Bringing Sugar to Consciousness, Part 2
I like chocolate. I eat it when I feel good and when I feel bad. My favourite chocolate chomping time is when the kids are just down for the evening, the 8:30 chocolate with a cup of tea. It's not the chocolate that's a problem, it's the sugar, and my body knows it. I often get a headache when I eat it. I quit eating chocolate (again) on January 20th.
What is your sweet sugar fix? What time of the day? Do you have a ritual tied to it? Can you feel the impact of that sugar on your body? If you eat processed sugar daily, and think you are the boss of your diet, you're wrong. You are not the boss, SUGAR IS THE BOSS.
Take a minute to look at your sugary life. This one small (but very very large) decision will have a magnificent impact on your health. Draw a line in the sand with sugar. Define it how you like, but DRAW THE LINE.
Barry's Sugar Part 2 is a most incredible story of drawing the line clearly. And as always, he's funny and motivating.
He also hooks you up with a Facebook Group run by his friend Michele, who was part of his original 30 Day No Sugar Challenge, and also just passed her one year mark. She runs a Facebook page as a way to create the on-going community support that makes success so much more likely and fun.
In Check it Out, we are doing a draw that might be just the thing to get you through the 'must have sugar in coffee' hurdle (as my friend Cara says), or whatever your just can't do without sugar reason.
In Check it Out TOO I let you know about our upcoming holiday to Hawaii, and what it means for you. I'll be taking the on-line shop down for a whole month, but I'm offering a thank you for putting up with our small biz behaviour.
Wishing you Nashi Pear sweetness for your week, Becky
This is Part 2 of the Sugar Story, and marks Barry's one year of no processed sugar. You can read Part 1 at http://www.goodbyesandfly.com/notbugsmagazine/unconscious-sugar-part-1/
Bringing Sugar to Consciousness
On our first group call we made introductions, shared our history/relationship with sugar, spoke about what we thought would be our biggest challenges, and individually defined what we were committing to.
Since I was the only common connection in this group that was spread from Vermont to Hawaii, part of each introduction included a short story about how they knew me. The beautiful acknowledgement of my presence in each of these lives was touching. First gift of this experience was in the bag and it wasn't even a day old.
While we all had times of the day, certain foods, or specific situations that would present a big struggle, one fact became crystal clear during that call– we all had a story about sugar that had been with us for most of our life. Security, escape‚ dependency‚ fear‚ love‚ and addiction were just a few of the themes that we could all relate to.
If memory serves me right, five of us made it through the entire 30-days! Our private Facebook group turned into a virtual therapy couch where members would post challenges and victories. That group was a pillar of our success and I was thankful for it many times‚Äö both as a poster and a reader.
During that call we also laid out what we wanted for ourselves in the challenge. I was clear for the first time in my life I wanted to feel a sense of consciousness around the sugar I was popping into the hole in my face. I defined my border as anything with processed or refined sugar. Fruit and a few drops of raw organic honey in oatmeal were fine by me.
I knew in my heart what I had to stop eating. Cookies, candy, sodas (my beloved root beer was out), and all frozen desserts like ice cream and yogurt. I would still eat foods with lactose sugars (plain yogurt) and would search for the brands with the lowest possible amount of sugar.
I love red wine and that has no added sugar, yet has residual sugars after fermentation. I am OK with that although it is rare and in small quantity that I imbibe.
If you are going to consider removing or reducing sugar from your diet I recommend spending some time on this step. Be black and white about what's in and what's out. Trouble happens in the gray areas!
After 30-days I had a calm focus I had never known before. I was clear in my mind, more engaged in conversations, and much less interested in outside distractions. I finished my work in about 1/2 the time it normally took.
My skin today is unrecognizable compared to the sugar-loaded version of itself. The wrinkles are almost non-existent, and my complexion is reminiscent of the 1990 version of myself.
In the past year I've had one illness that lasted 2 days. Every other year of my adult life I would be good for a couple sicknesses that lasted anywhere from a week to 12 days. With no science to back me up, my belief is that without having to fight off all the poisons from processed and refined sugar, my immune system can quickly fight off any germ or bug that might land in me. I've hugged and kissed my son when he's sick just to test my theory– nada.
When I started this venture, I was 189 lbs (I'm not great at metric– I think that's about 55,000Kg). Today I am 165 lbs steady and holding without changing anything else. For exercise I run, mountain bike, and swim– this has stayed consistent throughout the year. My waist size has gone from 36 to 32– and I have had to buy new pants since I had reached the end of my belt and my pants looked like bags.
Interestingly enough, this has been a big piece of the experience that I never saw coming. Parties, conversations, eating out at restaurants‚Äö if people are together there are stories about sugar. I find that many people have been threatened or defensive around my choice to not eat the stuff.
I tend to have fun with it: volunteering to serve cake/ice cream at parties, or offering anything sugary that comes with my meal to others that might enjoy it. While I keep pretty quiet about it, it eventually comes up. I sense the spectrum from admiration to jealousy coming my way during these conversations.
Mostly it seems that people who aren't ready to face the sugar factor in their own life are interested in making me feel like I'm doing something wrong:
Well you know everything has sugar.
Life's too short to not enjoy sugar.
You know the world famous runner Jim Fixx died from exercise.
Do you go home and just gorge on chocolate when no one is looking?!
And the list goes on and on.
Those who are open to it, just not yet, bring forward the most interesting interactions:
What is the hardest part?
What do you notice most different?
What do you snack on?
Are you going to do it forever?
My big Ah-Ha around food is that everything doesn't have sugar! I've had to change my habits to enjoy foods that don't contain sugar, and make no mistake, that was hard! Very hard, in fact. There's a reason mankind fears and resists change, it's hard!
The only meals I had to modify were breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Besides that, it was easy. I got off all boxed cereals for breakfast. No more vanilla yogurt (28g of sugar in a small serving!), or pancakes drenched in syrup. Breakfasts now belong to high protein, gluten-free oatmeal, or fruit with plain yogurt.
Lunches tend to be salad or other vegetable dishes. Turkey breast, raisins, crushed almonds, and some oil/vinegar mixed with an awesome mix of lettuce pretty much sums up my mid-day version of heaven. If I'm at an airport or on the road, I'll have a burrito without the shell (gluten), or grilled chicken and veggies. The window for a sugar-free lunch is huge– get creative.
Dinner was never a big sugar meal however it's important to be at least familiar with the 50+ names for refined and processed sugar. If you are trying to avoid the stuff, be on the lookout. Those marketing people get very creative. Evaporated Cane Juice– sounds like the most innocent and healthy substance in the world, right? It's sugar with a sweeter name. High Fructose Corn Syrup? Run!
Desserts are excellent in the sugar-free world– and you will need to give your taste buds some time to get used to them. I always have a bag of frozen bananas and mangos on hand. I put them into a slow-churn juicer and out comes the most lovely frozen treat imaginable.
I've also found the wonder of dates soaked in warm water and then food-processed into a paste works in just about any recipe instead of sugar. I make some brownies that are also gluten-free which are game-changing.
Needless to say, I made it the month. Day 4 I felt like a junkie that had been put into solitary confinement in a 10x10 box. I couldn't get comfortable. I was twitching and irritable, I was short-tempered and unfocused. I held a chocolate bar in my hands and cried. I got a massage from my wife who saw my struggle and I could barely lay still.
The first 20-days were difficult– some days easier and some came close to the day 4 level of hell. After 3 weeks I knew I could not only finish the month, I could do another month– and made the commitment to do so before the end of February.
It was at the end of March that I decided to go for a year and as I approach the end of that goal, I can't imagine ever going back to random acts of sugar. I don't know if I'll remain in this 100% camp. I'd love to think I could have the occasional cookie or root beer– and I don't know if I can. For now I'm happy in the mystery of not knowing, and staying off of it.
If I could be of any support to you in this challenge, please consider me an ally and reach out. The rewards have been profound and unexpected. The challenges have made me a better person.
And I'll tell you– I still really miss root beer.*Photo credit: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4848/Sugar-Can-Make-You-Dumb.html
Facebook Group- 30 Day No Sugar Challenge
This group is run by Barry's friend Michele, who was in his original 30 Day No Sugar Challenge Group. She runs it on pure enthusiasm. Members support each other in their decisions for a healthier life. She has invited anyone from the iNAB community that would like some support to join the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/109510149182387/
Check it Out- from Becky and Matakana Superfoods
We bake at home every week (we're gluten free too). We cut the amount of the recipe's sugar to 1/3 of what it calls for. We use either maple syrup (make sure it's really maple syrup- there are many maple white sugar waters on the shelf that call themselves maple syrup), dates or coconut sugar (Honey does not like to be cooked).
Coconut sugar is an absolutely beautiful product to use. It tastes and looks like brown sugar, very rich. It is metabolized by the body very slowly, which means you don't get that big blood sugar spike. And it has heaps of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
We order ours through Matakana Superfoods at www.matakanasuperfoods.com
I contacted them and Dr. Kevin, the owner and visionary behind the business offered the iNAB community
2 x 250gm packets for a draw.
sign up below. As a new subscriber you are automatically entered.
We'll draw on March 12th (the new moon, a great day to draw your line and begin a new relationship with sugar.
(NOTE this is faster than most of our draws because I want to get these out to you before we fly to Hawaii!)
Check it Out Too!
Our friend Nicky will still be doing the New Zealand shipping to shops that need stock, but to make her life easier, we are closing down the online shop.
The on-line shops will be closed March 11th to April 10th. To say thank you for allowing our small biz behavior, we are offering to send an extra bottle of Goodbye Sandfly with all orders that you sneak in.
NZ and Australia: https://www.goodbyesandfly.co.nz/nz-australia-on-line-shop/ The Rest of the World: http://www.goodbyesandfly.com/shop/
Dear Becky I've been thinking about you a lot lately as we have been enjoying our spaghetti squash from the seeds you shared with us last year. Thank you again for your creative and thoughtful gift. Since we have so many, I've been sharing these beauties with friends around Gisborne, complete with instructions on how to cook and eat as most have never heard of spaghetti squash before. It's certainly a gift that keeps on giving. With gratitude and love, Cindy Prosor, www.openingdoorswithin.com
NOTE from Becky: This news excites me. In September we sent about 40 packs of spaghetti squash seeds to anyone in the iNAB community that said yes! We had grown, collected and dried these seeds from a bumper crop. Who else has had success with their seeds? Funny enough, this year, we only have ONE spaghetti squash- and after turning their noses up at 30th through 50th spaghetti squash that showed up on their plates last winter, the kids are excited by this ONE. I think they'll eat it!