Healthy Monday Tip #1: Skip the Sugar (and the Splenda)

Thanks to your suggestions a while ago, I started listening to NPR podcasts on walks/subway rides/free time. One of my favorites is “Your Health” – a podcast on a variety of health-related topics. The other week I listened to one featuring the founder of The Monday Campaigns – Healthy Monday and Meatless Monday. I reached out to them asking what I could do to help promote the campaign, and I decided to start featuring a healthy tip every Monday going forward. Maybe I’ll try doing Meatless Mondays as well.

Healthy Monday is a public health initiative founded in 2005 in association with Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and Syracuse University. HM’s goal is to end chronic preventable disease in the U.S. by offering people and organizations a weekly prompt to start and sustain healthy behaviors, intentions, actions and initiatives. For most Americans, the week begins on Monday. Studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.

Healthy Monday Tip #1: Skip the sugar!

Yes, sugary food can taste good, but too much sugar leads to…

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Breakouts (skin) (click here for my skincare tips)
  • Weight gain and diabetes
  • Sugar addiction
  • Heart disease
  • Lots of other bad things

On this Healthy Monday, think about skipping the sugar in favor of something better – stevia maybe (I recommend NuNaturals), or perhaps nothing at all. Splenda-aspartame-nutrasweet-etc are just as bad (or worse) than sugar in my opinion, so try skipping them too (I am off of Splenda for over a month now!). Not everything that we eat has to be sickeningly sweet, right? Take this healthy scone for example…


Or my favorite macrobiotic meal.

Both completely sugar-free. Splenda-free, too. They are delicious and healthy (Monday).

If you are ever interested in submitting something for a Healthy Monday post, please email me!

Are you a sugar addict?

P.S. I FINALLY updated my yoga page. Have been meaning to do this for ages and ages now. Check it out.

25 Comments on Healthy Monday Tip #1: Skip the Sugar (and the Splenda)

  1. melissa @ the delicate place
    18 October, 2010 at 9:10 am (6 years ago)

    oh man. back in the day i could put away the splenda…that is until it completely wrecked my tummy. hello bloating and gas! i had no idea how awful it is for your system! i’m sugar free now (with the exception of maybe 1/2-1 piece of fruit every day or every couple days)

  2. Rachel (tea and chocolate)
    18 October, 2010 at 10:01 am (6 years ago)

    I just posted about finishing up the sugar-free challenge I started a while back. Skipping the sugar makes such a difference. I feel much better.

  3. Beth @ Life in Progress
    18 October, 2010 at 10:41 am (6 years ago)

    Glad to see this. You already know my feelings (and experiences!) on the matter. 😛

    • Maggie
      18 October, 2010 at 10:47 am (6 years ago)

      @Beth: Yes I do!! I like your new blog name 🙂

  4. Molly
    18 October, 2010 at 11:07 am (6 years ago)

    What do you think about stevia? I’ve started using Truvia, but I’m not sure if it does anything to cut down on sugar cravings, and there still is controversy about it.

    • Maggie
      18 October, 2010 at 11:17 am (6 years ago)

      @Molly: In terms of taste, for me it completely depends on the brand. I love NuNaturals but hate Trader Joe’s. I have tried a few stevia-sweetened drinks and thought most were gross. I do like “Zevia” which is stevia-sweetened diet soda. In terms of health, I think stevia is completely fine. I don’t think there have been any studies that have shown any adverse affects. The main “controversy” is that corporations using high fructose corn syrup and aspartame/splenda don’t want to have to make the switch.

  5. Cindy
    18 October, 2010 at 11:27 am (6 years ago)

    LOVE this topic and that you are doing Healthy Mondays.
    good for you!

    I have been 2 weeks off sugar (albeit just a tad) and LOVE IT. it’s not always easy, I am still eating carbs (and even now trying to manage that better) but the sugar.
    my biggest hurdle.

    MY SKIN is clearing up too! AMAZING. and I am starting to FEEL BETTER (read happier) less down, less anxious. I KNOW it’s the sugar. I had been so dependant on it for EVER.

    bad. boo . hiss.

    I have been off fake sugars (splenda, etc) since I got pregnant with the baby and never went back. I do have stevia and have been using it more now that I am off sugar but still not so much. really appreciating the natuaral sweetness of foods on their own.

    it’s getting easier.

    • Maggie
      18 October, 2010 at 11:38 am (6 years ago)

      @Cindy: I’m hoping to write more on it!! I just ordered a book called “Sugar Blues” that my mom recommended. Should be good reading 🙂 I accidentally had a bit of a sugar binge last night and WOO am I feeling it today. That’s partially why I chose this “tip” for healthy Monday 🙂

  6. Gaby
    18 October, 2010 at 11:42 am (6 years ago)

    I want npr podcasts! I’m going to check that out now.
    I don’t fret about the added sugar in some of the products I buy since I know I don’t rely too heavily on processed foods anyways, but don’t think it will kill me if some of my cereals or yogurts or whatever has some sugar, as long as it’s not HFCS. But at home I’m all about the honey bear 🙂
    I think a lot of stevia tastes kind of funny depending on the brand. nunaturals is bitter, and my grocery store sells something that’s ok but only in really tiny amounts. I think Truvia is the best tasting, but I hate buying things with that much packaging! Maybe that could be another topic for healthy Monday? Reducing waste when it comes to our food purchases.

    • Maggie
      18 October, 2010 at 11:55 am (6 years ago)

      @Gaby: Check out “Science Friday” too. Honey is my fave sweetener 🙂 I’m surprised that you found NuNaturals bitter! I think the TJ’s kind is horribly bitter but I like NuNaturals. I will have to try Truvia. And yes, that is a perfect Healthy Monday topic 😀

  7. Kate@andwhenshesays
    18 October, 2010 at 1:49 pm (6 years ago)

    I have truly become convinced that white sugar is the devil. 😉 I didn’t realize until recently how ADDICTING even just a little bit is – and how crappy it leaves you feeling after that initial high! It’s not worth it when you can feel so much better enjoying other things – sweet things, too! I am a big fan of Stevia and I like that the word is getting out about it. Imagine my pride when my mom told me that’s what she’s buying now!

    • Maggie
      20 October, 2010 at 11:28 am (6 years ago)

      @Kate: that’s great! I’m getting my coworkers and my family hooked on stevia too.

  8. Shelby
    18 October, 2010 at 3:44 pm (6 years ago)

    I stay away from sugar for sure! If it says sugar in the ingredients list, I will put it back (except for dark chocolate, I’ll let it slide). It makes me feel so gross!

  9. Rachael
    18 October, 2010 at 10:28 pm (6 years ago)

    I can’t do sugar anymore – I was one of those people who never craved savory foods, just sweets, and since I’ve cut them out, I’m a lot less up and down when it comes to sleep cycles and mood swings. And crazy cravings.
    Your macro plate pictures have reminded me that simple dinners are sometimes the best; I’ll definitely be making more of them in the future!

    • Maggie
      20 October, 2010 at 11:29 am (6 years ago)

      @Rachael: I always craved sweets too! When I cut out sugar I find that I’m definitely more regular in all areas of my life.

  10. Sarah @Gluten-free tries Vegan
    19 October, 2010 at 3:26 am (6 years ago)

    I confess, I am a sugar addict. I love sugar. Does agave count? I could give up sugar maybe if I had agave? And I just made some great cookies with agave. x

  11. Kath (Eating for Living)
    19 October, 2010 at 6:53 am (6 years ago)

    I was a sugar addict. I’ve cut it off, but I know I’m at risk at becoming like that again if I start eating too much of it again, and too much processed grains (white flour etc) that are not much else than sugar actually.

    I believe reducing sugar is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you want to do more, cut simple carbs and veggie oils.

    Thank you for posting this!

  12. Stephanie
    19 October, 2010 at 4:14 pm (6 years ago)

    I grew up on candy and have since changed my ways. I find that all of that processed sugar not only affects my body (fatigue, etc) but also my mind (depression, anxiety) and I feel so much better when I eat as close to the Earth as possible. I don’t think the body really knows what to do with all of this sugar stuff and that may be part of the reason why it seems everyone has digestive issues.

  13. Maya
    20 October, 2010 at 8:54 pm (6 years ago)

    I try to avoid calling anything unhealthy or having any “rules” around food, but I also try not to consume processed sugars or artificial sweeteners because I totally notice the ill effects they have on me. I am really into stevia, and after trying most everything out there, I have really found that I like KAL stevia the best! Have you tried it? I tried Nunaturals a couple years ago and remember it being pretty decent, but a little funny/off tasting for me.

    • Maggie
      29 October, 2010 at 7:28 pm (6 years ago)

      @Maya: I don’t really like “rules” either. The only “rule” I have right now is no artificial sweetener. I try to avoid sugar but I don’t really go out of my way if it’s too difficult. I will have to try KAL stevia! The NuNaturals doesn’t seem bitter to me but maybe they changed the recipe.

      • Maya
        30 October, 2010 at 2:53 am (6 years ago)

        Definitely give the KAL a try! Let me know what you think, it is my one true love as far as sweeteners go. I will have to try Nunaturals some time.
        Perhaps we could send eachother little sample baggies of our preferred stevias? Though I don’t know how the post office would feel if they caught us shipping white powder, ha.

        • Maggie
          30 October, 2010 at 9:39 am (6 years ago)

          Haha, definitely! I could see how that would look bad though 🙂

  14. Jill
    10 July, 2013 at 11:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Yes-I’m addicted to sugar. TRYING my best to kick it to the curb. I have zero control. Just packed back WAY too many cupcakes and am not feeling that great right now. Sigh-it happens….tomorrow is a new day.

    • Maggie
      12 July, 2013 at 9:53 am (4 years ago)

      @Jill: Oh no! Hope you felt better.

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