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This Week’s Menu {and yes, I temporarily gave up coffee & sugar–can you believe it?!}

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

For a long list of reasons, I temporarily gave up coffee and sugar a week ago. Yes {gasp!} can you believe it?!

It’s been eight days, and now that the massive headache is gone, I am feeling so, so good (and sleeping better than I have in years). I’m happy and all, but on the other hand, I was sort of secretly hoping I wouldn’t notice such a marked difference. 🙂

Because of this success, I’m now getting brave and giving up gluten, too, as a 30-Day experiment. It’s amazing how health issues will motivate you to do things you used to think were pretty crazy!

So if you notice a bit outside the norm recipes on my menu, you’ll know why. And if you have any amazing gluten-free, sugar-free (I am eating some honey, but no other forms of sweetener outside of fruit) recipes you think I’d love, please do shoot them my way.


Oatmeal, Cereal, Eggs, and/or Fruit


{I’ll be eating a salad with chicken/tuna, etc. on it every day}

Mac & cheese, fruit
Snack-y lunch
PB&J, carrot sticks, apples
Cheese quesadillas, carrot sticks
Leftovers x 3


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Boiled eggs

Freezer Cooking {I’ll share how this goes later this week!}

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
Easy Energy Bars (I’m going to sub raisins for the chocolate chips.)
Marinated Chicken


Steak on the grill, corn on the cob, veggies
Supreme Egg Loaf, Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Waffles, fruit
Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole with ham, veggies
Simple Beef & Veggie Casserole, fruit
Dinner with friends
Dinner with extended family x 2

What’s on your menu this week? Share details and/or your link to your menu plan in the comments.

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  • No coffee? No sugar? That’s serious business! Glad to hear you are feeling good. Hope the gluten-free experiment goes well.

    We are trying a week of crock-pot meals.

  • Stacie says:

    Here’s hoping you will feel amazing! I’ve been doing a Whole30 this month, and it’s been awesome. Sugar free is so good–but those first few days are hard! I feel for you!!

  • Dona says:

    Hi Crystal…I changed to a vegan diet about a year ago and love the health benefits! Yes, funny how health issues can motivate us to change our diets! I thought I would share one of my favorite dishes that my meat loving family have come to adopt and it happens to be gluten free as well. Just google recipes for Lentil Tacos. I know you like to eat build your own haystack recipes and this could substitute meat…it his a high protein and yummy substitution you may enjoy trying 🙂 I hope your experiment plays out well for you and your health!

  • Donna says:

    Just be sure when going gluten-free that you actually purchase gluten-free oats for your oatmeal. They are much more expensive than regular oatmeal. Having a husband with celiac disease, it’s doable, but if you really want to be sure you are eating gluten free, you cannot having products that are processed in a facility that also processes wheat – for some, cross-contamination is a serious issue. Xanthum gum will become your best friend in baking if you aren’t using gluten flours.

  • Man it is so hard to give up coffee! I know how hard that is, and strangely the best way I’ve been able to cut coffee out ONLY if I start with half calf, and then reduce down to decaf coffee. I can easily polish off a pot of coffee all by myself but once I get down to decaf, I can drink a cup and barely finish it. I have actually been trying to cut this out again, as well as try to eliminate gluten from my diet.

    Back two years ago or so, I was watching what I ate and inadvertently ate mostly gluten free and noticed within a two month period how fantastic my allergies had improved. Given I have chronic rhinitis and have for years, that’s a huge improvement in itself. I even noticed for once in my life my under eye bags were nearly non-existent! So, I am trying to get back to working towards eating gluten free but finding it harder this time than before.

  • Melissa says:

    Look on Pinterest for mock ice creams. There are tons of them without sugar, and they look great.

    I’ll be curious to hear your results after 30 days without gluten. I’m off it permanently as well as dairy thanks to food intolerances. I’m used to it now, so it’s not bad.

    Here’s what’s on our menu for the week:

  • I don’t drink coffee at all. I start my morning with a large glass of water. It’s wonderful!

    I’m having salads all week here, too. It was 102º here today and my lettuce is bolting. We’re eating it as fast as we can!

    For snacks today we had popsicles (home-canned grape juice, whey from making Greek yogurt, and peach syrup from home-canned peaches). They were wonderful in the midst of this heat!

    • Grazia says:

      Can you share the measurements for your Popsicles? I have 2 out of 3 of your ingredients on hand right now.

      • No measurements; I just use whatever I have left. If I add whey I only add a little bit because it can be overwhelming. If I only have leftover syrup/bits of fruit pulp in the canning jars from making fruit salad (I usually use canned peaches and pears together for that) then I just mix those together and use that. This time I put in a little grape juice that I had canned as well. I don’t usually use grape juice, too, but I had some this time. I stir it together in the canning jar and pour it into the molds. The amounts can vary; they all taste good! It’s a simple way to use what could have been wasted, and it was so refreshing yesterday!

  • Organize365 says:

    Our kids had to go gluten free and a whole bunch of “other” free for an 18 month span.

    It was really hard, but worth it.

    It really did help reset their immune systems!


    • Fay says:

      Lisa, did it work out for you after the 18 months? What was the purpose of them going gluten free for only 18 months? I am just curious.

      • Organize365 says:

        Honestly – that was as long as I could do it financially and mentally. It was a decade ago and finding gluten free products was a LOT harder! We had bread flown in from Florida!

  • Katie says:

    I gave coffee and soda about 2 months ago, and it was tough! But so worth it, I feel a lot better without all the caffeine. I don’t know if I could give up sugar at the same time, you are a brave woman!

    Here is what is cooking in my kitchen this week:

    I am loving doing freezer cooking in an hour a few days week instead of one long day every month.

  • Beth G. says:

    Tons of awesome gluten free sugar free recipes at

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for linking to my smoothie recipe, Crystal! I hope you enjoyed it!

    I gave up coffee nine months ago and then just started back to drinking it a couple of weeks ago! Ugh! I sure do enjoy it but I wish I had been able to stick with it. I also did a 30 day no-sugar challenge and it was surprisingly difficult – more difficult than giving up coffee! You’re brave (and probably smart!) to give up both sugar and coffee at the same time! I hope it goes well for you!

  • Jen says: is an amazing source for gluten free, low carb recipes.

  • Maya says:

    I did that too, starting about 4 weeks ago due to the aftermath of an illness (try – my fourth sinus infection in as many months), mostly because I just didn’t feel like eating much of anything and drinking was a struggle. After recovering and lasting until 11 am at which point I had a migraine so bad my eyes were watering with the lights OFF, and nothing fixed it except caffeine… Not wanting to experience that again was a powerful motivator. Very quickly, I noticed I was sleeping better and not so grouchy in the mornings (by far). After another week, the 2 L of water a day wasn’t difficult at all (and is usually done by 5). By the end of that week I noticed that caffeine just didn’t have the “mental”/”psychic”/”emotional” deathgrip on me it has had for the past 10 years; the Coke I had with lunch that day even took me several days to finish as it tasted somewhat bad. (I gave up soda the same time as caffeine.) Ever since then…. well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to figuring out the savings from not HAVING to have my morning coffee anymore, or my daily soda. Even quicktrip coffees, in the size I drank them, were the same as Starbucks coffees…

    Giving up alcohol, though? Not. Happening.

    • Ugh. Thank you for this timely post. I am starting a 21 day no more sugar challenge, and just the thought of it makes me run toward candy! I don’t really eat candy or “sugar” (I mostly eat Paleo) but I eat a ton of fruit, larabars, sweet potatoes, etc. So my body is still getting the sugar from different sources. I will be interested to see the effects on my body. I don’t know how long I can survive a massive headache!

  • Irene says:

    Have you read the book Trim Healthy Mama? If not, I highly encourage you to do so! It is an amazing book filled with lots of good information! Head over to Amazon once and read all the reviews on it.

  • Wow, no sugar or gluten! My two favorite foods are sweets and bread (and it hasn’t been good for my health so I wish that wasn’t the case). I’m impressed with your self-discipline.

    I’m curious how you handle eating at other people’s homes when you are avoiding sugar and gluten? Do you take your own food? Do you allow yourself to eat some gluten or sugar at those times?

    I’m very excited that my husband has recently become interested in eating healthier along with me, so we’re incorporating a lot more fruits and veggies in our menu. We are also making a lot of green smoothies. This week I’m trying a couple new recipes using lentils and kale.

  • Holly says:

    Goodluck with your changes Crystal! I hope they help! We have made some major changes in our diet since the beginning of the year. We gave up all processed foods! No soda, no food dyes, no ingredients that we cannot understand. This had made major changes on our over all health. My fiance has lost 20 pounds and I have lost 7 pounds! ( among many other positive health changes!)

    Without further delay here is my meal plan for the week:

  • Shelly says:

    I have never liked coffee but I know of friends who have given it up and it was a hard process but then they felt much better. I think I would have a hard time going sugar free. I hope your experiment works out well for you going gluten free. I have thought about going wheat free or totally grain free but I haven’t given it a try yet.

    Here’s our menu for this week,

  • Kacy says:

    You go girl! 😉 I took the plunge with eliminating gluten because of health issues in 2010 and eliminated sugar in 2011. You can definitely tell a difference. If you do it long enough, you will also see how your body responds if you end up eating something with gluten or sugar again. You will be able to see exactly how it does effect your body and mind. It can be really hard to stick to and the body can go through some detoxing symptoms, but it will be worth it. And knowing you with great self discipline it will be a challenge but one you will conquer!

  • I am doing the same thing except, I am eating no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no wheat and no soy!! Try to say that fast three times! 🙂 It’s not to hard as I have already been on it for almost 4 weeks.

    My week’s menu has some nice recipes you my like!

  • Cindy Driemeyer says:

    I saw this tonight. Don’t know if it’s any good

    Sugar is NOT an added ingredient.

    3 mashed bananas (ripe)
    1/3 cup apple sauce
    2 cups oats
    1/4 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup raisins (optional)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp cinnamon

    Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes

  • Jen says:

    Same here Crystal! I started the Fast Metabolism Diet 8 days ago and it is a caffeine, dairy, wheat and dairy free diet. The headache was intense the first 2 days but I feel great too! I have already lost 5.8 lbs and haven’t been hungry once. It’s definitely a different lifestyle which I’m willing to embrace. Good luck on your 30 day challenge!

  • Kelly says:

    For the Gluten/Dairy Free waffles, I would use soy or coconut milk instead of rice milk for a “creamier”/fluffier texture. I’ve never been able to get the same quality of results in baked goods using rice milk.

    Good luck in your new eating plan!

  • Amy Looney says:

    Crystal, you might want to check out my board on Pinterest…”gluten free is the way to be” ( …I have several gluten free recipes on there. I have a gluten intolerance, and I’ve been so bad lately about eating things with gluten in them (like pizza). I have been paying for it, and I have to get back on the straight and narrow!

    Please keep us posted on how the no-coffee thing works out. I probably should give it up too, as it seems to bother my stomach a little.

  • Carlye says:

    I do not know how you are not having coffee. I should probably do that though. I have cut back to only one cup a day plus I hardly need any sugar or creamer.

    I have a pretty easy menu this week. Yummy recipes!

    • Fay says:

      If you want the caffeine, some green tea works just as good if not better. Heat up some water, add a tea spoon of green tea, let sit for a few minutes. Add a couple of thin slices of lemon and yumm…

  • Lauren says:

    An easy, gluten and sugar free breakfast idea that we love is this…
    Mash up one ripe banana
    scramble 2 eggs
    Mix the banana and eggs
    Pour onto a hot skillet in about 1/4 c amounts. It makes a very thin, crepe-like pancake that is sweet and delicious! No sugar or syrup needed!

    • Sarah says:

      We love these pancakes too! Sometimes we add frozen raspberries or blueberries or canned pumpkin and cinnamon.

    • Sara says:

      That sounds delicious! I will have to try it. I plan to go Paleo in a couple of weeks because of gluten intolerances but I don’t like eggs much so this will be a nice addition. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Melinda Curtis says:

    I had some major health problems last year and went to a handful of doctors…I finally went to a naturopathic doctor who swore I would get better if I stopped eating gluten and sure enough I feel better than ever! I was having problems with insomnia and my hormones were all out of wack, I was having anxiety attacks…you get the picture. I am able to drink decaf coffee which has a small amount of caffeine, but I wont touch gluten. I highly recommend drinking green smoothies..for example….kale, pineapple, coconut milk, chia seed, peeled cucumber, coconut oil..mix it up and after it is smooth throw some ice in it….I feel amazing…you probably should avoid milk products because many people who can’t tolerate gluten also are allergic to milk. If your having trouble sleeping I highly recommend melatonin supplements at bedtime. I hope you feel better, you are not alone…most of my friends have followed my lead and don’t eat gluten…we all are amazed at the results

  • Sarah says:

    Good for you! That’s awesome. I did a sugar-free week a couple weeks ago and I was surprised at how it wasn’t all that hard. I am mostly gluten-free due to choice, not necessity. I have found that my taste buds have changed so much since being off gluten and much less sugar – I now routinely eat broccoli salad for breakfast and I find most sweets too sweet.

    My favorite treats right now – avocados with balsamic vinegar and sea salt (so decadent!) and a mixture of chia seeds with a little coconut oil, a pinch of stevia and some cocoa powder.

    Now giving up coffee, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

  • Brenda says:

    I hope you find your 30 day experiment helpful. Health issues do definitely give a strong motivation to make changes (i speak for myself!). I have enjoyed several recipes lately from Her recipes are simple, healthy, & delicious. We’ve enjoyed the almond butter pancakes, the grain free pumpkin bars & the no bake chocolate cookies– all of which (I believe) would fit (or could be tweeked to fit) into your eating plan. Good luck!!

  • Andrea says:

    I gave up soda (namely Coke) for the last 30 days and it is so difficult for me because I constantly want to reach for one, especially when I’m driving on long trips or very sleepy. I find that a green smoothie every morning really gives me energy. Also, have you ever tried quinoa for breakfast in place of oatmeal? I cook my quinoa in almond milk (1 cup at a time), then scoop a cup out, add cinnamon, raisins, honey (or mashed banana), and coconut or almond milk to make it creamy like oatmeal. It’s delicious and it keeps you full until lunch time. Plus, it’s really good for you! You could try chia pudding, too =)

    • Andrea says:

      Oh yes…and banana ice cream if you haven’t tried it. Cut bananas, freeze, food process, scrape, process some more. Don’t stop until it turns creamy. Some like to add a little milk to it so it unclumps faster, but you don’t need to. So delicious. My kids love it with mini chocolate chips and chunky peanut butter mixed in.

  • I want to try and give up coffee to see the effects…but I don’t know if I can. Oh my gosh it would be hard. But I am inspired to think about giving it a try.

  • Kim says:

    Isn’t it amazing how much better you feel off coffee & sugar after the initial shock!! If you went caffeine free, chocolate & decaf teas can wire you. There’s still quite a bit of caffeine in decaf coffees & teas, unless using herbal teas without any tea in them. Here’s a link to an article if you’re interested: 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I’m sticking with herbal tea without caffeine and very minimal chocolate — just a little cocoa in a few things each week at most. Which for choco-holic me is huge! 🙂

      • Kim says:

        Low caffeine green tea in the afternoon kept me awake til 4 a.m. a week or two ago. Needless to say, hmmm I wasn’t very productive the next day!! I’ve done it with chocolate too. No judgment here!! And wow!! You did more than one at a time! I’m proud of you! And btw, Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion is one of my favorite herbal teas.

      • Organize365 says:

        enjoy life chocolate chips are gluten free and casein free and taste GREAT!

        • Crystal says:

          If only they were made with honey (the only sweetener I’m allowing myself to have!). Although it’s probably good because then I’m not as tempted to try to come up with dessert recipes if chocolate chips aren’t an option. 😉

  • Sarah says:

    We have multiple food allergies at our house. Rather than cook six different meals (literally!) we switched over to the Paleo diet. The switch was hard on my teenager but other than that, we have found substitutes for just about everything. As a bonus, I lost weight, my sinuses cleared up, and I don’t require as much sleep- I have way more energy than I have ever had. The best part of the diet change is that my kids are all eating great foods and I don’t have to worry about one of them having an anaphylactic reaction at the dinner table. We found that has the best recipes for our family. Good luck to you!

  • Marisa says:

    Banana-lime popsicles are some of our favorite “treats” for hot summer days. All you need are bananas and limes. Blend ripe bananas in the blender along with some fresh lime juice. Approximately 3 bananas to the juice from 1 1/2 limes (but, it’s really up to your taste preferences). Pour into ice cube trays or popsicle molds. Add popsicle sticks and freeze. So yummy!! You can add some raw honey if you’d like it a little sweeter, but I think it’s perfect as is, especially if the bananas are a little too ripe.

  • Teresa says:

    I am supposed to be giving up wheat, milk,and nuts. I found out my nursing son is allergic to them. They aggravate his eczema and his face breaks out. I did well for a few weeks then haven’t done so well lately. I will try to do better this week. I noticed when you go gluten and dairy free you automatically eat less sugar. I don’t drink any drinks with caffeine. I even noticed soda makes me tired so I try to avoid it.

  • Amy says:

    Good luck Chrystal. I hope you get the answers you need from this diet change.
    I just wanted to add one thing about oatmeal…I have a daughter who can only eat it sparingly because of the intense stomach ache she gets after eating it. We have tried both gluten free and reg-no quick-oatmeal.
    So oatmeal may be a problem too.

  • me says:

    I seriously thought I was going to die when I went off caffeine. I was 12 hours pregnant and I stopped that morning. Besides the social aspects of getting coffee at work, I was miserable by 2pm and couldn’t tell anyone why. Decaff coffee and tea still have caffeine and I didn’t want that, either. Good luck!

    But what is the no sugar–no added sugar? still have sugar from fruit?

  • Keren says:

    I gave up refined sugar for 30 days in January. It is amazing how much sugar is in sooo much!!

    It was definitely hard the first few days, but it was also empowering–which is a great way I’ve come to view various challenges.

    Hope the gluten experiment goes well. I’ve gone off of gluten a good bit for this year, and it has really helped me 1)feel less bloated, 2)lose some clinging weight, 3)feel more energy, and 4)not be as “clogged up.” 🙂

    Upon hearing about people going gluten-free, I find many people get defensive or just say it’s a fad diet. But gluten sensitivities, even the individual doesn’t have an official allergy to gluten, are real. I found this article to be helpful in explaining that gluten is problematic because today’s wheat isn’t the same as the wheat of years ago. (Basically, the GMO of today’s wheat has a protein in it that sort of turns the GMO wheat into an insecticide. Unfortunately, that protein can be problematic when people try to digest it, too.)

    If you need recipes, “The Gracious Pantry” is a great option for GF/no sugar/clean eating. Though I know there are a lot of other resources out there.

  • Melissa says:

    For my sake I am thrilled that you are doing this diet change for now. You come up with good, simple food recipes. Ideas I use and love for gluten and sugar free:

    *Libby’s Pumpkin Pie -forget the crust and make the filling using honey (1/2 of the amount of sugar). Use full fat coconut milk in place of evaporated milk for dairy free.

    *The egg bake you just posted on Pinterest! I made it this weekend and am shocked how wonderful it is without any dairy.

    *Easy Granola: 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup honey simmered in a large skillet. Mix in 4 to 6 cups of gf oats plus 1/2 cup of other desired add ins like flaxseed meal, nuts, coconut. Continue stirring. It won’t be as crispy as traditional granola, but my family loves it and it is SO quick. Recipe comes from my mom.

  • Trish says:

    No sugar no coffee????? What in the world has gone too?

    Here’s ours:

  • Gluten and sugar free here, too! And I don’t drink coffee, but I’m a chocolate addict, so I gave that up. Makes a big difference, but I’ve got a long way to go! Not trying to discourage you at all; I think it’s awesome that you are doing this on your own, but just wanted to let you know I did a gluten-free thing on my own for about a month as well, and saw no difference. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t need to be gluten-free, but that I had to be gluten-free for longer (as in 6 months to a year). If there’s damage to the digestive system (which is where your immune system lives and therefore where any of your health problems stem from), you’re talking about an area as large as a tennis court, and it’s not always a quick fix! Here’s hoping you can get some answers on your own without dropping money on an oh-so-helpful but terribly expensive naturopath like I did!

  • Jen says:

    I live gluten free because I have to, Paleo because I choose to. Here are some of my favorite tried and true recipes:
    Blueberry Breakfast Pie:
    Banana Bread French toast: (I sub blueberries for the bananas. Best French toast I’ve ever had!)
    Cranberry Walnut Bread:
    Simple Blueberry Muffins:
    Stuffed Zucchini: (Double the zucchini the recipe calls for)
    Spicy Speedy Stuffed Peppers: (I halve the amount of carrots and celery the recipe calls for.)
    Paleo-fied chocolate cake:
    Raw Paleo Apple Pie:
    Turkey burgers: (Eat without bun to make Paleo/Primal. Eat without cheese to make Paleo.)
    Lemon & Herb Crockpot Roasted Chicken:
    Chicken Basil Meatloaf:
    Date and Shallot Rosemary Chicken:
    Baked Mustard Lime Chicken:
    Veggie & Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burgers:
    Chicken Zucchini Stir Fry:
    No-Bake Paleo and Gluten-Free Cookies:
    Grain-Free Mudslide Fudge Cookies:
    Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies:
    Healthy Pumpkin Seed Power Truffles:
    Avocado Chocolate Torte: (I could write poetry about this dessert, it is that good!)
    Sautéed Zucchini Recipe with Spinach and Basil Pesto:
    Slow Cooker Carnitas: (Eat in Romaine lettuce leaves or plain to make Primal/Paleo.)
    Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloins:
    Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado: (Eat without bun to make Primal/Paleo.)
    Dried Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin:
    Honey Ginger Apple Shredded Pork:
    Crockpot Apple Rosemary Pork Loin:
    Grain-Free Granola Bars:
    Carrot, Zucchini, Squash Ribbons:
    One Month of Paleo meal plan:
    Most inexpensive/best quality almond flour:

  • Nicole says:

    Good luck! I am about to embark on a vegan challenge and was considering GF as well. The one exception I was going to make was the cream in my morning coffee. I didn’t have coffee for 2 days last week thinking I would give it up and had a major headache. In the past, I have mixed decaf with caf and slowly changed the ratio until it was all decaf and didn’t get a headache from that. I hope it helps your health issues! Please keep us updated.

  • K Quinn says:

    Crystal I missed this but you need a yonanas machine. I got one for my birthday and if you’ve given up sugar it’s a great way to have a frozen ice cream like treat with bananas and fruit.
    I gave up coffee years ago and yes it’s totally worth it. It was tempting to go back but nah! The good outweighs the bad by a mile.

  • stephanie says:

    Ive been grain & sugar free for 1 1/2 years due to health issues as well. What has kept me sane is prepping food. I do freezer cooking for myself & that way I don’t eat something out of desperation hunger. Make batching of grain free muffins, egg fritata muffins, veggie burgers, homemade turkey sausage/burgers, soups, etc. to store in freezer for a quick grab & go meal. I found if I prep proteins for myself & can access them easily, I didn’t eat something unhealthy. I strongly suggest smoothies as well. We make smoothie packets as well. I focus on veggies smoothies & protein powder. I save the “sweeter” ones with fruit for a dessert type. Now, I have a hard time eating anything with sugar since my taste buds have changed.
    A great site is She is grain & sugar free. I don’t use any of the sugar substitutes, but use a VERY small amount of honey or date paste in her recipes. I have found that works for me better than the sugar substitutes.
    My current Favorite veggies smoothie
    handful of mini carrots
    5 inch chunk of cucumber
    1 1/2 cups watermelon
    1/2 banana
    1 small orange
    handful of ice
    1 scoop protein powder
    enough water to blend

    Good luck with your endeavors!

  • Sandra says:

    These 2 recipes are gluten-free, just not sugar free.

    The Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

    8-ounces unsalted butter
    11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
    1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
    1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
    10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
    1 whole egg
    1 egg yolk
    2 tablespoons whole milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

    In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

    Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

    Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking.

    Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.

    Per serving: Calories: 251; Total Fat: 13 grams; Saturated Fat: 7.5 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Total carbohydrates: 35 grams; Sugar: 22 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Cholesterol: 38 milligrams; Sodium: 143 milligrams

    Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

    1 cup natural peanut butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Coarse sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.

    In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until well combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

    Bake until golden around edges, about 10 minutes, switching the position of the pans halfway thorough baking. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    What Makes This Recipe Really Sing: Without the flour getting in the way, you really get that true peanut butter flavor.

    BYOC: Try tossing in mini versions of stuff. I love peanut butter chips, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut and even a mini peanut butter cup. Try making a thumb print cookie and add jelly to it. Go crazy, kids and adults love these.

    Per Cookie: Calories: 137; Total Fat 7 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 grams; Protein: 3 grams; Total carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 12 grams; Fiber: 1 grams; Cholesterol: 12 milligrams; Sodium: 164 milligrams

  • Angie says:

    The only time I gave up coffee was when I was pregnant both times. My doctor said I could have a cup a day, but when I was pregnant, I was the paranoid type.

    I was so worried about me and my unborn kids while pregnant (I blame all of the scary/sad stories on parenting websites and magazines) that giving up coffee while pregnant was no big deal.

    Giving up coffee now, however, would be a big deal. I would have to feel pretty awful to do it.

  • Stephanie says:

    Since I noticed your diet changes, I wanted to mention an awesome online course I am taking in May called 30 Day Vegan from Her recipes are delicious, and made with ingredients that are normally found in your kitchen. I’m very excited to take the class! Maybe you would enjoy it as well!

  • Lana says:

    I have started to realize that coffee makes me tired. It would be a big step to eliminate it altogether and I applaud you!

  • Lisa says:

    I have never drank coffee, but I know it would be hard for my husband to give up.

    Here is what I am making this week:

  • Anna says:

    That’s great that you have been off sugar for a while now. Does that include honey? I have been out of sugar for a while and so have been drinking green tea and honey. We were out of milk for a while too. And after drinking coffee with almond milk and honey, let’s just say tea was the better option.

  • Susan says:

    Go to She has lots of grain-free, sugar-free recipes. I especially like her Banana Bread and scone recipes.

  • Keli says:

    I gave up sugar and coffee for the month of April. The coffee was not as hard as I thought it would be. The sugar was a little bit as it is in so much stuff! It has opened my eyes to the foods we eat and I notice i sleep a lot better and I have more energy. Good luck with your experiment!

  • Beth says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve been trying the no sugar coffee thing too. Unfortunately while I’ve cut back I haven’t been able to say no completely. This is just the encouragement I needed !

    I’m learning you can have discipline to say no!

  • K says:

    Thanks for this post. It’s very timely. And congratulations on your success w/ temporarily eliminating sugar and caffeine from your diet. I can imagine that it wasn’t easy.

    I am not a coffee drinker, but I do like sweets. I rarely if ever prepare foods with white cane sugar, as I use agave nectar, (preferably raw.) I just purchased some powdered Stevia, so I’ll be trying that, soon.

    I’ve been contemplating trying a gluten-free diet, just to see if I notice any positive changes in my body.

    I think that a major challenge would be to give up ALL dairy and salt. Or maybe just doing organic dairy. 🙂 Don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do vegan. Would love to be able to afford the meats that don’t have added hormones, antibiotics, or steroids. I buy them when I can.

    Crystal, you once did a post that linked to (or Though I haven’t tried the recipes, I do plan to do so, soon. I think that there may even be some gluten-free recipes available.?

    Well, blessings on your success with your next dietary venture!

  • Anna says:

    Oooh! After seeing the chocolate banana smoothie I had to make one. It was so good! Now, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe, but it’s like drinking a candy bar for breakfast! I used a scoop of vitacost whey protein powder, which is super sweet from xylitol and stevia, and skipped the honey, and threw in a scoop of chia/flax/psyllium fiber blend I have that is GROSS alone, but otherwise pretty much did the recipe. Good way to take the fiber! I barely noticed it.

  • TJsSweetHome says:

    My daughter and I have just switched over to gluten free. We are trying to see if gluten plays a part in her ibs issues and for me, to see if it will alleviate my chronic pain. It hasn’t been too hard since there are so many great options on store shelves, but it HAS been costly. Are you drinking decaf or no coffee at all?~TJ

  • melissa f says:

    Hey Crystal, So happy for you. I know when my family is doing this well we all feel so much better. Alas, it is easy to fall back into old habits though. 2 of my favorite sweet treats to enjoy while eating this way are very simple. Pecan pie- take a whole Medjool date, pop out the pit and replace it with a whole pecan or two- tastes just like pecan pie. The other is one ingrediant banana ice cream- freeze chunks of banana that are really ripe. After they are frozen, place in a blender (I use an immersion blender) and blend until it is a nice creamy texture. Best banana ice cream ever- so sweet and creamy!

  • Jenny says:


    These cheesesteak bell peppers were wonderful. We made them yesterday with steakums instead of roast beef! Hope you enjoy them too. But OMG you gave up caffeine? Brave woman 🙂 We gave up sugar last month. I faltered a few times but overall we are doing well. IF you can give tips on paying for more meat and veggies when you’ve cut those starches out I would LOVE that. Not supplementing the diet with white pasta, rice, and potatoes definitely takes more food to fill us. This month we plan to experiment with adding beans to our diet. We are definitely getting healthier but not entirely feeling it!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Jenny says:

      Oh, and if you come up with uses for UNSWEETENED ALMOND VANILLA MILK. It’s pretty awful- we got 4 of them on a discount last week. So far I’ve used 1 entire carton making lattes, blender frappucinos, and drinking it straight up. It’s just such a funny taste. I havent found a recipe i love it in yet. So do let us know if you try some!

  • Hanneke says:

    LOVED your suggestion for banana/chocolate/peanut butter smoothie! I used almond butter with an extra banana and NO sweetner, VERY YUMMY!

  • Deidre says:

    I started cutting sugar out years ago and am amazed at the difference! I have no started to cut out all dyes and my migraines and headaches have almost disappeared. Here is my favorite sugar-free granola recipe.

    1 cup oats
    1/2 cup almond butter or peanut butter (I use almond butter)
    1/3 cup honey
    1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (Whole Foods bulk section)
    1/2 cup dried fruit without sugar
    1 tsp vanilla

  • Lisa says:

    Crystal I’m also trying to loose weight just got over pneumonia had to take 2 rounds steroids i want to cut out sugar but i love coffe tea I’ve cut down to one cup coffee and one glass tea and rest water i was wondering what do u drink all day?

  • Billene says:

    Seems that gluten free diets are the latest nutritional fad these days. I question the fact of just how much one would benefit from this diet if not diagonised with Celiac disease. Most gluten free products are very expensive and do not provide the nutritional benefits needed by those not suffering from the disease. As far as sugar and caffeine goes I think everyone should cut back or do away with it completely. Most adults and children consume much more than they need, leading to weight problems, tooth decay , sleepless nights and hyperactivity.

  • Christine says:

    This is my favorite gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free dessert :

    These Apple Spice Scones are fantastic! …people always ask for the recipe.

  • Christine says:

    Here’s a delicious sugar, dairy, gluten-free salad dressing:

    a yummy hummus recipe – great as a snack with carrots, cucumbers, peppers:

    And, we LOVE this Chicken Piccata recipe (dredge w/ brown rice flour & toss in broccolini and cherry tomatoes at the end):

    Another main course meal – Mexicali Burgers served w/ Guacamole on top:
    (even better served w/ a side of baked sweet potato fries!)

    1 lb ground turkey
    1/3 c. salsa
    3 T. chopped cilantro (optional)
    2 T. finely chopped onion
    1 tsp. ground cumin

    1 ripe avocado, pitted
    1 T. salsa
    1 tsp. lime (or lemon) juice
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    1/4 tsp. salt

  • Dana says: is a great resource! She has two cookbooks that we use often. Our whole family is now gluten free and feeling so much better. Hang in there. It gets easier.

  • Steph says:

    How do you handle when you eat at other people’s homes? Do you tell them beforehand that you are eating a restricted diet? This has always been difficult for me because I eat a certain way out of preference, not because it’s medically necessary (does that make any sense?) so when someone invites us for dinner, I end up eating things I wouldn’t in my normal diet.

    • Crystal says:

      So far, it’s not been an issue. I can usually find at least a few things that I can eat and just skip the bread and dessert. Also, I often offer to bring a dish or two — and I try to make sure that I can eat what I bring.

  • Donita says:

    I love your site and am excited to try some of your gluten free recipes since I had to give up gluten 5 years ago. I’d like to suggest that you try using stevia in some of your recipes to sub for sugar. Also, unsweetened carob chips can be used to sub for chocolate chips if people need to avoid the extra sugar and caffeine.

  • Leanne says:

    I’m starting a 30 day gluten-free diet tomorrow. I did it last fall and discovered it wasn’t that hard and I lost 9 pounds in one month along with feeling so much better! My daughter discovered that since she gave up corn products, she has no more migraines. Corn is pervasive in so many products today and it’s sad that so many of our foods are making us sick. I hope your experiment goes well and you feel great!

  • Rose says:

    An easy non-sugar sweetener for your oatmeal is cooking the oats in apple juice! I actually just keep an open container of frozen apple juice concentrate handy and just add a couple spoons full to my water! I’ve also added bananas to my oatmeal for extra sweetness.

  • Katie says:

    I recently went gluten/sugar free as well – three weeks in and not a sugar craving in sight! It’s amazing how once I gave up the high carb items, I stopped craving them.

    I get tired of eggs for breakfast (and I’m staying away from oatmeal right now), so I make this quick and easy custard.

    3 eggs
    2 ripe bananas
    1 can of coconut milk OR 15 oz almond milk (I’m sure dairy milk would work as well)
    2 tsp vanilla
    Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to taste

    Blend it all in the blender, pour in a Corningware or individual cups, and bake at 325 for 45 minutes. I make it ahead and eat it cold in the morning and it is super easy and delicious with a little bit of sweetness!

  • Sophie says:

    I’m GF too. It’s made all the difference for me. It’s great that you are going no sugar because a lot of the GF products add tons of extra sugars. Make sure you get enough iron. My iron dropped when I went GF because I didn’t realize how much bread and cereals were fortified with iron! Quick tips: Make your typical enchilada recipes with corn tortillas, your noodle dishes with GF noodles ( the quinoa are best for you but pricey). I buy the Hartland noodles from Walmart. They are the cheapest and my husband can’t tell the difference. They also reheat the best. Always undercooked GF noodles so they aren’t slimey:)
    Here is a yummy no sugar dessert idea. Slice up a banana, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and top with a little honey. Fry the banana in a little coconut oil. While it’s hot add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter ( let it melt on top to make sauce). Hope you enjoy it!!

  • BUSY MOM IN AL says:

    Crystal, I know how you like to save time in the kitchen and saw that you were having a salad every day for lunch. Have you seen the mason jar salads? You can make them 4-5 days ahead and they stay fresh. Just google salad in a jar or mason jar salads! They are so pretty!

  • Julie says:

    Way to go on gluten free! I have been going back and forth on doing it as my mom had celiac disease and I am starting to be “just like my mom” in many ways. Did you end up buying all new kitchen appliances/utensils/pots and pans? Or were you able to use what you have? I am trying to do this without breaking the bank in setting up my “new” kitchen. Any input would be awesome!!

    • Frances says:

      I have been gluten-free for 7 weeks now – mainly due to stomach issues for me and my husband’s double vision since November. Wanted to say thanks for all the links and posts. I will be busy reading them for quite a while.

      Julie, I did not buy all new pots and pans. I used aluminum foil over a toaster oven tray that was used for non- gluten-free items and just cleaned the other pots very well. MAKE SURE you do not use a plastic colander for gluten-free and gluten spaghetti. My husband and son reacted to it! We did buy a stainless steel colander to be used for only gluten-free items – or you can just use lid to drain.

  • CCM says:

    For anyone who has given up coffee and wants a sub, or is trying to, give roasted chicory root a try. It’s caffeine free and is LOADED w/stuff that’s good for you. It also has a very coffee-esque flavor. You steep one teaspoon w/1 cup of boiling water, then strain. I was getting awful headaches when I tried to quit coffee a few months ago, but with this sub, I haven’t gotten any! Turns out, chicory root is anti-inflammatory and actually reduces headaches!

  • Veronica says:

    For those of you wanting to go gluten free, at least go get tested for celiac disease from your doctor (IF they will test you, trust me, I had to argue to get it, many years of undiagnosed celiac disease, aunt diagnosed with celiac disease) BEFORE you go gluten free. If you go gluten free and then get tested, you will probably get a false negative result. There is no test right now for gluten sensitivity, which is a shame, but they are working on it. Then do your research on what foods do and do not contain gluten and know what to look for on your food labels. I had to just cut out pretty much every processed food out there and eat more whole foods. I have celiac disease (and I tested positive for oats, even those labeled gluten free, there is gluten in oats but only about 15% of celiacs react to it). I also have intolerances to eggs, cow dairy (I limit myself on the goat cheese, but that’s all the dairy I consume, I switched to coconut milk products), soy, GMO corn (organic corn doesn’t bother me, I don’t understand it), most nuts, peanuts, manioc (tapioca), and spinach. I had to do an elimination diet and eat only 5 things for 6 months, then have started to slowly add back one item every couple of weeks to see if I can have it or not and I am now up to 30 foods I CAN eat, so that’s a victory for me. I was just reacting horribly to every single thing I ate and lost 35 pounds quickly.

    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I DID cut out sodas (Diet Dr. Pepper was my fave) in January. Yes, I had the horrible withdrawal headache for a couple of days, but then I felt fine. I am also cutting out all fake sweeteners (I will use real sugar, I don’t see a problem with that, it’s the fake ones that gave me horrible headaches). Ever since I did this, I don’t crave sweets or carbs (cakes, cookies, chips, etc) so much. I tried a sip of Diet Dr Pepper a few weeks ago and it tasted AWFUL! It was a nasty chemical taste that I definitely do NOT remember a soda tasting like, so I poured it down the drain and haven’t tried it again. These chemicals must change the way our taste buds perceive food.

    I don’t have any good recipes for you to try, but I’m working on it. I am trying to get my website up and running and maybe help those with multiple food intolerances figure things out as I am figuring things out. I eat very simply right now.

  • Angie Malan says:

    Our family is GF and here is our favorite not sweet recipe. It’s easy and inexpensive and only one pan to clean! Oven Roasted Chicken:
    Rinse and pat dry one whole chicken (4-5 lbs.). Put in a roasting pan and rub with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. salt. In the pan with the chicken put (diced and peeled) 1-2 sweet potatoes, 1-2 potatoes, 1 onion, and 1 cup of carrots. Put 4 Tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of thyme on the veggies. Bake in 400 oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken reaches 180 with a meat thermometer. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

    Our family of 2 adults and 3 kids can eat this for dinner and still have tons of leftover chicken to freeze, make chicken and rice soup, or chicken salad, or enchiladas (corn tortillas). This can also be prepped in advance and stuck in the refrigerator. Good luck!

  • Katie says:

    I am gluten free too and I make these almost weekly!

  • I’m now posting my whole menu of dinners a month at a time. Here’s my menu for May:

  • K D says:

    There is a wonderful website with recipes, just Goofle Elana Amsterdam, I believe the website is called Elana’s pantry. I have been happy with her recipes.

  • Susan says:

    Good work, Crystal! I am glad that you are trying this experiment, because you always have such interesting-looking recipes, but some of them contain sugar, which eliminates them for me. Perhaps there will be some sugar-free ones soon?

    Like some others here, I stopped eating sugar and have noticed a positive change in my health since I did so.

  • Stephanie says:

    This is my favorite pancake recipe, and it happens to be gluten free. I eat it with Greek yogurt and berries :).

  • Theres says:

    I’m a little late to add to this post, but just had to share. For health reasons, I eliminated white flower, white sugar and anything processed or with preservatives almost 2 years ago. Amazingly the arthritis and other joint inflammation issues I was experiencing disappeared. It was a bit difficult at first, but has been well worth it!

    Hope you have great results as well!

  • Wow Crystal, you are a brave girl to give up coffee! I have tried and failed at that many times. Would you be willing to share how you went about it? Did you go cold turkey? I can give up a lot of things, but coffee seems to be the one thing I really struggle with.

    • Crystal says:

      Cold Turkey — and it was *hard*. But the pounding headache for a few days just furthered my resolve!

      • That’s where I relapsed – I would get a headache and then go right back to the coffee. I found some organic coffee beans at Costco and try to justify to myself that it’s healthier. I just don’t like being dependent on it to get through the day. If you can do it, I can do it! Thank you for the inspiration.

  • One more thing… I appreciate that you are posting healthy recipes, so thank you! It is hard to find recipes that are both healthy AND actually taste good! What are you going to do without your bread machine buttery rolls? ;o) I love those, but feel much better when I don’t eat bread & such…

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