Food, frugality and fortitude

So, I’m kind of a cheapskate.  In general I hate paying for things.    I especially hate it when things I used to pay X for now cost X + 1 (or whatever)…..Its a joke amongst friends/family that my purse squeaks a bit when I open it.  Yes, you self-helpers out there, I AM working on it.

Lately the cost of food has increased dramatically.  Let’s take a look at some common examples

Just last week I stood in the grocery store, making some choices about what to put in, based on price. The items in question were:

Good Earth tea ($3.99/box of 18 bags
Beef (grass fed, $5.99/lb)
Avocados ($1.25/each)
Brown Rice Tortillas ($3.50/pack)

There were a few others, but these stood out in my mind.    I felt these items were rather expensive for what I could get from them, when considering volume and serving size.  I aim to spend $100/week on groceries for my husband and I to eat together.  We eat out approximately 1x/week WHEN WE HAVE THE FOOD WE LIKE IN THE HOUSE!  When we don’t have easy to prepare, wholesome and tasty food, we eat out.  A typical eating out experiences is $10-$15/person, depending upon where we go.  If I purchase a hot tea away from home, it is minimum $1.50 per serving whereas my Good Earth tea was only about $.25/tea bag.

Therefore, my question became clear: Would purchasing the whole food based items at the grocery, for more $$ per item than in the past, save me money at the end of the week based on frequency of eating out, etc.

Yes, yes, yes!!!!  Despite the fact that groceries are more expensive than before, if we can limit out dining out by even once per week, we are still saving money.  Even purchasing all those items on the list, which yield more than 1 serving, would save over 1 meal out.  Factor in the nutritional benefits of eating in, and its a slam dunk deal.

Now, I do believe we need to have some fortitude during these economic times.  It makes sense to use the grocery $$ we have sensible.  It also means schlepping home when my tired body wants to simply find a cozy spot to sit and have somebody else make the meal.

Here’s what I’ve come up with for ideas on how to save some $$ at the store and still eat well, the off-white way.

  • Puchase whole fryer chickens and carve them yourself.  You can get nitrate-free lunchmeats this way too!
  • Purchase only what you will eat that week in fruits/veggies.  Uneaten produce that goes bad is simply a was to $$.  If you can only cook 2-3x in  week, it doesn’t make sense to buy elaborate veggies that would need to be used everday.
  • Bring groceries to work as a way to avoid buying snacks or eating out at work.  Baby carrots, bags of spinach, a bottle of salad dressing, a supply of teas and beverages…all ways to make eating well convenient and cheap.
  • Buy raw ingredients and make your own…whatever.  Instead of pre-made trail mixes (spendy and full of sugar), buy bulk items and make your own.  Use whole oats instead of quick and buy them in the bulk section.  No need to pay Mr. Quaker for his fancy can.  You can even find agave nectar, flax meal, most grains/rices, and dried fruits in bulk these days.
  • Buy enough for at least 4-5 days so you don’t go to the store daily.  This is a total waste of time, gas, money and energy.
  • Make your own soups, deli salads and pasta dishes for work.  Spending $7 on ingredients for a nice home-made dish that you can eat for 3 days will save $$, as these things typically run $3-7/lb at the deli or grocery.
  • make your own cookies, breads, etc.  Don’t give Starbuck’s $2 for a muffin you can make for $.50 that has better nutrition.  Bob’s Redmill flax meal has an awesome recipe.
  • Buy a water filter and stop buying water bottles.
  • The more packaging, the more it costs.  Buy in large quantity and make up your own mini-bags of ‘whatever’. The whole snackpack thing is a gimmick – you can do it at home.
  • Purchase yogurts, applesauce, cottage cheese, etc in larger containers and take a smaller container with you to work each day.  Reuse the smaller container
  • Give the generics another chance. Some generic stuff actually has better nutrition than the “fancy” stuff.  Example: WinCo’s Cascade Pride english muffins. They cost $1 less than Thomas and have no HFCS, more fiber, and I hear they taste pretty good.

Okay folks, off to bed for me.  I like this topic, but I need some sleep :0

Wishing you all an off-white day tomorrow!

PS: The cost of corn, wheat, and sugar are also on the rise – even better reason to stop eating these things!

Self love

When I awoke this morning I had an amazing sensation: the feeling of gratitude and love for my body and being…what a concept!  I can certainly say that a major reason why I can connect with these feelings is because I am continuing to create distance between me and those toxic foods that skew my mind (the white stuff).

I actually enjoyed breakfast so much that I took a little picture.  This sort of creativity is always a sign in me that I am healing, feeling good, and going with the “flow” of life.

This pic also denotes something more left-brained than just a reflection of self love thru food: it represents 1 standard serving of Almonds.  For me, part of self-care is staying conscious of how much of a food I am eating, even if it is healthy.

Just 2 days ago I was chatting with a gal who struggled with kidney stones due to too much protein.  She had switched to a ‘healthy’ diet, which included 2 CUPS of nuts, day….yowza…..and got kidney stones as a result.  Perfect example of good intentions gone awry or the law of diminishing return.

Slowly my stubborn mind is seeing the grace and benefit of being moderate, gentle and peaceful in my approach.  How nice to have space left in my belly after a meal because I’m not as attached to eating the fullest servings I can.  There is much power in declining the need for “more”.

So much of what I see happens in myself and others when our body-minds are skewed with junk food is the inability to listen to the subtleties of life and our physical/emotional/spiritual needs.  The white stuff puts the sensory system on over-drive and whammy!  All intuitive responses are gone….at least for me because I have a serious inability to handle the white stuff.  Its all or nothing, so I’ll choose nothing – there is more freedom in every other aspect of my life without it 🙂

Oh, for those who are curious, here is what I did with the almonds:

“Fill you for a few hours” oatmeal:

1 oz whole oats

1/2 – 3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla + cinnamon
1 banana
1 serving almonds (about 22)
2 tsp dried cranberries

Cook oats on med heat.  Half-way through add the fruit, vanilla and cinnamon.  When fully cooked, add the nuts (I like the crunch of keeping the nuts raw).  This meal packs about 15g protein, 8-10 g of fiber, 15g of fat and approx 25 g of carbs…and about 320 kcal.    A great way to to add a little TLC to your morning.  Can’t do gluten?  NO problem: use Bob Red Mill’s Gluten free cereal or rice cereal instead.  Can’t do nuts?  No problem.  Bob’s flaxmeal adds the fat/fiber of the nuts, and a little pat of butter would do the same.

BMW – the ultimate driving (me crazy) machine

Lately I’ve been taking my BMW for a spin more than I should.  What I’m talking about is the BMW in my brain: the Bitching, Moaning, and Whining.  Yes, it is the ultimate driving machine – of my neurosis!

Seems like I’ve been living in the problem a bit, and not in the solution…and what happens when I’m there: I get caught up into the desire to eat sugar, forget my responsibilities and become self-centered.

There is a reason I haven’t posted much in the past week – I’ve simply been self consumed.  LIving an Off-White life is all about personal accountability, responsibility, and balance.  Well, this week I none of the above.  I also saw a correlation between my attitude, my stress and my lack of self-care.  I ate too quickly, I did not give myself the simple pleasure of sitting at the table for dinner.  I did not connect with friends as much.  yada, yada, yada…..you get the idea.

What is it about the BMW’s of our minds that make the simple principles of self-care, especially with nutrition, so difficult.  Is it that I don’t feel worthy of good choices?  Is it because I see all the people in the TV and magazine Ads having so much fun with their junk food that I want to join in?  Is it simply that stress really does drive the need to just simple carbs, go into a food coma, and forget life.

I suppose the answer can be all three.  For me, the reason behind all the BMW moments was based in a fear of uncertainty.  I thrive on stability and control.  I like when things are the same, yet they never are.  So much is evolving in my life: career, residence, the role my husband plays in our life (grad student), financial insecurity…..it goes on and on.

Can anybody else relate?  I’m so interested in this human phenomenoa of wanting to neglect self in order to buy into fears and stress.  Yes, I get it that fears/stress are valid, but it never feels better  to give them all my power.

My hope is that I’ve done the footwork, prayer, and surrender over these issues, at least for now, and can get back to what I do love : blogging, connecting with friends, making healthy meals and being creative with food, and trusting that this evolution is absolutely perfect in its awkwardness.  Isn’t everything beautiful at one point awkward (I think of flowers opening for the first time, baby chicks with ugly patchwork down feathers, storm clouds that you can’t tell if rain is coming or not).  My biggest lesson to realize is that I am, and always will be, perfectly imperfect, and no amount of fantasizing about mile-high cheesecakes or donuts is going to change that truth.  For me, or for anybody else.

So, here are a few steps I’ve taken to get my mojo back;

1. Spend time with a friend on Sunday afternoon
2. Make some time for my husband on Sunday night after his trip out of town
3. Eat simply for 3 days: focus on 3 meals/day with the emphasis of these meals being fruits/veggies, and a lean protien.  No grains, and get off the dairy again.
4. Write in my journal
5. Post here, and be honest with myself and others about me
6. Look at websites of people I admire – ever reminding me to stay connected to my dreams and realize that nobody wakes up in one day with it all put together
7. Turn OFF THE TV – it is so demoralizing and food-tempting for me.
8. Go for a walk instead of a run on Saturday – gave myself permission to be in “flow” instead of force.

Blessings,
R

eating off-white in a “white” world…. (quinoa recipe included)

They say you can’t go home again……and I think they are correct.

This weekend my husband and I went to Northern CA to check out his new grad school (UC Davis) and visit family.  Food issues have always been a family affair for me.  Dad was overweight and had a stroke in 1995 and mom shared my love of cake frosting and baked goods most of my childhood.  I’d say to some degree we all had an eating disorder.  Never was there left-over ice cream or desserts in my home, no matter how large a package was purchased.  I simply thought it was normal.

So here I am, with my high maintenance diet, going home.  I know where all the treats hide: chocolate chips in the outside freezer, homemade biscotti in the spare bedroom, ice cream in the kitchen and whatever was baked for the weekend’s bbq is probably resting in the laundryroom.  Yes, I come from a long line of food hiders.  Either because the family would eat all of the goodies, or because ants would find their way into the cupboards, food was always kept anywhere BUT the kitchen.  There were stashes everywhere, which meant that I adopted a pattern of ‘sneaking’ from a young age.

For the most part I faired well.  My mom tries to supply me with healthy options, but unfortunately her Splenda-baked lemon cheesecake just did not work out (no dairy and no Splenda for me).  She also lovingly made a HUGE tray of lasagna for everybody to eat….well, except me, as I best not have dairy or white flour.  Nothing like watching others eat homemade lasagna while you chomp down on a green salad with chicken to make you want to devour a whole tray by yourself.

So what did I end up doing…..”sneaking”, of course!!!  I dipped my hand into the Ghirdhelli chocolate chips several times when I was near the outside freezer. I could feel the tension in my stomach and I did not enjoy them at all.  “so this is what I was like growing up…”, I thought to myself.  It was all about getting what I was NOT supposed to have.

The good side of ugly:  compared with past visits, I did relatively well at staying away from the white stuff.  I declined an offer for Starbuck’s drinks when everbody else was slurping down latte’s.  I did not eat late at night when I arrived on Thursday evening, despite a growling stomach.  Choices I make past 8pm are never in my favor.   I even resisted the peanut butter, cheesecake, cheese and ice cream.  I did have a homemade biscotti, and damn was it good!

Other off-white survival tips I use:

  • Start every day with warm lemon water.  This helps keep the GI track a flowin’.   Lemon water also kills a craving, especially if you add tons of lemon.
  • Distract myself when food becomes tempting and I’m not hungry.  My 4-yr old nephew was a great distraction, and he was up for a little fun anytime.
  • Make a dish of my own for family picnics, etc.  I chose quinoa date salad (recipe below) and tabouleh (from Near East).
  • Tell your family about your food limitations. I couldn’t be chowing on peanut butter because everybody knew that it wasn’t a great food choice for me.  I was rigorously honest so I could keep myself healthy.
  • Become your own observer.  I enjoyed watching myself get into ‘sneaky’ eating mode and seeing how I felt, thought and acted. It really was like Jr. High again.  Consequently, Jr. High is when I started obsessing on sugar for the sake of control/rebellion/pleasure.

Quinoa date salad

Serves 4
3/4 cup quinoa, not soaked
1.5 cups water
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp each: cinnamon, ginger, cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup chopped dates

Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil and then simmer covered until quinoa absorbs the liquid.  Just after the boil add vanilla, salt, and spices.    Chop the dates and almonds finely.  Add to quinoa 2-3 minutes before cooking is complete.  Serve warm or cold.

Nutrition:The price of convenience

Today I stopped into a Pilot gas station/convenience store to fill up. I decided to take a mosey inside and see what was going on, as the place on I-5 Southbound in the Willamette Valley is always hoppin’. If you don’t know, Pilot “travel centers” offer gas, convenience stores, and usually a restaurant, such as Subway and Taco Bell in this instance.

Here is what I saw: When you walk in, one of the first things you see is a cooler with mixed green salads, sandwiches and dessert parfaits for 2/$5. Then its the coffee bar/soda bar, which takes up approximately 20-25% of the total store space. There is even a fruit stand where apples, oranges and bananas are 2/$1 – not too shabby.

However, its easy to miss these healthy options because 75% of the store is dedicated to utter garbage. Just look at the monthly specials for Pilot LLC, and you can clearly see the focus is on garbage eating. Most of the people in line with me either had candy bars + soda or the 2 chili-dog special, or a 44 oz soda. Most of the people were 20 – 200 lbs overweight. I felt like an oddball being regular sized.

But, let’s break it down a little. I know that junk food, especially “value priced” appeals to the traveller in need of a little grub and little time. But is it really that inexpensive?
For instance, the king sized candybars (Kit kat, Snickers, etc) were 2/$2. What do you get for that $2, when compared to the salad at $2.50/piece.

Calorically: $2 gets you the caloric value of 2 king-sized candy bars. There are 440 Kcal in the 1.94 oz, which equals (for two): 880 kcal for $2 and 4oz of “food”. That is 220 Kcal/oz of “food”, and 440 Kcal/$1 of “food”.

By contrast, the salad, I’d guestimate at about 100 Kcal without dressing, and 250 with dressing. The size is likely 6-8 oz, possibly more. Let’s say 7 oz/ to be moderate.
Therefore, you get 250 Kcal for $2.50, which is 100 Kcal/dollar. You also get only about 38 Kcal/oz of food.
To compare, the better financial “value” is in the candy bar, at 440 Kcal/$1, versus 100 Kcal/$1 with the salad.

Comparing cost per ounce yields a different result. The candy bar is $.50/oz, whereas, the salad is about $.38/oz, which is a better deal.

Let’s look at the health of it: Do we even need to do any math? The salad will yield much better health and in all likelyhood help keep you “fuller” longer because it is real food being digested by your organs, versus sugary junk food that sends a message to your brain for more, more, more!

Yet, in the line I saw, not one person had a salad, despite the better deal in both the health and the cost per oz perspective. We are all trying to save money and improve our health, right? So why do candy bars and chili dogs win out?

Maybe this will help clear things up: Check out this monthly pilot ad: Notice a theme with what is on sale?

current_flyer

Because marketing shows us that “snickers really satisfies” and “gimme a break” from my hard day with a Kit Kat bar. Sexy models chow down and our subconscious mind can’t turn it off. We want a bite of what they are selling. We all feel like we deserve a ‘treat’ for simply living life. I totally fall prey to that. I’ll think about my hard day and how “good” I was, and suddenly I’m pulling up to those same convenience stores or to a cafe for my liquid pleasure: junky hot chocolate. No joking: one of the apects that keeps me coming back to the black juice is the cost value (ust $.89 – $.99 at a convenience store) and the fact that I can get more volume out of my sugary treat with a liquid than with a solid. I get 12-16 oz for the caloric “price” of a regular sized candy bar (esp since I cut the hot chocolate with decaf coffee or water to cut down on sugar). But somewhere in my subconscious mind the trick that working hard = needing sugar certainly stuck. For me its hot chocolate, maybe for you its chips or nachos or soda, or whatever. Notice that fruits and veggies do not have a marketing campaign? The “5 a day” campaign to eat more fruits/veggies has a budget of 5 million/year nationally, whereas the pepsi corporation alone spends $2 billion/year on marketing……gee, I wonder why we pass up the fruit stand at Pilot and head for the soda fountain. And did you check out the specials this month at Pilot? Buy a gigantic soda and get a Kit kat for only $.24…..what a deal, that is added value – even though to our body less is better. We seem to shop and eat from our pocketbook over our stomach and digestion. More food for less simply = unhealthy people, the body does not celebrate the cost savings like the mind does.

Here’s my suggestion when you travel: pack your own snacks/lunch or find a grocery store with a deli and produce section when you are passing through a town. The food is fresher, cheaper, and offers more variety than a gas station anyway. Seriously, if we want for change on a cultural level, we must be willing to go the extra mile (literally, in this case) to get our health needs met and express them as a priority.

That’s what I think today…but maybe I’m just cranky – I am on day 6 of a liver/colon detox…. 🙂

Why I’m not a fan of Lapband

I realize this post may upset a few people, in particular those with Lapband. So, let me just say from the get-go that the reasons for my dislike have NOTHING to do with the the individuals getting the surgery. I have several clients/coworkers with Lapband – all of them wanting for a better life and better health.

I did a little lookey-loo on the Lapband website. Just as I thought, the “nutrition” information was completely inadequate and misleading. In my opinion, any weight loss program that requires you to have up to 6-weeks of liquid/baby-food consistency sustainence AND THEN suggest things like skim milk, sugar-free Popsicles and jello as “healing” is ridiculous and not in alignment with body wellness. This can really mess with a metabolism that is already stressed from years of yo-yo dieting, poor nutrition, stress, ill health, etc.

Whether the body is getting only 800 calories/day or more, if the calories are not quality, the body is going to be stressed. There were several aspects to the Lapband diet which reflect that very conventional thinking that goes with the medical model promoting this surgery . Its all about calories, calories, calories. I have read a few Lapband blogs and see individuals struggling with calorie counting, watching the scale, and wondering when the changes will occur.

When will we wake up and realize that the issue is both emotional/cultural and nutritional. Why not educate people about the importance of healing the body with nourishing soups, no processed foods, and emotional healing post- surgery. Even beyond just giving facts, coaching people and supporting a co-creative effort between those who need support and those who can offer it should be standard with any weight loss program. I feel like the scheme of Lapband is aimed at filling a need/void from individuals who feel desperate and scared about their ability to lose weight. There is not enough support or good information. Its misleading. Howe can margerine (which is mentioned on the dietary recommendations post-Lapband) be a part of a new nutrition plan? Margerine kills people, or at least hampers their health.

I get it that the need is for weight loss, and that comes with certain lifestyle changes, the first of which should be a switch to whole foods, nutritions foods, and nothing more. That is the way. Diet soda, jello and sugar-free foods will not yield long-term success any more than high-calorie junk foods because THEY ARE JUNK FOOD. I was glad to see some language around eating quality foods for the nutrition, but the other contradictions were just too blatant.

I also wonder about the emotional/cultural issues that those seeking Lapband will still have to face. What is going to make that person refrain from going to the food when they are stressed, bored, scared or whatever. Its not like that surgery, or any other, fixes the emotional issues. Is there support for that built into the Lapband promise? I did not see anything of the sort, but I could be wrong.

If anybody out there has had Lapband and wants to comment I’d love to hear from you. I just get so mad because the underlying issues around food are not going to be solved with Lapband, as they go deeper than any surgery and have so much to do with our culture and individual relationship with food.

Okay, off the soapbox!

Sugar and stress, part I

So I’ve decided to do a little piece on sugar and stress, since it is SUCH a big aspect of my life and I see a lot of the effects of s&s everyday with myself and others. One benefit of having this affliction AND being a nutritional counselor is that I get to experience the impact of food and mood or many levels.

I’m gonna do this in 3 parts because I have a lot to say about this topic, and I think its worthy of a few posts.

Here’s where I’m going to start: WHY do I emotionally (people) crave sugar when I am stressed?

When I was young , the only thing I ever wanted was sugar, sugar, sugar. I obsessed over Halloween candy. I was glued to mom’s side when she was baking, so that I could score some free licks off a spoon or spatula. I always voted for “The Sizzler” when we were picking restaurants, exclusively for the strawberries and whipped cream at the salad bar. I was a junkie.

How did this all begin? First off, did you know that sugar is the first taste we develop? Mamma’s milk is sweet. We are held when we are fed. We feel safe. It goes on and on. Sometimes new mom’s and dad’s are told to bring sugar water to the doctor’s office when their baby gets an immunization, to help calm the pain. Sugar numbs us out. It makes us high. Physically, we do not need sugar to survive. We need carbs, but not necessarily simple sugars. We might then speculate that some of us are not so equipped to handle the impact of sugar. More on that in post #2.

For as long as I can remember, sugar has been a best friend to me. It is always there, in so many shapes, colors, sizes and textures. Its cheap, its socially acceptable, and it makes me feel SOOOOOOOOOOOO good….or does it? I went years harmoniously co-existing on this continuous sugar buzz without a hitch. I bragged about the fact that I could eat a pound of red vines while grocery shopping and not gain any weight. I think I kind of liked being the candy girl. It had a certain charm. My ego devoured the attention I got over sugar. “How cool is this?” I would think to myself. Turns out, not so cool.

But, like all good addictions, it catches up. It turns out that my physical and mental body don’t like being fueled by fructose and glucose 24/7 and that as I get older, my tolerance for sweet is much less, yet my attachment to it is much greater.

The past couple days I’ve been wanting for sweet because I am afraid of change. What? How do sugar and change relate? Well, when you are trying to heal the body-mind from something that was like an old friend (sugar) in your life, and then new variables (like possibly moving to California, and making major life changes) pop up, it sends me running back to mamma’s arms: AKA hot chocolate, oatmeal raisin cookies, or anything warm and sweet.

This desire to soothe is so deeply imprinted in me, and others (I think?!), that it almost seems like the right thing to do . My brain is so good at taking the path of least resistance that I trick myself into believing that I actually need sugar to survive. When uncertainty triggers feeling of aloneness, I need security. It feels deeply carnal, like a survival instinct. My emotional body actually thinks that I will not survive without it.

In the past few years, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and book study about this crazy, wacky phenomenon of sugar-stress. Here’s what I know:

  • Sweet is the first taste we experience, and nearly all people find “sweet” palatable. Sweet includes breads, pastas, fruits and even meats, such as red meat or lamb.
  • The average American consumes 140 lb/ year of sugar in some form. That is 44tsp/day. That means we pretty much get it all the time, so it becomes a major physical and psychological habit.
  • Most kid’s can identify brands like “McDonalds”, “Starbucks”, or some sugar cereal characters before they can actually read. When our sub-conscious mind is wide open, we are bombarded with messages that these companies will provide us with fun, friendship, love and excitement if we just eat what they are peddling.
  • As a kid many of us develop the association of sweets with reward, soothing our pain, celebrating and drawing attention to ourselves (ever have mom bring in cupcakes on your b-day? Didn’t you just feel like the cool kid at school, even if just for that day?)
  • When white sugar was first developed, European conquerers used it to over-power the people they were invading. They claimed that it made wise, motivated men “stupid and lazy” (from the book Sugar Blues).
  • Sugar depresses the nervous system. If you’re a nervous nancy, like I am, you want to stop those neurotic thoughts. What a better way than some cookies and milk, or a piece of favorite cake, or some candy, or whatever…..

ARE YOU EMOTIONALLY ADDICTED TO SUGAR?

  • Do you find yourself going for breads, cookies, cakes, candy, Starbucks ‘stuff’, fruit, honey, granola bars, power bars, etc when you have had a long day, are over tired or bored?
  • Are your favorite foods in the dessert category?  Would you rather skip dinner and have dessert first?
  • Do you get edgy or cranky if you don’t have sweets/fruit/breads for a couple of days?
  • Do you fantasize about sweets, or did you used to do so?
  • What’s in your cupboard?  Lots of boxed, processed foods? Refined cereals?  energy/granola bars?  Dried fruit?  Do these items tend to get eaten first?
  • Does the thought of never having those favorite sweet treats again feel really sad or scary to you?
  • Is the concept “portion control” non-existent when it comes to certain, refined carb-based foods?
  • Are you turned off to bitter or sour foods, like dark green veggies, lemons, saurkraut, relish, etc?
  • Do you hide stashes of sweets in your car, room, desk or anywhere that nobody can see you eating them?

I’m certainly no expert on your life, but for me, I can answer “yes” to far more of those questions than I’d care to admit to.  However, when I do face my truth, I can release the guilt, shame and frustration and move forward.  There is life after refined sugar, and I’m learning how to make friends with it, one day at a time.

For those who are curious about unrefined sweeteners:  I use them in my life, but they are still sugar.  If I’m spooning agave syrup into my mouth, I’m still getting high on sugar, it just doesn’t take as much of a toll.   It’s really about why I am seeking out sweet stuff to fix my life.  It never works.  It never makes me feel better, but my brain has 31 years of conditioning to release.

If you are just starting out your sugar-free life, I have some insight and advice, based on what has worked for me:

  • Get SUPPORT!  Friends, special groups, spiritual groups, blogs like this, etc
  • Be gentle with yourself and realize it is a process
  • Begin to replace as much refined carbs with veggies, protein and water.  Protein is your friend, as are anti-oxidant rich veggies.  more on that tomorrow.
  • One day, one meal, one moment at a time.  Progress, not perfection.
  • If it’s serious, talk to your alternative health practitioner about getting food allergy or GI function tests done.  I learned  a TON about the physical reasons I crave sugar when I had tests done by Diagnostechs.   They rock!

PS: for the curious – yes, I did have some sugar today.  I made hot  chocolate w/ rice milk and cocoa.  I used sucanat instead of stevia.  Not the best  choice, but could have been worse.