2019 No Sugar/Alcohol Challenge

If you’re participating in this years nutrition challenge you are probably wondering 1 thing…

What counts as Sugar?

I’ll do my best to answer that question, but there’s still a good chance that there will be some things that are up for debate. Lets just start with the very obvious things that we are giving up:

Don’t eat/drink:
Alcohol of any kind!
Sweet junk food like candy, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, etc…
Not sweet junk food like chips, pretzels, crackers, or anything similar that is eaten like a snack.
Sweet drinks, like soda and sports drinks, even if they are made with real sugar.
Fruit juice drinks or preserves, even if you juiced it yourself.

Most of these are a no brainer, except for fruit juice. The reason we are putting it on this list is because it could easily replace a soda and would have almost as much sugar. A good general rule to keep in mind for the next 5 weeks is this:

Eat your calories, don’t drink them.

Next, lets look at some foods/drinks you might not be sure about:

Yes, you can eat these:
Fruit whole, not juiced
Dairy products without added sugar

Another good general rule to keep in mind for the next 5 weeks is this: If it’s real food, you can eat it! Fruit and Dairy have naturally occurring sugar. Most breads have added sugar in the ingredients list. So what. The focus of this challenge is to give up the really bad stuff, not to be too restrictive about what you can eat. If you want to make yourself a sandwich for lunch, do it! As long as your milk or yogurt don’t have added sugar, you’re all good.

Now lets talk about some of the stuff thats debatable:

Maybe, it depends:
Protein bars or Shakes
Honey, Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup
Monk fruit extract, Stevia, Splenda, Raw Sugar…

This is where we have to really look at what we’re eating, when, and why.

Let’s start with protein bars and shakes. Most protein powders and meal replacement bars have added natural sweeteners, and honestly that’s not the worst thing. In a perfect world they would only be consumed pre or post workout. But if you look at the wall of candy bars by the grocery store check-stand I guarantee you’ll see a few “healthy protein bars” in there. They are being sold to you exactly like a candy bar, and you will probably consume it just like you would a candy bar…

To sum it up, a protein shake with some real fruit in it after your WOD… yes.

Tasty junk food flavored protein bar… no.

Next we’ll talk about things that are technically real food, are really sweet, and are often added to other foods to enhance flavor. Honey, Agave Nectar, and Maple Syrup.
Remember earlier when I said Eat your calories, don’t drink them?
That rule will help us decide if and when to use these things. One of my favorite vegetable dishes is a Brussels Sprouts salad. Honey and lemon juice are some of the ingredients. In this scenario…

I am making food and these naturally sweet “foods” are part of that dish, I say go for it.

If I was using any of these things as a sugar replacement in my drinks, so that I could continue drinking sweet drinks all day, I say no.

Remember guys, the main goal of this challenge is to cut out the alcohol and junk food.
Eat real food. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep.
Even though that sounds simple, it will still be a big challenge. Stay focused on the things that really matter.

Let’s make it through the work day without that sweet drink we like.
Hello black coffee, bye FitAid.

Let’s eat dinner and skip that dessert.
Eat a little more real food, feed those sore muscles.

Let’s make it through the weekend without all those adult beverages.
Its only 5 weeks. The results will be worth it!

If you still have questions, ask! I am here to help and support you guys!
Let’s go CrossFit Palm Springs!

Matthew MartinComment