Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites (Gluten-Free and Naturally Sweetened)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites (Gluten-Free and Naturally Sweetened)
- Actually, just coming off the season of Lent, I even love a meaningful 40-day challenge.
- But when I received an email from a friendly girl named Jacqueline last December — right in the thick of holiday baking season, mind you — asking if I’d like to participate in her course where participants Go Sugar Free for 60-day challenge?! Mmmm, let’s just say that I took a delicious bite of the freshly-baked ginger cookie I was munching on and decided this might be the place where I draw the line. Why?
- Well, first off, I was iffy about the course because I honestly didn’t feel like I really ate that much sugar. Or at least, by comparison, I didn’t eat as much sugar as I used to. Some of you have heard me mention on the blog before that I had a major candy addiction growing up. (Like, major.) My mom didn’t really keep it in the house, but you’d better believe that when I was at school, silly amounts of my allowance were spent on Skittles and Hot Tamales and Junior Mints in the vending machines. Then once I went to college and had the freedom to stock my own pantry, I became known as the girl who ate Nerds for breakfast (yes, there’s even an article in our college paper about this), as well as the popular hair stylist friend on campus who would give you a “free” hair cut in exchange for a box of Chewy Sprees. The staff at my summer internship even gave me a box with 20+ different kinds of candy as my going-away present, knowing how much I snacked on it at my desk. However, after college, I discovered that I enjoyed eating items that I baked much more than candy. And somehow in my mid-twenties, I miraculously weaned myself off of the candy habit almost completely, in favor of homemade sweets and natural fruits and such. Granted, at first the baked goods I used as a replacement were hardly any healthier. But over the years, I’ve moved into some healthier baking, and generally just crave (and eat) sweet much less. That said, when I received Jacqueline’s email, I was still in the habit of usually “balancing out” my savory meals with a little something sweet afterwards on a daily basis. But I was nowhere near as addicted to sugar as I used to be, so I felt like I was doing pretty good.
- Second, I was iffy about the the course because of the timeline. With the 60+ days beginning in January, I realized that the early winter session would overlap with the month that Kathryne and I were planning to spend in Austin, which basically sounded like no fun. We had a long list of restaurants that we wanted to visit, and I think anyone who travels would agree that eating out makes special diets and eating goals way more complicated. And let’s be real, I wanted some margaritas to go with all of those tacos!!
- Third, and probably most importantly, I was iffy about trying the course because the idea of going sugar-free sounded too extreme. After trying all sorts of diets over the years, I have come to the pretty strong conclusion that I enjoy an “all things in moderation” approach to eating. I have the luxury (which I’m well aware is a privilege) of not having any food allergies. But while many of my friends are choosing to go vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free or dairy-free or Whole 30-ing or what have you nowadays, I’ve decided that I enjoy having a little bit of everything. So I choose to try and eat as healthy as I can, with a few indulgences each day. Granted, there were probably a few more indulgences than I was willing to admit when I received Jacqueline’s email. But still, the idea of cutting out cold-turkey seemed a little much, especially for a food blogger.
- Of course, you know where this was going…
- After sitting on the email for a few days and watching my sugar intake as I went to holiday party after holiday party, curiosity started to seep in and I began to think it might be an interesting experiment to see if I could actually do it. If I could actually kick those sweet-after-savory cravings once and for all. If I could actually notice a difference in my body, in terms of energy and weight and shape and skin clarity (something that piqued my interest in Jaqueline’s description of the site). If I could learn how to make smarter choices when eating out in Austin. If I could learn how to cook and bake more of my favorite foods with natural sweeteners. If I could actually go sugar-free.
- Turns out, I could. And turns out, it was surprisingly easier than I expected.
- So for anyone interested, today I’m sharing a little bit about the Go Sugar Free program, what I learned from it (because you know I love a good 10 Things I’ve Learned list), and how I’m choosing to eat now that the course has officially ended. No pressure to read on if this isn’t your kind of thing. (I didn’t think it was mine.) But it ended up up being a bit of a life-changer for me, so here’s the story…