Adventures in Sugar Reduction

My husband and I are taking a Bradley Method class in preparation for the birth of our second child, and a big part of the Method (so far) is a special diet called the Brewer’s Diet—but that I like to think of as my “show dog” diet. (Dr Brewer based his dietary recommendations for pregnant women, in part, on the dietary guidelines that show dog breeders use for their pregnant animals.)

Anyway, in order to make sure we’re meeting the protein requirements of the diet, our instructor suggested we download this app called My Fitness Pal, which I did. I didn’t have too much trouble with the protein part (80–100 grams per day), but oh boy, people. One thing I immediately realized is that I eat a LOT of sugar. So, along with trying to get more good stuff in, I’ve also been trying to cut some of that bad sugar stuff out—while still allowing myself to have a treat or two, because I love treats.

Here are some strategies I’ve developed:

  1. Use cinnamon. Cinnamon does not have any sugar in it, but I think because I associate it with sweet foods, when I put cinnamon in my yogurt or coffee (yes! you can do that!) I FEEL like I’m eating something sweet, even though I’m not.
  2. Eat plain yogurt. Three weeks ago I thought this stuff was putrid, but already I’ve grown accustomed to it. (The vanilla kind that I usually ate has a ton of added sugar—oops.) I just add cinnamon and some fruit and nuts to make it more delicious.
  3. Treat raisins like a sweetener, NOT a food. I used to think raisins were a healthy snack, but there’s a reason these things are called “nature’s candy.” I don’t allow myself to eat handfuls of them anymore; I only use them to sweeten other things, like bran flakes or yogurt—and that is sparingly.
  4. Just eat one cookie. The Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patties I’ve had over the last couple weeks have been the tastiest I’ve had in my entire life, and that’s because I limit myself to ONE and force myself to really savor it: no multitasking while I’m eating desserts anymore! I make myself pay attention when I’m indulging in sweets.
  5. Try not to eat more more than 2 servings of fruit. I used to eat 3–4 servings of fruit on a regular basis, and I frequently had a glass of orange juice pretty much everyday too. It’s too much! There’s a reason the Food Pyramid limits fruit consumption, and the reason is sugar.
  6. Even with the strategies I’m still going over the app’s sugar allowance pretty much every day, but I’m trying not to beat myself up about it. I’m learning.

    If you have some favorite strategies for cutting back on sugar, please share them in the comments 🙂

    (Image by Xochi Romero)