Category Archives: Nutrition

Sugar fast–birthday

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Let’s just start this post off with the happy truth: I’m most definitely NOT giving up sugar for my birthday.

My so-called sugar fast has been going great (it’s not even an actual sugar fast, just a buying-candy fast).  I started it back in mid-April and have only bought candy twice since then.  If you are my friend Taryn or if you’ve known me for more than, like, five minutes, you recognize this as a tremendous improvement.  I love candy so much and was known to be crazy obsessed with it at times.

But I’ve been much better about it.  Occasionally I get a few pieces of candy from someone (such as my boss at our monthly faculty meetings), but overall I have been avoiding it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Out of my house, stays out of my tummy.

So here I am to say that this week, I’m taking a little hiatus from my candy-purchasing embargo.  My birthday is this Tuesday, so I’m going to be a little extra indulgent towards my sweet tooth.  Some say that’s one of the keys to sticking with many diet or lifestyle changes–allow yourself the occasional controlled “cheat” day or meal, and then keeping to your improved lifestyle will be much easier.

Thank you to the Foreign Candy Company for supplying my school’s foreign-language club with Bon-Bons, these delightful little chewy fruit candies that the students just go nuts over.  They arrived on Friday, just in time for my birthday week, and yep, I broke my rule that day to get myself a bag of strawberry-flavored treats!  I honestly worried that they might sell out by midweek, as popular as they are with the kids here.  That package was tasty, and I don’t feel the need to stock up on bags and bags of it or anything.

Anyway, I am looking forward to enjoying a little break from my rule, and just enjoyed a delectable Ghirardelli chocolate…mmm! I will gladly return to abstaining from candy-buying by the end of this week, though.  (My hubby asked, only partly in jest, if I’m also going to drop my rule for Halloween week, Thanksgiving week, Christmas, etc.).  Ha!  Nope!  I really don’t think I will.   Maybe once a month I’ll give myself a free pass, but no more than that.  I’m excited by how much less I crave the stuff compared to before, and how much more I savor the candy treats I get now that they’re so much rarer.  Now, they are an actual treat!  Plus, once the other school-group candy fundraisers begin, I have an excuse for saying no!

Good luck to you with whatever your goals may be, readers.  Keep on pluggin’ away!

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Sugar Fast Update

So the no-buying-candy streak lasted nearly two full months.  It began April 17 and ended today.

Not bad, right? Fifty-three days without incident, as my sign would read if my resolution were a factory or something involving dangerous machinery.  Although, come to think of it, a mere fifty-three days wouldn’t inspire that much confidence if I were a prospective employee at said factory.  But I digress.

What triggered the slip-up?  Super crazy exhausted stressful driving!  My baby boy and I were heading home from my great-uncle’s memorial service only to discover that anywhere we needed to go was fraught with delays and detours.  Ugh.  After almost two hours of stalled traffic, missed turns, unclear street signs, lack of GPS, and a slightly crabby toddler in the backseat, I did finally break down (not literally with the car or anything) and buy a package of gummy bears at the Walgreen’s where I asked for directions.  Even though I was finally getting close to where I needed to be, my tension level was so high, I just didn’t care much about my rule at that particular moment.

So I gave in to a moment of weakness.  We all do, right?  (Please say yes–I can’t stand being the only imperfect one!)

We can’t let temporary slip-ups derail the whole experiment.  We acknowledge the mistake and move on with fresh resolve.

Observations so far:

1) I definitely have been eating MUCH less candy during this time.  The only times I’ve indulged were at a few get-togethers, including my cousin’s baby shower this past weekend.

2) The candy I’ve had has seemed more of a treat.  Exactly as it should!  Not an everyday thing.

3) Sort of contradictory to #2, I don’t enjoy candy the way I used to.  I’m not giving up sugar by any means, but I’m finding that my tastes lean more toward baked treats, anything made from REAL ingredients.  I tried making chocolate mousse out of nothing but avocado, cocoa powder, and honey that was ahh-mazing! I love my cookies and enjoy them much more than fake-tasting candy.  The gummy bears I ate today were completely unsatisfying and made me feel sick.  So actually, this was a productive end-of-streak; it reminded me of how much better real food tastes and strengthened my resolve for the next several months.

Bummer to have to start the count over again, but such is life.  I’m feeling pretty darn good about my fifty-three days.

How about you?  What’s the tally for you and your specific goals?

 

 

Sugar Fast

I am a sugar addict.

Oh, what a relief to finally admit it on paper (well, online, technically).

Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a sugar addict.  (“Hi, Kate…”)

I confess: I frequently experience incredibly strong cravings for Skittles, chocolate chip cookies, and Twizzlers.  It is not unusual for me to consume three Subway cookies after lunch and still want Lucky Charms after dinner, plus a handful of other sugary snacks sprinkled throughout any given day.

I won’t deny it.  I have known for a long time that my obsession with sweet food is dangerous.  I know my noshing is out-of-control at times.  I have plenty of friends who claim to be just as addicted to sweets as I am, but I’m pretty sure I could out-eat any of them in a contest.  Whenever candy is required, people know I’m the girl to see.

When loved ones bemoan their addiction to smoking, I agree with them that smoking is a filthy, deadly habit that they should never have begun.  But I also am thinking inwardly, “I’m not that different.”  What I am doing to myself, my body, is perhaps equally self-destructive and foolish as smoking three packs a day.

So, here I am once again, resolved to cut back on the junk.  I vow to eat less candy, fewer empty calories.  I should probably say none, but knowing me, going cold turkey would be a setup for certain failure.

I have set up some parameters for myself now.  Only in a couple of areas am I saying, absolutely none.  1: Soda is out, as are sugary juices. 2: I will not buy candy.

Notice I didn’t say I will not eat candy.  My husband, wise man that he is, suggested I just don’t buy any more candy, at least for awhile.  Out of sight, out of mind.  If it’s not in the house, he reasons, you can’t eat it.  I know, I know– totally obvious, right?  But it is not easy for me.  So that’s my other hard and fast rule for the foreseeable future: no purchasing candy of any kind.

Brilliant.  Now, he first brought this idea up about a week before Easter.  Ah yes…Easter, the special time when we believers recognize Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  That is the original meaning of it, after all.  Sometime in the last two thousand years, something else crept in and began overtaking its sacred purpose.

Marshmallow Peeps.  Jelly beans (Starburst ones, not the regular original jellybeans, which are pretty gross, if you ask me).  M’n’Ms flocked with festive pastel pinks, blues, yellows, and purples.  Chocolate bunnies (although, to be honest, I’ve never been very impressed by their taste or quality).  Still, the lure of Easter candy threatened to derail me from the get-go.  I can’t even begin to guess how many jelly beans I’ve eaten in recent years between Valentine’s Day and Easter.   Plus, I would always try to hit the stores the day after Easter, to take advantage of the sales.

Something surprising happened after the implementation of the no-buying-candy rule.  The first time I went to Target, I glanced for a second at the Easter candy aisles, but walked right on by.  No struggle.  No inward debate over whether or not I would go ahead and cheat.  No friends or family members forced to pry family-sized bags of Tootsie Rolls out of my hands as I protested weakly, “Just one more!  I can quit anytime, I promise!” I just thought, nope.  Not gonna do it.

It was actually rather freeing.  Easier than anticipated.  That day and in the following shopping trips, instead of stocking up on bags and bags of candy, I walked on by.  I used to tell myself “well, I can give it away at school” (true, but I’d usually finish off most of it myself before I got the chance). I liked knowing that was one thing I could simply say no to.  I saved money and didn’t have all that sugary poison hanging around my house, hidden in various cupboards in vain attempts to deter me from eating it.

It’s only been a little over a month, but I’m so glad my man got me to make this change.  I’m not craving candy as much as I used to…hmm, perhaps because I’m not eating it every day? Notice, I didn’t say I can’t have candy…occasionally.  I thought that might be a little too drastic while starting out.  I’ll allow myself a little something once in awhile if someone else buys it, but I won’t buy the family-size bag anymore.  So I indulged in a few Peeps over Easter weekend (my husband’s family was roasting them …come on, there’s no way I’m going to say no to that caramelized deliciousness).

But out that’s it.  Since April 17th, those three or four Peeps, plus a weird gummy candy my friend gave me at her bridal shower are the only candy I have touched.  Scout’s honor.  If you knew me, you’d recognize this for the HUGE accomplishment it is.

Yeah, I still want my Cinnamon Toast Crunch or some sort of baked good before the day’s end.  I’m only human.  Baby steps.

Maybe one of these days cookies will be off the menu as well.  I don’t know.    Baking is just too much fun…

By the way, I’ve been trying out recipes from Chocolate-Covered Katie lately, too.  I’m not a vegan, but her blog boasts delicious lower-fat, lower-sugar dessert ideas!  Chocolate Chip Mug Cake…Snickerdoodle Dip…Chocolate Cake with a Crazy Ingredient (it’s cauliflower!).  Check it out!

 

 

Smoothies

I cannot think of anything else for my post topic of the day, so here it is: smoothies!  A fruity smoothie in the morning gives my day a great kick-start.

My husband started us on our smoothie kick two years ago–I returned home after a long day of parent-teacher conferences to find him in the middle of the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  I highly recommend watching it sometime, by the way.  It’s pretty amazing to watch one man’s transformation from popping a bunch of pills daily just to get by, still never feeling well, to a healthy weight and no medications needed.  He went on a strict juice fast for some amount of time (I want to say 90 days, but I don’t remember exactly) and ended up feeling so much better that he just kept going with it.  Eventually he did add more variety to his diet, but still consumed almost exclusively fruits, vegetables, and nuts and other natural, whole foods.

Inspired by the stories of lives changed and even saved through healthier eating, we began testing out different juice/smoothie concoctions.  Why? Because we wanted to gain long-term health, to reduce our risk of cancers and heart disease, to reduce our potential dependence on medication someday, and to have more energy and vitality.

We cannot boast of a mind-boggling metamorphosis like reversal of diabetes or a 200-lb. weight loss.  (Thank goodness, neither of us has ever been in that dire of condition at any point.)  We just know the amazing difference it makes in our daily energy and health to drink our smoothies as close to every day as possible.  Starting the morning with smoothies even motivates us to eat nutritiously all day long.  We’ve cut way down on red meat and refined sugars and upped our fruit and veggie intake tremendously.

Our basic smoothie “recipe”: (of course, adjust to fit your own needs and tastes):

  • 1 banana
  • 1 carton light yogurt (we like key lime pie flavor, but any will work)
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • several generous handfuls of fresh spinach, kale, or other dark leafy greens
  • water, juice, or milk to reach desired consistency

Blend well and enjoy!

Other suggestions:

For more of a tropical flavor, mango and pineapple taste awesome in place of some of the berries!

Kale has a more bitter taste than spinach, so you may want to use it sparingly until you know how it affects the taste.  We’ve always been amazed at how well spinach blends into the mix.