Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Aftermath

On Thanksgiving I ate the rolls. I ate the cranberry sauce. I ate the stuffed mushrooms. I ate the stuffing and I ate roughly several slices of pumpkin pie. It was wonderful. 

We had our feast a little before noon. We snacked for the rest of the day. By 5pm I felt drained. i also felt...edgy. I was irritable and moody. At one point I was about to throw a tempter tantrum, and the only reason I didn't was because my inner monologue was something like this: 
"WHOA! Calm down! This is the sugar you are feeling. Just breathe, this will go away. you are really not this angry over nothing. Just calm down. Oh look! Another slice of pumpkin pie!" 

Because I had such a strong reaction I was excited the next day to go sugar-free again. know...leftovers! I had all my in-laws over and I was not in charge of my meals. My meals were Monday and Wednesday's dinners. I could have made myself my own meals, but...excuses. So I secondary sugar. And also two snack packs of oreos. And also pumpkin pie. 

And once again, my mood lost all stability and I almost threw a temper tantrum. 

And repeat on Saturday. 

Come Sunday I was actually excited to go back off sugar. Sunday was a hard day, maybe because I was coming off of a sugar high, maybe because we packed so much fun into the week and I was dead tired, but I was so, so, so tired. 

Monday was great. I was back to clear thinking and high energy. No detox symptoms this time! 

And thus my lesson is learned: Is sugar evil? No, sugar is delicious. But my life is way better when I'm off of all sugar. I do think I want to indulge here and there, but is there a way to do that without destabilizing my mood so severely? Also, is this why my kids throw tantrums? Because of sugar? 

So I suppose I'm just finishing up No Sugar Day 4. To be honest, I am worried. The holidays are all about sugar. I did great leading up up Thanksgiving, but I am attending at least 3 different Chrsitmas parties over the next two weeks. Do I eat sugar at all of them? Do I not eat sugar at any of them? 

Drek brought home Eggnog yesterday. I LOVE eggnog. I didn't have any. There is still half a gallon left in our fridge. It is calling for me. I wonder if I can make a healthy sugar-free eggnog. What is eggnog made from, anyway? 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 24

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the big day! I'm breaking my no-sugar streak! I'm very proud of myself for meeting my goal, but I'm even more thrilled with the results. I'll start back up on a no-sugar streak again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 23

After talking with several people, I've decided to break my no-sugar streak tomorrow. I met my goal and I'm proud of myself. I did it! Hooray! I'd like to stay off of sugar, but like so many other things, the stumbling block is the social aspect; I'm just not thrilled with the idea of not eating anyone else's food tomorrow. I'm making the sweet potato casserole (sugar free!) but other than that, the rolls, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the drinks, the panko for the stuffed mushrooms...are made with sugar. The stuffing and turkey are, of course, made with meat, so I can't have that either. That leaves me with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, which I would be fine with on a normal day, but this is Thanksgiving, and I don't want to offend my in-laws by not eating. More than that, I want to fit in and not be the "that person" that has such strict dietary restrictions that everyone is afraid to even mention food in my presence.

I'm not anti-sugar, so I don't feel it's worth the social stigma to skip the Thanksgiving feast. I also don't think I'll become addicted to sugar again in just one day, so I'm confident I won't have to detox again. I'll eat sugar within reason on Holidays, but my life really is better without sugar the rest of the time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 22

I feel great. I have more energy, my mind is clear, my memory is actually working, I have patience and compassion,  my skin is clearer, I'm accomplishing tasks, I'm laughing, I'm confident about my body, I look forward to trying on pants instead of dreading it, I'm optimistic about my health and my future. I've avoided coming down with a nasty cold that has hit everyone else in my family and overall just feel like I'm in a great place.

Today I got about 3 hours of sleep, and It's ok. I'm a little tired, but my mind is clear, I have energy, and even bounce! I really don't want to give this up!

The only thing that has not improved is my anxiety. I really thought no-sugar would help, but it really hasn't made a difference.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 21

Today was my weigh-in day. oddly, I lost 4 pounds in the first two weeks, then gained it all back last week. I'm not really sure why or how, but then, the scale is usually very puzzling to me.

I'll focus instead on this: In October I was given a pair of jeans that I could not pull up. It wasn't that they were hard to get into, I was just too big for the pants to even try. Last week I wore the jeans. hooray for me! They were tight, and after a few hours my hips were sore because they were so tight, but I could wear them! Today I am wearing the jeans and they are no longer tight. They are form-fitting, but no longer uncomfortable. I'm losing a lot of inches, it's just not reflected on the scale for some reason.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 20

Last night we harvested our ears of corn from the corn stalks growing in our garden and added them to our mini pre-Thanksgiving feast. We had homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, asparagus, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes (made with vanilla, oranges and honey) and homemade no sugar apple and pecan pie. The pecan pie was AMAZING. I used this recipe and just omitted the coconut sugar. I didn't replace it, just left it out. It was so sweet and delicious.

The feast was amazing and again, it made me really thankful that I was eating everything without sugar filtered taste buds. It also made me realize that I'm not missing anything by not eating sugar. I can have an amazing Thanksgiving feast, including pies, with no sugar. Maybe I'll extend my no-sugar detox to Christmas, instead of Thanksgiving.

Sugar Detox Day 19

We went to a birthday party today. I thought it was a white birthday so I arrived right on time, only to discover that I was the first guest to arrive because this was a Mexican birthday party!  I was very happy. For adults, Mexican birthday parties are the best. First, there is no question about dropping your kid off or staying and hiding in a corner. Everyone comes to the party no matter what the age. There are tables set up and you can sit and talk with other adults while you eat delicious Mexican food prepared on the grill right in front of you. There is plenty of food, but should you want snacks you can have chips (no sugar), watermelon, cucumber, or jicama . BTW, I had never eaten a jicama until i moved to Sunland. They are AMAZING. Jicamas  quickly jumped to the top of my favorite raw vegetable list. The candy in the pinata is Mexican candy (less sugar!) and the party lasts for hours and hours, leaving you free to arrive when you want and leave when you want without any social awkwardness.

The kids had a blast, I had a great time, I ate delicious food I didn't have to make myself, but the best part was I tried something new! I watched one of the adult guests at my table eat a nopales, which is prickly pear cactus.  I have seen these a lot, in fact, our neighbor grows them just to eat, but have never eaten one, mostly because I have no idea how to eat a cactus. I finally roused my courage enough to ask about the cactus he was eating and tell him i wanted to eat one, but wasn't sure how. He laughed and said I'd want to eat one with a corn tortilla and a lot of hot sauce because they didn't taste very good. He said he ate them all the time as a kid and was used to the taste, but still didn't find them delicious. Still, I was excited to try a new vegetable!

I went to grab one from the grill, only to discover they were out! The cook (the father of the birthday girl) was both surprised that I wanted to eat one, and that they were out. he said they were the one food item they always had leftover after every party. He told me he'd track one down, and a few minutes later a plate appeared before me with a freshly grilled nopales on it. The women told me she didn't like the taste, but ate them because they were so healthy.

 Actually, I liked it. It tasted like sour zucchini. It was kind of like rhubarb.

I remembered reading about your food tastes differently after you go off sugar. This study shows sugar affects your taste buds, dulling sensitivity to the taste sensation, and increasing preference for sweeter tastes. It can be one of the reasons why it's hard to go off of sugar (food just doesn't taste good for a few weeks) and it also explains why it is so hard to get kids to eat vegetables; if they eat sugar all day long, when they bite into something bitter not only is it different, but they can't taste anything BUT the bitter.

I like thinking that the first time I tried nopales, i tasted it with my real taste buds, instead of with a sugar filtered taste buds.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 18

I really like not having sugar. I'm thinking I might not eat sugar on Thanksgiving and just go straight to Christmas. Still thinking. No decisions yet.

I like this no sugar thing so much I want to share it with everyone! I want my kids to be sugar-free!

This Washington Post article does a great job of teaching parents how to teach kids about sugar.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 17

Secondary Sugar Kills -- This Ted Talk is worth watching. 

Sugar Detox Day 16

I'm really liking this no sugar deal. I discovered something amazing about my body; It  can take a stunning amount of punishment

For the last two years I've been really, really tired. Every day is a battle to be productive during the day, to stay positive, to be patient and kind, and even to think. I'm always in a fog, my memory is horrible, my fuse is short and I'm just always so tired!

I've blamed all of this on being pregnant, then having a newborn, and finally having a baby that insists on waking up randomly, whenever she wants, with no pattern and no clues if she is awake for good, or just wants some help going back to sleep. My nights are always awful. If I could just get a good night's sleep I could be patient, kind, productive and might even remember something!

Now that I've been off sugar for two weeks something amazing is happening. I'm more patient, kind, more energetic and the fog has lifted. My mind feels clear, sharp, and I can remember stuff! I feel on-the-ball and capable of thinking on my feet. Last night I was at book club and my memory retrieval was working shockingly well! I'm still tired, but maybe that's because I'm getting 4 hours of sleep per night,

The amazing thing about my body is that I can feed it  two or three times the reccomended maximum of sugar per day for weeks and months and years and be fine. I can go for two years without sleeping through the night and still be fine. But if I take one of those things away I'm suddenly better than fine, I can perpetually be sleep deprived and yet still have a clear mind and lots of energy

Of the poisons and trials my body is dealing with, there are some I can control and some I cannot. If I eliminate the ones I can control, my body will handle the rest. That's it's job, and it does it remarkably well. If I help[ it, it will help me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 15

I really want to see this movie. Just watching the trailer makes me feel more informed.

It's on Amazon Prime

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 14

Two weeks! I've been off sugar for two weeks! I'm to the point where sugar isn't actually tempting me anymore. My body is starting no normalize, the sugar is out of my system, and I'm no longer craving sugar. Hooray!

But does my body need sugar? According to the According to the American Heart Association the answer is no: Our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food.

Eating sugar causes lots of problems that everyone knows; tooth decay,  insulin spikes, and upset stomachs, but going over the reccomended limit every single days wreaks havoc on your body: It scrambles your hormones, inflames your digestive tracts, interferes with absorbing nutrients, slows down metabolism, makes your energy levels spike and then dip, stresses your brain,  interferes with memory, and  lowers your immune system. And that's just the average person that hasn't developed any diseases from too much sugar.

To restate that as symptoms, eating too much sugar causes cavities, moodiness, stomach pain, acne, weight gain,  depression, malnourishment, fatigue, irritability, inability to remember, and sickness.  Those are all symptoms of the average person eating too much sugar.

I started doing this because I was tired all the time and want that to change. It's working. My baby is still keeping me up all night, so I'm still tired, but my mind is clearer and I have more control over my emotions. I know that if I am nice to my body, my body will be nice to me. I've been being to my body for a long time. I've started to treat it better and it's already treating me better!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 13

The very label I've put on this post sounds extreme. SUGAR DETOX! It sounds abnormal, like I'm trying to make my body to something it wasn't meant to do. And yet, the opposite is what I am trying to accomplish.  It's our food that is abnormal. It is very weird that we have sugar in everything. EVERYTHING. I'm sure even if you don't believe in no sugar, you believe in moderation, and yet, in out current food choices, there is no moderation.

According to the American Heart Association the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) and Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

Which means, as a women, if you ever drink a coke (12oz can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar) or eat a snickers bar (regular sized snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar) you are already over your daily limit. The AHA is saying women should never drink a coke or eat a snickers bar.

One study showed that in 2008 the average American adult ate 306 calories from sugar per day. That's not good! You can't go over double the reccomended amount of ANYTHING every single day and not have some drastic consequences.

A person can look at those numbers and say "Well, moderation is key. I'll just not drink soda or eat candy bars and I'll be fine!" but that person would be wrong.  This infographic shows how an adult trying eat healthy goes over their recommended amount of sugar at breakfast! Because added sugar is in EVERYTHING! It's in milk and salad dressing and yogurt and tomato sauce and breads and pizza and any sauce you put on anything.

So while a detox sounds extreme, I actually think it's way to restore my body back to normal. My body has been extreme for it's entire existence, and now it's time to calm down and discover what normal feels like.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 12

Today was my first real challenge. Our Elder's Quorum had a BBQ dinner for all the adults in the ward. Everyone was encouraged to bring a dessert. I knew there would be a smorgasbord of sugar laid out before and since I knew I would also be hungry from not eating dinner (I'm a vegetarian) I knew this was going to be a real temptation.

At first I asked Drek if we could skip it. Avoiding the temptation is a key strategy. But he was really looking forward to the event, both because of the event and because it would be time away from the kids for us as a couple. And since social situations will always, always be temptations and I can't avoid them forever, we decided to attend.

I looked up a few desserts on Chocolate Covered Katie the day before and decided on unbaked brownies. it seemed easy to share hopefully would be a crowd pleaser. The day of, Drek asked if he could make it for me, because he is a wonderful husband and wanted to be supportive. So he made it. It turned out DELICIOUS! It was not very brownie-like, but it was still a delicious chocolate treat.

My plan was to eat dinner before we left, but our babysitter didn't show up and in the last minute rush to find a new one and get the kids fed and out the door, I forgot to eat.

The event was great. I had a friend there that knows all about my sugar detox and was very supportive. There was a delicious salad of spinach, avocados and strawberries that I got to before the candied almonds were added in. Eating spinach without dressing is sad, but eating avocados is always a happy experience so it balanced out.

Once dessert started I didn't even look at the other choices, I simply helped myself to some unbaked brownie and kept on chatting and enjoying the company.  It really wasn't as hard as I had built it up to be.

Which I think is how I feel about detoxing from sugar in the first place: It really isn't as hard as I had built it up to be.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 11

Yesterday was not a good day. I think it has less to do with sugar an more to do with the fact that I started my period again for the first time after my youngest was born. That's and entire two years with no period. And now it's back and trying to kill me.

I started on Tuesday and it was...annoying, gross, a little painful and I felt sluggish, but nothing unusual and nothing I couldn't handle (and have handled every month for most of my life).

Yesterday was different. I had no energy yesterday. To say I was grumpy is an understatement. I was depressed and dealing with some serious rage. I haven't been that dark and angry since I was pregnant (I have antepartum depression) and I'm hoping that since this was my first period in two years, the same hormones that mentally mess me up during pregnancy came out to remind me how bad it is and not to do that again for a while. I'm really hoping this doesn't turn into PDD and I have to deal with that every month.

But today is better. I'm back to annoying, gross, a little painful and I felt sluggish, which is way up from the hole I was in yesterday. I talked with my wonderful sister, who suggested diet does help with PDD, and hormones in general, so it is an extra incentive to eat healthy!

I'm really trying to focus on vegetables. I've been introduced to the concept of Buddha Bowls and it's basically changed my dinner mind-set. Usually, protein is the center of every dinner (as a vegetarian that's usually beans, sometimes tofu). Now my focus is making vegetables the center.

I'm using fruits as snacks and keeping seeds and nuts on hand for a quick handful when I get the munchies. I'm staying away from dairy and white flour, but because I'm focused on NO SUGAR AT ALL I'm being a little less strict on that front.

Because the goal is not just to go 24 days with no sugar, the goal is a healthier lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 9

I'm in a hopeful and positive state. I really think I can do this. I'm feeling confident and maybe even a little arrogant. Sugar withdrawals? Heh! I had no headaches and was over being cranky and tired before a week! No problem at all! Why do people think this is so hard? I'm going to make it, easy!

Of course, I did realize just yesterday that sugar was still finding its way into my diet, so maybe now that it has been eliminated I'll run into a bit more trouble, but I'm still feeling very confident.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 8

Today I had a small setback: I realized my  Morning Mix, a powder I pour into a water bottle when I am on the go, has sugar in it. A tricky one!  It really is surprising how many things have added sugar.

My internal thought process went like this: I've been eating sugar this whole time?! Well, there goes that challenge. Might as well... NO! I will not let this get me down!

I've heard that the average person will relapse, or fall of the wagon an average of 17 times before succeeding with a new goal. Success is your destination if you treat mistakes as part of the journey instead of the end of the road.

Here is an interesting and inspiring article about addictions and bad habits that says relapsing is the rule, not the exception.

So from now until Thanksgiving, no more sugar! I can do this!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 7

Tomorrow morning I will have gone an entire week without eating sugar!

Oddly enough, today I spent a great deal of time going to five different stores trying to track down a certain type of candy. It wasn't for me, and for some reason, as I perused shelf after shelf of candy, it never occurred to me to buy something for myself.  And yet, as soon as I got home, I really wanted to make a giant batch of brownies and eat them all myself. I haven't made myself a sugar free chocolate treat yet and I think I'm missing chocolate a lot more than I'm missing sugar.  I'll find a good brownie recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. My sister swears by the black bean recipe.

I read an article that says you shouldn't detox from sugar because in avoiding sugar you'll binge on other unhealthy foods and gain weight. I can see the point, I have been eating a lot of things I normally wouldn't eat because I'm being nice to myself. Still, I think the argument is weak. The point isn't to lose weight, the point it be more healthy and to drop an addiction. I just need to be smarter about my snacking choices.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 6

I think the most helpful thing I am doing is every morning I say aloud: "Today is a No Sugar Day." I'll say it a few times, to my husband or to my kids, or even to myself in the mirror. Saying it out loud makes it more official, so when I'm tempted during the day it's not as easy to rationalize out of my sugar challenge  with my endless list of excuses.

Today for my snack I had peanut butter, raisins and cinnamon on celery. Go veggies!

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 5

Two of my kids are sick today. I feel myself coming down with a cold. Over the past year I've found that if I take preventative measures when I feel myself getting sick I can almost always avoid it. The number one preventative measure is to avoid sugar:

Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of two- and-a-half 12-ounce cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. -Source- 

I have found that to be true over and over. My kids can be around other sick kids all day, but as soon as I give them cheerios and milk for breakfast, they instantly have a cold. I know they are sick this time because they have eaten at least one peice of candy per day since Halloween. A steady stream of sugar does not make a healthy immune system.

 Today after the kids went to bed for the night I really wanted some chocolate. I was too tired to make myself a delicious treat so I just settled on some chamomile tea with honey.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 4

I had more energy today. Not a lot more, I was still tired, but it was better.

I've realized that if I'm to give up sugar, convenience is no longer an option. I can't buy any food that is pre-anything, basically. There are exceptions, but almost everything processed has sugar. I can't risk buying anything from a restaurant or fast-food place either because I can't trust that they don't have sugar. All my meals, all my snacks, must be made from scratch.

To be fair, 90% of my food already is made from scratch, but the option to eat out has always been there, and there is nothing like taking away a choice to make me REALLY want that choice!

My friend texted me this morning and said she is dropping out.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 3

I made some delicious pumpkin pie with a pecan crust. I sweetened it with maple syrup and it was a delicious treat.  I'm a big believer that just because you can't have sugar, doesn't mean you can't have cookies, pies and treats, you just have to adjust the ingredients a little bit!

Today I was so tired all day. According to to my Whole 30 book, I'm not supposed to feel this tired until day 6, so either I've breezed over a few days (hooray!) or I'm WAY worse off then predicted (noooo!).

My theory is that my body is switching from using sugar for energy, to using fat for energy and it's taking a while to make that switch. That is what I am telling myself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 2

Approximately 3 hours into my no-sugar venture, my three- year-old handed me a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie. "I don't want it, mama. You eat it."

So kind, but so cruel. I LOVE pumpkin chocolate chips cookies. I had made this batch the day before Halloween. I made them with no sugar, but the chocolate chips had sugar in them. I ate a lot of them as soon as they came out of the oven and several more on Halloween. I had two leftover; one for each of my children's lunch. And now, here it was, in my hand. 

Justifications ran through my head: I've barely even started! So it's like I ate it before I started! It doesn't have added sugar in it. It's got 3, maybe 4 chocolate chips max. Maybe I'll eat around them.  I can turn my three- year-old down, that would be rude! 

If I was doing this challenge alone I would have eaten the cookie. Thankfully, I am not doing this alone. I was able to avoid that first temptation knowing I had to answer to my friend, and everyone else I texted and told them to ask me if I'd had sugar when. they see me. 

We had a family over for dinner yesterday. This family is amazing and is currently on doing the Whole 30 for the somethingth time. She lent me the Whole 30 book and showed me the part on what to expect when you are detoxing from sugar day to day.

The rest of the day was easy. Then it was night, the kids were in bed, and my sugar craving kicked in. Instead of joining my husband in diving into my children's GIANT bag of Halloween candy I made a pumpkin smoothie because in addition to being a sugar addict, I am also a pumpkin addict. But it's autumn and there is no way I'm giving up my pumpkin treats. It worked beautifully. I sipped my sweet treat and felt smug that I had made it through day 1. 

This morning I woke up to another treat. This one was in the form of a text message; another friend wants to join my in my no-sugar challenge! I'm thrilled!

I took the giant bag of Halloween candy to a dentist trading candy for toys, so at least it's out of the house now.

Today I felt tired all day, a bit foggy. According to the Whole 30 sugar detox chapter, that's about par for the course. I should feel better by next week.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Sugar Detox Day 1

I'm addicted to sugar. It's so bad. Last night I had eight Pumpkin Lindt truffles even though I had a sore throat. That was after I spent the day snacking on pumpkin flavored chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, and reese's (the normal kind, not pumpkin ones). I really love pumpkin.  

But unconsciously I also know I have a problem with sugar. I crave it all the time, especially at night. Even when I tell myself I will start eating healthy I fall back into snacking on sugar at night.

November is a new month! This month I will not eat sugar until Thanksgiving Day! If I give myself a goal I'll be more likely to stick to it. So there is my goal!

I figure in order to break the addition I need to hold myself accountable by telling friends to ask me if I've had sugar whenever they feel like it.  I also can't do this alone so I've asked a friend to do it with me. Hopefully we'll keep each other on track.

This blog is another tool I'm going to use. Everyday I'll post something, reasons why I want to be sugar-free to motivate me, triumphs to inspire me, and hopefully this will also help to keep me accountable and actively trying to break the addiction instead of passively waiting for time to pass while I avoid leftover Halloween candy and look forward to Thanksgiving pie.

No eating anything that is or has in the ingredients: Sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup or any of the other sneaky sugar names - Anhydrous dextrose, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, malt syrup and so on.
This includes ANYTHING with that ingredient, so I'll need to check bread, mayonnaise, ketchup, juice, tomato sauce, salad dressings and so on.

I can eat honey, molasses, agave, and fruits.