No, that is not a creative spelling of an expletive that describes exactly how I feel when I remember I can’t have pizza… It’s Frequently Asked Questions time! Since I started I’ve been getting tons of questions from friends, family and people interested in cutting back on their own sugar intake. I haven’t spelled out much on the details of my challenge yet, because I jumped right in without overthinking things #justdoit. So here we go!
Are you insane?
Okay, so maybe this is my most FAQ to myself and yes I am a bit of a crazy cat lady, so there is a chance that I’m not right in the head. But – the older I get the more I am noticing the effects of what I eat on my health. Being diagnosed with PCOS was a big kick in the lady balls and I have also been waking up with stiff joints and constantly dealing with injuries at the gym. Despite warnings from other 30-somethings, I didn’t think it would happen to me. I’m a nutritionist, I know better!
Why give up sugar?
Sugar used to be a treat that only the very rich could afford in small quantities, now it has become a staple in nearly everyone’s diet. What effects has this massive influx of sugar had on our society?
In the short term sugar can cause: acne, mood swings, unrestful sleeps, fatigue and susceptibility to colds and flus. In the long term in can cause: cavities and dental disfigurement, depression, cystic acne, PCOS and infertility, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance and diabetes, and studies are even showing that it could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar causes inflammation (oh, hello stiff joints). Long term inflammation in our bodies can lead to: arthritis, asthma, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Sugar is not the only contributor to inflammation, but watching what we eat and drink can go a LONG way in reducing our inflammation and improving our health.
How can some innocent little white powder lead to so much evil in our bodies? Consider an egg which gives your body a variety of nutrients; choline, selenium, biotin, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, molybdenum, iodine, vitamin B5, protein, phosphorus, vitamin D and vitamin A. Now consider white sugar, it has been refined and stripped of the vitamins and minerals that we need to process it properly. In order for our bodies to metabolize the stuff, it must take nutrients out of our body, meaning sugar can rob us from chromium, magnesium, and calcium (please keep this in mind with ALL refined foods – always choose whole foods first).
So which sounds like the healthier breakfast choice? Scrambled eggs or a bowl of Sugar Loops…I mean Fruit Loops?
I promise to give you more details about sugar metabolism throughout the year. For those of you that can’t wait please check out some of these resources:
Are you eating natural sugars?
As far as fruits – yes! Mother Nature made fruit in a perfect package, wrapped in fibre, so our bodies can eliminate the fructose safely without congesting our livers.
As far as maple syrup and honey, no, I am avoiding those for the year too, unfortunately. As delicious as they are, they contain fructose without fibre. Don’t get me wrong, there are many health benefits in maple syrup and honey, but for this year I can live without their sweet deliciousness.
Are you eating sugar alternatives?
For the most part I am cutting out anything sweet, including alternatives. Occasionally I will have some stevia or xylitol in my smoothies as my favourite protein powers are sweetened using those.
Are you drinking alcohol?
I wasn’t too sure when I started the no sugar year about drinking. Alcohol is very hard for our bodies to process, so for the most part I’m going to avoid alcohol. When I do indulge on special occasions (I’m only human), I will be sticking to drinks with minimal fructose levels, such as red wine and clear spirits mixed with water. Feel free to check out this link for a breakdown of the sugar levels in your favourite adult beverages: https://iquitsugar.com/faqs/can-i-drink-wine/
What does a typical week of meals look like for you?
Homemade, homemade, homemade! Food producers often hide sugar in processed food to make it more palatable, so although it’s a little more effort cooking from scratch, it is totally worth it!
Let’s take a look at my meal plan for next week:
My breakfasts depend on the day. Mornings that I go to the gym for a swim before work I typically have a bulletproof coffee at home and then a smoothie when I get to work. At home breakfasts vary from nuts-and-seeds homemade granola with almond milk or different kinds of eggs with veggies.I may or may not have an obsession with eggs as you may have noticed from my Instagram.
Lunches are always leftovers from the night before or sometimes leftovers turned into a salad.
|Roast beef, potatoes and veggies
||Veggie lasagna (with zucchini noodles)
||Homemade chicken soup and tuna wrap on a flax wrap (avocado instead of mayo)
||Chicken legs and a green salad
||Baked fish with green salad and sweet potato fries
||Burgers (no buns) with roasted zucchini/ peppers and onion.
||Out for supper to Plant Matters Kitchen
What is your goal weight at the end of the year?
I don’t have one. To me this year is about getting as healthy as possible. I have always struggled with my weight, so I do not want to put a number on it. I know weight loss will happen throughout the year so I’m considering that as a happy bonus!
I’ve had blood work done to show my “before.” I’ve measured my glucose and insulin, cardiovascular markers (cholesterol and triglycerides), as well as my inflammation markers. I also had some of my lady hormones measured so I can see how no sugar impacts my PCOS over the course of the year. I have definitely learned that I cannot rely on the scale to tell me how well I’m doing day in and day out!
How can I cut out sugar?
You know you best. Personally, I felt like I had to just cut sugar out entirely instead of just cutting back here and there – I definitely sound like an addict eh?? Programs like 21 Day Sugar Detox or I Quit Sugar are great places to start for those of you that are thinking ‘enough is enough’ and want to jump in with both feet.
For some people an all or nothing approach would be too stressful and counterproductive in the long run. For those people I would definitely recommend cutting back on things that are manageable. If the thought of giving up your box of timbits a day causes you anxiety, start somewhere else and work your way up to that.
The first thing I would suggest is to look at what you are drinking. Are you drinking sugar on a regular basis, in your coffee, lattes, pop, fruit juices, sports drinks, tea, etc? Start switching out these sugary drinks for water. You can add in lemons or other fruits to help you make the transition if you are water-adverse. Increasing your aqua intake will help you to start feeling awesome – after all we are mostly water!
“Through activities of daily living, the average person loses about 3- 4 liters (about 10-15 cups) of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air and bowel movement. What is lost must be replaced by the water/ fluid we drink and the food we eat.
We lose approximately 1-2 liters of water just from breathing. The evaporation of sweat from the skin accounts for 90% of our cooling ability.” – Dr. Batmanghelidj
The next place to start cutting sugar, if you are anything like me, is your snacks. What are you snacking on throughout the day or at night in front of the TV? Some great alternatives are nuts and fruits, chopped veggies with hummus, popcorn (from whole kernels not microwave popcorn). I’ve been having a cup of night time tea after dinner and this not only stops me from making trips to the kitchen, it helps me to relax before bedtime so I can get a sound sleep.
Please feel free to contact me for more tips and to sit down and discuss how sugar might be getting in the way of you achieving your inner awesome!
Yours in health,
Week one (and a bit).
Day one was awful to be honest. I was so panicked about preparing foods for a long weekend of camping, that I totally blanked on day one and forgot to even pack a lunch. I spent so long at work trying to decide what I could buy that was compliant, that before I knew it, my stomach was growling and getting to that hangry stage that no person should ever get to. I ran out and got a wrap that was not sugar free. Normally I would get completely hung up on a stupid mistake like that, but I need to take it one meal at a time, or else this will be a verrrry looong year! I’m being completely honest with you because nobody is perfect! That night my husband and I made up some sugar free meatballs, pasta sauce and spaghetti squash and I moved on.
In order to prepare for camping, I wrote out a list of meals for the weekend and my husband (I should mention that although my husband is being super supportive, he is still eating sugar) and I got to work on pre-making meals so I had no reason to start reaching for hotdogs and marshmallows. After packing up all the food and labelling each container instead of feeling relieved and accomplished, I felt like a complete crazy person! What have I become? is this really weird? do I have that virus from cats that makes people do crazy things? By 10:30 the night before we left, I just had to laugh at myself as I packaged up my kale chips (why is there sugar in so many store-brand chips?!). I think I’ve gone full crunch.
The weekend went well! We definitely had enough food and aside from getting a little sugar sprinkled on me by some friends, they were really supportive and I think I did a pretty good job avoiding it. Full disclosure: I was still having some drinks, but I stuck to gin and water with lemons and limes.
Being prepared is really going a long way. It is a little tedious, but it’s worth it and knowing exactly what we need at the market and grocery store makes it a lot faster to just run in and out.
As far as any detox symptoms, I have been slightly moodier and by slightly I mean very moody. I have also been a little more tired during the day, especially at work. I think being outside in nature during the whole first weekend really helped to get my mind off of things and helped reduce the headache-style sugar withdrawal symptoms. There have been a few times this week where I thought I should delete everyone on my Instagram that was posting pictures of food, and a very close moment when I found some remnants of a Zazubean chocolate bar in with my snacks – but I stayed strong.
This Sunday was tough – normally on Sunday husband and I will eat a massive brunch and not really need to eat again till supper, but this week we ate a smaller breaky and I had no toast with mine. By the time we were out and about checking out the Halls Creek Art Festival, my stomach was growling and I was surrounded by booths selling and giving away candy. I found the Habitual Chocolate booth and tried some of their 100% sugar free chocolate, but it wasn’t enough to fill me up. It took all my will to not pick a fight with my husband who bought himself an amazing looking brownie. We raced home and I whipped myself up a delicious smoothie – crisis averted! I think I’ll have to keep a container of trail mix in my purse from now on.
I haven’t been bloated since starting…err finishing (?) with sugar and that to me is totally worth it. I’m down about 5 pounds already as well, which is great!
These first few weeks I am going easy on myself, but next week I’m going to commit to the 21 Day Sugar Detox which is a little more restrictive in terms of fruits and starchy vegetables. I think it will be helpful to do a complete reset and retrain my palate.
Yours in sugar-freeness,
It has been 9 days since I’ve had sugar. September 1st has been described as the other New Year’s or even the real New Year’s in terms of setting new goals and getting back on track after a summer of BBQs, camping trips, patios, a few too many ice cream cones and sugary drinks. This year I have decided to embrace this fake new year – and commit to a year of no sugar!
I feel like I spent the whole winter getting in shape – and the whole summer getting out of shape. All of my summer activities were just barely enough to offset the aforementioned summer indulgences and I was getting stuck in a rut of bad habits and letting stress control my eating.
One night after watching the show Addicted to Pleasure on Netflix, it really hit me that I needed to make a change. The series discusses different sources of pleasure that people get addicted to, including Whisky, cocaine, tobacco, and sugar. The back story of all these addictions had eerie similarities. The host of the show is a diabetic and talks about how he knows that he shouldn’t be eating a lot of sugar, but still does. It makes you think to yourself, “Come on guy, get it together, can’t you see that sugar will kill you. It can’t be that hard to just not eat sugar?!”
…or can it? It was one of those ideas that stuck with me and I mulled over it for a few days before telling anyone. It was making me nervous and scared, but excited all at once, so I knew it was the right thing to do.
I have done the 21 Day Sugar Detox using Diane Sanfilippo’s guide and I felt amazing staying away from sugar, but it seemed to creep its way back into my life and once I started eating it again I became an uncontrollable sugar monster. I want to see what life will be like with no sugar for a year.
What better way to keep myself in check, then to share my no sugar year with the internet? I’m going to be posting updates, food pictures, progress reports and any awesome recipes I come across. So I invite you into my life for a year to see how this plays out and we can learn together about the effects sugar has on our bodies!
Yours in Awesomeness,
I’m super excited about the unveiling of Susan Keane Nutrition! My website (designed by the ever-so-talented Candice Irvine) has now been launched and I’m working on getting you some awesome content. My facebook page is also up. You can check in there for updates, health tips and cool articles about nutrition, fitness and being awesome. Follow me on Instagram to get a peek at what a nutritionist eats and equally important – cat photos.
For my first ever post I wanted to share with you my favourite Paleo granola recipe! I made a couple batches for the spectators to munch on at the TuffStuff Competition at Friendly City CrossFit’s open house and I keep getting requests for the recipe. I love having some for a breakfast treat with a bit of Almond Milk. It’s just the right amount of salty and sweet!
The recipe is from PaleoOMG.com. PaleoOMG is written by CrossFitter, Paleo-eater, fashion-loving Juli. I’m really enjoying her website and delicious recipes.
Play around with this recipe to make it your favorite granola too! I love using different dried fruits to give it a new flavour every time. You can try adding different nuts, or even a nut-free version (pumpkin, sunflower, chia) to make it good for the kiddies to take to school.
It will last a few weeks (if you can keep from eating it for that long), stored in a glass container in the fridge. Make a double batch so when you feel the terrifying hanger coming on you have something healthy to snack on that is rich with good fats to keep you full.
I’ve added a couple suggestions and tricks in bold. Please visit Juli’s website for the full directions, link is below.
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds – Raw, unsalted
½ cup pecans, chopped – Raw, unsalted
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup coconut oil – Melted
½ cup raw honey – I omit the honey completely to make it less sweet.
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries OR blueberries OR raisins OR a mixture
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt – I use RealSalt brand Sea Salt and use a little less, sometimes even half, or it becomes way too salty for me.
When baking, I let it cook undisturbed for the first 10 minutes, then mix every 5 minutes until done.
Directions – click here
Comment below, let me know if you like the recipe or if you come up with any crazy good combinations!
Yours in health,