Still getting over sugar

March 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Why am I giving up sugar?

1. The human body is not built to process refined sugar, and eating copious amounts of it found in a modern diet is detrimental to the body.

2. It’s an addiction, and like all addictions it needs to come to an end. I liken it to ending an unhealthy, to and fro relationship with that hunky, bong-pulling guy down the road.

3. It is one very specific attainable goal, which I hope to use as springboard for a generally healthier lifestyle (admission: I want others to get healthy too… I’m becoming a little evangelical about it all).

So it’s attainable, but is it easy?

Hello no! Like any addiction, a sugar habit  is incredibly hard to break, especially when almost every food on supermarket shelves is laced with this particular drug.

How am I coming along?

I have good days and bad days, and sometimes even good weeks. I know for me it will be a long process, with a lot of internal reflection. It’s not something I’ll be able to do cold turkey.  My bad days are obvious to me because I’ll develop a sugar-headache. And I know my bad days begin to manifest when my head space becomes a bit chaotic. Either I’m on a down in sugar-endorphin cycle, lacking self-esteem which kicks in a bout of self-pity and general moroseness or I’ll eat to feel good and compensate for dissatisfaction in other areas of life. I know more exercise would help lift my downturn, as it has in the past, but when one is in a dark place there is an extreme lack of motivation.

How am I moving past the bad days?

One day after keeping true to my sugar goal, on the way to work I stopped to fill my with petrol and bought a bag of lollies at the service station. I basically ate the whole bag for breakfast. Then later ate a few Lindt peanut butter Easter eggs which a colleague gave me.

It was a horrendous slump in an operation that was otherwise coming along nice and slowly. That slump can be hard to come back from, because it is followed by an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt, which was a catalyst for an entire week of sugar binging. The thing is, it’s all personal and relative, a bag of sweets and a few Easter eggs may not seem significant to some but it is all defined by the individual and their particular dysfunctional relationship with food and eating.

…..


So I had my slump of a week. Then I read Treasure Yourself by Miranda Kerr. Prior, I was feeling pretty cynical about reading a book on self-improvement, written by someone in the business of superficiality, commercialism and materialism, and a super model no less – a species which aren’t known for their great intellects.

But it was lovely to read, somewhat anecdotal and all the while steering the reader with a gentle hand to bring positivity into their lives. I would like to share the two most important tools I found within its pages:

1. Start a Gratitude Journal

Almost every night before bed, my boyfriend and I like to read. Sometimes it might be for ten minutes, sometimes for an hour. I am going to take some of that time, and every night list what I am grateful for that day.

Appreciating what you have in life makes room for even more abundance.

2. Declare Daily Affirmations or Power Thoughts

If I affirm with myself enough that I eat healthily then I will eat healthily.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at the idea of the power of positive thinking, but I’ve decided to embrace it and I hope never to look back (I’ll let you know how it goes). I’m even going to have my most prominent Power Thought of the moment  listed in the side bar, I encourage you to use it too. Life is too short to feel silly about trying to shift into a positive lifestyle, I’m ready to move on from being a self-deprecating Liz Lemon type surrounded by cheese wrappers (but that’s not to say I still can’t enjoy 30 Rock).

These are some Power Thoughts from Treasure Yourself which may help ease the struggle with refined sugar:

Wellness is my natural state – Caroline Myss

I choose nutritious food and treasure my body – Miranda Kerr

I love to exercise – Louise Hay

I am a vibrant, healthy and joyful being of light and love – Miranda Kerr

I have authored my own, albeit slightly stiff affirmation(but what more do you expect from a gal with a background in science):

I am full of knowledge and wisdom, on which I act to live at optimum health

So there you go, for me gratitude and affirmations will be a vital part of everyday life, and particularly the first point of call when I hit a bump in the sugar-free road, so I can hold onto my sanity, accept the moment as it passes and only move forward.

Tomato and Fish Stew Recipe

March 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

I'm a superb eater of food but not much of a food stylist

Tonight’s healthy and easy dinner idea comes from the autumn issue of Alive Australia magazine, which you can find free of charge at your local health and wellness retailer.

Here is the recipe straight from the magazine:this is a snap from the magazine itself…

If you can’t handle the heat…. then stay out of the kitchen. No wait, I mean…. use less chilli flakes. It’s a spicy dish.

We replaced the white fish fillets and haddock with a couple of King Fish fillets. We visit the fish monger every Saturday and the King Fish looked like an excellent, hearty fish for a stew. Having said that, after I checked out Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, I’m now aware I could have picked a better option in regards to ethical and sustainable eating. Anyhoo…  lesson learnt.

Also, I didn’t bother serving with crusty bread. Typically I like to avoid grainy/starchy foods at night to prevent bloating.

Healthy notes:

Look for a can of diced tomatoes with no added salt or sugar.

Consider using organic vegetables. Celery sits at the top of the Dirty Dozen list (i.e has the highest level of pesticide contamination) with carrots not too far behind. For vegetables like onions which rank the best, I don’t bother with buying organic because it can get a bit expensive.

Enjoy (because I sure did)!

Bangin’ Breakfast

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I’m leaving sugar behind, and the first place for me to start is at breakfast time. I find a smugly healthy, satisfying and nutritious breakfast sets the pace for the day, and I’m less likely to snack on sugary treats.

please excuse the hasty iPhone snap... can't you see I was already mid-nosh?

A healthy on-the-go breakfast:

An organic pear cut in quarters, core removed, and topped with brazil nut butter.

Oh it was delicious! Tasted like almond cake, and it’s the perfect alternative for a sugar addict, like me, trying to replace the usual starchy, sugar-laden breakfast (which would often include brownies!).

So why brazil nut butter?

For starters it contains organic, raw, fair-trade brazil nuts; so it includes all the wonderful essential fatty acids of raw nuts plus a few bonus karma points for ensuring the Peruvian pickers fetch a fair penny for their efforts,  while maintaining conservation of the Amazon jungle.

Also, I eat cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios by the handful. However, my diet is completely void of brazil nuts, and introducing them in the form of a nut butter is a fun and easy way to incorporate this rich source of selenium into my diet, along with its immunity boosting properties.

Belly Benefits

Despite the bulky fibre content of fruit (especially pears), after its sole consumption, I find that satiety doesn’t really last too long and I’d be reaching for a sugar-filled blueberry muffin shortly thereafter.

With the inclusion of healthy fats and protein in the form of fresh nuts or a nut butter alongside the fruit, the body’s appetite control system goes into full swing and it could be three hours before I even start to feel hungry again.

This brekky is simple and can be prepared in the time it takes to toast a piece of bread. It’s probably not ideal for everyday, however it’s fresh, healthy, and most of all it’s effective for those days when you need to rush out the door and don’t have time to mess around poaching eggs and dicing vegetables. Alternatively, it makes a great snack.

Enjoy!

Are you trying to break a sugar habit?

What’s your go-to breakfast?