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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