So, some people claim it takes 21 days to take a habit – and while it’s obvious the I Quit Sugar Program banks on eight weeks! – I thought the 21 day mark was as good a time as any to give you guys an update on how I’m finding the IQS 8 Week Program. Plus, there’s a cool new IQS Healthy Breakfast Cookbook just out which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and I can also tell you all about what’s in that!
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The 8 Week Program So Far
The IQS8WP kicked off gently, with some pre-prepping and an initial week of low-sugar eating. Early access to the online platform opened up in late January, which sets you up with a bunch of fact/tip sheets and a kitchen essentials list. A few days before official start on 8 February, the first weekly email from the IQS Team then dropped in to my inbox , letting me know the Week 1 shopping list + meal plan were up. My kitchen was already brimming with IQS staples, and I was just itching to see what participants got to cook (and how hard/how much effort it would be)!
So, to begin! Each week of the IQS8WP starts with a suggested “Sunday Cook Up”, which is where you prep longer-lasting items for your fridge + freezer to save you time during the week. BIG fan of this concept – it’s something that I have been doing for a long time now and can genuinely say it makes a huge difference to how well you will eat. (On that note, get yourself a slow cooker – I have a Morphy Richards Precision Digital Slow Cooker and it’s lasted me a few years so far). The IQS8WP cook ups do not tend to last more than a couple hours, so you don’t need to set aside a whole day to do them or anything like that.
As I mentioned, Week 1 focused on low-sugar eating, so while the fare was all free from added sugar like honey, some fruit popped in to sweeten things up a bit. Week 2 was when I noticed more of a difference, particularly at breakfast. Fruit is out for Weeks 2 through to 6! Though I don’t eat a large amount of fruit and or add sweetener directly, one of my go-to breakfasts is a veggie smoothie topped with homemade granola + berries. My current protein powder has stevia in it, my granola uses rice malt syrup, and it was bye bye berries. While my smoothie is still a good, low-sugar choice, it was too much deviation from the IQS guidelines to stay on the menu right now…Ouch!
From Week 2 on, my eating habits have certainly been more savoury in nature, and eggs – which I eat quite often anyway – have become the mainstay of morning meals. At first it was a bit frustrating because I was used to cruising through a certain morning routine including whizzing up a smoothie, but in terms of meal satisfaction the IQS8WP alternatives are totally great, and now I’m used to making different things it’s fine. Most of the breakfasts can be made in advance, plus the IQS8WP also has a fact sheet with some speedy alternatives if you don’t want/can’t make what’s on the meal plan.
And on that note, I will be honest with you; I’ve not stuck 100% to the meal plans, because of working life + I’ve eaten out on occasion. Here’s the deal.
- For some breakfasts I’ve made a sweetener-free chia pudding with some nuts/seeds on top, because it’s easy to take to work.
- If I don’t have time to do the specific meal prep in the IQS8WP, I make my lunch from the salad bar at work + protein + lemon juice/olive oil. (I’m lucky that my work has this option, I know!)
- I have eaten a few pieces of whole fruit during Weeks 2 + 3 for an afternoon snack when I have needed it, but please see my initial blog post on my approach to the IQS8WP if you want to know why.
- I have gone out to dinner occasionally. I try to choose simple food without weird sauces and marinades to avoid added sugar. Some examples – calamari / steak / baked sweet potato / buttered greens, beef pho, a pub meal of slow cooked lamb / potatoes / carrots / greens.
Overall? Practically, the 8WP really isn’t a daunting amount of food prep, and in terms of grocery items rest assured you’ll be fine picking this stuff up from a supermarket. That’s one of the things I’ve appreciated about the Program most so far; it’s not loaded with “superfoods” or anything I think is overly expensive. The Program also really makes use of your freezer, which is economical. Food-wise, the meals have generally been quite well-portioned; plus you can always add some baked potato or extra quinoa, an egg etc. if you’re still hungry. The messaging around hasn’t been “you can ONLY eat what’s on the plans”.
Here are some snaps of a few of my favourite meals on the IQS8WP so far; the pumpkin + mozzarella pizza, broccoli detox soup and the paleo veggie bread with avo + feta smash. (Plus the image at the top of this article, which is paleo veggie bread topped with hummus, flaked hot smoked salmon and tomatoes – a random sandwich combo I made up when I had stuff in the fridge to get rid of!)
The IQS Healthy Breakfast Cookbook!
As if having a whole bunch of new brekky ideas via the IQS8WP wasn’t enough, the IQS Team have also just released a funky new e-book, the Healthy Breakfast Cookbook. I’ve been reviewing the book for the last week or so and have supplemented my IQS8WP meals with a few ideas from this.
What’s inside? The IQS Healthy Breakfast Cookbook gives you a total of 45 breakfast options, all free from refined sugar; some have fruit and/or rice malt syrup but many of the options included are totally sweetener and fructose-free so they’re IQS8WP suitable. The book is divided up in to several chapters, each with a different focus and gradually becoming a little more “fancy” as the book progresses. The initial chapters cover off the brekkies you can create when you have no time to spare (there’s actually a chapter called “Breakfast in 2 Minutes”) and there’s lots of very simple, no-cook or minimal-cooking ideas in there. And, in true IQS style, there’s also a chapter dedicated to Sunday Cook-ups so you can get super organised.
My favourite part of the book is probably the chapters toward the end of the book; especially “Cafe Favourites” and “Fun Savoury Things”. On the weekends when I have more time I love to try my hand at making something a little different for breakfast that I can actually sit down and eat from a plate, not out of a jar! So these chapters are perfect for me, as they have given me a few new ideas to try. I trialled the recipe for the Miso French Toast over the weekend, and it got a big thumbs up at home! We had it with bacon, pea shoots + sauteed mushrooms. Delish. Picture is below:
The Healthy Breakfast Cookbook is a relatively easy one in terms of cooking ability, and to make most of the items in this book, you won’t need particularly fancy kitchen equipment like a high powdered blender or stuff like that (just your regular old bowls, spoons, whisk, etc.). If you tend to rotate between the same limited breakfast options and/or are struggling to think of things you can make for breakfast that are wholesome and don’t rely on your typical nutrient-deficient breakfast nasties like processed cereal + sugary spreads, then this is definitely going to be a handy little book for you. A lot of the meals in here would also make a great light lunch or speedy dinner.
Keen to give it a go? You can purchase the I Quit Sugar Healthy Breakfast Cookbook by clicking on one of the hyperlinks in this article or on the image below; this is my affiliate link, where you can buy the book from the IQS website (and support this site at no extra cost to you).