January 19, 2011

My Battle with Refined Sugars

So, it's come to that time again where I feel like I've finally had it with refined sugars. I don't know if it's because I've been eating it so much lately, but I can totally feel a difference in myself when I've been eating it. I feel lethargic and achey and just not my best. I've cut back on refined sugars before and I felt so much lighter and clearer (I don't really know how to explain it...I just felt sort of "better"). I've been trying to do it ever since I bought Alicia Silversone's book The Kind Life where she talks about giving up refined sugar so you can harness your "super powers". It's a really good book for those looking for a great vegan read! I remember when I used to work at a natural foods store, I was talking to a customer who said that she thinks the vegans she knew ate so much sugar because they're trying to fill the hole of all the other foods they have to give up. (She was dead serious too. I don't happen to agree with her, but it's always stuck with me) So, from now on I'm going to try and experiment with other forms of sweeteners when I'm making my desserts. I love agave, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup! So those are the one's you'll probably see in the future.

I'm not totally giving up on refined sugars, I'm just going to be saving it as a special occasion treat! (Plus I've found it really hard to make a good cookie without it.) So you'll probably see the occasional cookie made with refined sugars on here!

What's your guys' opinion on refined sugars? Have you tried giving it up before? What's your favorite alternative sweetener? Any tips?

Thanks Everybody!


  1. Hi Matthew,
    since I do not eat any sugars, I have no really good support on you topic. But if I could steer you away from agave, that would be awesome. Agave, is not what it is cracked up to be. If you must use sugar or a likeness, I would recommend Buckwheat honey, it is excellent for men and their prostate, it also breaks down cleanly. Stevia, is a good replacement, although expensive. I thought I would never give up sugar. I did last year and I went kicking and screaming, but now that the addiction is over, I cannot stand the sweetness of it, I am can tell even if a minute amount is in something I eat or drink. If you crave sweets, eat fruit. IF you want to make goodies definately go for all natural. Would you like me to post about stevia? I also did a blog on buckwheat honey and agave, if you are interested, just type it into the search box on my blog!
    What ever you decide I am sure it will be great!

  2. I have been a refined sugar addict for most of my 40 years. I can now say that I am sooooo over it! It's taken a lot of soul searching and awareness, good ole no-added fat, nutritarian vegan eating, a dash of yoga and viola, done! That s#@!is poison. I don't even want it anymore. It ages you with every bite you swallow. Anyway, if I can be of assistance on your journey, just reach out.

  3. I've also given up white sugar (also inspired to do so by The Kind Diet!) and cannot even begin to describe the difference I feel. I totally get the "lighter" feeling but also more centered, less anxious and I think juts all around more enjoyable to be around because I never get crashes like I used to.

    Here's a helpful table for making conversions from refined sugars to natural sweeteners:


  4. Viv: I've heard that agave isn't the greatest for you either. I'll have to do some research on that. But as a part of my vegan diet, I don't eat honey either. I just choose to stay away from any product that comes from an animal. I was never a big fan of honey anyway! I'm going to try Stevia too. I haven't had it in food items, just beverages before and, to me, it tasted like artificial sweetener (even though I know it's not). But I'll try it again!

  5. healthygirlskitchen: Thanks for the support!

    Kim: Thanks for that conversion table! Bookmarked!

  6. I have a problem with refined sugars, too. I do NOT purchase them or keep them in my house, because they are killer for me. I always feel terrible after I eat anything with refined sugar in it. I only cook using natural sweeteners (agave, maple syrup, etc.), and I still try to keep those to a minimum. I even feel bad when I use sucanat or turbinado...but I do it occasionally for a rare treat.

    I have given up refined sugars, and as you noticed, I felt to much better and lighter and free. After a while I didn't even miss it, and when I did have a bite or two, I noticed myself being able to let it satisfy me at that. I have to be careful though, just a little bit too much can set me over the edge!

    Good for you trying to experiment with other things. I always feel good when I've found a better option for myself! GOOD LUCK!

  7. Date syrup also works great at a natural substitute for processed sugars. There's only one ingredient: Dates. I bake with it often and it's usually cheaper than maple syrup or agave.

  8. I think I did see date syrup and date sugar at my local health food store! I'm going to have to go check them out! Thanks!

  9. I love the Kind Diet book!! I'm always raving about it. ;)

    Personally I love using maple syrup as a sweetener in coffee & such, but Whole Foods has vegan cane sugar in the baking aisle which I got for baking & such. Also, have you tried brown rice syrup? It's talked about a lot in the Kind Diet - but I finally found it near the syrup at Whole Foods. It's not quite as sweet as other syrups, but I kind of like it that way! It's a really nice alternative!

  10. I love maple syrup too! I think the vegan cane sugar is still refined though because that's what I use mostly. I have tried brown rice syrup too...I like it! I use agave more than any other non-refined sweetener though. I'm trying to cut back on all added sugars though. It's still a process!