My Spiritual and Practical Tips for How to Live Sugar Free

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Note: Updated in 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

I’ve been off sugar for 2.5 years now! I feel a responsibility for helping other people who want to live sugar free get on board with this awesome feeling. So much about my physical health feels totally transformed since I left sugar behind!

I feel passionate about this because of the simple fact that I feel so good. When you live sugar free, so much improves. My skin is clearer, I have more energy and my mood is more stable. Living sugar free really does change your life.

Watch the video or keep reading to get my spiritual and practical tips for living sugar free!

You’ve got to want to live sugar free

As with any addiction, you’ve got to want to quit sugar. If you don’t think that you’re ready to get off sugar right now, and you feel overwhelmed by it or a little bit scared, then maybe you can recommit in a month or two. Because if you don’t really want it, then you’re just going to find yourself in a cycle of getting on the wagon and falling off over and over again. That cycling experience can make quitting sugar feel totally unattainable. Plus it just becomes another reason to judge yourself.

Tweet: Learn how to quit sugar and get more clarity, focus and energy @gabbybernstein #spiritjunkie

So ask yourself honestly, “Do I really want it? Am I really committed? Am I really ready?” If the answer is yes, then I’ve got some amazing steps that to take that will help you stay on path and enjoy the process of living sugar free — instead of feeling like it’s some scary detox that you don’t want to go through.

Gabby’s 3 steps for living sugar free

Step 1: Get clear on what kinds of sweeteners you can have

The first step is to realize what kind of sweeteners you can have that won’t take you out, spike your blood sugar or feed the craving. Many people argue that getting off all sweeteners altogether, including stevia and very sweet fruits, is the first step. The idea here is that you don’t want your brain to be getting that message of, “I need sweets. I need sweets. I need sweets.”

There’s a lot of value in full abstinence. In the beginning of my sugar free living, I had berries and green apples as my only sweets. That was extraordinarily helpful for me, but we’re all different. I know many people who, when they first start out, find it really helpful to have something sweet that they can turn to. There are several great options out there, but stevia is my favorite!

sweetleaf stevia drops|live sugar freeStevia leaf is a beautiful sweetener that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. It also doesn’t have any calories. It’s extremely sweet, so you want to be careful with how much you use. You can put just a drop or two of stevia in your coffee or tea and it will really jazz it up. I love stevia in liquid form. SweetLeaf is a really great brand, and you can get it in the powder form as well. Stevia is great to bake with as well. The awesome thing is that there are more and more sugar-free recipes online that give you guidance on how much stevia to use when you’re replacing sugar in recipes, and how to adjust recipes so that they’re sugar free.

Step 2: Have fun in the kitchen!

I’m very experimental in the kitchen and like to view cooking and baking as meditative practices. Even if up till now you haven’t been much of a cook, start having some fun in the kitchen! Start to view living sugar free as an adventure. This will help you shift your perspective and open you up to creative new ideas.

berries|live sugar freeStart having fun with your apples and berries! I like to put coconut butter on my green apples and berries. Sometimes I’ll add cinnamon, too. Just start to play around with your sweets and enjoy the process.

You can make chia pudding with chia seeds, stevia and coconut milk, and a little bit of cacao, and just mix it all together! That chia pudding can become a delicious snack. The more joyful you are in the kitchen, the more fun this whole experience will be. Then you’ll have the energy behind you that will keep you consistent.

Step 3: Pray and surrender daily

Ask for help you and you will receive it! Be in a daily surrendered prayer. Your morning prayer is going to be crucial, because you really set yourself up to win for the rest of the day. Simply say, “Thank you, Universe, for helping me stay consistent on my path of cutting out sugar or cutting down on sugar,” whatever it is for you. Turning to this prayer will give you the energy and enthusiasm to stay on the path.

More resources for living sugar free

5 Tips to Quit Sugar the Spirit Junkie Way
My Favorite Sugar-Free Holiday Treats
How I Stayed Off Sugar for the Past 2 Years
What It’s Like to Be 1 Year Off Sugar!
How to End Sugar Cravings with EFT Tapping
7 Books to Heal Your Gut and Feel Great
Spiritual Thanksgiving Tips + My Favorite Pumpkin Recipe

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  1. Thanks for sharing your insight on dropping sugar. I’m beginning my 5th week of No Sugar. That means even hidden sugars. In April I started cutting out obvious sugars, such as sugar in my coffee, all sweet desserts, etc. Then beginning May 1st it was all sugar and hidden sugars, such as breads (carbs -thats a biggie), but I look at all labels now and if there’s any more than 2g of sugar I won’t go there. I have Stevia but don’t even want to use it. I fear the taste of sweetness will kick my brain to want more. The first week of my Absolute No Sugar was the toughest but since week two I feel this is a way of life for me. I’ve changed my thinking about food which is: I used to live to eat (always thinking about when my next meal was going to be, when can I snack, etc). Now I think of food only as fuel for my body. Now I only “eat to live”. With your suggestions and my added of only “eating to live” I’m doing great. My daily prayer of asking God for strength to avoid sugar and to live each day with Joy is amazing!

  2. Hello,
    I love your vidoes, a friend sent me a link to your vidoes and I have been watching any that I can. I have struggled with ED since I was 14 and now I am 29!! I have a super amazing husband though that supports any change that needs to be made. Since having my first child though you can say I have fallen off the wagon. I am all in or not at all, which you mention is pretty much what you need to be. I want to raise my son correctly with good eating habits. My question is SUGAR and kids seem to go hand in hand, birthdays, holidays…, how can I find a balance where I am teaching him a good balance with out making him feel like he cant eat the cake or a grandmas bake goods. And do you have an recipes for a healthier version of a birthday cake that I can share with my family and make for him.

    1. Balance is always a good approach. Trust yourself and your instincts. <3
      I don't use recipes because I cook more from intuition.
      Sarah Wilson has a great book you can check out called, I Quit Sugar.
      big love,

  3. Hi Gabby, hi everyone,

    I found out that a little POWDERED VANILLA (looks like cinnamon but darker) is AMAZING as it sweetens your desserts without adding anything sweet in it ! Try it on oven-baked apples, your chia/coconut milk bowl, your pancake (of course, healthy pancakes, with no sugar and home-made, but that goes without saying^^). It works wonders! Well, that is, if you like vanilla ^^!!

  4. Thanks for sharing Gabby!! I’ve been off sugar for about half a year now and it’s totally made a difference in my life. Not only in physical health but also mental – sugar is an addiction!

  5. Hi Gabby, I’ll be honest, I’m just getting started with your books, practices and being introduced in this new way of life. I am excited, some fear, but am practicing my Holy Instant. My girlfriend gave me the link to your book and a few weeks later asked me to meet her in Las Vegas in April to see you. Tickets are purchased and we are headed to Vegas!

    As for the no sugar, I’ve done the Whole30 a few times, but then when the 30 days is up, I completely fall off the deep end and revert back to all my old habits. I’ve lost weight and gained weight countless times in my life. I’m just now beginning to see that being structured and hard on myself to get the program done/workouts done is not the answer. I’m needing to reframe my thinking and most of all surrender it. Say my prayers and surrender. I’m all ears to any other advice you have, suggestions for my new journey.

    Thank you for being you and I’m looking forward to seeing you in just a couple months.

  6. Getting the artificial sugar we all see every day out of our diets would be a great thing to do. A good way to cut this sugar out is to use healthier alternatives. This way you can still enjoy chocolate and such if you want to, but without the negative parts of the sugar.

    1. I agree with your idea of healthier version of sugars I notice my sugar levels rush down fast due to cholesterol issues.

  7. Easter seems to be about chocolate and bunnies when it’s about Jesus Christ dying for your sins, how do we avoid the chocolate during Easter weekend?

  8. Thank you Gabby for being such a wonderful inspiration for living sugar free. I believe it is such a big topic that requires some deeper exploration and explanations. First and foremost when we say TOTAL sugar free we address this “total” only to refined sugars. Fruit is not included in this because is so rich of vital supplements like minerals and vitamins that are essential for the wealthy functioning of our body. Second, this is not a diet for “loosing weight”. In spite of that some weight might be lost on the sugar free path as a side effect until our body recalibrates, this is not the target at all. As you have properly said is much more than this. Is not only getting rid of a very slight and dangerous form of addiction, it is also embracing a totally different way of living. A conscious one, one that is a part of a radical transformation of our mind, body and spirit. So, please keep helping all of your tribe do dig deeply into this topic with more and more informations and support. With, infinite admiration and respect. Love Anna

  9. Stevia is a very processed product and therefore not my choice of sweetener. I sweeten with raw organic dates, a whole fruit, with minerals and fiber that the body knows how to handle. And when mixed with greens, veggies, and starches, a perfect compliment and food companion. Added sugar or processed suga alternatives are addictive. Dates have been a mainstay in Arabic world for reason and also the perfect whole food to break a fast.

  10. I do not tend to be a big sweet person except for during pms.
    Do you have any suggestions for any “go to” snacks to fulfill the “sweet chocolate comfort” urge without the sugar?

    PS – I just had chia pudding at Expowest in California for the first time and it was awesome!
    Looking forward to seeing your recipe.

  11. Hi Gaby!! My name is Alexia and I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. You know what I did? I got myself a Stevia plant, which I got from a greenhouse, and now it’s grown soooooooooo much!!! It is a fantastic sweetener, plus you get to enjoy using your balcony plants for your day to day nutrition, of course you gotta love growing your own stuff, but it is a low maintenance plant and I totally agree with you, It helps you A LOT with sugar cravings.
    Thank you so much for all your videos!!
    Sat Nam

  12. Very helpful! I recently gave up sugar (as much as possible so your message is timely), but also stopped using Stevia after reading Megan Gilmore’s recent blog post about how it messed with her menstrual cycle. She explains why on her blog.

    Thank you for all that you make available to us and for keeping us on the right path. Keep up great work!

  13. Hi Gabby! Thanks so much for this post. Last Friday, my doctor actually told me to remove all sugar from my diet (including Stevia…which has been difficult). Can you please share how you graciously handle social situations, such as meal at your in-laws? Thanks!!

  14. Your video on no sugar is not coming up- please send out again!!! Was so excited- it’s just a blank black screen .

  15. Check labels! I cut out bread, cereal, pasta sauce! Everything is full of sugar. Juicing really helped me get off and stay off sugar. Dates or maple syrup is good to bake with. I don’t do Stevia as the processing makes it somewhat toxic but the least of all evils of the sweeteners.

  16. Awesome post, Gabby!!! This is exactly why I created Shift Bars, the world’s first organic energy bar with only 1g of sugar each and sweetened exclusively with zero-glycemic sweeteners. We launch soon and would love to send you a VIP box as a thank you for all you do…:)

    And if anyone’s interested in learning more, please sign up for updates at our website. Because it’s time to shift away from sugar!

  17. Hey Gabby, hey folks
    Thank you for your tips and advice.
    I would concider myself as a so called ‘off-sugarer’ for quite a while now. But what do you all really mean by being ‘off-sugar’? And how do you deal with all the ‘hidden sugars’ that seem to be everywhere before you can even think?!… For me it’s easy to not eat classic sweets. But where the problem for me starts is with all the industrialised food we are forced to eat nowadays when we are not cooking and eating at home. In almost everything there is sugar – soups, bread, salad sauces, etc.etc. And I’m a vegan, too – which makes my choice for the right food even smaller when I’m travelling. Gabby – would you leave me your ‘secret’ here how you remain completely clean of sugar when you’re on the road for days and weeks?… How do you avoid all the hidden sugars when eating in a restaurant or at a friends place, etc?…Thank you so much for your reply! And yes, I’m an absolutely convinced ‘off-sugarer’ as I have so much more energy when I’m a 100 % off such ‘junk’. And I’m really happy about more and more people joing ‘the club’. And thanks Gabby for recommending Sarah Wilson’s book! That’s a really fun one! 🙂

    Health and love to all of you!

  18. Thanks for this Gabby! Im almost at the end of my week 6 in my sugar free living journey. The first few weeks i did very well considering my addiction to sugar. A few times i had bread at restaurants and small pieces of chocolate and had resistance to the new foods i was eating. By week 4 it was so much easier to say no to those things and now for the past two weeks i havent had any sugar other than berries and green apples. Even though now and then i see bread and recall the taste i dont feel the insane urge to eat it as i did before. And now I have tons of recipes to feed the urge for a pancake. i make coconut pancakes that are delish! and tonight i will try some almond butter cookies with stevia. Thanks for the motivation. Ladies, you can do it! Sat Nam!

  19. Thanks Gabby! I too have received multiple benefits by eliminating sugar.
    I am wondering if you know any more about Stevia. I know it’s made out of a leaf but I am wondering if is there any negative side to eating something that, I am guessing, is so processed as to make it into crystalline/power form?
    Thanks for your wisdom!

  20. I love this post – thank you so much Gabby for sharing! Could you share your chia pudding and your dreamy sugar pumpkin muffin recipes? I so appreciate you!!

  21. I haven’t had any refined sugar and have used stevia and Splenda (when in a pinch) for over a month. It’s been great but super easy because I don’t want sugar. I’m not a sweets person. It could be in my house and just sit there.

  22. Congrats to you Gabby on more than2 years! That’s incredible. Love all this encouragement and info. I love sweets. Like, LOVE them. However, I have completely transformed my diet over the last 3 years including how I view (and consume) sugar. It’s amazing how after eating clean for so long, when I consume something with no value, I feel terrible almost instantly. Thanks for keeping this on my radar. Def info I need in my life:)

  23. Thank you for the tips Gabby! I think the biggest challenge is the social aspect. I have kids and Easter is coming up and I know people will give very sweet chocolate. I try to tell people that we’d rather not have any but I feel like such a bad mom/ person and they give it anyway. I’ll need to find ways to talk with everybody.

  24. What do you at family events on your husbands side if they serve cake and so on, do you bring your own berries or just say no thanks? How can you say no in a non rejective / polite way? Look forward to more qouit the sugar guidance from you ??????
    Love F!

  25. What if you want to cut out sugar but have failed in the past? I want to truly want to get off it, but it actually fills be with sadness because many sweets represent some of the great joys in life.

  26. Love this reminder! I definitely stick to the non-sweet fruit and stevia is the only added sweetener I use. Life is so much better off of sugar. Another tip is to make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fats. This helps keep your blood sugar stable and really helps with cravings of all kinds.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Love that! For how long have you been sugar free?
      I think the biggest challenge is to be social AND be sugar free. There is always a occasion for sweets, cakes, chocolate and also other “healthier” treats. How do you manage that? Many of my family members and friends think that I am a bit strange by saying no to all of that…


  27. I love this!
    Needed this one. Today starts the 4th week of my sugar detox 🙂 This time the urge to quit sugar came so naturally, that I did not have to force myself or having the feeling of depriving.
    I must say I have a few cravings at the moment (mostly because I am having a cold right now, resting in bed and craving some nourishing chocolate and cookies , like in the old days 🙂 )

    But your post reminded me on why I started this journey, and that I need to add in more of the good stuff to crowd out the sugar 🙂

    So excited about my sugar free future 🙂

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