One unanticipated restriction of the no-sugar diet is that we can't really go out to eat, which is probably a good thing. But we haven't been as strict as we maybe should be, and last week we bought some food from a restaurant that almost definitely uses refined sugar. No question about it. Most restaurants probably do (refined sugar, meet sauce), and unless you have access to ingredient lists, which aren't usually made available in restaurants (why not, anyway?), then you can feign ignorance.
It was kind of desperate, as most of our eating out situations seem. (And desperate times-->desperate measures, right?) Rarely do we PLAN to go out. But sometimes we neglect to plan anything else and as a result of dire starvation and time constraints, or sometimes peer pressure, we break down in the face of, in this case, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.
I guess in the vein of full disclosure I should also confess that we ate at Cafe Rio on Saturday due to the spontaneous invitation of a friend who we were transporting from the airport. It would've been rude to say no.
In some ways we've been willfully ignorant. I can safely say that we haven't purchased any groceries that include refined sugar, but we may have freely sampled sugary items when they've been presented to us (other people offering us bits of food, samples at Costco, BYU chocolate milk at the end of a Welfare Square tour . . . actually, that last one didn't involve ignorance in the least, but it was drunk by Tim anyway). We've also used some existing items that don't comply with regulation here and there.
Today is day one of our 60-day sugar challenge: avoid refined and added sugars entirely (with a few predefined exceptions).
Though the health benefits of naturally occurring sugars vs. commercially processed sugars are somewhat debatable, avoiding them as much as possible is going to reduce our sugar intake overall drastically, which seems like a good thing. And while sugar itself isn't all bad, it is responsible for lots of empty and unnecessary calories. We did inventory of our current holdings and were a little shocked at how many items that we didn't expect to contained added sugars. (Canned beans?) Also, sugar is often concentrated alongside fatty-fatty foods. (That's double fatty foods, if you didn't know, and I just now made it up.)
In our marriage, I've learned that Tim has little restraint when it comes to sweets. I'm just chuckling to myself as I recall how quickly he recently ate almost an entire carton of ice cream single-handedly. (That sentence seems overly burdened by adverbs.) So when it comes to these little "diets" (remember when we went vegan in March?), Tim is glad to have a reason to just say no.
Anyway, here's to a summer of not eating ice cream (normally a daily occurrence in summertime for me)! I'm kind of excited. And Meredith is benevolently joining us again. She went vegan with us in March as well, which probably wasn't her favorite thing ever. But she's trying to get on the healthier eating habits train, so she's being a sport.
If you're interested in our delineation between acceptable and unacceptable sugars, please see below.