Sunday, March 20, 2011

30 Day Challenge, Day 3 (Sugar is in everything)

Friday.  Grocery shopping day.  I knew I'd be heading to at least two different stores, since my main grocery store doesn't stock items like sugar-free almond butter.

Much to my surprise, my main grocery store doesn't stock sugar-free mostly anything.  I guess I thought those options would just be sitting next to the full sugar versions that the rest of the world is eating.  And even though I've been reading food labels for years, I was genuinely shocked at how much sugar is in everything.  Even good wholesome lean Honeysuckle White turkey sausage.  You have to be smarter than the label.  Sure, you'll recognize sugar and corn syrup, but sugar hides behind many names:  fructose, sucrose, glucose, lactose, maltose, galactose, sucralose.  Take a second look at "evaporated cane juice" -- yep, sugar.  True, a less refined sugar, and perhaps marginally acceptable, but still.  For a longer list of sugar names, try this: .  I read the list to Ballerina, and she exclaimed, "What's galactose?  Sugar from space?!?"

I bought a bag of chopped dates recently.  The ingredients were "dates, dextrose".  At first, I thought dextrose was simply an anti-clumping agent, but I decided to look it up.  Dextrose is a naturally occurring sugar, one that dates are already rich in, but which is commercially derived from grains...doubly bad for Paleo eaters.

I popped a plain pitted date in Ballerina's mouth.   "Wow!  That's like candy!"  Yes.  Then I told her what I'd learned about dextrose and the packaged chopped dates I bought (and will be returning).  "Wait...they added sugar to this?  That's like adding sugar to sugar!"  My thoughts exactly.

America, it's time for an intervention.  You have put sugar in absolutely everything you eat.  You don't even know what food really tastes like anymore.  Try finding sugar-free beef jerky.  You won't see any at your grocery store.  Nope.  Not one ounce.  Sugar free ketchup?  Doesn't exist.  And why?  Why do we add sugar to that?  Have you ever opened a can of tomato paste?  That stuff is very sweet already!  Trust me, the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on...

Now, lest you think my rampage about the prolific use of sugar in our food signals a belief that sugar is all evil, please understand -- I have a love and healthy respect for sugar.  As a self-proclaimed kitchen chemist, I recognize and adore what sugar can do.  After my 30 day challenge, I plan to make a perfect, beautiful cheesecake for Superman.  But I won't be eating sugarfull foods all the time any more.  Sugar will be a rare experience in my life from now on.

So, what delicious things did we eat today?  Here you go:

Meal #1
Peach Melba Smoothie (coconut milk, frozen peaches, frozen home-juiced cherry juice, raw walnuts)

Meal #2
Almonds, prunes, dates, sweet peppers

Meal #3
Leftover lettuce wraps

Meal #4
Celery with almond butter, strawberries, clementine orange

Meal #5
Walnut-encrusted tilapia (cooked in coconut oil), zucchini

Meal #6
strawberries, raw veggies


  1. As I mentioned before, my sister has a violent intolerance to artificial (non-sugar) sweeteners. We don't do a lot of "diet" anything because of that, but she's discovered that if she take a couple of tablespoons of dextrose in water, she can tolerate things with HFCS in them. The human body is an interesting thing, isn't it? Sugar is really bad for some people, and for others it's the only sweetener they can have. I hope your journey helps you figure things out!

  2. I am starting to feel like you might be a fly on the wall of my life since you seem to know exactly what I am going though and have found the words that I cannot find. My hubby wants to go Primal, but with two kids and a life to live even shopping for nasty sugar filled american food brings on stress so the stress of finding recipes, finding the ingredients, and finding things that a one year old and three old will eat has kept me from truly taking the plunge into this lifestyle. I am glad your Superman sent me to your blog and I look forward to taking this journey with you.

  3. Becky, I'm glad you made your way here! Keep reading. I think you'll feel encouraged as you follow our experiment. And I really want to hear your feedback. Honestly, this ended up being a lot more do-able than I thought it would. You can do it!