My mother passed away in 2007 at the tender age of 46 – she was riddled with Cancer for only 6 months before her untimely passing. 5 years prior she battled (and defeated) skin cancer. My mother suffered from depression, struggled with her weight for as long as I can remember and well, did not (by no means) eat much of a healthy diet. She smoked cigarettes, she drank. She was a typical Canadian, living the typical Canadian lifestyle.
Fast forward to March 2017 – I am now 32 years old. I’m 200 lbs, out of shape, eating a relatively unhealthy diet with no regard for my sugar intake. I was constantly tired, no matter how much I slept. I had no energy. I was following in the footsteps of my mother.
I recently watched a documentary called Sugar Coated – It’s all about the dangers of sugar. To be extremely frank, it scared the crap out of me. I never stopped to think about the insane amounts of sugar I was consuming every. single. day. I never stopped to think how sugar (even though I knew it wasn’t good for you) was actually a toxin. I knew regular white sugar was GMO sugar – I’ve been researching about GMO’s for more than a decade, but I never took the time to put two and two together – GMO + Sugar = Recipe for death. I also learned how sugar causes Adrenal Fatigue.
Between sugar and GMO’s I began to think of my mother. I began to think I’m only 14 years away – My mother passed at 46 and I do not want to follow her footsteps. I decided I want to live to be 70+ I want to grow old with my husband, I want to see my kids marry, I want to know my grand-kids.
I decided enough was enough. I rid my home of almost all sugar products. I started researching healthy alternatives, I decided I needed to start exercising. I decided I WANT TO BE HEALTHY.
Today, I am exactly 1 week into my new lifestyle. I have reduced my sugar intake from approx. 40 tbsp of sugar daily, to under 6g. I have been working out every day for 30 minutes, completing the #21DayFix from BeachBody – I have changed my diet to something that is healthy, yet still insanely delicious.
If you’re thinking of quitting sugar – I have to tell you, the first week is the hardest. Sugar is (in essence) a drug (for lack of a better term). When you stop consuming sugar, you go through withdrawal. The first 24 hours I had a ridiculous headache, I was freezing cold, I had the shakes, I was nauseous. I felt like a drug addict trying to come clean. It was horrible. Since then, and every single day this week, at some point I’ve ended up with a headache that you cannot rid with medication. Yesterday, for example, I had a headache for over 5 hours. I took 2 Motrin when it began and it didn’t even touch the pain.
Water – water is crucial when you’re going through sugar withdrawal. You need to flush the toxins out of your body. There is a minimum amount of water you should be drinking, and it’s different for everyone. The easiest way to determine your amount is to hop on the scale. Your weight divided by two = the MINIMUM amount of ounces you need to intake over the course of the day. Example; I currently weigh 200lbs so I need to drink 100 ounces of water a day. I use a 20-ounce water bottle so I need to drink a minimum of 5 bottles of water per day.
Fruit – a lot of people get confused when it comes to fruit. Yes, it has sugar in it, BUT – because it is natural, “healthy” sugar, it DOES NOT count towards your daily sugar intake. However, with that said – NO it does NOT mean you can sit around and eat fruits all day long. Fruits need to be eaten in moderation. You should not consume more than 3 portions of fruit per day. A handful of grapes, a banana and an apple – that’s it.
Vegetables – this is where you want to focus your attention. Leafy greens are your friend. Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuce (not iceberg lettuce), Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Collard Greens – this is what you want to be eating. Leafy greens contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be strong and healthy.
Legumes – Learn to love your legumes! Chick peas, black beans, lima beans, split peas, lentils, kidney beans – Nearly all legumes provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, but mature legumes tend to be particularly rich sources.
Grains & Starches – Bread is not your friend. Try to eliminate as much bread and grains as possible. This includes pasta, white rice, and white potatoes. Replace these with whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and sweet potatoes – trust me, your body will thank you later.
Processed Foods – You want to avoid as much processed foods as possible. This includes cheese, condiments (ketchup, relish, and mayo), cereals, sandwich meats, even oatmeal! If you want to eat oatmeal (which you should, it’s great for you!) Make sure you buy only steel-cut oats (and do not buy Quaker’s Steel Cut Oats – they are NOT good for you). Go to Bulk Barn and buy a pound from them. Processed foods are the absolute worst thing you can possibly put in your body.
Sugar – Now we’ve already discussed sugar, but I want to go into more detail here. There are sugar alternatives you can use. The best is RAW, UNPASTEURIZED Honey. This is where you need to really pay attention. Honey in the grocery stores or Wal-Mart is in fact, not even real honey. It’s a processed by-product made to look and taste like honey. Even if it says 100% pure on it – I can guarantee you it’s 100% pure FAKE! Again, go to Bulk Barn and find the raw, unpasteurized honey – it’s expensive but well worth the switch. You can also use coconut sugar this replaces sugar 1:1 – it sits at about 50 on the Glycemic Index where as regular sugar sits at 100. Another good, all natural alternative is 100% PURE Maple Syrup. You want a Grade B or C – not Grade A.
One additional thing I want to mention is the use of Stevia. A lot of people are switching to Stevia sweetener instead of sugar. Yes, it comes from a plant – but I’ve come across several articles that suggest it may be loosely linked to cancer. Whether they are legit or not – I don’t know. But it’s better to be safe than sorry – my advice – avoid Stevia until further testing is done. It’s too new a product and we just don’t know the long term effects it can have on the body.
Keep in mind – Heroin, and Cocaine both come from plants – but are they good for you? No. Not everything that is plant based is healthy and this is something we tend to neglect when we hear “plant-based”.
Exercise – You NEED to exercise. I can’t stress this enough. It is so important to get at least 30 minutes a day. Most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle – where we sit for more than 6 hours a day. This is, in fact, UNHEALTHY – and in doing so, your body increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. You need to work out, stand up, walk around, GET MOVING! This is absolutely important for your overall health.
So, with that said – I want to talk about my progress for the last week. I have not hopped onto the scale yet, and I will not until my first round of the 21 Day Fix is over. However, what I have noticed already is this: My energy levels are through the roof again, I can wake up at 5:30am and feel great, I sleep so much better, the acne on my face is all gone. My mind is no longer foggy. I don’t get tired half way through the day. I have two sets of stairs in my home before I would walk from the main floor to the second floor and be wickedly out of breath… now I can jog from the basement to the second floor without being out of breath. All within ONE WEEK!
Beating your sugar addiction is hard, I won’t lie. But there are many ways to feel like you’re cheating – satisfying your sweet tooth – but in a healthy way. I will be posting recipes that I make at home (and that my picky kids LOVE) that are both healthy and delicious! Being healthy, eating healthy is not hard. Sure it takes time (prep and what not) but it is so worth it in the end. Trust me.
Follow me on my journey, watch my progress, be inspired and change your life! If I can do it, so can you!