After enrolling on the I Quit Sugar 8 week programme at the start of the month I wasn’t sure whether I would share a weekly progress update on here (because I wasn’t sure if you’d be interested) but after an overwhelmingly positive response to my posts over on Instagram (here btw, if you don’t follow me already) plus number of people asking me a whole range of questions these past two weeks I thought each week I’d do a little wrap up of how it’s going and give you guys a space to ask me anything you want to know about the Programme.
So, as I’m moving into week three here’s some basic programme information to help you decide whether it’s for you and on Wednesday I’ll do a full run down on weeks one and two.
Ok, so first things first, how much does this cost? I know most of you will want to know how much the outlay is going to be (it’s certainly one of the things I focus on when deciding whether to commit to a programme of this kind). The programme used to be a one off payment and run at fixed points throughout the year. However, this has recently changed and there is a new round which starts every Sunday and the option to pay weekly.
If you pay in one lump sum it costs £89 or about £96 if you opt for the weekly instalments. You can also chose to pay £106 and receive the programme, print cookbook and ebook too. If you’re a first timer this might be helpful but as I have them already I stuck with the £89 option. The I Quit Sugar team often run special deals throughout the year so if this is a frighteningly high figure for you you can wait until they have a special on, or get a recommendation from a nominated ‘IQS friend’ which gets you $15 AUS off. I went for the boxing day sale which gave me 15% off.
There is an option to select which season you’d like (e.g. winter or summer) depending on where you live in the world and whether you’d like a vegetarian plan or omnivore; although don’t be too hung up on this choice as I’ve found the plans are very customisable. If you’re vegan or following a specialist diet like paleo you can switch the meals up a little to accommodate your style of eating.
In addition to the one off cost of the programme there is the cost of the food. You might find that this way of eating introduces you to new foods which can be quite expensive e.g. tempeh or apple cider vinegar. You might find that your weekly shopping spend goes up a little, especially as you also might need to stock up your pantry with herbs and spices, flours and nuts. I’m lucky in that I tend to buy a lot of these things already so the outlay wasn’t as bad for me as it is for others.
My tip to reducing the food bill is to shop in bulk where you can (Wholefoods, Amazon or independent bulk stores) and buy your fruits and veggies from discount supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl or from your local market. I tend to go to the market near the end of trading as sometimes you can negotiate a better price because the vendor will want to shift their remaining stock rather than take it home.
Ok, so why should I pay for it? It’s true, you can do an 8 week Programme yourself. There’s a handy guide in the first I Quit Sugar book which goes through and explains all the principles of what to focus on each week, what to eliminate etc. but quite frankly if it’s the first time you’ve tried something like this it can be hard work. When you pay for the programme you get everything delivered neatly to your inbox each week which really helps.
Additionally on the programme you have access to the forums, additional (and exclusive) ‘programme approved’ recipes that you can’t find elsewhere and even an interactive shopping list that changes the quantities of food you need depending on how many days you select. All very cleverly designed to take the stress out of it for you.
If you do the programme yourself at home you’ll need to devise your own meal plans for the week and work out the themes behind each week (e.g. no fruit weeks 2-6), which can be a toughie. In my opinion the books don’t really give you enough recipes to go on so you’d need to invest some time trawling their website for suitable recipes and snacks.
One feature I especially love about the online programme is the handy ‘cook up’ each weekend. This is where you prepare certain foods that repeat throughout the week in advance to make the cooking during the week speedier e.g. batch cooking lentils, rice or veggie purees. So if you’re DIY’ing it that’s another thing you’d need to do – work out which bits you need to shortcut in order to take the hassle out of the weekly cooking (unless you are prepared to cook every night from scratch).
I think you can guess where I’m coming from. I think the Programme is a worthwhile investment simply because of the ease and simplicity. Quitting sugar can be a scary concept so I think if you can afford it, why not take the hassle out and let someone else do the thinking for you (if only for the first time round).
So, I’ve signed up, what can I expect a typical week to look like?
Well the IQS team know that for some people this will take a lot of time and support – and for others it’s another round in a long line and you’re a practised pro. So to help you get through the week you receive something new every day to help keep you on track.
There’s a ‘starter pack’ which contains lots of helpful information and advice for first time quitters (and those who should know better) including a list of things to stock your cupboards with before the programme kicks off (flours, nuts etc.) and each week you’ll receive:
Thurs – meal plans, shopping list and the cook ups are released. This is my favourite day as I get to look ahead at all the food in the coming week and start to plan out whether I’m eating out at all and when to switch my days around.
Fri – A weekend read. Usually an article or cheat sheet containing information about sugar, why it’s not more widely know the damage it can do, or debunking some popular myths.
Sat – Articles and cheat sheets are available online incase you’re in need of inspiration (if your meal plan isn’t floating your boat) or if you have to eat out and are panicking about making IQS approved choices.
Sun – is usually an outline of what to expect for the week ahead as well as some tricks, tips and advice.
Mon – is when there is a new ‘try this’ sheet released. This can be anything from a new set of recipes, to ways to get creative with your veg. I find these really handy for times when I’m struggling to stick to the plan. I discovered an amazing hot chocolate recipe from one of the Monday ‘try this’ sheets.
Tues – is for ‘Tuesday eats’. Another helpful sheet of foods to support your sugar quitting journey. Each week is different and seems to come right at the time when I’m doubting or struggling with the plan.
Weds – is a weekly wrap up from Sarah (Wilson – founder of the IQS movement) reflecting on what to expect and rounding off the week before the next set of meal plans are released.
What meals can I expect to features on the programme? Well, contrary to popular belief the meal plans are very varied and manage to think of new ways to use your veggies that you hadn’t thought of before. For example, using veggie pureé in breakfast muffins, or fitting seven (yes, seven!) different vegetables into a pasta bake. Each time I do the programme I find something new.
These past two weeks I’ve eaten, to name only a few meals: carrot and spinach pasta bake, creamy buckwheat mushroom risotto, supercharged broccoli bread, carrot and feta savoury muffins and golden masala curry. I’ll do a complete run down of weeks one and two on Wednesday but suffice to say I’ve not been tempted to stray from the plan or sub any meals out (bar the odd night out) because everything is so tasty.
I’ll leave this post here (as I could go on for much longer but this is already pretty long). In short, I think the programme is a worth while investment, especially as you can download the meal plans, shopping lists and materials to keep, meaning if you fancy doing your own plan again at a later date you don’t have to pay the £89 again.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions pop them in the comments below. Until Wednesday have a great week everyone.