FAQ

We get it – you’re an investigator. You want to know what’s going on before you give you time and effort to something. Excellent – you’re our kind of person.

You can get the basics on the program by using “The Program” drop down menu up top.

This page addresses the more nitty-gritty questions about the program, community, and options.

If your questions isn’t answered here – use the Contact Form and we’ll get back to you quickly.

Expectations

After about 20 days, a huge percentage of people in the program admit that the addiction is over and will be completely free from the chemical calling of eating processed or refined sugar. Some people notice their cravings have stopped by the second week.

Medically speaking, the detox is all but over after two weeks of no processed or refined sugar; your body isn’t demanding it like it was in the early days. By that point you are working mostly with habit, social pressures, and convenience.

Our goal in this program is to get you through 30 days without eating processed or refined sugar. That is the expectation. While we do not plan specifically for reducing weight, becoming more agile, having more energy, losing your facial wrinkles, or lowering your stress level, more than one of these will certainly take place.

Depending on where you came from: how much processed/refined sugar were you eating, how many other carbs are you still eating, are you moving your body in a way where you can burn fat, etc – your weight will be change to some extent. If you are here to lose weight, don’t just cut sugar and continue eating bread, pizza, and sit around for most of your waking hours.

That said, in the program we teach you how to set measurable and realistic goals, which can certainly include the goal of weight loss. We also challenge you to add exercise into your daily routine, which, along with eating sugar free, usually results in weight loss.

Everybody is different and the experience is variable, but most people experience increased energy and more restorative sleep, for starters. As your taste buds recalibrate, you will have greater awareness of tastes and smells. Some people crave more starch and protein at first, while some crave salt; it just depends.

Your GI tract patterns might initially change as your body rids itself of the toxins it has built up from a sugar diet. This might include gassiness and bloating, but do not fear—it is a very temporary side effect. People who experience headaches on a regular basis notice a decrease in those during this challenge.

Eating sugar free will only result in a healthier body, but if you are concerned about a specific medical issue, you should certainly consult your doctor before starting. We haven’t seen anyone come out of this challenge worse off than they went in!

Absolutely! This is such a personal journey and no two bodies will respond the same. That said, most people who go 30 Days Sugar Free report an increase in energy and mental clarity, more restful sleep, and generally better health. However, during detox the body might go through a host of changes including dizziness, nervousness, shakes, unexpected crying, and even a remarkably quiet mind. More often than not, a 16 ounce glass of water puts you right back on track.

Every day, you will receive an email with the link to that day’s Daily Page. The Daily Page contains a 2-3 minute audio welcome message from Barry and Michele. In addition, the Daily Pages contain a variety of modules including video, coaching for that day, engagement exercises, journal prompts, food suggestions, and other motivation for you to focus on throughout the day. Plan to spend anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes with each Daily Page. Each of those minutes are an investment in yourself and vote for how you want to be in the world.

You will also become a member of our Private Facebook Group, which is closed to the public. This is a safe place where you can post questions, comments, and observations, and get almost immediately feedback and support from the coaches and other members. We strongly suggest you visit this page daily, as it is so important to share this experience with, and get ideas from, others! Furthermore, you never know who you will inspire to take a look at their relationship to sugar.

Great! That’s a part of your process. We will encourage you to share it with the group and then find what you can learn about yourself – and come back stronger! There is a ton of learning in this program and not all of it is about sugar!

You’ll become more familiar with your triggers and how you handle them. In the past that may have meant eating something sweet. Part of this challenge will mean ‘standing in the fire’ and not covering your emotions with sugar.

Convert any guilt you have into power, and focus on moving forward. Reach out to someone – the FaceBook group, a friend who is doing the program, or even drop us an email! The point in doing that is to be accountable to yourself and keep it from turning into a ‘secret’ that empowers the sugar habit.

In the program we talk about different reasons for eating: coping, boredom, social expectations, because it’s there, emotional, and so on. Spending time with your sugar urges during the program and asking yourself where they are coming from will give you enormous insights into the reasons behind your behaviors, not just with food, but in other aspects of your life.

It’s happened before! During this challenge, you will discover new-found strength that you never realized you possessed. Conquering a lifetime sugar habit is hugely empowering, and this—along with increased confidence and increased physical energy—will carry into many other aspects of your life.

Logistics

Many people find that they actually save money by not indulging in decadent, sugary desserts and rich, sauce-laden entrees.

We provide a shopping list of items you should buy before starting the challenge; many of these you might already have in your cupboard. We do not ask you to buy more expensive organic items—that is a personal choice. You might also find yourself cooking more often rather than eating out; this is certainly a money-saver.

Bottom line: Change Takes Change. You aren’t going to fit this into your normal life and not expect it to look and feel radically different.

Unless you live under a rock, there is always going to be some event or reason that it would be easier to eat sugar.

Here’s what we ask, aside from your own wedding (don’t do this challenge on the month of your own wedding!), we recommend starting as soon as possible. You will marvel at the willpower you will acquire during this challenge as sugar releases its clutches on you. We advise not cheating intentionally.

Also, the word ‘cheating’ is so loaded and you won’t find it as a part of this program. You’ll be asked to rise above habitual eating habits on a daily basis and a good wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc is par for the course – and a perfect arena on which to challenge yourself to play bigger.

We’ve heard this one so much that we included a module on this as part of the Daily Pages – and here’s the nutshell version: The hardest part of this challenge isn’t going to be your family, it’s that person looking at you in the mirror.

This program is a lot easier when the people you are living with are on the same page, but of course this rarely happens.

Know that ‘change takes change’ and while it is a perfect excuse for never doing the challenge, don’t believe it. Most of the people that do this challenge have kids or a spouse that are strongly towing the standard, sugar-laden diet.

The others in the program who are going at it right along side of you are always there. Use them, and let them use you, for support.

Having emotional support at home is helpful. Remain a clear example of who you are during this challenge and let them see your strength.

Your family/housemates know what you are doing. Dealing with it is really their work. You are doing yours. If they ask you about your sugar free challenge, be vulnerable and honest. Share the struggles and triumphs. That transparency is a “welcome mat” for them to share what they are feeling and experiencing.

Your body will pull out every game it knows to get you to continue eating the way you always have. The physical, emotional, and mental pieces of you will even team up to get you to quit ‘this silly notion of sugar free’. Expect it.

We are big fans of sugar-free remedies to any ailment imaginable. A lot of that looks like healthy sources of nutrition. When meds are necessary for a cold or flu, we are fans of  this product for colds. This would also be a good time to use some of the 1/4 cup of organic, raw honey that is allowed. In the program we provide a recipe for homemade cough drops.

If possible, alert the host(s) that you have special dietary needs. If this is not possible, this is a good lesson in keeping some spare, perhaps homemade snacks with you at all times:  trail mix, a piece of fruit, etc.

We’ve been known to go to a party having already taken care of hunger. If it’s a dinner party, nothing wrong with arriving half-full.

Preparation is a huge key to success in this challenge.

It is important to keep track of your experiences during this 30 Days Sugar Free. That collection of scribbles will be your best friend in the hard moments that will show up.

If you have difficulty writing in an actual journal book, we urge you to use a computer. If typing is another deterrent, you can use a speech to text feature on your computer or smartphone.

You will be doing nothing short of  messing with your DNA over these 30 Days Sugar Free, and the more connected you are to yourself, the more centered you will be through the transition. That journal will act as a beacon during this 30 Days Sugar Free–and for years to come.

If you are expecting to track your progress just in your head, you’ll never recognize the changes. A lot of your brain doesn’t want this change, and it will mess with your memory and results. Access to a journal of feelings, thoughts, and a life clear of sugar will give you a valuable perspective of who you are.

Food

You might not. Stay with safe choices. For instance, order salads without dressing and entrees without sauces and marinades, many of which contain sugar.

For salad dressing, stick with oil and vinegar– most restaurants have these, or you can even bring your own.

Always feel free to ask your server to ask the chef, but when in doubt, choose a dish you know is safe. Be very specific about what you want when ordering. Don’t worry about being like Sally from the movie When Harry Met Sally – this is your challenge, your life.

Yes, fruit and fruit juices are acceptable. In fact, fresh fruit is going to be your #1 ally during this challenge. You are going to reintroduce your taste buds, and your entire system, to natural sweetness and fruit is a major source of that goodness.

With fruit juices, however, we recommend diluting the juices with water; usually a 4:1 water to juice ratio is fine, but certain juices should be diluted more. The cherry and mango nectar from Trader Joe’s, for instance, are intense and can be diluted to a 10:1 water to juice ratio.

Add juice to a flavor-free sparkling water for an extra fizzle.

We encourage you to stay away from alternative sweeteners during the 30 Days Sugar Free challenge. What we are doing in the program is allowing the body to reset and find the sweetness that exists in certain foods.

Alternative sweeteners tend to have their own addictive qualities, and their chemical-laden ingredients can do just as much damage to the body as sugar.

However, if you feel the need to use one, we recommend a couple of drops of liquid stevia.

Yes! Frozen mango, banana, blueberries, some milk, ice, and protein powder is a sweet delight and will naturally satisfy the call for sugar.

We suggest making your own rather than buying them at places such as Jamba Juice or at the mall, as there is often hidden (and not-so-hidden) sugar in those.

If you use any type of power additive in the smoothie check the ingredients closely. Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Powder is a great brand that is sugar free

OK! Now we’re getting to the question that is on a lot of people’s mind when they are considering this challenge!

Yes, you can drink alcohol in which no additional sugar has been added after the fermentation process.

Red wine is another good choice; stick to the more moderately priced bottles, as cheaper wines tend to add sugar to cut back on fermentation time.

We also give you a wonderful recipe for sugar free margaritas that will leave people drinking the traditional, sugary ones feeling envious.

Hard liquors are case-by-case. Vodka is sugar-free however if they are flavored, they aren’t. It’s 30 days – you can do this and the rewards are so worth it!

Absolutely! This program rules out added processed or refined sugars, and neither milk nor certain brands of plain yogurt has any. Dairy is a lactose product and lactose has a naturally-occurring sweetness.

Check your brand of yogurt carefully. You want to make sure it’s clear of any form of added sugar. All flavored yogurts have sugar. You’ll want to find a clean, plain yogurt and add your own nuts and fruits. This might be hard to stomach at first and will actually taste almost too sweet at the end of 30 Days Sugar Free!

As for flavored yogurts – no matter how pretty the label, think of them more as melted ice cream.

Make your own iced tea to go. If you can pull it off financially, organic tea is great.

Numi Mint

Good Earth

Both of those brew up strong and are amazingly delicious cold. We are also big fans of squeezing a lemon, lime, or orange into a pitcher of water and having it available. Add these fruits to soda water if you love bubbles. We do fruit juices, but seriously dilute them – something like 4:1 water to juice. Mango nectar from Trader Joe’s is intense and can be diluted 10:1 and still have a great flavor.

You should be drinking water all day long. It helps flush out toxins and keeps you hydrated. Try drinking water when you “think” you are hungry. Often dehydration manifests itself in feelings of hunger, but it is really water that your body is craving, not food.

You will want to drink water at least every fifteen minutes while you are awake – keep a refillable water bottle handy. You want to make it as easy as possible on your body during this period of detox.

If you ever feel thirsty, you waited too long to drink.

You know why that rice is sticky, don’t you? Yep – you guessed it. Rice is not only a carb that turns into sugar during digestion (fine for this challenge – it’s not an added refined or processed sugar), but sushi rice is also cooked with liberal amounts of nasty, white sugar.

Stick with sashimi (order it with a bowl of plain, white rice and you can mix them on your own plate!).

Also avoid fancy sauces, which definitely contain sugar. Use soy sauce and wasabi, both acceptable condiments in our challenge, and you’re good to go!

We recommend this in regards to honey: one fourth cup (that’s 2 oz) of organic, raw honey over the course of 30 days.

However–and this is explained in more length when you are actually participating in the program–it is really up to you to decide your definition of sugar. Similarly, it is a personal decision as to what specifically you are going to pass up during this challenge.

Some people will opt for no honey whatsoever; others will consider honey acceptable as a form of natural sugar.

Yes, honey is sugar. But if you use a raw, organic honey, there is no added refined or processed sugar. This, by definition, meets the criteria for our program, and for most people is such a radical shift from their pre-program life.

It’s a loophole and one that you can personally decide to use, or not.

And here’s that list of the Top 51 Names For Sugar we mentioned in the question.

This program disallows added processed or refined sugars.

As long as you choose whole grain breads and pastas that contain no added sugar, you may eat them. Our goal is to get you through 30 days without eating processed or refined sugar. After you succeed in that, you can start omitting other carbohydrates from your diet if you wish. (We suggest checking with a physician before doing that.)

You can eat chocolate during the 30 Days Sugar Free Challenge! We even give you recipes to several amazing recipes that include chocolate. The only catch is you’ll have to stick to pure chocolate – not the kind that is filled with sugar – and that really limits the choices.

We offer amazing recipes using fruit sweeteners and these recipes are often the first to go at potluck events we attend!

You can also use 100% pure cocoa powder, which is readily available at health food stores. Yes, it will be more bitter than you are used to, but you’ll be eating real chocolate instead of a bunch of chemicals!

Want a chocolate treat that will change your life? You have to try these!

The short answer is that the ingredients list trumps the nutritional label.

We put aside all foods that list any form of processed or refined sugar in the ingredients, but that does not mean we will eat zero natural sugar.

Let’s say that the nutritional label on a food reads 10 grams of sugar, but when you look at the ingredients, you see tomatoes, salt, lactose, and garlic. Some of the sugar is coming from the tomatoes (a natural source of sugar) and some is coming from lactose (a natural-occurring sugar as opposed to a processed or refined sugar), so this would be okay to eat.

Other times a nutritional label says 0% sugar, but when you look at the ingredients, you see clover honey. Yes, honey is sugar, but there is such a small amount that there is not enough to comprise a percentage of the serving size.

And for the purposes of our challenge, clover honey is technically natural sugar.