DAY 5: COUNTDOWN TO THE21-DAY 'CONSCIOUS CLEANSE' The unbeatable sweetness of being...When I first dropped sugar from my diet, choosing to eat only those things containing naturally occurring sugars it was a complete revelation to me. Never before had I felt such a sense of inner harmony and balance (that could be directly attributed to what I was eating and drinking, that is). After a week or so without sugar, I was so enjoying the absence of blood sugar peaks and troughs (which manifested in slight, but still detectable emotional 'highs' and 'lows') that there was nothing that could tempt me to start eating sugar again. At least for a while. I have veered off the path of natural sweetness a few times since then, but the point still holds.I'm always surprised, when I've been 'non-sugar' for a while, just how much natural sweetness I find in everyday foods (those borne naturally of Mother Earth) -which I'm sure you'll discover for yourself - if you haven't already - as you move through this programme. An extreme example, perhaps, but have you ever tried sipping hot water (warmed in the kettle)? It's nicer and sweeter than many herbal teas! When you've been off sugar for a while, these are the things you'll notice... the subtle flavours in foods and drinks.... and the beauty of balance. You'll wonder why you ever used that white stuff – which has actually had every single nutrient from the original sugar beet processed out of it!If you've been following the last few days of the run-up to the 21-day cleansing plan, you'll already have put away out of sight (or gifted to a neighbour) all varieties of sugar - from granulated and icing to caster and demerara) that lurked in your larders and cupboards (if they were ever there to start with). And if you haven't already, perhaps now is the time to go do a recce at your local health food store to find some healthy alternatives that suit you. Pick up some agave for instance (check the label for hidden additives first), or maple syrup (if you have an especially sweet tongue).Honey, of course, is a popular alternative to sugar. Packed with vitamins including B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids, it's also packed with minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Manuka is a highly nutritious variety, with many powerful added benefits for the immune system - useful when, at least in the UK, there is still quite a lot of dampness in the air (spring hasn't yet finally sprung) and there are still quite a few colds around.If you have a penchant for sugar in your coffee or tea (or other hot drink), perhaps now you can lace them instead with honey (or agave, or a drop of maple syrup). Better still, begin educating yourself to enjoy them without any form of sweetener... it's just a habit, after all!Have you any personal tips for learning to enjoy the natural sweetness in life? Or do you know any natural sweeteners that I haven't mentioned that might inspire others on the cleansing plan'? Please let us know! Here's a lovely chocolate coconut dip from @The Coconut Mama. http://thecoconutmama.com/2013/05/chocolate-coconut-butter/Tomorrow: big deep breath... we're going vegan!