I was asked if I wanted to be part of the virtual book tour for the new book “Year of No Sugar” by Eve Schaub. The book is about the author and her family’s quest to remove all added sugar from their diets for an entire year. This means sugar in all forms: brown sugar, powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave, molasses, fruit juice, or artificial sweeteners… and they learned that this stuff lurks nearly EVERYWHERE!
I think it’s highly commendable that the author did a project of this magnitude with not only the support of her husband and children, but with their participation as well. She has two daughters (11 and 6 at the time) and they played the game too… even if it was hard for them!
The older daughter kept a journal throughout the year and some of the snippets included in the book from that journal made it clear it wasn’t all fun and games and was a rather difficult undertaking. It also seemed a little sad that it was almost like missing out on some aspects of childhood because sugar is so ingrained in everything.
Eve Schaub photo credit Stephen Schaub
They did find that they got sick far less when their consumption of added sugars was reduced. The children’s absences from school during that year was dramatically lowered. Their palates changed as they became more sensitive to the levels of sugar in foods.
But it didn’t sound like any fun. It seemed kind of sad at times! And I felt bad for the kids, especially since the entries from the daughter’s journal that were sprinkled throughout the book made it clear she was not enjoying it! But the fact that the kids stuck to it out of their own volition is admirable.
They made a family dessert each month, coming to a consensus about how they would “splurge” and savored that treat. They ate a lot of “banana ice cream” (frozen bananas in the food processor) in their early days and treasured family recipes were adapted as the author started to use dextrose in place of traditional sugars. There are several recipes in the book that use those. However, since I don’t have dextrose and I didn’t feel the need to order some just for the purpose of testing, I didn’t make any of those! They learned they had to make their own breads for the most part, since purchased breads didn’t meet the standards of their project, and store-bought tomato sauce nearly always contains sugar so they made that themselves.
I admit, the whole time I was waiting for the moment where they proclaimed how it was an amazing/awesome/worthwhile/recommended experience. But it seemed like the conclusion was that it was something they did, it changed some aspects of their life forever, but overall… they succeeded and then the challenge ended. They do carry on with things they learned, some of their staples are now always homemade instead of purchased.
And I’m scared to look up the YouTube video that triggered her whole journey because I like sweets and I don’t want to eliminate them completely! It’s just too extreme for me. (My eating disorder flew into full gear when I started eliminating entire groups of food… this seems disordered to me.)