How My Family Quit Sugar, You Can Too!

How-To-Quit-Sugar  If you’ve been reading Lou Lou Girls for a while, you know that I have a 5-year-old little girl (Gracie) that has been having a REALLY hard time in school. She’s only in Kindergarten, but she just could. not. sit. still and FOCUS. It was really hard for me to accept when the teacher told me that she had to move into an all-day program. I know she is smart, in fact, I think she’s incredibly smart. I didn’t want my child to be the one that was disrupting the class, and I definitely didn’t want her to feel like she was dumb or not smart enough. How-To-Quit-Sugar I started doing some research online and found numerous articles that suggested that food dyes, sugar, and general bad gut health could contribute to ADD, and make it hard for children AND adults to perform their best. I read the book It Starts With Food, and we started making changes right away. (I highly suggest you read it.) We basically started a cleanse by eliminating sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, and any processed foods. So if it came in a package, we didn’t eat it. All whole foods, all the time. My kids are 8, 5, and 3-years-old. Oh, and did I mention, I’m pregnant… It wasn’t easy, but we did it, and so can you! The results were remarkable. After the first week, Gracie’s teachers started noticing a difference, and after 4 weeks, the change was undeniable. She was finally able to finish her work at school! She could finally do her homework on her own, without me constantly nagging her, and she didn’t throw fits anymore. How-To-Quit-Sugar I still remember sitting in her class, watching her participate in the lesson, and seeing her write the word frog on her own, without any help. I literally started crying. I was so happy for her. And she was so proud of herself too. So now you’re wondering, “How in the world did you get your kids to stop eating mac n’ cheese, suckers, treats, cheese snacks ,and fruit snacks?” Well, I’d be lying if I said it was easy sailing for all of us, because we had some really rough moments, especially with the 3-year-old. But here are my top tips for getting your family on board. 1- Start reading labels on your food! There are dyes in EVERYTHING. There is sugar in EVERYTHING! I bought a jar of pickles and there was dye in it!? What the… I don’t care if my pickles are glow-in-the-dark yellow. And frankly, I’m sure you don’t want that shiz in your food either. I think knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better choices you can make for your family. 2- Talk to your kids about food. Show them the label on their favorite cereal. Explain that you want them to be able to run faster, and concentrate better in school. Talk about your family food goals and plan a fun activity for everyone to do together when you’re done with your cleanse. 3- Start cleaning out your cupboards. You can either throw everything out right away, or you can simply run out of the foods that are off limits, and choose not to purchase it again. We started eating whole a week before our kids did, but we all ate the same food at home for breakfast and dinner. The big change occurred when we started sending a home lunch every day, and told their teachers, family, and friends that sugar was off-limits. 4- Planning is key. Go to the store and stock up on tons of fruits, veggies, eggs, and protein. Make a homemade mayo and ranch dressing. It’s an easy recipe, and it makes everyone’s life a lot easier. Click here for the recipe we used. Buy lunch boxes and a thermos for the kids or you to take for lunch. Pin recipes that you think your family will like and buy the ingredients to make them. 5- Think of it as a lifestyle change, not a diet. No one wants to put their kids on a diet. We just told them we were doing Whole 30 so we could clean our bodies and see if there were any foods that didn’t agree with our tummies. The kids really seemed to be on board with this, and I was impressed when I heard Gracie telling her friends she wasn’t eating sugar because she was trying to eat healthier. I also got a hug from my oldest, Max, one night. He said he was so glad he had parents that taught him how to be healthy. I cried…I’m pregnant after all. 6- Don’t get mad or upset if the kids mess up. Gracie came home one day and told me that someone ‘accidentally’ poured milk in her mouth, and she ‘accidentally’ drank it. She was so worried I would be mad at her, and I wasn’t. I told her I always love her, and I wasn’t mad that she drank milk, but I wanted her to be honest, because no one has that great of aim to spill milk directly into someone’s mouth. After that, her teachers told me that she reminded them that she couldn’t have sugar whenever someone brought a treat to class. 7- Expect people to think you’re crazy. Most people don’t want to feel guilty about the foods they’re eating and so it’s easier for them to tell you that you’re crazy then it is for them to admit that they could be making better choices. Stick to your guns, you know what’s best for your family and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. We are now just adding foods back into our diet. We all feel a ton better. We haven’t had a soda in weeks, and we’ve found healthy ways to make treats for the kids. My husband lost 10 pounds, and I lost 5, so I’m still below my pre-pregnancy weight. *I asked my doctor before I started the cleanse and he gave me the go ahead, but you should talk to your doctor before you start any new diet. Especially if you’re pregnant. I feel awesome! I don’t feel bloated and disgusting, and I haven’t had heartburn since we started; which is amazing, since I had it with ALL of my other pregnancies. I’m sleeping better, and we’re convinced that this is the way we are going to live from now on. We won’t ever buy processed foods again, we won’t eat food dyes, and we will cook our own meals more, and eat out less often. Of course, there are going to be birthday parties and holidays, and we’ll eat some foods that are off- plan. But, we don’t want to go back to the way things were. It’s really easy to do when you have a kid that needs extra help. I challenge you to read It Starts With Food, and see if there are some changes your family can make to improve your health and concentration. You can do it! Jessica 🙂

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54 thoughts on “How My Family Quit Sugar, You Can Too!”

  1. Jessica,
    Your kids are adorable and congratulations on your 4th! I pray everything will go great!! We have a similar problem with my 12 year old. This year we totally off sugar for her and on a low carb diet for my husband and I. It is extremely difficult for me. I have two 18 year old boys that has to have carbs. The oldest plays football and baseball, his senior year. I have to fix him lots of carbs and protein. Anyway, I know sugar affects everything from arthritis, to depression, to ADHD, to blood pressure and so much more. I am hoping we can keep it up.

    Many blessings and thanks for sharing your beautiful family,
    Diane Roark
    ouramericantravels
    recipesforourdailybread

    1. Diane, It is hard! I'm just so glad we have options, and that we could help her without getting her on medicine. I'm not against medicine, but I sure like to avoid it when I can. You're family sounds wonderful! Growing boys definitely need healthy carbs, especially if they're playing football!
      Jessica

  2. I'm so happy for your family – for sticking to it! This is something I definitely want to do and especially for my child with adhd. I'm glad there is medicine but I hate giving it to her and seeing the side effects.

    1. Tanya, Thanks! It definitely requires planning, but you can totally do it. I think it's helpful when the whole family does it together. Please let us know if you try it, and how your child does. I can't recommend it enough.
      One way we measured my daughters was that she would be rewarded with stickers every day if she was focused and tried to get her work done in school. The most she could get per day was two, and before stopping sugar, the most she would get was 3 or 4 for the WHOLE week. After only a week on the plan she starting coming home with 10 a week! It's really a miracle for our family. We still have work to do, but at least we're off to a good start.

  3. Jess!!! This is sooo awesome. I learned a ton in my zoning classes how dyes, sugar and gut health literally have an impact on every part of your body. People think I'm crazy for trying to not feed lenny processed things, but it's amazing the results you have when you do stick to your guns! Yay for you guys!

    1. I've been dying to have you zone my feet.Next time I see you at Grandma's I'll have to have a little session! I'm proud of you for doing what you feel is best for little Lenny. We should all just love each other more and stop judging. I hope people know that I won't judge them if they give their kids Mac n' Cheese. Heck I still have boxes in my pantry. I just think we can all make better choices, and a lot of the time I think people really just don't realize the amount of chemicals and unnecessary ingredients are in their food. Knowledge is power!

  4. I bought the kindle version of this book a couple of days ago and thought I will read it in the car on our way to California. Now I am dying to read it!!! That's incredible that you even did your kids!! So awesome

    1. I think it's so good to know the reason why we should try eating clean.It's not enough, for me anyway, for someone just to tell me to try something.I like to hear the reasoning and science behind it. I think that's why you should definitely read the book before you get started.

  5. It would to let me type. Anyways good for you! That's awesome. I'm sure it would help my kids too!! I've tried doing almond milk and I'm good with it and actually love it, but the fam doesn't. So much nicer when everybody is on board. I might need to try what you did after the vacay ????

  6. Great article, Jessica! I loved #7. It is SO true, people can think what they want to think, but we need to do what is best for our own family. Congrats on Baby #4 and sharing your story. I will be sharing this on our FB page soon 🙂

  7. I've been considering doing a bit of a sugar detox because my energy levels are up and down so much and then slowly adding healthy options back in and it was really interesting to read this, especially because you're kids where involved. I think it's amazing you did it as a family! I'd love to get my family involved, it'd make it a lot easier, but it's thinking of a way to convince my mum and for her to allow my brothers to take part – I may just send her this post, thanks for sharing : )

    Kathryn | Nimble Note

    1. Kathryn, I was honestly surprised at how much better I personally felt after being on the plan for a couple weeks. I still need a 10 minute power nap during the day, but I think that's normal for a prego lady. I sleep much better at night now, and I can fall asleep a lot faster than I used to. The book actually talks a lot about how the food we eat affects our energy levels and can either contribute to better sleep or keep us awake at night. It's amazing.Good luck getting your family on board! You can do this!

  8. This is a wonderful article and its wonderful that you have cut the sugar and dyes out of your whole families diet. That's really cute about your little girl milk story. I was also amazed when I researched a few years ago how much dye is in so many foods and not only that so many other chemicals. No wonder kids have so many problems these days. Its a shame that our government meaning the FDA doesn't care enough to stop this poisoning of our foods. I give you 3 thumbs up for your great job of doing everything you can to help your kids. Keep up the good work. Hurray for your whole family.

    1. Thanks Marla. It's really crazy how almost everything in the grocery store has additives and chemicals that we really don't need! I think it's time for everyone to stand together and stop buying these foods. Maybe then, big food companies will be forced to provide better, cleaner options.

  9. Wow!! Getting a kid not to eat sugar is awesome. My daughter was having the same problem with her daughter not being able t sit still and focus in school. When she was in kindergarten her teacher was more tolerable and really worked with her. But when she got in first grade it was a whole nother ball game. The teacher told my daughter the same thing about her daughter. So, my daughter took her to a doctor and they put her on meds. I hated that, I did not want her on meds, but it wasn't my choice. Now, my granddaughter has lost a lot of weight, because the meds curves her appetite. She was over weight, so loosing weight is not a bad thing, just not this way. I told my daughter that she needs to revisit the regimen. Maybe, she will see this post and think about changing her daughter's diet. It is amazing how much some of the things we eat effect us. Thanks much for sharing this.

  10. Wow!! Getting a kid not to eat sugar is awesome. My daughter was having the same problem with her daughter not being able t sit still and focus in school. When she was in kindergarten her teacher was more tolerable and really worked with her. But when she got in first grade it was a whole nother ball game. The teacher told my daughter the same thing about her daughter. So, my daughter took her to a doctor and they put her on meds. I hated that, I did not want her on meds, but it wasn't my choice. Now, my granddaughter has lost a lot of weight, because the meds curves her appetite. She was over weight, so loosing weight is not a bad thing, just not this way. I told my daughter that she needs to revisit the regimen. Maybe, she will see this post and think about changing her daughter's diet. It is amazing how much some of the things we eat effect us. Thanks much for sharing this.

    1. Trish, I'm sure medicine is the right path in some cases, but I'm all about trying whatever you can before you have to put your kid on medicine. It really is eye opening to see how many things are affected by your diet. Thanks for stopping by to read!

  11. Hi! I found your blog on Wine Down Wednesday, and I have to say, I don't think it's coincidental that I did! I did a Whole 30 last fall, and I had never felt better in my life! Lost a few pounds, discovered that I didnt NEED sugar in order to be happy, and I had ENERGY! Then I added sugar back into my diet, and it's been downhill ever since. I'm back to feeling sluggish, and I just feel gross! Anyway, I've been feeling the need to do another W30, and NOT go back, and this post was the push I needed! So happy for the results you've seen from your own W30!

  12. What a great post! It's great you were able to cut sugar and food dyes out of everyone's diet! 😉

    Thank you for linking up with us at the Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday Linky Party! Hope to see you again at our next party!

    Wishing you a fabulous week!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx
    Welcome to My Circus
    Co-Host OMHGWW

  13. I think its great you were able to get your whole family to stop using sugar, its not easy with kids, I did this last year and it make so much difference. A good healthy choice!!

    I think your post would be enjoyed on my Friday Feature Linky party,
    if you would like to share, I would love to have you stop by!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Karren

  14. You have a beautiful family, it is hard to make changes and sticking to it, glad you are doing it. Wishing all the best Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  15. You definitely are giving me something to aspire to! My son, who just turned 3, is very active and has a very short attention span most of the time. I mostly attribute it to the fact that he's 3, but I do sometimes wonder if he might be able to focus a little better if I were to cut out sugar and reduce processed foods. We already don't eat a lot of it – we eat a whole foods vegetarian diet and I cook most meals. But I do add a little sugar to our oatmeal in the mornings, and I freely admit that boxed mac and cheese is a staple on busy days. Perhaps one of these days I will take the plunge and try to cut it all out for awhile!

    1. Holly, I think you're probably right, it's perfectly normal for a 3-year-old to be busy. I also think making small changes can help everyone in the family. I don't think we realize how many weird ingredients are in the food we eat. Just take a look at the back of your macaroni and cheese! You could totally make your own at home, and it would be way better for you and better tasting! By the way- I am totally guilty of buying boxed mac n' cheese, I just won't buy it anymore, now that I know what's in it.

  16. This would be very hard to do but knowing that you had such a big change in behaviour so quickly is inspiring! I also agree that for this to be successful, you need a good plan. As for people thinking you have gone crazy, after reading your experience, I think it is all the people who eat too many processed and packaged foods who are crazy! Thanks for linking up at Mum-bo Monday

    1. Sugar is so delicious right! I figure you can do anything for 30 days, and then, once you see how much better you feel without it, you won't want or need it as often. It's all about baby steps though, and cutting out processed foods is a HUGE step! Good job!

  17. Jessica, thank you so much for sharing this post. I'll be featuring it at the Hearth and Soul hop later today. I can't image eliminating sugar from my diet as it seemed insurmountable but your tips make it seem really do-able – and the results it has had for your family are really inspiring. While I don't think my family and I could eliminate sugar entirely, I will definitely use your tips to help us cut down – and I know so many of my readers will love your post as well! Pinning, stumbling and will feature as promised 🙂

  18. I totally know this works! I've tried it with myself and my kids (I've fallen off the wagon since ha) and things were better. It's just hard because my husband is not on board with it AT ALL! So he buys candy bars all the time and makes brownies and cookies. It was too hard for me to fight against it. Of course the kid were with him. So we kind of half and half it. I do my part trying to feed them healthy foods. It would be nice to go cold turkey though. It's also nice to know I'm not the only one with a child that struggles with focusing. Mine's 12.

    1. I don't know if I could have done it if my hubby wasn't on board too! That would be so incredibly hard. I have ZERO willpower sometimes. In fact, I'm usually the terrible one. But, I'm proud of you for doing your best and make good choices at meal time. At least they're getting veggies at their meals!

  19. Jessica, good job! Though you are on a "stricter" diet than I am, I'm all about organic whole foods and avoiding dyes, etc. I eat a little sugar (but NO corn syrup) once in a while, but I would never criticize anyone for eliminating it altogether. Glad you're reaping the benefits!

    1. Jean, I hope no one feels like I'm criticizing them for eating sugar! I love sugar, like WAY too much. That's why it was great for our family to take it away for a while completely and see how much we were actually consuming. After our 30 days were up, I started adding foods back in, which included some sugar. We just try to make homemade treats, so we can control how much sugar goes into it. A lot of recipes that call for sugar can be replaced with applesauce or bananas, which still have sugar, but they also have the healthy fiber and vitamins that sugar doesn't provide. So we won't be on this strict of a diet forever.:)

  20. Great ideas! We eat all real food. No prepackaged anything. I can't cut out sugar and pasta and grains, though, lol. If I cut those out my kids would eat nothing. They love their fruit and veggies, and I'd love to do the whole 30 and slowly reintroduce some grains, but the idea is a daunting task which would involve to very cranky little girls and one incredibly hungry teenage boy. Maybe one day…. For now, we stick to all real food, with the hopes of me being able to get everyone on the no sugar, no grain wagon in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Danielle, it sounds like you're already making great choices for your family. Luckily for us, this was just a 30 day cleanse, and now we're slowly re-introducing grains and dairy.:)

  21. So many families struggle with this problem. Your real world tips for improving your family's diet are so valuable to all of us. My husband is a sugar-addict but I have not used processed foods, white sugar or products with high fructose corn syrup in years. I am so delighted that you shared How My Family Quit Sugar, and How You Can Too! with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I’m pinning and sharing!

  22. I'm so happy for your family! My family and I are incorporating the Whole 30 into our diets as well; we're not being quite as strict as we should be, but we already feel tons better! Thanks so much for sharing your triumphs with us at Talented Tuesdays!

  23. Thanks for sharing this amazing story! My own kids focus well, so we just try to limit sugar to reasonable levels for dental health, etc. But when I was a Girl Scout leader, I had a 7-year-old join my troop who was just constantly fidgeting, running around, interrupting everybody, and often freaking out screaming or crying. We had huge problems with her. When she was 8, her parents put her on a strict no-sugar diet. I don't think they purposely controlled anything else, just sugar. It was like a personality transplant!! Her intelligence and sweet personality became visible once she calmed down. It was absolutely worth all the label-reading I had to do when buying food for camp!

    1. It's really amazing what food does to our bodies. My little Gracie really is doing SO much better. I just volunteered in her class again today, and I'm constantly amazed at how different she is. She's the little girl I knew was down in there, she's just so much better at managing her emotions now. It's always great to hear that other parents have had success doing this too. 🙂

  24. Thank you for sharing this journey with us, I think we could all do with less sugar, preservatives and additives in our diets. Thanks for linking up with Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  25. I'm so glad your family has seen such amazing results from cutting out sugar and other chemicals. My husband and I are still struggling to be 100% unprocessed, but I LOVE these tips for getting your entire family on board. Just wanted to let you know I'll be featuring this post on My Favorite Things weekend roundup tomorrow! Have a great weekend!

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