Tuesday, August 29, 2017

No More Sugar

     Funny I would write this post is on the heels of my Puppy Chow post, but I am ridding myself of sugar starting today.  Sugar is counterproductive for digestion and overall health.  I have been a "sugar addict" most of my life and have known for a while that I need to detox.  My motivation is to decrease inflammation, balance digestion and regain energy levels.  I had a great summer, but am paying the price for overindulgence.  Lately I have let bad habits creep into my routine by overindulging in dessert, cookies and candy.  I am eating something sweet after every meal!

     Eliminating sugar and processed foods is considered a low-carb diet.  I envied people who could eliminate one thing, like soda, and transform their whole metabolism.  I always considered myself a healthy eater, so I never thought I had anything to cut out.  Now I realize I do have one thing needing to be eliminated.  Sugar!! It's time to "get real" and face the fact that sugar is not my friend.

     I am a faithful goal setter and have been making a bunch of professional goals for myself and my students.  So, I need to make some health goals too!  I've broken down my goal into some manageable steps that are outlined below.  You can click on the links if you want to get more information about fiber and healthy fats.  An undertaking like this is not just about elimination of sugar, but finding replacement foods to keep me satisfied.  Developing replacement behaviors will ensure habits will be changed with long term success.

  1. Eat more fiber.
  2. Include more protein.
  3. Eat more healthy fats.
  4. Add fermented foods to diet daily.  These foods aid in digestion and have detoxifying properties that can help heal the gut.
  5. Read ingredient labels carefully when grocery shopping.  (Sugar is hard to identify on the ingredient labels because it can have up to 60 alternate names.) 
  6. Meal prep on Sunday for a successful week.  I will post weekly meal plans to share my week ahead.  
  7. Sweat every day.
     I plan on take some help from other bloggers who have already done all the hard work of testing the recipes and planning balanced sugar free menus. I'm not too proud to take help from others.  Most of my recipes will come from Skinny Taste because these recipes are easy and don't have a lot of ingredients.  All of the recipes I selected for week 1 are low carb and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  

     I anticipate that breakfast is going to be a hard meal for me to prepare.  I usually don't pre-plan breakfast.  I buy a couple boxes of cereal and grab whatever appeals to me in the moment. Incorporating more protein and healthy fats into my breakfast meal will be a huge challenge and will force me to get creative.  I usually take left over dinner to work for lunch the next day. Provided I make dinners that follows the plan, then lunch should be a cinch. 

     Consuming more fermented foods will be unusual for me because I hate, hate, hate anything sour tasting.  As luck would have it, Costco is carrying a new product called Kombucha Fermented Tea that packs a punch of fermentation in a small shot.   It will be easy to drink a couple of times a day if I can get beyond the weird taste.  It is also naturally sparkling due to the fermentation process that it goes through.  I tried a sample and it reminded me of taking a shot of cider vinegar, which I have heard also has amazing health benefits.  I need to look into the sugar content on this product before I commit.  Other sources of fermentation are tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and kombucha.  I do take probiotics and digestive enzymes daily and I love these products I have delivered from Plexus.  

     I am defining the kind of sugar I am eliminating because this will keep me accountable.  For the next 30 days, I will eliminate refined sugar, the white stuff, and will avoid processed foods containing the refined stuff (including corn syrup and anything in that category).  I will allow some natural carbs like fruit, honey, stevia and agave in moderation.  A friend sweetens her coffee with honey.  I think I will give that a try.  I want to ultimately develop a pallet that tastes the natural sweetness in things like almonds.  The only way I have accomplished this in the past is to not eat anything super sweet for a little while, even if it is natural.  Bottom line, I don't want to overindulge in anything sweet tasting so I can recalibrate my taste buds. 

     This is my meal plan for the coming week.  I am making extra protein with dinner meals to have left overs for lunch.  I am making a double recipe of the Chipotle Chicken meal, so we can have it one other night over a salad or wrapped in tortillas. These three breakfast meals will be repeated all week for ease and convenience.

Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
Avocado Toast
Hard boiled Eggs with Turkey Breakfast Sausage

I will take leftovers from dinner the night before most days.
I also bought a 1/2 pound of deli turkey meat and will make meat and cheese
rollups for snacks and lunch if I get bored with leftovers.

Beef and Cabbage Soup
Grilled Salmon with Veggies

Wish me luck! I would love to hear your comments and please post links to your favorite sugar free recipes.

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