Eat This! How To Survive Sans Flour And Sugar

by Bill Brenner on October 19, 2011

What exactly does a life without flour and sugar look like? Read on.

Someone in work heard me rattling off everything I was eating for the day on the phone and looked at me like I had six heads. I was doing what I do almost every morning: Tell my OA sponsor what my food plan is for the day.

Mood music:

It sounds extreme. But it’s what I have to do to stay well. Going over it with my sponsor keeps me on track.

I’m often asked how I can deal with life without those two ingredients, and my answer is that I couldn’t deal with life WITH those things. People think this eliminates any joy in eating, but that’s not the case for me.

When someone asks what’s left to eat when I skip those things, the answer is quite a lot. Here’s what my food plan looks like on a typical day:


8 ounces of a protein, typically Greek yogurt or ricotta cheese

3 ounces of Grape Nuts or oatmeal

8 ounces of berries


–12 ounces of vegetable

–2 ounces of potato or brown rice

–4 ounces of protein (meat)

DINNER: Same as lunch.

A few notes:

It’s pretty difficult to eliminate every last drop of flour and sugar from your diet. There’s natural sugar in fruit, for example, and there are trace amounts of flour in a lot of things, including the Grape Nuts I eat at breakfast.

For me, the key is to avoid the highly enriched stuff (the white flour and sugar).

For those who find this diet bland, I say it’s all in how you make it. I can take all the individual ingredients of lunch and dinner and stir fry it. I add a lot of spices like hot pepper sauce. I use a lot of olive oil.

I also drink all the coffee I want (cream, no sugar).

This plan also doesn’t mean I can’t eat out. I have to when I travel on business, for example. No flour or sugar actually makes eating out simpler: No flour and sugar automatically takes a lot on the menu off the table. That makes it easier for me to make the right choices. I usually go for salads with meat in it and rice or potato on the side. I don’t put the restaurant food on a scale. Breaking out the little scale in a restaurant would be anti-social, in my opinion. The key there is to keep eating out to a minimum.

Carrying on this way keeps me from binge eating. It’s not perfect, but it beats the alternative.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rachel Alembakis October 19, 2011 at 1:27 am

It’s funny – or grimly ironic – how not-unnatural I find the idea of ordered eating. Not for me, mind you, but because my older daughter has food allergies – eggs and almonds. My younger sister also had/has a lot of food allergies. Now my dad has high blood pressure and has a diet centered around sodium avoidance. At any given time, I’m planning ahead for at least two and sometimes four or five health-related food factors, and that’s not including the generally accepted guidelines for kids’ food at my daughter’s school (it’s not a nut-free zone, but they really prefer it if you leave the nuts at home. So we do.).

The only time I get nervous is, of course, when we eat out, for fear of accidental exposure for our daughter. In our corner of Melbourne, there are a lot of vegan restaurants, which help, but I’m only truly comfortable at a few, select places that know us. Funny.

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