The 5 W’s (and an H) behind No-Sugar September

The precision of freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils. The smell of a new box of crayons. The stack of blank spiral bound notebooks. Even though I am seven years out of a school setting (and now feel old), I get the back-to-school fever when September rolls around.

September is a time for fresh starts, and this goal-setting, Type-A girl loves a fresh start. In addition to starting fresh with my approach towards motherhood and writing, the Gardner household is making a major change come September 1st.

We’re going sugar free!

In honor of recess, lunch lines, and book reports, here’s the 5 W’s (and an H) behind our big, sugar-free fresh start.

No Sugar September


The Gardners: Tim, my tech savvy, youth pastor stud of a husband who just revamped his own blog, and me (Emily), amateur gardening, coffee loving writer of this blog.


No-Sugar September. Da. Da. Duuuuuun. Normally I’m all about the alliterations, but I liked the sound of No-Sugar September better than sugarless or sugar free September. For the month of September, we will not consume any refined sugar or white flour.


Our house. I have a feeling not many outside dinning establishments would comply with our No Sugar September dietary restrictions.


When I read about Bjork and Lindsey’s 60 days of no sugar in July, my interest was piqued but doing something similar was totally out of the question in August. We were going on vacation in August and there was no way I was giving up cinnamon raisin toast grilled and frosted at The Red Door or multiple helpings of anything my mom made for the sake of a sugar selective diet.

As I went though my mental calendar, I was pleased to discover that September was vacation, holiday, and major event free and would thus be suitable for a lifestyle altering diet challenge such as giving up refined sugar and white flour.

A minor glitch occurred when we got the opportunity to take a mini Labor Day getaway this weekend. The prep for No Sugar September has been time consuming and I didn’t think I could handle a No Sugar Roadtrip, so No Sugar September will run from September 3rd – October 1st. Four straight weeks.


Because I’m too much of a weenie to do a Whole 30 or go gluten free, BUT I was feeling in need of a system (mental and physical) refresh.

Food has always been an integral part of community and celebration for me, and I like it that way. However, at times, food has also been a substance I’ve used like a drug. Pregnancy and postpartum have been seasons of growth in developing a healthier relationship with food and I’m hoping No Sugar September will promote further growth.

Neither of us expect to stick with a strict no refined sugar, no white flour diet after September, but I’d like to integrate some of our No Sugar September food habits into our normal culinary lifestyle.

We aren’t doing this to loose weight, but we will be taking a few measurements as one way quantify the effects of No Sugar September.


We’ve been prepping for No Sugar September for the past month. I’ll be writing a more detailed post about getting started later, but our first steps looked something like this:

  • Read about Bjork and Lindsey’s 60 days sans sugar. *light bulbs*inspiration*
  • Wonder how I could convince Tim to go sugar free. Send him the blog post via email to test the waters.
  • With a little cajoling, Tim agrees. Hip hip hooray!
  • Spend August eating all sorts of sugary, carby wonderfulness since we’re giving up refined sugar and white flour in September.
  • Don’t replace the chocolate chips when the last bag is used for gooey cookies.
  • Start trolling Pinterest for refined sugar free sweets, because sweets are a top priority when menu planning.
  • Read Trina Holden’s new book, Your Real Food Journey, and get re-inspired by the delicious recipes that totally conform to No Sugar September.
  • Get serious about making a menu. Start replacing food staples with whole wheat, sugar free versions.
  • Make disgusting muffins. Wonder how I will survive September. Make Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp. Know I will survive since I can eat that everyday during No Sugar September if I wanted.

So, wish us luck! I will be posting tips, tricks, and recipes along the way. Have you ever done anything like this? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. Recipes appreciated, too :)


2 thoughts on “The 5 W’s (and an H) behind No-Sugar September

  1. I use Grade B real maple syrup as a substitute for sugar in oatmeal, farina and most of my baked goods. It doesn’t have the same sticky aftertaste that honey does. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way.

    1. We have friends in New York who make their own maple syrup, so I have a quality supplier :) I’m getting hooked on using maple syrup as a sweetener.

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