Our 2013 Resolutions: Sugar Detox and No Spend Month

It’s new year’s eve. 2013 is just hours away. And our family’s working on spending the last of our holiday vacation together, as well as talking about how we’d like to begin next year together.

Cole, our 7 year old, asked each family member what their new years’ resolution was at this morning’s family brunch. Wesley (2yo) nodded in agreement at our suggestion that he try to figure out this whole potty thing in 2013. Finian wants to learn to read. Cole says he’s going to focus on being happy, making friends and being a good brother. And then the kids asked us what our resolutions were – and we all agreed, as a family, to focus on two things: eating and buying less junk.

Resolution #1: 21 Day Sugar Detox

Just before December, Stacy and I had decided to have a weight loss competition to motivate us to not over indulge during the holidays. We did really well until, of course, Stacy injured her shoulder and resultingly lost all motivation and I rediscovered my love for eggnog. Alas. Rather than wallow in our failures, we have decided to start off the new year with a 21 Day Sugar Detox.

What is it, you ask? Well it’s a program by Balanced Bites, founder NYT bestselling author Diane Sanfilippo, that intends to reset your palette for the taste of sweet things so that you emerge with significantly diminished carb cravings. By the time you’re done, you’ll have improved blood sugar regulation and appreciate the subtle sweetness of grapefruit – just like our pal The Paleo Mom from The Paleo View, who is also doing this detox with us – among MANY other bloggers.

Frankly, we find strength in the willpower of all our online friends doing the same thing at the same time. It’s easier to tell myself I don’t need chocolate if I know Hayley is having the same struggles. AND, best of all – all of us bloggers will probably be posting sugar detox-friendly recipes since it’s what we’ll be eating for a few weeks. I loved Hayley’s truffles and Juli’s carrot cake pudding last year!

This program is one of the few Stacy is able to complete with her history of eating disorders. It simply focuses the mind on whole foods that are naturally low in sugar. It is our hope that the crush of holiday indulgences and the continued cravings after them that ruin people year after year will be overcome successfully (again) by this program.

This is not the first time we’ve done this, of course. Stacy did this last year essentially three times with significant success. We hope that you join us in this to give us support and to hopefully help you resolve any of your own issues. We even did it as a family, and explained it to the kids with this book.

What will our 21 Day Sugar Detox look like, you ask? Well, last year Stacy documented exactly what she ate during her January Sugar Detox. Really! Here’s Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. Need more ideas? How about these recipes?

I’ve started a new Pinterest board for all the 21 Day Sugar Detox-friendly recipes we track, including those above.

We find that our success in the removal of sugars and dense carbs is highly driven by our intake of fat. So you’ll notice our linked recipes are fatty and often include bacon. Sweet veggies taste amazing after a few days of your pallet changing – like carrots, tomatoes, etc. We’re looking forward to no longer thinking about sweets every evening and satisfying cravings with nourishing foods!

Resolution #2 – No Spend Month

In addition to the sugar detox, we’ll also be using January as a No Spend Month.

The concept is described at Growing Slower, but we’ll be adapting it to our own family’s needs. We’ve established a budget ourselves, but more importantly we’ll be choosing to buy things based on whether it’s a need or want.

  • Apples for the boys’ lunches? Need.
  • Rib eye steaks instead of something in our freezer? Want.
  • Chocolate bar? Want.
  • Buying ingredients we run out of and use regularly? Need.
  • Eating out? Want. Although existing gift cards in our possession may be used if a “almost-need” arises.
  • Buying another Skylander or Pokemon pack? Want.

Our goal is to try to always make the most affordable choice. No short cuts. No Redbox movie rentals when we’ve got a ton available On Demand and on Netflix. If someone outgrows shoes, new ones must be found on super clearance or a thrift store.

This Christmas holiday highlighted a frightening fact for us: we have too much stuff – none of which we seem to truly appreciate appropriately. We’ve gotten into the habit of overspending and buying stuff when we want it, rather than asking ourselves if we really need it.  For example, I have acquired so many books over the years that there are many on my shelf that I haven’t yet read, three years later. Stacy has shoes and jewelry that have been worn only once. And the kids and their toy collection? Don’t get me started.

Not only that, but so much of our senseless spending is disposable spending as well. How often are we eating a restaurants or buying fancier food when we have a giant freezer full of frozen grass fed meat? And do I really need to go to the movies when it will just be on TV in a couple months?

So we will be cutting way back in January and learning to appreciate simpler living together as a family.


Both of these resolutions are “challenges” for ourselves to get back to how we really want to live our lives long-term. Reduced sugar intake and spending less to appreciate more are things I’m hoping carry over into all of 2013 by us really buckling down in January. Whatever your resolutions are, I hope they’re realistic so that they can sustain you all year long too!

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  • Hayley Martin

    Do you know anywhere you can get the concept of the 21 day detox without buying it. I just shelled out a fortune for a training program and I really want to do it but I just can’t afford another expense. Any advice will help!

  • Growing Slower

    I’m so excited you’ll be participating in the No Spend Month Challenge! I love your strategy of defining want versus need. It is so simple, but can have such a huge impact!

  • I am excited for yall’s share. Especially if Stacy might be sharing some of her AIP meals! Whootwhoot for good food that helps you feel good!

  • I LOVE both of these resolutions! They both ring so true for me. I too will be joining in on the 21 day sugar detox (and hopefully blogging about it, which is new to this fairly exclusively style/lifestyle blogger! :)), and can’t wait to hear about your experiences. I’m so heartened by the success that Stacy’s had with it after eating disorders– the Whole 30 has always felt too much like a trigger for me, and has been hard to accomplish with any success, but I’m feeling so much better with the focus on the 21 DSD, just as you mentioned. Looking forward to doing it along with so many others like you guys! Good luck! 🙂

  • W

    Stacy and Matt, you should look at northwest edible life by Erica Strauss. She does a breakdown of their no spend month and is dead on with helpful tips and suggestions. Although her Ideas are so good that Stacy might undertake a whole new set of stuff and you will wish I had not mentioned her name 😉

  • Cool idea. I’m also doing the 21DSD, and I think I’m going to join you in No Spend Month. I just went to Costco, so the timing is great–I’ve got no need to buy anything.

  • Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

    Love the idea of no spending! We have doing budgets (Dave Ramsey) for years but can’t seem to stick to them. This is a great way to get motivated and pay attention to what we really NEED 🙂 Thanks for the inpsiration!

  • Lisa L.

    We are also doing the no spend month but out of necessity instead of choice. My husband’s job status changed and he will be making less money. You have to realize that many people live this way all the time. We cannot afford to indulge in “wants” in the next month since needs will be more important. Living grain free/paleo and on a pretty strict budget will be hard but we will survive. Good luck all of you!

    • Lisa, we too have lived frugally before out of necessity. This month is to remind us that is more the norm and we needn’t be so indulgent to be happy.

  • We are doing the no sugar and no spending thing too. Although we have decided to go a whole year for the most part of no spending except on needs. It has been really hard to stick to no sugar and it is only day 2, ended up making us some of my chocolate milk, the only good thing about that is it is completely paleo. We have been sick for over a week now and my planning ahead and grocery shopping has kind of gonna to the way side. So we are having to do the no sugar with whatever I have on hand for the moment. I am really thankful that you have posted some recipes I was starting to get desperate and thinking we were going to have some really boring days ahead of us.

  • Kate @Eat, Recycle, Repeat

    Can’t wait to make some caramelized beef broth brisket & I’m going to start a no spend month February 1st! I already try and shop at second hand stores before going new. My favorite quote to rely on is from the book Gifts of the Sea. Paraphrasing, I ask myself whether what I want to by will burden my life (ie clutter it up) or add value to it.

  • Lynn

    May I ask what eating disorders Stacey had? As a former ED sufferer I find stories of recovery inspiring. Has Stacey ever written about it?

    • I gave details on this podcast with PaleoForWomen’s Stefani – but I was bulemic as a teen, which then led to simply binging and over eating without the purging as I got older. It really wasn’t until Paleo I learned to moderate food – the concept of food reward in our community is very interesting to me, it’s definitely a chemical and hormonal thing with me that’s very delicate. http://paleoforwomen.libsyn.com/episode-six-stacy-of-paleo-parents

  • I need to do a sugar detox. I made it through almost 50 days last year and felt so rebooted! It is so hard though. Not so much with actual sweets but I love sauces, I love honey.

    We REALLY need to spend less. I went to BJ’s and spent $400 the other day. Right before I went I complained about how much we spend. :/ I hate to admit it but it was literally an overflowing cart of meat, cheese and produce. It looked like I bought them out!

  • Thanks for the update Stacy! It is so encouraging to hear that not spending is hard for other people too. 🙂 We went waaaaay overboard for Christmas, and now we’re paying the price. I am far too indulgent with my son as well – it’s so hard not to cave abd give our children everything they ask for.

    • And I replied to the wrong post. I’d love to blame my phone, but it’s user error. 😛

  • Ashley

    I really think I’m addicted to sugar and really want to try this out! I’m a little nervous that this isn’t the best time but need to just bite the bullet and do it! Thanks for the recipe!! Polishing off my last bag of candy before I start!

    • Ashley

      Also, has anyone done this as a vegetarian? Its a lot of protein and seems harder to find recipes for Vegetarians!

      • Ashley, there’s levels in the program for vegetarians 🙂