I’ve decided to kick the year off with a sugar free challenge!
From the 3rd January until the end of the month I will document what I imagine to be a rather entertaining experiment, considering my favourite foods on this earth are jam doughnuts and chocolate.
(And sausage and mash and onion gravy, but that’s not really the point).
Why Sam? Why?
Yes I know, it sounds horrifying. But there is method to my madness and by the end of this post I reckon I can get you on board too.
But before I get to that, there are a few things that need to be said.
Hi there! It’s been a while. 26 days in fact since my last post.
Oldies (but goodies), you remember me – I’m the one that eats a lot and talks about it.
Newbies (and also goodies), welcome – I’m Samantha, a food blogger and recipe developer with a passion for happiness and healthiness and I’m super pleased you’ve joined the team.
This challenge is not a cleanse.
It’s not a detox.
And it’s definitely not a diet.
It’s an honest challenge to help me (and you if you’re interested) feel healthier and happier and eat some delicious food along the way.
This post contains free stuff. Fair warning.
So what is Sugar Free January?
It’s a fab challenge, set by a truly inspirational blogger called Lindsay Ostrom on her and her husband Bjork’s blog, Pinch of Yum.
If you haven’t come across their blog before, click here – it’ll be well worth your time. They share the most amazing recipes and bravely tell their story of love and loss. Two wonderful people with a brilliantly positive outlook. And some seriously good food.
This is how Lindsay defines the challenge:
Everything about these rules seemed perfect to me. They’re flexible enough to allow for personal preference, but not so flexible that you lose sight of your goal.
Plus there’s wiggle room for treats. And I like that!
If you’re tempted to join in, then I highly recommend you check out this handy Sugar Free January Plan that Lindsay and Bjork have created. They give helpful suggestions of the foods to consider and encourage you to get clear on your goals. I filled mine out in a matter of minutes and immediately felt more prepared.
Not to mention motivated as hell!
This is what my plan looks like:
A few things to note here:
- The “usual place” refers to the spot at work where all the sweet treats are kept and is definitely off limits in January.
- I’ve chosen to avoid maple syrup and agave too as although they’re technically ‘unrefined’, they still pack a rather sugary punch!
- Whole fruit, dark chocolate and Kimchee Bibimbap all feature on the ‘keep’ list because a) yum and b) I need a little wiggle room for this to be sustainable.
So do you normally eat sugar?
Yes, yes I do.
On a day to day basis, I don’t eat a huge amount. However, having an office job in the lead up to Christmas means I have eaten more chocolates (and biscuits and brownies and cakes and sweets and mince pies) than I’m proud of!
Hence the challenge.
But I could never cut out sugar for good. Happiness is sometimes more important than healthiness and a life without Gü Hot Chocolate Molten Middles is not a life I want to lead.
This is just me making a conscious decision to reset the sweet-o-meter and achieve a more balanced way of eating. And prepare myself for the onslaught of birthday sugar in early Feb!
How will the Sugar Free challenge work?
Well, Lindsay and Bjork have made that pretty easy! They will be sharing several recipes on their blog for all their sugar-free friends, so I will be cooking and eating as many of those as I can. (I’ve subscribed to their mailing list so I don’t miss a single one).
I will also be cooking my own sugar free recipes and uploading these to my blog as I go. I post a Lunchbox recipe every Tuesday and another recipe every Saturday, so scroll down and subscribe if you wanna stay in the loop. (First recipe of the new year will be up on Saturday 6th January).
Finally, everything I do will be shared on my Instagram feed.
Pinch of Yum recipe for dinner? Instagram.
New recipe on my blog? Instagram.
Accidentally eat an ENTIRE PACK OF COOKIES? Instagram.
On a serous note, if you want to see the honest truth behind this challenge then make sure you stop by. I will be posting daily updates on my stories and everything else on my main page. Honesty is so important on social media so I don’t, and won’t, hold back.
On board yet?
I really hope so! But in case you need just a little more encouragement:
- Challenges like these are so much easier and more enjoyable with a support network, so grab your friends, family, partners, children – heck you can get your dog involved if you feel so inclined – and join the party! The more people you can share your experiences with the better.
- There’s loads more support and resources on pinchofyum.com including a meal planning guide, a sugar free product guide and lot of other tips and tricks to help you stay on track. This challenge was set by Lindsay and Bjork so their blog will be your bible!
- Remember: your Sugar Free January, your rules. There is no right or wrong here. If you don’t fancy the challenge but wanna check in every now and then to see how it’s going for others, then do it. If you wanna cut down slightly but don’t want to go completely sugar free, that’s okay! Just do whatever works best for you and enjoy it.
Finally, if you do join in, make sure you tag @pinchofyum and @spoonfulofhappyblog in all your photos and use the hashtag #POYsugarfreejanuary – otherwise how will I drool over all the amazing foodie snaps you share!?
Let’s all share recipes and be friends!
Here are some sugar free recipes to get you started:
- Warming red lentil and kale soup
- Instant jam jar noodles
- Spiced kale and pistachio salad
- Honey roasted carrot and lentil salad
- Life changing leek and potato salad with salsa verde
- Red cabbage steak with lemon and parsley quinoa
- Aubergine and chickpea curry
- Butternut squash and chorizo stew
- Red Thai Curry with mango and coriander
SWEET GIVEAWAY BEFORE YOU GO:
Remember those Gü Hot Chocolate Molten Middles I mentioned earlier? Well they’re immense. And once Sugar Free January is over I will be rewarding myself with one.
But why stop there? If I’m having one then you guys definitely deserve one too! So to spread the love (and the chocolate joy) I will be giving away a celebratory gift box full of Gü goodies to one lucky winner at the end of Sugar Free January.
Here’s how you apply:
- Follow @spoonfulofhappyblog AND @pinchofyum on Instagram and/or Facebook.
- Fill out your own Sugar Free January Plan and take a photo of it – either on its own or with a delicious sugar free recipe you’ve whipped up.
- Share the photo on Instagram or Facebook any time between 2nd and 31st January and tag me @spoonfulofhappyblog AND Lindsay Ostrom @pinchofyum.
The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by me, once the challenge is over via the social platform used to share the photo (either Instagram or Facebook).
P.S These desserts are not suitable for a vegan diet. If you’re a vegan and want to join the Sugar Free Challenge, please do – I am more than happy to find a vegan alternative if you win!
Giveaway is for UK residents only.
— There are absolutely no affiliate links, collaborations or sponsors in this post. I just really like food and think Lindsay and Bjork are awesome. —