies will feel better if we cut it all out and quite frankly I’m excited about the idea of feeling better! but honestly the first thought that popped into my mind, after our discussion and reading this blog post, was: What About Christmas??? the entire month of December revolves around food and more specifically baking. we have tried to cut down on what we do in the past but I find I just can’t! every recipe we make has some sort of emotional connection to it. as in “it’s just not Christmas without rum balls, date squares, orange almond stars, chocolate pecan shortbread, triple ginger chews, etc” and believe me the list goes on for a while. so it’s August now and you finished this challenge already 2 weeks ago with no plan to stop… what are YOU going to do at Christmastime? drastically reduce what you bake? or is December one giant “special occasion”??

    • What a great question Erin. Honestly, I haven’t really thought that far out in advance. But I feel so good when I’m not eating sugar for “celebratory” reasons that I think Christmas would be the same. I would probably pick one or two of my absolute favorites (my mom’s homemade hot fudge on peppermint ice cream would be one!) and just have that, but pass on everything else. It sounds so grinchy but the reality is that I think you can still have a beautiful season of family and celebration with other things – games, presents, and non-sweet foods like maybe spiced nuts or bright, fresh holiday recipes and drinks that are naturally sweet. I think having done the sugar free thing for a while and knowing how good it feels to say no (and then be so glad I said no the next day), I don’t think I would regret not having as much sugar this year. Does that make sense? I guess we’ll see what happens when it actually comes to pass..

  121. I KNEW your recipes had gotten healthier! I was going to comment on that, too! I love it! I’ve been sugar-free for over a year – also gluten/wheat, cow’s dairy and processed food free for a year as well. It’s gotten me well again and I love it! I’m glad to see other people enjoying it so much lately, too. :)

  122. Lindsay, I’ve been moving in the same direction. I’m not sure if it works with your guidelines, but for baking especially, I’ve moved almost exclusively to using sucanat as my dry sweetener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucanat) I love that it’s way less refined, and I also really like the often deeper (read: yummier) notes it gives desserts. Think a richer brown sugar. I’ve even used it successfully to make jam

  123. I did this a few years ago and I ALSO couldn’t believe how easy it was. Not that’s not to say I haven’t gone on and off the wagon over the years, but I still recognize how much BETTER I feel without sugar, and how icky I feel when I over indulge. Plus, it’s another reason to eat fresh summer fruit by the fistful!

  124. これって抜き目的に再生繰り返してるオタとか絶対いるだろうw
    くすぶってるくらいなら辞めようかな?という雰囲気も最近薄々感じてた
    更に精神障害手帳2級なら生活保護が確実に通って月16万円貰える。

  125. 家政婦は見たとか肝っ玉母ちゃんみたいな役しかないだろうな。残念。
    支店に行っても楽しめちゃう子て本店では宮澤と梅ちゃんくらいだろうな
    駒の一つにしか見られてないんだから、動かされるように動くしかない

  126. Just stumbled on this blog post from a link on a recent blog post of yours… I pretty much gave up refined sugar years ago and my experience is similar to yours… it’s interesting to read labels of processed foods to see how much sugar there is… I rarely bake except for my applesauce muffins with a bit of honey and occ chocolate chip cookies (need to find a way of making these with no refined sugar or at least minimal). Never been a cake person, but cookies… Oh my!!! Christmas is my downfall every year. I had a college nutrition professor many yeats ago who told us it wasn’t the fat but the sugar that will get to us. I believe she was right. She passed away a couple years ago and lived to over 100. Hope you’re still on the path :-) Thanks for the post!! Inspiring!

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