I am just coming around the corner from my “annual-allergy-sickness-that-makes-me-so-sick-I-can’t-function” bout.  It happened while Dave was out of town which made it even worse to drag myself to urgent care and try to keep the house together.  BUT I’m happy to report that I can walk and wipe down counters now and there’s nothing like bouts with sickness that make you thank your lucky stars that you can walk and run and sleep and DO things you need to do.
I’m SO grateful for regular health…being sick is such a giant waste of time :).  
Which is sort of vaguely related to what I want to record today…as my little journal to top off the month of January (yes, I know it’s almost March…).
I mentioned this a couple times, but during a family council right at the beginning of the new year, Dave proclaimed he was going off sugar for the month of January.  
I was quick to join right in because I’ll tell you what, we went a little crazy with sugar around the holidays.  People were dropping off holiday treats right and left and at every gathering there was more and more…tastier and more decadent deliciousness. 
We needed to put a dead halt on all that asap.
We challenged the kids to join us and they all jumped on the bandwagon.  Ok, never mind, they didn’t all jump.  Some took a little convincing.  Namely Lucy.  
Now, before you get too impressed, it was just desserts, not everything with any sugar, and also, we had four cheat days taking into account Max’s farewell and three birthdays coming up.  
We didn’t want to overdo it, but we wanted to train ourselves to reach for good things that sustain and build muscle and brains rather than reaching first for junk food like we had been.
Dave took our deal a level higher and decided to go on a “cleanse” for a week.
He made it look pretty glamorous with his morning shakes and yummy cut-up fruits and veggies…glamorous enough that Max and Grace were motivated enough to join in.
Little did he know he worked himself into a full-time job whipping up the shakes and helping with the food prep.
He loved every second of it though. 
There is something so validating and wonderful about having self-control.  
Our meals were pretty comical, the three on the cleanse had to count all their calories pretty exactly and the rest of us were trying to figure out how to eat not to make them drool.  I could go into lots of details but suffice it to say that we all lost a few pounds in January, the ones on the cleanse and the ones trying to get by on the sidelines.
We all felt so much better without all that sugar clogging our bodies up.  
We were especially so dang proud of Lucy who is borderline obsessed with sugar.  One of the biggest things kids with her syndrome struggle with is weight which makes the rampant sugar craze all around extra rough for her…and for us trying to help her navigate through it.  She loves it like nothing else.  
But she stayed strong over and over in school and in her church class (we had both sets of teachers let us know how strong she on multiple occasions).  Claire too.  It seems like every gathering with her friends involved candy and soda and a run for some kind of treat or another.  Makes you realize just how much sugar makes our world go around.  You don’t realize how much it infiltrates so much of daily life until you’re craving it at all hours of the day.
But those girls stayed strong.  And we are still all alive to tell about it!  Ha!  It is amazing how much confidence is gained through doing something difficult like that.  I love that Lucy was sure to write Max a little reminder when he headed to the MTC to stay strong through the end of the month:

(and just in case you didn’t know, that is cursive…:)  Ha!  Love that Lu.

Anyway, I’m not sure the point of this post except to say that I loved watching the confidence of all of us grow and I loved how much better we felt as we made deliberate choices as to what we put in our bodies.  I personally fell off the bandwagon in February so now I’m revamping.  Is healthy eating always a balance for you too?  I just feel like I need to constantly re-evaluate the things we let come into our homes and our bodies.

I’m off to start on my “green smoothies” more religiously once again.  SO many great recipes and ideas in the comments of this post back HERE.

Similar Posts


  1. One thing that has really helped me is to just eat sugary treats once a week. That way I don't feel deprived, but I'm really careful about what I "spend" my sugar on. Love that you're posting about this!

  2. Look into Whoke30. Check out their website or instagram for great recipies. Also check out Sarah's post on Clover Lane….life changing and not hard!!

  3. Oh my word. You are speaking my language! I started a no-sugar and no dairy for the next few months. After only a week – fruit and veggies taste even more AMAZING!! It's a treat to have a mango or an apple, not just part of lunch or a snack. It is a challenge to stay on it, and my husband and I are constantly having to "get back on track" eating less sugar and other "less than helpful foods" every so often (usually when we start to feel sick or sub-par). It's amazing what food can do for/to you, depending on how you use it. 😉 Makes me even more grateful for the Word of Wisdom from the one who created our bodies!

  4. You may eat sugar or not as you like. I do like you only did it for a set time. Did a doctor tell anyone on the cleanse plan to lose weight or their blood work suggested they were not getting the right foods? A number in your family actually look very thin. That can be just as unhealthy as weighing too much. How does a cleanse work with athletics and the need for calories with the extra exercise? Having some children through no fault of their own have to gain and need to lose or maintain in the same family must be difficult. I'm surprised you just didn't do your parent's diet plan?

    1. can we please stop commenting on the thinness/fatness of people we have never met from the internet? i see comments on here all the time about how thin people think some of shawni's family is and it is no ones business to comment on. this post was about not eating sugar which everyone can agree is a healthy choice.

    2. I was speaking more of the cleanse than the omission of added sugar. Not only did some of them do a cleanse sounded like everyone lost weight. All her kids are in physically demanding activities most of the year. They have a pool and sports court I imagine are used well. This is not the appearance of an unhealthy family.

      I never called any of them anorexic or a binge eater.

    3. Amen. Commenting on a person's thinness or thickness is not called for. Period. You don't have to call someone anorexic or a binge eater for it to be rude.

    4. … and apart from that, I don't believe leaving out the sugar was about losing weight to begin with, but about its addictive nature and problematic effects on the metabolism and teeth.

  5. I am impressed with anyone who has self-control, because I lack it completely (as a matter of fact, part of my fasting during Lent is not reading blogs, because I would really have to sacrifice something. And that obviously works great…).

    I think sugar/treats are part of a healthy diet. And as always in life – the key is moderation.

  6. I encourage you and your family's decision in such a tough training. My husband and I have been off sugar for a year now. We started with the same monthly goal to get started. We loved the result so much we decided to keep going. Now here we are a year later, sugar free! What a difference it has made on our lives. But boy it was SO gosh dang hard! And every day we went without we would repeat in our minds "I've gone this long without it, is that cookie really worth all that hard work?" We still repeat that every time we come into contact with the choice to indulge in sugar. Honestly though, (not going to lie) we still have a sweet tooth. That part never really figured out how to disappear. We have learned to work around that craving with Agave, Stevia, Coconut Oil/Milk, and Honey. Plus through some fun experiments over the months, we have made our own no bake cookie recipe, goat milk and Greek yogurt ice cream, pies, cheesecake bites and (our favorite) whip cream! It has been helping.
    I encourage and support your decision and will be rooting you on! It CAN be done! It has helped us kick many other small bad habits we never realized we had and it gave us a boost of better self control! Our lives have benefited off of this decision.
    Thank you for your example in friendships, life values, way of living, and gratitude. I will be forever grateful for your family.

  7. I love that Lucy is writing in cursive. They don't teach cursive in the schools where we live, and haven't for about 16 years now. My oldest was taught cursive, but my 2 youngest were never taught it in school. My sister made some nice, formal invitations for the Young Women in her ward, only to discover, when they received the invitations, most of them could NOT read them– because they were written in cursive! It never crossed her mind they wouldn't know how to read cursive. So bravo to Lucy for her cursive writing. It is beautiful.
    Lisa in WA

  8. I am so proud of you guys! ESPECIALLY LUCY! With that lipton issue in her pituitary gland that tells her that she's always hungry, this is HUGE! Bless her heart! I'm so happy that you are able to get up and wipe down the counters and even write and post a blog! That was a horrendous few days. Being totally incapacitated is just the pits! Congrats on surviving both no sugar for a month and being strung out to the point of capitulation for several days! Whew! That was tough!

  9. I am so proud of you guys! ESPECIALLY LUCY! With that lipton issue in her pituitary gland that tells her that she's always hungry, this is HUGE! Bless her heart! I'm so happy that you are able to get up and wipe down the counters and even write and post a blog! That was a horrendous few days. Being totally incapacitated is just the pits! Congrats on surviving both no sugar for a month and being strung out to the point of capitulation for several days! Whew! That was tough!

  10. Hi! This is completely off topic for this blog post, but I wanted to comment where I was sure you'd see it, instead of on an old post. I have 3 kids aged 6 (just), 4 and 2. My husband and I have noticed some particularly nasty behaviour creeping in since the oldest started grade one and we have both been losing our patience and being quite emotional (cranky and blunt) when discipling because we are fed up with it. It has taken me 6 weeks into the term to get on track with getting job charts and morning routine charts happening and I blame this partly for the behaviour we have been seeing, because our kids crave structure and routine and responsibility. Anyway, I wanted to revamp our system from last year, which was only for the oldest, and get the middle one in on it too. She is only 4, but for some reason she is very grown up for her age and 'gets' a lot of things that sometimes even her 6 year old sister doesn't fully understand. A lot of our original system is quite similar, in principle, to your system anyway (I think my brain works a bit like yours, because I came up with it before I saw any of your posts on your money system), but I have changed it up to mean they now get money, whereas last year it was fortnightly pre-determined prizes (movie night, ice blocks from the shop after school, lucky dip from the toy shop, etc.) Are we nuts thinking a 4 and 6 year old will be motivated by money? We are planning on taking them shopping once a week in the beginning and then maybe monthly once they realise what money means to them. I struggle with this part a bit, because I'm not overly comfortable with the idea of shopping for the sake of it, and my kids are not very materialistic and I want to keep it that way, but I'm a stuck for ways to avoid that. I know you're very busy and there's probably a long long line of people ahead of me AND you're unwell, but if you have thoughts on what I'm doing, even if it's only 'yes, you are nuts and expecting way too much' I would love to hear them. Or if any one of Shawni's parents or siblings happen to read this and have any thoughts, my ears are open.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *