It’s become clear to me that my idea of sugar free is a bit stricter than the average person. It’s been interesting comparing notes and food diaries with Maddie in recent weeks as we go through our Sugar Free Challenge. That’s not to say that one of us has the right method and the other one is wrong. But there is certainly a difference in perspective.

Now I could be wrong and I shouldn’t speak for Maddie, but this is my understanding of the sugar free rules in her household during this challenge:  She has removed refined sugars, processed foods, ready-made cakes and biscuits. They eat all fruits and use honey in their baked goods.  Pretty good, I think. Certainly, the reduction of processed foods makes a tremendous difference in their consumption of sugar.

But here is where we differ in our approaches. The second she mentioned being sugar free, I immediately resumed the approach I’ve had toward sugar for the past year or two. Although I have to admit it was quite lax during Nov and Dec, by which I mean I was eating bananas regularly, homemade almond butter and dark chocolate cups and homemade protein balls made with dates.  Honestly, that was my food blow out.  Now that I’m back to my usual routine, I rarely eat fruit other than blueberries. I’m not baking with honey or any other sweetener and my stash of protein balls is gone.

Do I think sugar has to be so all or nothing? Well, yes and no. I’m not very good at telling myself that I can have one sugary day if the rest of the week is sugar free. I’m not good at eating half a banana and saving the other half for the next day. I tend to be all or nothing. If I’m not eating sugar, then I’m not eating sugar. And my definition of sugar has broadened tremendously due to the books I read like, “Salt Sugar Fat” by Michael Moss and “Metabolic Effect Diet” by Drs. Jade and Keoni Teta. I look at sugar now more from the perspective of how my body reacts to food, rather than whether something tastes sweet.

I recognize that my approach is not for everyone. Most of my pals and colleagues are a bit startled if we get into this conversation and I voice my opinion. And because they know that I don’t eat gluten or vegetables in the nightshade family, they assume that my approach to sugar content is just another overzealous diet idea to which I subscribe. And perhaps it is. Perhaps a few months from now, I’ll read something in a few different sources and completely shift my thinking about what constitutes sugar. That shift could be just around the corner.  It wouldn’t be the first time that I have altered my tactics as a bit of an experiment on myself.