My Story

Hi, I’m Caroline! Welcome to my blog. Here I share the healthy sugar-free and mostly vegetarian recipes that I enjoy on a daily basis. In addition to being sugar-free, many of my recipes can be made gluten-free and allergy-friendly. I include ingredient substitutions when possible, as well as nutrition and allergy information to help you choose the best recipes for your needs.

A quick note: I’m a dietitian located in Saint John, New-Brunswick and my first language is french.

Why sugar-free?

Sugar addiction is a thing. I know this because I experienced it myself.

See, most people with an interest in nutrition have a reason, a past experience or something that made them realize the importance of taking care of their bodies. This is my story.

It started around 2010 when I was 16 years old. At the time, I ate a good balanced diet with the occasional splurge. However, as the year went by, those splurges became bigger and they came more often. By the end of 2010, I went from being satisfied with one chocolate bar to eating a whole bag of chocolate chips and needing more. Almost every day after school, I’d go to my room and secretly eat anything with sugar until I felt sick. This included anything from breakfast cereal to granola bars to chocolate. Sometimes all in one night. I went to the gym every morning, hoping to undo what I’d done the night before, just to find myself binging again that same night.

It escalated like this until the summer of 2011, when I was at my worst. I was thinking about food every minute of every day. Food controlled me. Naturally, I had gained weight. I went from being about 110 pounds at 5’2, to 140 pounds in a year. The only reason I didn’t gain more weight was because I exercised and dieted to undo most of my binging. I wasn’t comfortable in my own body, feeling self-conscious everywhere I went.

At the end of that summer, something happened. I got a new perspective and I regained control of my eating habits. Food wasn’t the enemy anymore. I saw food as fuel instead of trying to eat the lowest number of calories possible. In a few months, I had lost 20 pounds, and I felt confident again. That confidence, along with my new found love of healthy food helped me keep my good habits for 2 years. When I graduated from high school in 2012, I even decided to study in nutrition.

During my second year of university, in 2013, I started dating Shaun. As sweet as he is, he always surprised me with my favorite chocolate. Little did I know, I was slowly falling into my old habits. Don’t get me wrong, I would never blame him for what followed, it was bound to happen anyways. At that point, I was hopeless. I didn’t know why I lost control over food and I was scared that I always would. What scared me the most was that I was gaining weight from binging and I was studying to become a dietitian. How could I tell people to eat healthy when I wasn’t even able to do so myself?

Unsweetened Caroline

Overcoming a sugar addiction

My binging went on for a few months and I gained about 10 pounds before I went for help in September of 2014. If I could go back, I would of gone for help the first time, because that’s what I needed. I learned that I have a sugar addiction, something that is surprisingly common, but that a lot of people ignore. The thing is, sugar is as addicting as many drugs and the only way I could overcome this was to stop eating sugar for good. Not just for a month or a year, but for LIFE. Hard to hear, but I had no other choice. It was either living without sugar or living for sugar.

So here I am in 2017, three years without sugar. Was it hard? Yes. Does it get easier? Definitely! I no longer obsess over my weight or the calories I consume. Instead, I focus on my performance at the gym and the way my body feels when I eat. I also exercise because I learned to love it, not because I’m punishing myself. I now live in an apartment with Shaun and it gives me control of my environment. One of the most important things when recovering from a sugar addiction is to avoid having easy access to sugar. Being able to stop any food that causes cravings to come in the house is a big help! 

With time though, I’m gaining more control. Three years without sugar and I’m now comfortable baking a sugar-filled dessert for my family or keeping chocolate in the house when I’m buying Christmas presents. I’m so used to living without sugar that I never even consider eating it anymore. Yes I do get cravings sometimes (I’m still human!), but I’m able to satisfy them with fruit-sweetened desserts or even just a fruit or a small piece of unsweetened chocolate (you get used to it). I’ll always have to be careful not to go back to my old ways, but it does get easier. It really does!

I don’t follow a restrictive diet, but because of my addiction, there are certain things I have to avoid. I don’t eat any added sugar. This pretty much excludes any processed food. I limit myself to homemade desserts sweetened with dates, raisins, bananas or any other fruits. I avoid having any refined wheat at home, including white bread and pasta, but I won’t stop myself from eating some at the restaurant once in a while. I also need to avoid eating too much salt and fat since these can become as addicting as sugar if I’m not being careful.

What do I eat? I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, a little bit of fish, dairy and poultry and no red meat. I don’t like using a label to define the way I eat, but if I had to, I’d say I’m a flexitarian. Most of my meals are vegan or vegetarian, but I won’t stop myself from enjoying salmon once in a while. I do treat myself with sugar-free treats on occasion. I don’t believe in restrictive diets, I believe in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. 

Unsweetened Caroline

Unsweetened Caroline

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Amy Rosebrock | 15th Oct 17

    I too went from 5’8″ and 127lbs fit and loving my body to an unhealthy 196lbs in nearly a year due to eating any and every sugar candy, cookie etc… I could find.
    I ended up with very bad Candida overgrowth in my body and THAT became a vicious cycle of infections.
    If you go to your OB-GYN they give you antibiotics for the candida infection, but those antibiotics would lower my immune system and with my overweight and unhealthy state, I’d end up with some other bacterial infection. Then they would give another antibiotic and that would only cause some other infection to happen and then is would go full circle to the candida infection becoming worse and never going away.
    I tried everything I could buy over the counter at the pharmacy, health food stores etc…
    Then after 6 months of this and falling into the worst depression I’ve ever endured and being at the heaviest weight ever of 198lbs… I stumbled onto the Candida diet site and that was a slap in the face!
    None of the doctors I went to mentioned sugar, not one!

    The next day I took a notebook and wrote down every gram of sugar I ingested.
    By mid day and 1400 grams of sugar, I snapped. Seeing that number and only being half way through my work day and knowing that a healthy human should only have 28 grams of sugar in an entire 24 hours… I broke.
    I realized what a fat unhealthy slob I was turning into and that looking at that total 1400 grams, it was slow suicide.
    That day I decided to stop. It was more than obvious that I was out of control and could not safely handle eating sweets.
    The greatest thing I ever did was decide I can no longer eat sugar.
    With the words “I cannot have sugar, because it will make me sick” and when people asked if I was diabetic, I just said “YES (If I didn’t feel like explaining) or NO, but it’s for health reasons”, they would back off with offering me sweets. Life became easier.
    At first I cut out all sugars, limited my carbs to once a week and only once a week and cut out fruits.
    In 6 months without ANY exercise 68 literally fell off of my body ( I know that is not normal for everyone).
    I was back down to my healthy and comfortable weight of between 127-130 lbs.
    Since then I have become a full force believer in a no sugar added lifestyle.
    I have slowly re-introduced fruits carefully since some are too sugary to not cause problems, but in smaller amounts are fine. Also I have found that eating rice noodles instead of wheat or flour noodles is just as good when you find the right brand of rice noodles.
    Sugar-Free for 6 years now and feeling great!

    Between probiotics and eating right the candida issue stays in control and I am able to enjoy a normal intimate life with my husband again and since then so many wonderful people have also found the dangers of sugar and have become life advocates that share their experiences and recipes like YOU!
    Because of that, finding your favorite recipes and learning ways to make them, that are NOW HEALTHY is a possibility.

    The worst feeling is feeling like you cannot eat anything because you do not know of alternatives or ways to make it on your own.
    Between sites like yours, Paleo, Candida diet etc… There are possibilities and really tasty alternative options out there. Plus even local grocery stores are starting to carry good tasting alternatives, more and more.

    I stopped sugar for my own reasons, but since then have found that if I accidentally eat even a little bit of sugar, I know it the next day because I wake feeling depressed, stiff, brain fogged and or grumpy or feel sickly.
    It is amazing how truly BAD for us sugar is and it was literally at a huge point of our lives in nearly everything you bought at a grocery store, in unhealthy amounts.
    More and more doctors are linking it to mental issues like depression, ADHD and numerous other mental and physical issues, on top of obesity. It’s unreal!

    I try to help as many people that I can that show interest in removing sugar from their lives, the sites that I have found that offer the ability to eat without feeling like you are going without.
    Thank you for sharing your story and keep it up, YOU and what you are doing is very much appreciated!!!

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 26th Oct 17

      Thank you for sharing! I’m happy that you’re feeling better and I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes. 🙂

  2. Gloria | 14th Aug 17

    I’m so graceful I found your blog and met you. You really point out for good how much people need help yet how little our society aims to prevent rather than repairing the damaged afterwards. I find your blog so rich and inspiring and I love the minimalism you chose for designing it! Your story is motivating too, and you take great pictures! I’ll definitely try new recipes, thank you for all you’re offering! @gloria.uderzo on Instagram

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 14th Aug 17

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment Gloria, it means a lot! I’m so happy you like it. I hope you’ll love the recipes as well! 🙂

  3. Angelique Binet | 13th Jan 17

    So happy to have met you on your blog! I’ll follow you for sure! Are you on YouTube as well?

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 14th Jan 17

      I’m so happy you found it! I’m not on YouTube yet. My priority is my internship at the moment, but it’s a project I would love to start after. 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes and have a great weekend!

  4. Genevieve | 29th Dec 16

    Salut! Ton histoire est vraiment inspirante. Elle ressemble a la mienne. L’été dernier j’ai vraiment dérapper.. Je ne pouvais pas passer une journée sans chocolats, patisseries ou muffins, etc et j’en mengeais jusqu’a en avoir mal au coeur, comme toi! Je me souviens d’une soirée ou j’ai mangé 4 gros muffins aux framboises, 1 barre de chocolat et 2 chocolatines aux amandes, je voulais vomir après tout sa !! J’ai été chercher de l’aide au mois d’aout quand j’ai décidé que j’en avais assez et que je voulais prendre controle sur cette dépendance et j’ai commencé ma désintox a ce moment. Ce n’est pas toujours simple a comprendre pour les gens en general, on dirait qu’etre dépendant au sucre est normal et les gens pensent que je me prive pour maigrir… J’ai eu une rechute a Noel apres ma fin de session assez intense .. Je suis décue mais je suis maintenant prete a commencer 2017 en beauté et couper le sucre de facon definitive! Comme tu dis, les desserts composé de vrai sucre sont si bons et honnêtement je trouve sa encore meilleur que le sucre raffiné!! Merci pour toutes tes belles recettes (qui sont excellentes!!) et d’encourager plein de gens comme nous a poursuivre cette bataille contre le sucre raffiné. 😊

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 30th Dec 16

      Allo!

      Merci de partager ton histoire, je te comprends complètement! Je sais comment c’est difficile, surtout en période de stress, mais j’espère que tu continues et que 2017 soit bien pour toi. C’est vrai que les gens ont tendance à penser que la dépendance au sucre est normale. J’ai toujours l’impression que les gens pensent que j’abandonne le sucre pour maigrir moi aussi. Entoucas, quitter le sucre vaut la peine! Merci beaucoup et bonne année! 🙂

  5. Melari | 13th Aug 16

    OMG. Story of my life. I also didn’t realize sugar addiction was a thing until I gave up on sugar. Now I’m finally in peace with my weight, my cravings and what I eat.
    And I’m so glad I’ve found your gorgeous website for more recipes inspiration!

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 14th Aug 16

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that you found my blog and I hope you’ll love the recipes. I’m so happy that giving up sugar worked for you too! 🙂

  6. Peter Graves | 13th Jun 16

    ok, so as a sugar addict, what was your thoughts on vegetables. I personally can’t stand them(though I eat them because I need to). So the idea of replacing a lot of what you removed from your meals with veggies is a hard sell. Does removing these other items from your palette increase your joy of vegetables

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 13th Jun 16

      Hi! Personnally, I love vegetables, but I don’t eat more of them now that I quit sugar. I still eat a lot of grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and fruits, so I probably don’t eat more vegetables than others, but I love trying to get my recommended daily servings without having to eat a giant bland salad with every meal. I tend to sneak some in most of my meals. I always add greens to my smoothies (you can’t taste them and it’s an easy way to add one or two servings a day). I add a lot of vegetables in my sandwiches, burgers and pasta sauces for example. When I do eat vegetables as a side, I often roast them to make them more enjoyable or add a delicious homemade dressing to a salad to make it more flavorful. Now that I don’t eat added sugar, I must say that my body craves whole foods instead of sugar, so I sometimes do find myself craving a big salad. 😉

  7. Michelle | 29th May 16

    You are such an inspiration. I’m also a sugar addict type of person. I do realized that I pushed myself to exercise more just to burn those extra calories that I ate previous night so that I can felt less guilty. This kind of exercise for punishment is stressing me out and I don’t know how to cut down sugar intake. I been trying to eat more healthy but I can’t resist the temptation of eating sugary treats. Do u have any advices so that I can stop punishing myself for exercising and share some easy vegan recipes so that I can start out to satisfy my sugar craving?

    • Unsweetened Caroline | 30th May 16

      Hi Michelle! Thank you and I know it can be difficult to stop the binge cycle. My biggest advice is to get help from a therapist if you need guidance. Seeking help doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For me, it was my best option and it really helped me in my recovery. My second advice is to avoid having any sugar in the house. It helps to avoid temptation. I’m not a dietitian yet and I’m not an expert, but these are the things that helped me most. I will post sugar-free recipes soon if you need ideas, so keep your eyes peeled! Good luck with everything. 🙂

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