Welcome to Living Sugar Free, my forum to raise awareness about the health effects of sugar and to help others take a break from sugar, maybe for the first time in their lives. Most people don’t realize just how addicted they are to sugar, how much sugar they are eating, and how much damage it is doing to their physical, mental and emotional heath.
Our programs focus on removing added high fructose sugars from the diet, which allows us to recalibrate our brain and body chemistry and change our relationship to food. I work with people all over the world, using the tools I used myself to help build a balanced, fulfilling, happy, and healthy life. High fructose sugars, otherwise knows as "free Sugars" are defined by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition as dietary sugars that provide rapidly-absorbed, concentrated doses of fructose. Fructose sugar is metabolized in the liver where it is quickly turned to fat, and contributes to obesity and many modern diseases. And, they are addictive. High fructose sugars are found in more than 50 different sweeteners including table sugar, honey, molasses, agave syrup and fruit juice.
Whether your goal is to live sugar free, take a break from sugar, or improve your health, we have several ways to help. Living Sugar Free offers one-on-one coaching, workshops, and an online 7-Day KickStart. Our programs, which provide an everything-you-need-to-know education on sugar, daily checklists, lifetime access to a private sugar free Facebook group, weekly meal plans with delicious easy-to-prepare recipes are designed for anyone wanting to quit eating sugar for a week, a month, or a lifetime.
When you're happy and healthy and feeling good, you are a better version of yourself. You are able to contribute more to your loved ones and to the world around you.
Give sugar a break, and discover a delicious new way of living
I lived my life controlled by chronic failed dieting, major weight fluctuations, isolation, depression, binge eating, and the shame and loss of self-esteem that comes with those. I always knew I had a problem. Since I was a child, my days were spent thinking about food, vowing not to eat certain foods, finding a way to get those foods and eating them anyway, isolating, feeling ashamed for doing so, and creating a plan for how it would all be different tomorrow.
I did everything I could think of in an attempt to free myself from this terrible cycle and the sense of living on the “outside” that was my life. I put my hope in every diet I heard about. I took days off work or skipped social events (including a family wedding!) to physically keep myself away from food. I tried not eating at all. I went to therapists and nutritionists who specialized in eating issues, but sugar addiction is just now beginning to be understood and accepted, and I couldn’t find any programs with a solution to my problems with sugar.
I was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired: my muscles ached, my jeans didn’t fit, I never slept well, my skin was blotchy, my face was puffy, my mind was foggy, I was chronically hung over, I was moody and depressed, and I was so lonely. In December of 2014 I made the decision that I would do whatever it would take to find my solution once and for all. I was desperate for a solution. But how to quit? I’d tried and failed, in fact, almost daily. I knew enough to know that diets weren’t the answer. Having tried everything else, I knew I had to find a new solution. I quit my job in a management position at a high-profile company (where I was never without a 1 pound bag of M&M's in my desk drawer) and made a full-time project of finding my way out of this way of living. I attended retreats on addiction. Workshops on healthy living. I studied at the renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I studied everything I could find about human biology and the chemical effects sugar has on the mind and body. And I stopped eating added sugars.
As the weeks, months, and years rolled on, one day at a time, I made small changes in my daily routines. I rolled out my mat and practiced yoga in the morning. I journaled. I made dates with my girlfriends. I started meal prepping and cooking my meals: pots of soup, hot cereal, roasted veggies and my all-time favorite breakfast: huevos rancheros. These might sound like small things, but to me, learning to take care of myself in these ways was a huge victory. I began to find joy in the ordinary actions of my day—going to the farmer’s market, walking my dog, cleaning my house, dancing (badly) when no one's around, spending time with a friend. As I started obsessing less and less about food, I found I had more time in the day for the activities and the people that I care about. And I began to experience more moments of peace. Those moments became longer and more frequent, and with them, came feelings I had not had in years, if ever. I felt: happy. Proud. I felt that I mattered. And I felt free. People around me saw the change in me and started asking for my help. I realized that through my efforts to save myself, I had created the program that I had been in need of all my life: Project Sugar Free was born.
Christy Carreño is an Integrative Health Coach, Certified Nutritionist and former sugar junkie. Christy sits on the Board of Directors of the Food Addiction Institute, is a graduate of San Diego State University and a certified yoga instructor.
Carolynn has written and developed recipes for every big magazine you’ve heard of and some you may not have, including The New York Times Magazine, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Gourmet, Playboy and The Los Angeles Times. Carolynn is the author and co-author of 15 books, the most recent of which, Bowls of Plenty, celebrates the intersection of healthy and delicious in the vessel of the decade: a bowl. Carolynn invents our meal plans, making sure you always have something delicious to cook and eat for every season and every occasion.
Brittnee is our all-around right hand girl, doing everything from grocery store runs to booking speaking gigs to talking to all of you nice people on the phone. That smile you see in the photo is pretty much always on her face. She is the happy, friendly voice on the other side of the phone, and the one answering your questions via email or scheduling sessions. Brittnee also assists in the kitchen with recipe development and testing. She loves cooking, exploring her new hometown of San Diego and taking long walks with her fiancé Nick and her golden retriever Charlie.
Katie is our designer: All those meal plans, recipes and cute insta posts you see that look so pretty, that's her work. Katie loves creating fun ways to get our happy, healthy messages out into the world. When she's not at the office, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling, exploring breweries and restaurants around San Diego, and going to concerts with her friends. She runs on good coffee, country music, and bad jokes.