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Confessions of a former carb and sugar-binger

Where do I even begin on this blog post? I was talking to my mom the other day and was talking about my current heath challenges (I’ll update in a separate post but have to see another specialist as I was rear ended in a car accident last week). So much of the “health advice” given when I was young has been proven to be so, so wrong now. And I believe it has a long term effect on my health and the health of others.

One of my first memories of wayyyyy too much sugar and carbs involved eating cereal. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well it is when it’s a sugar laden cereal (think the orange animal who claims the food is great or something similar) and I put additional sugar on top of it! And then moistened the cereal with canned sweet milk. OMG!!! There was also the syrup with the side of pancakes. Or my love of pop tarts. I even did Nutrisystem at a young age and had to drink skim milk. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Remember this was the 90s when fats were vilified so I stayed away from “fat” products. But the substitutes were laden with sugar, sugar and more sugar- Snackwell cookies and candies. My go to meal substitute was a bag of skittles while on the run, again no fat.

And the low point was in college. There was a sweet shop in the cafeterias on campus and a “light” ice cream machine and the waffle machine. Carbs and sugars everywhere. When you have PCOS like me, this is the recipe to have crazy and uncontrollable cravings. Like I wanted sugar all. of. the. time! One thing I’ve never admitted and I’m so embarrassed and ashamed even now because I can’t imagine that I did this- my roommates would have pop tarts which were my biggest weakness. I would sneak and have one at times without asking. 😭😭😭 I would eat and within two hours be hungry again because I lived on carbs.

So why mention all of this now? Sometimes you have to remember how far you’ve come, especially in light of various health challenges. I am pretty sure that my overindulgence of carbs and sugar left me so nutrient deficient that my body was like – chick what are you doing?! I am so thankful that I learned how to appreciate real, whole food. And I know that this health journey will take time. Clearly, none of this happened overnight.

Maybe that’s where you are today, thinking will anything ever improve? How long will this take? Let me encourage you that you can be healthier and support a healthy lifestyle. Each day is the opportunity to make great food and lifestyle choices that move you to optimal health. That’s the goal. So if this former carb and sugar-holic can move past the above mentioned habits and food choices, everyone can!

Now versus the carb/sugar-holic (7 years ago)
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Sugar Rush

It’s that time of year when sweets are in abundance EVERYWHERE! I even saw this display at a local big box store. There were even TWO displays and they were gone within a couple of weeks 😱

Bags of sugar!

And it’s sooooooo tempting to give into all the sweets. But the sweets are laced with so much sugar! And yes, I used the word “laced” because sugar lights up the same parts of the brain as drugs. I have been researching the effects of sugar for years and while I don’t have the links for proof, please take the time to research what I mention below:

  • Sugar is addictive (as mentioned above)
  • Regular sugar has no nutrient value to add to your food
  • Sugar suppresses the immune system, making it harder to get better when you’re sick and consuming it
  • Sugar in excess seems to affect the level of sweetness that your taste buds become accustomed to
  • Sugar is detrimental to so many body processes and functions

When I consume too much sugar in a sitting or in a day, I can quite literally FEEL all these areas of my head lighting up because I try to minimize sugar as much as possible. My joints ache and hurt, making mobility much harder. And the uveitis in my eye begins to flare and it’s really hard to get that down. Whew!

So what do I do? When I do add sugar on purpose, it’s usually honey or maple syrup. I do have treats sometimes – there’s a non-dairy frozen dessert that I like or I may have portions of organic dark chocolate. But pain is a motivator and on my quest to live and feel optimally, then avoiding excessive sugar is a must.

Enjoy your holiday season! I’m just reminding you to be mindful of what you eat. Everything affects your body and wouldn’t it be great to be at your best over the holidays? 🤩 That’s my goal!

Got any recommendations on how to keep the sugar to a minimum during the holidays? I would love to hear your advice!

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Cooking at Home – Wellness Wednesday

Cooking and meal prepping have been HUGE game changers for me. I did quite a bit of health testing to see what works or does not work well for me. This helped tremendously and thankfully I have no food allergies, but it does limit some of my food choice options. And when I eat out, I don’t know the exact details of what is going in the food.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

I found that many nightshades bother me. These include potatoes, paprika and all peppers. Paprika is probably the worst offender but is used in so many recipes! So to better monitor the ingredients and the quality of products, I started cooking more. And unless restaurants become more slanted toward AIP or paleo, then choosing to cook at home is a must.

At first, I made the same recipes all of the time, but my nutritionist pointed out that I had appropriate cookbooks and why not actually try those recipes lol. My fear is always – what if the recipe is gross? 😧 the horror! So I decided to try only one new recipe at a time for any given meal (as I eat basically the same thing throughout weekdays). That way, I could try different options without feeling like I’m constantly throwing money away on meals that I don’t like.

And what is even more important to me is that I control the quality of what I’m eating. So I control sodium content which is crucial when trying to be healthier. Have you actually looked at the sodium levels at some places?? There’s one restaurant which I won’t name in which none of the meals has a sodium level less than 1000 mg with some ranging up to 3000 mg. That’s INSANE! Managing carbs is high priority for me so I can better monitor this as well by cooking at home.

I highly recommend taking the time to meal prep and cook more at home. It’s better for everyone in the long run. See you next week!