Today is August 1st, the first official day after the #StrikeSugarChallenge. Just in time for another summer weekend, no doubt filled with loads of reasons to celebrate and 48 hours in which to go crazy with food and drink. Everybody wants to know, “Now what??” I am here to help ward off the mass worry you may be feeling, the anxiety of what to eat now that the challenge is over. You have carbed out, leaned out, sweated it out, cut it out and eaten more protein and greens than you have in a long time. One Sugar Striker from the Columbus, Ohio wrote, “I have eaten greens I have never heard of and so much of them that even my poo is green! This is a new first for me. I feel clean!” Yes well, plenty of greens will do that to you but back to how to handle your first day not Striking Sugar, the best approach is to ward off mass mayhem and sugar surrender by sticking to the nutrition plan written out for you in Strike Sugar but now adding in various fruits and vegetables that for the past four weeks were verboten.

That means that eating 6 small meals a day is still the ideal way to eat to keep your blood sugar in check. Also eat foods that are local and in season because these are not only the cheapest but they are at their nutritional peak. Here in Southern Ontario I can already get my hands on local peaches and other stone fruit that is mouthwateringly delightful this time of year. Cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, peppers are onions are spilling out of my garden and I’m going to eat them all! I’m going to grill peaches, pickle cukes, steam green beans and eat loads of kale and chard because they all taste so darn good.

My hope is that as a result of the Strike Sugar Challenge, you have lost your desire for sweets and have developed a new and beautiful relationship with fruits and vegetables. Foods such as watermelon, corn, potatoes, carrots and all other produce can now be eaten as part of your Eat Clean Diet lifestyle. You can go back to eating dairy, if you tolerate it well, although I still recommend you eat the plain, full fat kind and not the stuff full of sugar and fruit. The trick is still to remind yourself that processed sugar and foods are still sugar and you probably don’t want to go back to your old ways of eating them in wild abandon after all the hard work you have just done.

If you find yourself staring at the cupboard or peering at shelves in the grocery store wondering if that food should go in your stomach or your grocery cart, do what one Sugar Striker does – check the label on the package. If she can’t read the ingredient or pronounce it, it’s processed and it’s not coming home. She makes a point of only buying foods with 4 or less ingredients. She calls herself a Grocery Store Dropout. I think I have probably seen this gal in the grocery store!

With regard to grains, if you are tolerant of grains, then go back to eating them but with a new respect; not too much and soaked overnight first. Try fermented grains too especially sourdough bread and dunk it in extra virgin olive oil to help slow down the release of carbs into the blood. Remember the old fat and carb pairing lesson? Fat is your friend now.

If you feel grand right now because you kicked the sugar habit, then stay feeling grand by eating in much the same way as you did over the last four weeks. I hope you made awesome progress by Striking Sugar. The Sarahs, Toms, Julias, Ednas, Franks and Igs of the world have shown me and the Tosca Reno community just what you are made of and you are awesome, committed, focused people. So glad you are on my team as Sisters and Brothers in Life and Learning. Support each other. I will be checking in frequently to answer your questions.

But for now, don’t worry. You’re awesome and sugar free!

Love and hugs, Sugar Free Sugar Striker, Tosca

PS. And if you didn’t Strike Sugar but want to know more, start anytime – start now. There is no wrong or right day – just do it.