test-#SwansonChallenge: Going Sugar-Free in January with
Food & Nutrition
#SwansonChallenge: Going Sugar-Free in January with "The 21 Day Sugar Detox"
Kaitlin W • January 10, 2014

Here at Swanson we love bloggers. They're brilliant, adventurous, fearless and admirable. We wondered how we could best work with them on a regular basis, and I had been fretting about my constantly growing sweet tooth. And then I saw a lot of hype surrounding the 21 Day Sugar Detox on Instagram and it all become clear: challenge myself and some bloggers to suffer do this with me!

After sorting through some amazing bloggers, we found three we decided to work with on this particular challenge (more to come later) and the work began. We sent them each a copy of the book we would be working from, and a credit to our site to assist them in their sugar-free efforts. So, today we're introducing you to our mini team of bloggers, the sugar detox book and the month-long challenge of going sugar free...

How Can You Get Involved?

We love our blogger friends, but we also love our readers and customers! So, to help you join in on the fun (or misery, depending on how it all shakes out), here are a few ways you can participate in Sugar-Free January and go at your own pace.

  • Instead of all-out no sugar diet, start small with sugar-free Fridays or sugar-free weekends
  • If you're a soda drinker, try switching your soda for some hot tea or ice cold lemon water...again, start small
  • Cut out all refined sugars, but still allow yourself to indulge with sweet fruits and naturally occurring sugar
  • Booze is sneakily filled with sugar, so eliminate alcohol from your diet and see how you feel at the end of the month
  • Walk past the vending machines at work, school, church, sports venues and pack a healthy, low-sugar snack instead

Do you have a sweet tooth? Think you're going to give this no sugar thing a try with us this month? Leave a comment and share your biggest challenge and what your goal may be...and any tips to help us out! Now, on to the book and our blogger partners...


Hi! I’m Meg!

You can find me on Instagram @megmo7. First and foremost, I need to give a huge shout out to the wonderful people at Swanson Vitamins for opening up this opportunity for me to torture myself for 21 days. JUST KIDDING (about the torture part, at least!) I am more than excited and enthused to be joining Kaitlin, Hollie and Laura in this challenge! I’ve never done any sort of “detox” or “diet” of this sort before, but after reading the book, I really don’t think I’d even consider this a “detox” at all. More than anything it’s going to be a learning experience for me and hopefully I’ll come out of it with better digestion, new ideas for recipes and overall a better grip on my sweet tooth.

I do, however, have a few things that I’m sure I’ll be struggling a bit without – but hey, what’s a challenge without a struggle, right? I definitely have solutions lined up to help me with these possible obstacles. For one, I have a pretty steady relationship with gum; spearmint gum in particular. This is the only thing that I really don’t have a solution for, since mints aren’t an option either. If anyone has any suggestions, do tell!

Another obstacle I noticed when I first signed up for this was the fact that almost all of my workout supplements (except for a select few) are artificially sweetened. Definitely stocked up on unflavored whey, BCAAs and sunflower seed butter from Swanson. I rely on peanut butter and a simple carb source pre-workout for a little boost, so sunflower butter will gladly be replacing the peanut butter (paired with a green-tipped banana, of course!) I will have to press pause on my pre-workout supplement, though. That’s something I didn’t find a replacement for, but I’m happy to see if I can survive without it for 21 days solely based on the fact that if I succeed without it, I’ll save myself a big ole hunk of cash by not needing to purchase my monthly supply of it!


Hi everyone,

My name is Hollie and I blog at Fueledbylolz.com. I am an avid runner and training for the New Jersey half marathon where I hope to break 1:24. In the past 7 months, I’ve moved three times (New York to VA to Texas to NJ) due to a military lifestyle. After my final move to New Jersey permanently, I ran my first marathon, New York City, and am now settling into actually living somewhere for a long time. Long story short, combined with these moves and since the marathon my nutrition hasn’t been the greatest. I can tell that I’ve been craving a lot more sugar. I wanted to do this challenge to reset my body and start fresh with a new training cycle for the NJ half marathon.

In my order I bought a variety of foods such as coconut oil, coconut flour, sunflower butter, protein powder and flax seed. I tried to find foods I had never tried before and mixed with the challenge.

When I originally signed up I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it was a challenge to limit sweets. While reading the 21 day detox diet book, I found they wanted us to limit many carbohydrate sources as well as processed flours (anyone that reads my blog knows I’m an avid flour rich pancake type of girl). All of this terrified me and giving up carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners is my worst food nightmare!

After reading the book, I knew there were parts of the challenge that might come easier to me.

I really like leafy green vegetables, I eat a lot of eggs and high protein sources already. Adding more leafy greens and vegetables won’t be a problem. I normally eat whole foods as well so once again that won’t be an issue.

However, I also have quite a few things that make me nervous.

I eat a lot of artificial sweetener (around 7 splenda in my 24 ounce coffee). I also have a lot of creamer and dairy in my coffee in the morning. I believe my morning coffee will be the most challenging of this whole challenge.

As I said before my favorite food is pancakes. I’ll hopefully be able to master making pancakes out of almond flour or coconut flour but I’m nervous to see how they will come out!

I’m also not the world’s greatest chef and I am terrible with complex and fancy recipes. I wish I could tell you I’m great at cooking and making new dishes; I’m not. I like simple dishes and while I’ll be trying many of the recipes in the book I will be trying to make simple dishes too.

My goals:

I hope to reset my palate and get myself back on track for my spring goal race. Nutrition is a huge component with running and I’ve been lacking it for the last few months. I hope this challenge will get me back on track and prepare me for a great running season in 2014. I also hope it will open my eyes with the amount of sugar I’m eating as well as well as show me different recipes I can use.

I’ll be posting more frequently on my blog about the challenge as well as training if you are interested in following along more in-depth. I’ve never done anything like this at all so I’m excited to try something new and challenge myself!


Hey there!

I’m Laura, and I blog at This is Thirty. I turned 30 in 2013, and am a new vegan, marathoner turned ultramarathoner, and a PhD student at the University of North Dakota. I also found out that I have Celiac’s Disease in late 2012, and have been learning how to fuel my runs and life in a healthy natural way that is also gluten-free. I blog about all of those things at This is Thirty, and include healthy vegan (and often raw) recipes, running tips, and other thoughts about training, a healthy life, and my own path to health and happiness.

I’m new to North Dakota, and found Swanson Health Products, a local North Dakota company, soon after moving here in my search for organic, vegan and gluten-free products. They have a store in Fargo, about an hour away, where I can get fresh, local organic goods and their online store is the more affordable option for healthy, gluten-free, dry goods and beauty products with shipping that is lightning fast! In finding them, I also discovered their blog, which is how I found out about the Sugar-free January challenge. As a vegan runner, I am always up for a new challenge, and after an indulgent holiday season as well as two weeks spent in France, I need a complete detox to get my body (and my weight) back on track in 2014! Sugar is a huge weakness of mine (#1 craving) and I’d love to cut those cravings out for good to be my best self as I run my first 50-miler in April. That’s why I was so excited to accept the sugar free challenge and can’t wait to start!

I have actually done a complete sugar detox once before – and I got crazy sick (a cold) in the first week, so I’m a little afraid that I’ll get sick again this time. However, up until the last two months, my life has been much healthier than it was before the first time I’d completed the challenge, so I’m hoping the detox will be a little less intense. I’m excited for the challenge and ready for it, but I know the biggest challenge will be breaking my food habits – namely snacking before bedtime and the food cravings that hit when I’m not eating enough to compensate for my training (i.e. I’m hangry). I’m going to make sure I’m eating enough sugar-free and calorie-dense food to prevent both of those and create new habits. My goal is not only to make it through the month sugar free, but also to build a healthy foundation with new habits for the rest of my life, which is why I’m not treating this as a diet, but as the first month of the rest of my life!

On that note, I’m making a few amendments from the plan recommended by the 21-day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo. Although I am eliminating all sugar, added sugar and natural sweetenings (this means you, honey and agave), I am not completely removing most fruits. I’ll eat 1-2 fruit servings a day, as appropriate for my training that day (i.e. more fruit on the longer training days), and include berries, ripe bananas, and oranges. The book rightly recommends that one training for a marathon or longer do the cleanse after the event is over, but since I regularly log 40+ mileage weeks, my “normal” state is with high mileage, so I’m going to train as normal (following the training plan in Relentless Progress Forward by Bryon Powell). I am also vegan, so I am not going to include animal products in my diet. Instead, I’ll focus on the healthy fats and protein found in avocado, nuts, soy products and coconut oil to ensure I’m getting what I need for training, life and health!

To do all this, I found amazing dry goods from swansonvitamins.com to support my path, including coconut flour which is a gluten-free flour that will meet my cravings for baked goods in a sugar and gluten-free way. I also ordered some unsweetened dry fruits to replace my sugar-loaded bars that I usually train with and tons of herbal teas to keep me well-hydrated. Finally, I found gluten-free crackers made from nuts (Pecan Nut Thins) that I can enjoy with hummus and other vegan dips for snacking (even late night snacking) to keep my cravings at bay and late-night snacking under control! The only other thing I need is fresh veggies and nut milks and I’m set for the month!

I’ll also be blogging daily about what I’m eating and doing at This is Thirty to keep myself accountable, so head over there if you’d like to see my daily progress. I’ll also check in here weekly with a weekly recap, my struggles and some of the new recipes I’m developing so you can join me on the journey as well! Happy New Year! Here’s to a new and sugar-free me in 2014!


Hi! I'm Kaitlin.

I am the Swanson employee who orchestrated this challenge! My sweet tooth has gotten a bit out of control in the past couple of years. I mean, not to an alarming degree. But I never, ever used to eat baked goods and munch on chocolate and I noticed lately that whenever I'm done eating lunch or dinner, I always want to follow it up with something sweet. This is new and needs to go the way of the Dodo.

So, this challenge came across my radar and I decided to drag some brave souls through the mud with me! I found them in our Instagram community and have loved every single second of working with them! Here are my concerns with this challenge: no wine and no Dove dark chocolate.

More to come as we'll be checking in weekly with our bloggers and updating you all on our experiences.

Interested in doing a challenge with Swanson? Let us what you'd like to do!