Although it might seem like giving up sugar would be nearly impossible, this woman did it for a four weeks and made it look easy and, dare we say, like a tasty month-long project.
In her BuzzFeed story, 30 Days of Meals With Absolutely No Added Sugar, writer Arielle Calderon revealed what she ate to improve her health, wean her body off sugar, and lose weight — and the dishes not only look delicious, but also affordable and easy to make.
In addition to giving up obviously sugary treats like desserts and soda, Calderon wanted to eliminate all added sugars, artificial sweeteners, syrups, and even less-conspicuous foods such as honey and agave.
"I think many people associate sugar with cookies and cakes and whatnot, but what people might not realize is sugar is hidden in 74 percent of packaged foods," she wrote. "This includes breads, pasta sauces, dressings, etc."
She also limited her fruit servings, so she wasn't relying on them as a sweet-tooth substitute and thereby defeating the purpose of the challenge.
The list of recipes Calderon relied on includes a variety of flavorful, homemade meals packed with veggies and protein including spaghetti squash boats, cilantro lime cauliflower rice, veggie-packed grilled cheese sandwiches, zoodle pasta dishes, seafood-loaded tacos, and more.
Not only did she transform her health and food habits, but she also saved a lot of money.
"Because sugar is in most packaged foods, I'm being forced to be more creative with cooking, using mostly whole foods," she wrote. "And because I'm planning out my meals, I'm saving way more money and buying fewer groceries throughout the week."
By the end, Calderon claimed to have fewer headaches, improved energy, fewer cravings, and she lost 3 inches from her waist and hips.
"Doing a sugar detox is seriously hard work," she wrote. "Planning ahead and meal-prepping was key to my success. Making the majority of my own food is the best way to guarantee no added sugar, and preparing saved me both time and money."
Her expression in the final "after" photo tells us the work and sacrifices were worth it.
"The most recognizable difference is my smile," she wrote on Instagram. "I legitimately felt so much better afterwards, it was very eye-opening."