sugar-free tips and sips

This last week has been pretty simple as far as quitting sugar goes, thanks mostly to some stellar drinks that have kept me free of cravings and totally quenched. The weekend wasn’t so great, however: dinner with family that included a complimentary chef’s dessert, a going-away party with homemade cake, a batch of brownies made for the husband…a few bits and bites here and there didn’t add up to anything drastic, but it broke my good record.

After increasing my awareness of sugar, I definitely feel more mindful about what I eat and how much sugar it contains. Even when I ate that Cardamom Coffee Cake or Thai dessert pancake with vanilla ice cream and raspberries, nothing felt out of my control. It was yummy, I enjoyed the few tastes I sampled, and then I was done.

So, as an encouragement to anyone else quitting sugar around here, if you fall off the bandwagon, get right back up and start afresh. It’s easy to keep going in this second week with the progress you’ve already made than to give up and count it all as loss.

But back to the beverages: whenever I felt a tinge of a craving, or whenever I felt tempted to have something “naughty,” I was able to rely on a few drinks already prepped in the fridge to set me back on track.

Green Juice — I made a big batch (2 quarts) of fresh green vegetable juice at the beginning of the week to have with breakfasts or as an afternoon pick-me-up. I juiced 2 heads of romaine, several stalks of celery, a knob of ginger, 1 lemon, 1 grapefruit, and a whole mess of kale. The result was a vibrant tonic that tasted mainly of grass, but I grew to enjoy the flavor. If this is too “green” for your taste, I recommend cutting the straight juice with a splash of coconut water and some ice cubes. It adds some natural sweetness and weakens the intense veggie flavor.

Kombucha — This fermented probiotic drink has been shown to aid in cutting out sugar, as it increases good bacteria in the tummy and quenches thirst with a naturally sweet-and-tart flavor. I purchase G.T. Dave’s “original” kombucha flavor, without any fruit juice/pulp (although naturally sweet, it is added fructose). I’m hoping to get into making my own kombucha soon, too, but for now it’s just easier to buy a bottle or two when I’m feeling like I need a boost.

Coconut Water — Called “nature’s Gatorade,” coconut water is rich with vitamins and minerals, and is so wonderfully thirst-quenching. After drinking coconut water for a few years, I’ve come to think of it as quite sweet on its own, although someone transitioning straight from soda pop to coconut water probably would disagree. I use a splash here and there in smoothies and juices, but usually I fill a tall glass with ice and coconut water to keep from snacking in the afternoon or evening. And after a run, it’s the best way to rehydrate.

Herbal Tea — Andrew and I usually end our evenings with a hot cup of herbal tea. My favorites include peppermint or camomile, but there are some great herbal blends that are naturally sweet that can help curb a sweet tooth. Anything with fennel or licorice adds a touch of sugar flavor without the actual sugar. Yogi brand has a few yummy flavors: Bedtime, Healthy Fasting and Echinacea Immune Support are a few of my favorites.

Red Wine — When we aren’t sipping on herbal tea, another favorite nightcap is a glass of red wine. Rich with tannins and antioxidants, red wine isn’t typically sweet like its white sister, but there are complex flavors of chocolate, berries and coffee that often emerge when the palate is freed from sugar. Plus, it feels just as decadent as a dessert.

What are some of your tried and true drinks? Let me know, I’m always curious!

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For more information, check out Sarah Wilson’s blog and the IQS Facebook Page.


3 thoughts on “sugar-free tips and sips

  1. What a great list. I’ve never had the soda habit, but I do agree that the above beverages are great! Kefir is really great too, if you can tolerate dairy.

  2. I haven’t quit sugar completely, but I do eat WAY less now than I use to… in my own experience I’ve found that my cravings for it dissipate if I can get over the “hump” and am able resist when I do feel a craving for it. I usually lose the craving all together and totally forget about it. But then a birthday party rolls around and I just will not say no to frosting!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Kombucha, I JUST began attempting to brew my own last week, it’s not as scary as it seems (although I do wonder about the creature living inside the gallon jar in my dining room near the heat vent…) I could easily spend a fortune on Kombucha, here’s hoping I don’t kill my SCOBY and I’m able to make it for less at home.

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