Last month our family did a "Refined Sweeteners Free Month" and it was just plan alot of work. I think it was great though. I learned alot more than I thought I would. I don't know that I want to do it again, I had to make pretty much everything from scratch and you know, that's alot of work! I make alot of things from scratch anyway, but everything had to be made from scratch. There was no last minute pizza runs or drive through food joint just because we're in a hurry. I had to plan everything out, days in advance sometimes.
By the middle of the month I was really annoyed with food companies. It seems to me like they treat sweeteners just like nicotine, they put it in everything, just to keep us addicted. It's no wonder that alot of people don't like homemade/from scratch, it's not as sweet. It might not even be as bad if companies didn't use high fructose corn syrup, but that makes everything so much sweeter than just plain sugar.
I'm not sure what the hardest thing for me was, could have been the baking bread 3 times a week, or never having a break from cooking, not being able to grab a bowl of cold cereal in the evening when I'm wanting a snack, maybe even not having condiments (mayo, steak sauce and definitely no ketchup!), and spices... like taco seasoning. Pretty much anything that makes our time in the kitchen easier or faster has some sort of sweetener in it. Dextose seems to be pretty popular as well as high fructose corn syrup.
Health benefits. There were quite a few!
Mood swings. My monthly cycles are not pleasant, but my mood swings weren't as bad. I was hoping they would be gone completely, but instead they just didn't last as long- like a few hours a day instead of every day for a week.
Migraines. I didn't get get them, that was a huge plus. I typically get migraines with my cycle as well, usually from a couple days before through the week after, so yes, about 2 weeks of migraines. Most of the time it's about 2-4 migraines during that time. Now, having said that, I did get headaches. I wonder though if I went "sugar" free for a year if they were just go away completely? My headaches weren't horrible and I took some Tylenol and they went away. I didn't have to sleep it off at all. During March I had cut back on sugars and I didn't have any migraines either. Now during the month of May, since we have been back on sugar, I had 2 or 3 migraines through my cycle.
Zits. My complexion was very clear! I can't complain too much about it normally, but I definitely noticed how clear it was without sweeteners. Now, I have no idea what made most of the difference. If it was actually not having sweetened things or if it was because everything was made from scratch and so I didn't get anything processed and avoided all the who knows what that they put in our foods.
Colds. We did get sick during the month. It wasn't too bad, I guess. I don't think it was any less or shorter. I know that sugar lowers your immune system though, so I would love to see how often we were sick if we actually stuck with it a year.
The boys did do better in school. That was interesting to me. I would love it if our schools went for no refined sweeteners. I would love to get my hands on their menu! I think it would be a hard adjustment though for the lunch ladies... I don't think there is even a stove or oven, just a microwave. But then, maybe avoiding the microwaved food was what helped the boys so much!
It was interesting eating "normal" food again after this. Doughnuts were disgusting. I don't know if they still are, I haven't tried again. We had lunch at Arby's. The bread and meat were both too sweet and didn't taste very good to us. I haven't even wanted soda pop. I'm afraid I would feel like I was drinking syrup. I feel gross now if I eat much sugar. I had 1 (yes, 1) semi-sweet chocolate chip and had to get a drink to wash that overly sweet taste from my mouth.
Sadly, I don't think we could do this for an extended amount of time, at least not being as strict as we were. If people ever invite us over or bring food to a potluck, there is sugar. Camping- that would be alot more work without some pre-made foods. That would mean I would never have a break from cooking, because anything frozen or made at a restaurant has sugars. Grandma would give us a bunch of fake sugar. Which in my opinion is even worse.