I quit sugar and eliminated it from my food groups.
Specifically, I eliminated refined sugars.
Sugar caused me to crave simple carbs and after a few days of eating desserts and sweet things, I would crave more sugars. It would cause a downward spiral of constant sugar cravings. That would cause me to feel lethargic and sluggish and experience inflammation in my body. I would feel things like achy joints and muscular fatigue.
For these reasons, I knew I had to quit sugar.
How did I quit refined sugar?
Eliminated Refined Carbs
I noticed that eating refined sugars would cause me to crave refined carbs (i.e., wheat pasta, white rice, white bread, etc.) and that wouldn't allow me to feel optimal so I didn't enjoy that. I increased my fiber intake (veggies) and fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles) and that created a healthier gut environment and microbiome. Having happier gut buddies significantly reduced my cravings for sweets and over time, eliminated sugar craving altogether.
Reach for Fruit
If I had a hankering for something sweet in the beginning of this journey of weaning off sugar, I would eat fruit.
I love fruit with a passion. I would aim to eat fruits low in sugar. My go-to is granny smith apples. Love them apples.
Bake my Own Cake
If I wanted a baked good, I'd make it myself. I cook low carb and low glycemic so everything I bake is sugar-free and gluten-free. I made lemon cake, pumpkin bread, date cake, and banana bread using almond flour, tapioca flour, and allulose (except for my banana bread, I just use the sugar in the bananas).
High % Dark Chocolate
If I eat chocolate, it's between 90% and 100% cacao. I find that this allows me to enjoy the benefits of chocolate what with antioxidants and polyphenols, without the downside of the sugar. Also, you eat way less high % dark chocolate, bitter in taste, than you would a bar of sweet chocolate.
This is a lifestyle choice I've made over the last several years and it's been amazing to see how much happier and energetic I am thanks to it.
I do not subscribe to food guilt or regretting what I've eaten. I am not a robot, I am human, which means, imperfect. Every now and then, during holidays or birthdays or if I feel like it, I might have a little bit of something sweet, but it's different now. Meaning, (1) I don't get as excited about sugary things (that isn't fruit or my sugar-free baked goods), (2) they don't have much power over me and I am able to control the portion size, and (3) it doesn't cause me to go into a downward spiral.
I don't feel deprived at all and my gut bacteria are happy!