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A Year Without Sugar

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Year of No Sugar: One Family’s Grand Adventure
By Everyday Health Guest Contributor
Published Apr 1, 2014



Once upon a time, I was healthy; at least I thought I was.

Sure, I lacked enough energy to get me through the day, but with all the commercials on TV touting energy drinks for America’s tired masses, I always assumed I wasn’t the only one suffering. And sure, everyone in my family dreaded the coming cold and flu season, but again, I thought come January everyone develops some degree of germophobia.

At least, that’s what I thought until I heard some disturbing new information about the effects of sugar. According to several experts, sugar is the thing that is making so many Americans fat and sick. The more I thought about it the more this made sense to me — a lot of sense. One in seven Americans has metabolic syndrome. One in three Americans is obese. The rate of diabetes is skyrocketing and cardiovascular disease is America’s number one killer.

According to this theory, all of these maladies and more can be traced back to one large toxic presence in our diet… sugar.

A Bright Idea
I took all of this newfound knowledge and formulated an idea. I wanted to see how hard it would be to have our family — me, my husband, and our two children (ages 6 and 11) — spend an entire year eating foods that contained no added sugar. We’d cut out anything with an added sweetener, be it table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or fruit juice. We also excluded anything made with fake sugar or sugar alcohols. Unless the sweetness was attached to its original source (e.g., a piece of fruit), we didn’t eat it.

Once we started looking we found sugar in the most amazing places: tortillas, sausages, chicken broth, salad dressing, cold cuts, crackers, mayonnaise, bacon, bread, and even baby food. Why add all of this sugar? To make these items more palatable, add shelf life, and make packaged food production ever cheaper.

Call me crazy, but avoiding added sugar for a year struck me as a grand adventure. I was curious as to what would happen. I wanted to know how hard it would be, what interesting things could happen, how my cooking and shopping would change. After continuing my research, I was convinced removing sugar would make us all healthier. What I didn’t expect was how not eating sugar would make me feel better in a very real and tangible way.

A Sugar-Free Year Later
It was subtle, but noticeable; the longer I went on eating without added sugar, the better and more energetic I felt. If I doubted the connection, something happened next which would prove it to me: my husband’s birthday.Capture11

During our year of no sugar, one of the rules was that, as a family, we could have one actual sugar-containing dessert per month; if it was your birthday, you got to choose the dessert. By the time September rolled around we noticed our palates starting to change, and slowly, we began enjoying our monthly “treat” less and less.

But when we ate the decadent multi-layered banana cream pie my husband had requested for his birthday celebration, I knew something new was happening. Not only did I not enjoy my slice of pie, I couldn’t even finish it. It tasted sickly sweet to my now sensitive palate. It actually made my teeth hurt. My head began to pound and my heart began to race; I felt awful.

It took a good hour lying on the couch holding my head before I began to recover. “Geez,” I thought, “has sugar always made me feel bad, but because it was everywhere, I just never noticed it before?”

After our year of no sugar ended, I went back and counted the absences my kids had in school and compared them to those of previous years. The difference was dramatic. My older daughter, Greta, went from missing 15 days the year before to missing only two.

Now that our year of no sugar is over, we’ll occasionally indulge, but the way we eat it is very different. We appreciate sugar in drastically smaller amounts, avoid it in everyday foods (that it shouldn’t be in in the first place), and save dessert for truly special occasions. My body seems to be thanking me for it. I don’t worry about running out of energy. And when flu season comes around I somehow no longer feel the urge to go and hide with my children under the bed. But if we do come down with something, our bodies are better equipped to fight it. We get sick less and get well faster. Much to my surprise, after our no-sugar life, we all feel healthier and stronger. And that is nothing to sneeze at.

Eve O. Schaub is the author of Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. She holds a BA and a BFA from Cornell University, and a MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her personal essays have been featured many times on the Albany, New York, NPR station WAMC. You can join Schaub’s family and take your own Day of No Sugar Challenge on April 9, 2014.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1CRAZYDOG 4/16/2014 10:07PM

  I feel so much better off of it too!



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GABIBEAR 4/16/2014 6:29PM

    I try to avoid "extra" sugar most times, but never took notice how much sugar is in packaged foods. I may not be eating the amount the "average" American does, but it is a LOT more than I originally thought for sure!

Gabi
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STRONGERLEANER 4/16/2014 2:18PM

    I applaud you and your family! There really is a tremendous amount of sugar in our foods.

I'm frequently amazed at the sugar content in many things. For many items, it seems completely unnecessary, but yet the crazy amounts of sugar are very common.



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ELIZACG9 4/16/2014 12:02PM

    emoticon I too try my best to avoid sugar, but, everything has it....
I don't have it in my home.

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PHOENIX1949 4/16/2014 10:57AM

    Sugar addiction is a constant battle for me.

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HELEN_BRU 4/16/2014 10:28AM

    I'm trying to eliminate all sugar but it is still in my home. So, as long as it is hidden, so far I am okay with that but don't eat candy, baked goods, etc. I have to watch salt too at the same time. Makes a big difference!

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Because ..... I'm Just ME

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I've never claimed to be perfect, nor will I ever be.
Why?
Because, I'm just me.
I've made decisions and choices others would have considered bad or wrong for me, but I made them.
Why?
Because...I'm just me.
I know I've said some wrong things but I've also said some right things.
Why?
Because...I'm just me.
I'll admit I don't like everything I've done but, I did them. Why?
Because...I'm just me.
There have been times that I've cared for and trusted the wrong people. Does that change anything? No
Why?
Because...I'm still me.

If I were given the opportunity to do any of it over again I wouldn't change a thing.
Why?
Because...I'm just me.

There are a lot of good things about me. You just need to look past the imperfections. If you can't do that then honey it's your loss and you're S.O.L because I'm the best that I can be.
Why?
Because...I'm Just me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABIBEAR 4/14/2014 1:54AM

    emoticon from just me! emoticon

Gabi
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Comment edited on: 4/14/2014 1:54:38 AM

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PHOENIX1949 4/14/2014 12:05AM

    emoticon hello from just me.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/13/2014 8:47PM

  No better person to be than YOU!

Beautifully written and I really like the sentiments.

HUGS


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GOOSIEMOON 4/13/2014 8:44PM

    emoticon

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If that don't beat all!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I've not been too bad with my energies I go all day long and I mean go! But then at day's end I am definitely ready to crash!

Today was a bit strange occurrence.
Walt and i had planned a day in Red deer shopping and time with our high school friend When we got as far a Stettler; an hour into the trip. I had to meet my colleague and deliver her some papers for her next assignment and the agreement was to meet at Wal-mart. That wasn't a problem.
It was after when we went to leave and head off All of a sudden we lost all connections to the dashboard and power steering! We had no gas gauge, no speedometer, no RPM readings, and no temperature gauge.
We limped over to Canadian Tire and Walt went in and got what he wanted from there and still the problem persisted.
So I had to call our friend and cancel! dash darn it! I was wanting to exchange my phone today too and Walt wanted to go to Best Buy for a new keyboard. SIGH
Well he still managed to acquire his keyboard right here at the hardware store and even found a pair of new coverall pants he'd been needing So he got what he'd set out to accomplish today.
Me I came home finished the laundry cleaning the house made a pot of chilli and home made buns for dinner.
So we are going to have our dinner and watch the newest edition to the Hobbit!
I said to him I guess we're not to go to Red Deer today.
My sister text me later telling me there had been an explosion. A house blew up! Not sure of all the detail yet but I'm sure it'll be on the news tonight!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABIBEAR 4/12/2014 11:55PM

    Definitely a trying day Marion. It always is when plans don't turn out the way we expected! Hope you get your car running normal soon! Thank God it wasn't a total loss of your day. Have a blessed Sunday!

Gabi
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STRONGERLEANER 4/12/2014 11:02PM

    Sorry about your car and your plans. Glad it still turned out to be a good day!

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CRYSALLIS1 4/12/2014 10:02PM

    Sounds like you handled your day well despite the setbacks. Hope everything turns out ok for your car & the persons whose house exploded. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 4/12/2014 8:38PM

  Oh my goodness! You had an eventful day for sure! Hope your evening is a little more restful.

HUGS and blessings

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A Little Worn Out From My Day

Monday, April 07, 2014

I have had another very full day 2 hours of it sitting in the dentist chair; three extractions, 2 fillings. The one root tip wanted to give me real trouble Wouldn't hold the freezing. So finally after four of them we just kept giving me enough to work on it bit by bit until I finally said you know what Let's bite the bullet on this one and yank it out and have it over with! We did.
I went home until the freezing was completely out and I could take something for the pain. 2 Advil and one Aleve later and we were as right as rain. I went back to work for 2 o'clock and finished out my day.
My boss looked at me when she'd gotten back from lunch and said and you're here because....? I wasn't expecting you back!
I said you're training the new accounts receivable plus concentrating on making sure all ads are in for tomorrow. I can look after phones and make my phone calls.
Plus I had a brand new account walk in the door! One I've been after for months! A Real Estate account!
And now I may have myself an even larger account! I have someone who is setting up a brand new business and will need a LOT of copying and creating and advertising done!But I will deal with that tomorrow Right now I'm going to go cuddle with hubs and watch a movie.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TURTLELADY56 4/8/2014 3:47PM

  yuck teeth issues....but as a woman the show must go on ....lol

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STRONGERLEANER 4/8/2014 2:46PM

    Sounds like a very PRODUCTIVE day!

I'm impressed with your fortitude after the dental work!
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NOMORESTALLING 4/8/2014 9:25AM

    It was indeed I wish I had had as good a night! Sleep what sleep The natives were restless waking me every hour and a half to two hours GRRRR So next to no sleep for me and I'm still dressed and ready for work.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/7/2014 9:57PM

  Sounds like a GOOD day though! HUGS

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Emotional Freedom!

Monday, April 07, 2014

I'm so angry I'm seeing red! I'm so angry I could spit bullets! How many of you have been that angry?
I know I have!
Most of us experiences anger, some more than others. It is when anger has no outlet and morphs into resentment that it carries with it the potential to cause great turmoil. Allowing us to assign blame for the pain we are feeling, thereby easing it, resentment tends to smolder relentlessly just below the surface of our awareness, eroding our peace of mind. The target of our resentment grows ever more wicked in our minds and we rue the day we first encountered them. But resentment is merely another hue on the emotional palette and therefore within the realm of our conscious control. We can however choose to let go of our resentment and move on with our lives, no matter how painful the event that incited it.

Hanging onto resentment in our hearts does not serve us in any way. Successfully divesting ourselves of resentful feelings can be difficult, however, because doing so forces us to mentally and emotionally confront the original source of anger. When we stop assigning blame, it is then that we realize that our need to hold someone or something responsible for our feelings we harm nobody but ourselves. We thought we were coping with our hurt when in fact we were holding onto that hurt with a vice grip. To release resentment, we must shift our attention from those we resent back toward ourselves by thinking of our own needs. Performing a short ceremony can help you quell resentful feelings by giving tangible form to your emotions. For me, it's always helped to write down my feelings and then burn the paper giving me closure. When we can find compassion in our hearts, you know you are on your way to healing.

Being free of resentment, gives us much more energy and attention to devote to our own personal growth. We can then fill the spaces it left behind with unconditional acceptance and joy. And, as a result of our subsequent freedom from resentment, blessings can once again enter our lives as the walls we built to contain our anger have been demolished.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCYVT 4/8/2014 4:18PM

    emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 4/7/2014 5:55PM

  emoticon Done that a few times myself.

HUGS

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