how i cut out sugar and refined flour

(for the most part.)

Hi friends! How’s the day treating ya? I’m off to breakfast with the fam, and excited to take a spin class later today.

I mentioned changing up my eats a bit in my last post, and received quite a few questions about it. So I thought I’d write a little post. 🙂

How I reduced my flour and sugar intake

Here’s how/why I ditched a majority of sugar and refined flour from my life:

It was about a month before Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t feeling too great. I was overwhelmed with the upcoming move, emotional about P’s birthday, feeling lethargic and blah. I didn’t have a ton of energy for workouts, and found myself totally exhausted by 9pm each night, even though I still had a few hours of work to do after the girls were in bed. I really depending on sugar for cheap energy boosts, and having wine every night, because wine. 

I’d been taking my supplements, but called Dr Flynn to see if we needed to switch anything around. We had a really interesting talk about adaptogens, and how I’d been getting sick more easily, and had also gotten food poisoning, which never used to happen. We switched my supplements around to encourage adaptation (more licorice, ashwaganda, astragalus, etc) and boost my immune system and energy. We also discussed diet. I know he isn’t a fan or dairy, gluten, soy, and sugar, and I told him I was thinking about greatly reducing or cutting it out to see if it helped. He said, “ Well, you know how I feel about that.”

So I just decided to do it.

Cold turkey. 

I was feeling so gnarly, I figured it would be worthwhile. I thought of the detoxes we’d done in the past, and when they were over, I wasn’t really ready for them to be over because I felt so good. I didn’t really have an end point in mind, but I figured I’d give it a couple of weeks and assess from there. If I noticed changes, I’d keep going.

Within a week, I felt dramatically better.

I didn’t feel so weepy-tired, or like I was fighting a cold 24/7. I also stopped drinking every night wine that week (just had two glass throughout the week), and realized that it had slipped into a habit more than anything else.

So, I kept going.

And here we are, a couple of months later.

Have I had sugar since then? ABSOLUTELY. I mentioned before that I don’t believe in all or nothing, and if I really want something, I have it and move on. Before, I found that I “really wanted it” anytime a sweet treat was offered. After living without a majority of sugar and flour for so long, I realized how much better I felt without it, so it was easy for me to say, “no thanks” and didn’t feel like I was missing out. I definitely still had birthday cake for P’s bday (and rice crispy treats), coconut cake on Thanksgiving, some Cravory cookies here and there (’tis the season), and my mom’s amazing grammies.

During the holidays, I had a bit more wine and treats (I think I drank wine every night we were living in the hotel haha), but I knew I’d get back into a routine eventually.

Here’s a snapshot of what a *normal* day of eats looks for me right now:

(I’ll do a WIAW post next week and will remember to take some pics! I snap a ton of eats, too)


2 eggs + 2 egg whites with kimchi or salsa on top

Paleo cereal with almond milk, or oatmeal with almond butter and a drizzle of maple syrup

Hot tea (or detox drink) if I have time to drink it while I get the crew ready for school drop-off

Eggs with kimchi



Coffee with Vital Proteins vanilla collagen and almond milk

A handful of homemade trail mix or chia pudding with fruit

chia pudding with fruit and granola


Salad beast or hearty soup. salad beastThe salads usually contain leafy greens, chicken, veggies, avocado and sweet potato


Some fruit if I feel like it, an RX bar, or an avocado with lime juice, sea salt and sriracha

I might also have a small protein smoothie or a bowl of oats depending on what my workout looks like



Anything goes. This is where I have more time to play with recipes, or follow one from a beloved cookbook. Dinner will almost always have some type of protein, some type of greens and veggie combo, and some type of smart carb like potato, sweet potato, whole-grain gf pasta, or rice. 

salmon tacos

(Salmon tacos I made the other night for the fam with mashed avocado and vinegar cabbage slaw)

salmon, asparagus, potatoes


I’ll have some of this AWESOME chocolate bar

primal chocolate almond seasalt coconut sugar-sweetened chocolate bar

(from Thrive Market!)

or a microwaved chopped apple with cinnamon and peanut or almond butter.

During the day, I focus on hydration through lots of water and tea, and I look forward to my almost-daily collagen drink. It tastes delicious and I notice a huge difference in my skin and hair. 

All in all, it hasn’t been that big of a deal to reduce flours and sugars, especially since there are so many delicious things to choose from. I just focus on what makes me feel good, listen to my cravings/intuition and go from there.

So tell me friends: what’s something you’ve changed in your diet or fitness routine lately?



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  1. Kelly on January 4, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Sugar is quite a hard one for me because I run a lot of miles a week and find if we are low on food in the house I will default to something sugary. I don’t crave it, I just find it to be the lesser of two evils – i.e. I would rather eat the sugar and keep my calories up then feel like crap the next day for my next run.

    It is definitely a work in progress…getting better and better and rarely happens now – but there is the odd time. It was particularly difficult over the holiday period only because we didn’t have ENOUGH food in the house and getting out to stock up was inconvenient because everything was closed!

    The thing I have changed in my routine in the last month is mainly I have added in magnesium. I was getting low on iron and I have realized the culprit was not enough magnesium in my diet. It has made a huge difference!

    • Kelly on January 2, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hi fitnessista,

      Happy new year! Sorry to be a pain but could you unlike my website from my name in the comment I am replying to please. It is having a negative impact on my site. You can keep my comment.

      Thank you for your understanding


  2. Liz @ Justanotherblogaboutmomlife on January 4, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I am doing something similar. Why is it SO easy to have nightly sugar treats and wine become such a comfortable habit? My focus is also around actually eating meals throughout the day so I don’t eat everything in sight come 9pm, since I tend to get so wrapped up with my little guy during the day. PS thank you for introducing me to Rx bars – life changing!

  3. Lauren on January 4, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Hi Gina! Thanks for sharing your routine with us. Do you have any Paleo cereals you particularly like? I would love to find one with good nutrition stats and that also tastes good. Thanks 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      the julian’s bakery one is my fave!

  4. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on January 4, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I’ve been drinking water in the morning before I even leave the bedroom, it’s rough but I get it down and I’m hoping to make it a habit. I try and pick a new habit to focus on every single week!

  5. Stacey on January 4, 2017 at 8:39 am

    This is super interesting to me, as I recently started Whole30 and feel amazzzzzing (and less puffy) – even just four days in. After the 30 days, I’d like to do this more of a lifestyle – but not all or nothing. Can you share the Paleo cereal recipe you have for breakfast sometimes?

    Thank you!

    • Jill on January 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Same, love Whole30! I did it in September and am doing my second one now for January. It’s crazy what a difference it makes. Good luck with the next 26 days!

  6. Annie B on January 4, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I did the Whole 30 last year and have stuck with that style of eating for the most part. I’m still avoiding soy, dairy, gluten, and most sugar. I think it’s awesome how a lot of health-minded people are converging on this way of eating. It seems like we’re taking the best part of veganism (plant based meals) and combining it with a deeper awareness of where our food is coming from- sourcing local animal products and avoiding processed ingredients. I’m excited to see this eating style become more “mainstream”!

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      it seriously makes you feel amazing, and i feel like once you get in the habits and notice how good you feel, it’s not hard to stick with it

  7. Karen on January 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I’m very strict about being gluten-free (it’s key to managing my Hashimotos) but I found sugar was creeping it’s way back into my life everyday all day during the holidays. So, I’m with you on the dropping the sugar intake significantly. I’ve been really good about my veggie intake – but I’ve been slacking on my collagen coffee. (It’s SO yummy). Your post has inspired me to go make a cup right now and make sure I have that water bottle by my side at all times.

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      YESSSS. hope you enjoyed that collagen coffee 🙂

  8. Kristin on January 4, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I am such a sugar/carb person–I think cold turkey would have to be the way I did it too. I gave up my morning coffee (2 cups) for a month last year simply because I put sugar in my coffee and I was like, “Every little bit helps!” After watching the documentary Fed Up, I always say to people–“Sugar is the enemy!” Not that it stopped me from eating it, but I try to be honest with myself if I know I’ve indulged too much in either sweet treats OR simply foods that have added sugar. I’m going to get on the cutback on sugar train. I’ll try to drink black coffee tomorrow! LOL

    • Jill on January 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Black coffee blended with a TBSP of coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon (and collagen powder, but that doesn’t affect the taste) changed my coffee life. Before, I was a dedicated cream and sugar person, but now I can even drink it black, no problem.

  9. Brynn on January 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I follow a low sugar diet, but think the ultimate issue is my coffee consumption. With a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon, I’m beginning to think the habit is starting to do more harm. My goal is to work on reducing my caffeine consumption.

  10. Gina on January 4, 2017 at 10:11 am

    What kind of tortillas do you use?

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 10:14 am

      usually corn (love the ezekiel sprouted corn), brown rice, and coconut wrappers

      • Debra on January 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        What’s the paleo cereal? Thanks!

        • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

          julian’s bakery. it is BOMB

  11. Laura @FitMamaLove on January 4, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I cut out dairy a few months ago (with exceptions for holidays) to see if it would help my skin (it did!) and the bonus of doing that has been paying much more attention to what I eat. I’m so bad at snitching food from my kids’ plates, but I can’t do that a lot of the time when I’m avoiding dairy. Overall, I feel so much better when I’m focused on being mindful of what I eat. I don’t cut out flour, but variety in my grains is key (I’ll do a corn tortilla at lunch if I had toast in the morning), and love subbing a roasted sweet potato for toast with morning eggs. I still use sugar in my morning coffee, but limit other sweets to keep my intake low.

    I may have to try this new collagen flavor you’re using because with unflavored varieties in a few different brands, I just hold my breath and guzzle!

  12. Rachel on January 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

    This is very similar to the way I eat. Things got SO out of control over the holidays, it’s nice to be back to the regular grind. I haven’t tried collagen, though, so that’s a thought for the future!

  13. Andrea on January 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Hey girlie! I’ve done the same thing, cut out most sugar and flour. I’m experimenting to see how other grains (rice, corn) make me feel and if they cause joint pain. I love Primal chocolates! I’m so glad that they are available at Whole Foods now!

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      WHAT. i haven’t seen them there yet!

      • Andrea on January 5, 2017 at 7:12 am

        OH! Maybe they are only in certain stores for right now? But yeah, I can get their bars and cups at my Whole Foods.

  14. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on January 4, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve been doing collagen for a few months now and I’m really enjoy it. My nails look great and my hair is super strong. It’s so easy to add to my tea!

  15. Marissa on January 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Awesome that you did this. I plan to start doing the same right about now. One thing I don’t understand….so many of my friends drink wine on a nightly basis. I love wine, don’t get me wrong. But, I thought I had read years ago that daily alcohol consumption increases cancer risk, especially breast cancer. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, so I stick to my verrrryyyy occasional glass when I really crave it.

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      there is so much mixed info about wine. some say it’s great for you and can lower cancer risks, others say the opposite. i say if you like it, go for moderation. i love it, but i’m trying to just stick to a couple of glasses a week.

  16. Elaina on January 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Have you ever done a whole 30? Could you do a whole 30 focus on post?

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      i haven’t! i could definitely do a focus on post 🙂

  17. Cassie on January 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Did you notice a change in anxiety/stress? Need to try this!

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      i did! i think the sugar was hyping me up, but then i’d crash

  18. Bethany on January 4, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Sugar has been a huge issue for me lately…..mostly natural treats but just too much. For me I believe it has been my stress level and breastfeeding. This is most def motivation for me to decrease.

  19. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on January 4, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Drinking less caffeine for me! I notice I get a little weird and anxious if I have too much. Oh yeah, I eat more food when I drink more too so that’s been a nice bonus!

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      same, which is a bummer because caffeine is delicious 😉

  20. Karina Brazas on January 4, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I really struggle with willpower to not eat all the sugar! I got so bad over the holidays, and then when I stress out I eat badly! I loved reading this, and am starting Whole 30 on the 16th!

  21. Sam @ Hygge Wellness on January 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Loved your post, Gina! I love how sensible your approach is to eating/food in general. That chocolate bar looks amaze… I hope they have it at my Whole Foods! I’m definitely going to check it out. : )

  22. Melissa M on January 5, 2017 at 11:33 am

    This is very helpful and interesting! Are you Carb Cycling? I’ve been reading on that lately and arming myself with knowledge and am going to give it a go starting on Sunday. I’m excited to switch things up!

  23. Erin on January 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

    What is that salad?? It looks amazing! Recipe please

  24. Erika S. on January 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Happy New Year Gina!!! I’m catching up on all of your posts. I decided to omit alcohol for 6 weeks….it’s a little bit of a struggle since work is crazy and all I want is a glass of wine…but I feel good.

    BTW…I LOVE that you’re adding kimchi to your eggs…so good! If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll usually just have a bowl of white rice (short grain asian sticky style) & a package of roasted seaweed/nori. I’ll make my own lil wraps and eat it with kimchi…so basic but so good.

    I’m also trying to clean up my eating by adding more fresh veggies like leafy greens.

    • Susie on February 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Those wraps sound delish

  25. Gabriel on January 7, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Your food looks gorgeous

  26. What I’m Loving Lately 75 – Carrots 'N' Cake on January 12, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    […] How I Cut Out Sugar and Refined Flour – Great post with lots of realistic ideas! […]

  27. Susie on February 25, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Can I just say that I love you. I love how you listen to your intuition!!! <3 <3

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