Results may vary

Results may vary

 

Do you ever see those short little click-baity blogs that are like “What I experienced after quitting sugar will surprise you…”

I do… and I click. I always want to know if I’m experiencing what I should be, if my results are typical. If I summed up a year of no sugar into a five minute article, I’m sure it would end up being quite similar to those that I’ve read.

However, what you tend not to read about are the struggles. I mean, when I’m trying to tell someone what it is like to not eat sugar, I definitely don’t go into a tirade about how horrible it is, I’m sure I’d start losing friends fast.

And it’s not always horrible, I mean it’s not always rose-coloured fairies and unicorn rainbow farts either, but it’s good to push our limits and ourselves.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day about why I haven’t been blogging as much as I wanted to this year. Honestly, it’s because some days are really hard. I don’t want to be a nutritionist, blogging about why everyone should give up sugar so they can be healthy just like me – when actually I’ve been feeling like crap. She told me, that when I’m not feeling great is when I should definitely be blogging, so people can relate. This is a real journey and if I’m honest about what I’m going through, more people will, hopefully, feel empowered to push through and make positive changes in their lives. Even though it’s hard it is definitely worth it to live a healthier life.

It’s not easy changing the way you eat, you’re normal for feeling crazy sometimes, you’re normal for falling back on other bad habits, you’re normal for wanting to sneak into a dark alley with a peanut butter cup, orrr is that one just me?

You just have to remember that even if you give in to temptation, you’re normal and you don’t have to give up. Each new meal is an opportunity to do better. I know that sounds super lame and cliché, but whatfoodiesfeed-com_choosing-from-menu1ever, it’s totally true.

Just because you tossed your sad-sack lunch and went out with your co-workers for dirty burgers, doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It also doesn’t mean the day, week, month, year, or lifetime is ruined. You can go home and make yourself a sexy fresh salad at home, or take an extra scoop of veggies at supper. Life goes on and it’s too friggen short to worry about being perfect.

 

I still feel little crazy, okay a lot crazy some days. But other days I feel like I got this. That might not be the sugar, that might just be life. Results may or may not be typical, but they are definitely outside my comfort zone and that is where we grow.

My 100% favourite and the best thing about giving up sugar, is being an inspiration to those around me to give up their bad habits too. I love when my mom tells me she’s been reading labels at the grocery store. I am my sister’s number one cheerleader when she told me she is giving up sugar too. I beam with pride when my hubby tells me he was going to sneak some donuts on his way home from work, but he decided he’d feel better if he didn’t. Probably one of the best ways to help someone you love change their eating habits, is to be an example for them to follow.

Friday Night

Friday Night

Last night I went into the grocery store. A Friday night alone and I didn’t want to cook. It wasn’t too long ago that I would have spent a night like this with Subway, some ice cream and catching up on some indie movies (or watching Mean Girls for 3 millionth time). I wandered through the grocery store without anything in particular in mind – aside from not making any dishes when I got home. Check out the “health section” of the grocery store. Cane sugar, molasses, agave, dextrose, more cane sugar.

After a good amount of aimless wandering. I walked out of the grocery store with a bag of plain potato chips and made myself a “supper” of chips, dates and nuts when I got home. It’s okay, I put it on a wooden charcuterie board so it was fancy AF.

Every once and a while I get my hopes up and think that I can get myself an easy dinner in a box, even though deep down I know I can’t. Sugar is often used as a preservative. Often enough that is it super annoying. It shouldn’t be a surprise that food in a box isn’t really good, but old habits die hard I guess.

Myself, and I think a lot of society, have become accustomed to convenience and heating up a box of “food.” From time to time it’s disappointing I can’t do that anymore. Real food doesn’t come in a box, it’s not always convenient, but it’s always worth the extra effort. #fridaynightvibes

I ate sugar.

No, I wasn’t mowing down on donuts in an uncontrollable sugar-filled binge, but it’s true: I ate sugar. I prefer to think of it as “getting sugared by evil nachos.” My husband and I were having some tacos for supper the other night, he picked up some nachos on his way home. As I was chopping veggies, I broke into the chips and started snacking. They tasted sweet. I should have known something was up, but I thought maybe it was just my imagination. After several more chips, I stopped. These were definitely sweet. I grabbed the bag and read the ingredients. My husband had purchased the Tostitos whole wheat nachos and there it was – sugar. I still get surprised sometimes seeing sugar listed in the ingredients. Almost like I think it’s something companies should be ashamed of. And honestly – why do nachos need to be sweet anyway? My husband felt so bad about it, instead of saving them for himself, he tossed it in the garbage. Yeah, damn the man! Stay out of my nachos sugar!

February marks the 6th month of no sugar. By the end of the month, it will have been a half a year! Yay, go me!

Cheers friends!
Susan

 

#Mealprepmondays: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

#Mealprepmondays: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Make life a little easier for yourself with some #mealprep

img_20170130_174117_503To stay on top of my no sugar game, I need to be more diligent in my planning and meal preppin’. Every Monday my Mom and I get together and make meals for the week. I’ve been noticing that my meal prep photos get the most social media love, so I figured I would explain my process a bit in hopes to inspire you to do a little (or a lot) of prep at home.

I always see those people that make themselves a week worth of chicken and broccoli, salmon and broccoli, broccoli and broccoli – kudos to them! However, I would go crazy eating the same thing nearly every day for a week. If you hadn’t noticed already, I love food. I love trying new things and experimenting with recipes. So my meal prep might be a little more involved than others, but I think the little extra planning involved is worth it, so I’m not dreading my meals or choking down dry chicken breast and broccoli every night (sorry broccoli, I have nothing against you).

Meal Preppin’

Throughout the week I pick up inspiration from my favourite foodies on Instagram and take mental notes and screenshots of recipes I want to try. By the weekend I make a quick list of what I want to eat that week, typically with one new recipe to try out or a favourite20170130_162634 meal we haven’t had in a while. This week I went for an old favourite: unstuffed cabbage rolls. I don’t really have the patience to make cabbage rolls, so this one is more of a – throw it all in the pot and enjoy the magic that comes out at the end – kind of recipe.

This week we also made a mixed veggie stir fry, with cauliflower rice for me and quinoa for my parents. I’ve been adding more spices as the stir fry meat cooks or adding coconut oil to the rice. It gives enough flavour that I don’t have to add any sauces, most of which are full of sugar anyways! We also did a paleo sloppy joe mix with turkey and sweet potatoes; kale, roasted beets and broccoli sprout salad; and I made my mom and brother some protein granola bars. We always portion out the meals so we can quickly grab suppers and lunches throughout the week!

Super Simple Recipe

I’ve had a few people ask me for the unstuffed cabbage roll recipe. If you google it you can find tons of different recipes with slight variations, some a little more stew-like and some a little thicker. This dish is great because you can go super simple or add in spices and herbs to suit your taste buds.20170201_192048

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of tomato sauce 8oz (be sure to double check the ingredients for sugar)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes 16 oz
  • ½ – 1 whole cabbage depending on size
    Optional Ingredients
  • Bay leaf
  • Wakame (it’s seaweed, you don’t taste it, but it adds a healthy burst of awesomeness to any soup)
  • Mushrooms
  • Any other spices you like – I’m not the boss

Cook the beef in a large pot over medium heat along with the onion and garlic. Chop up your cabbage and throw it in along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and any spices/extras you want to add. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a bit, stirring occasionally. Simple stuff.

I like to serve it on a bed of rice or cauliflower rice. This week I cooked up some cauliflower rice (which is actually just shredded cauliflower) in a frying pan with a lot of coconut oil, turmeric, and black ground pepper. The oil and pepper help our bodies use the turmeric to its full anti-inflammatory potential, and it tastes super yummy.

This is such a warm and filling meal, perfect for these cold winter days!

Taking these few hours a week to prepare some meals helps me to hold it together during the week. I’m not even cooking a whole weeks worth of meals. Just a few to get me through those busy nights. If you can’t spare a few hours in one day, you can always pick out a few things to prepare the night before: c20170130_163427hop up extra veggies to keep in the fridge; roast up a big batch of potatoes and veggies;
make the sauce for your pasta the night before. Every little bit helps. Even if your meal prep is just making lunch for work the next day, you are ahead of the game! Be sure to pat yourself on the back as you enjoy your healthy lunch instead of scrambling to beat the line-ups at the closest fast food joint!

Stay awesome friends!

2016 Wrap-up

How’s the ‘no sugar thing’ going?

Over the holidays I was asked a million times how the ‘no sugar thing’ was going – which was actually a nice break from the usual ‘when are you having kids’ interrogation. However, I found it a hard question to answer. Maybe because the last month I’ve just been taking it meal by meal and not really stopping to think about things. I haven’t even written you guys a good blog in a while!

My typical answer is “good – hard, but good.” Which is true. It has been good and I’ve been learning a lot about my food choices and how they affect my body. For example, my recent reliance on plain kettle potato chips as a comfort food has been wreaking havoc on my skin. On days that I eat as many vegetables as possible, I have crazy awesome energy and my mood improves greatly! After stringing together a few days of eating as many vegetables as I can, I start dropping weight effortlessly. When I have a bad day – or week and decide that nachos for supper is about all I can muster, I bloat up like crazy and well, they say everybody poops… but I don’t after all that cheese.

I’ve actually been a little shocked about how much my mood influences my food choices. The nights when I would love to just order a pizza and eat my feelings have probably been the hardest. What the heck do I do with all these feelings if I can’t just eat them into submission?? Sometimes I just sulk or live in a moody fog of anger for a couple of days until I get over myself. Other days I reach out to friends, family and my husband and actually let them know how I’m feeling. This has been incredible, seriously. I am not an overly open person and this whole ‘no sugar thing’ is forcing me to be more open and turn to those that I love for advice and to be my sounding board. I can’t even tell you how much pressure it takes off hearing someone say, “I understand.” My other go-to for those rough days is to hit the gym. It’s definitely harder to get there on bad days, but the payoff is totally worth the effort. Working out boosts those feel good hormones and makes me want to eat more veggies – it’s a win-win!

So do you feel better?

Yes and no. I feel absolutely amazing that I can turn down chocolate or dessert and not feel sad about it anymore. The first month or two were really hard for this and to be honest Christmas was little bit harder than the regular day to day. But it feels so empowering to say no and actually mean it.

Quitting sugar didn’t magically change my life and everything is not suddenly perfect. To be honest, a little part of me hoped that would happen. After learning about how ‘evil’ sugar is, I created a bit of an illusion for myself that giving it up would be the solution to all my problems. I would lose tons of weight, become super happy all the time and skip around merrily all day long. There are good days, but there are still bad days. Skipping the sugar has definitely made it easier to eat healthy, but there are ways to eat around sugar and still not fuel my body in good ways. It reminds me of someone I once knew that was a vegetarian who seemed to only eat cheese pizza and candy. Eliminating a food, whether it’s sugar, meat, carbs, dairy, or whatever else people are avoiding these days, doesn’t automatically make you healthy. You have to replace what you’ve taken out with nutrient dense healthy foods. And just as importantly, you have to work on the mental and emotional aspects that drive your behaviour.

‘No sugar 2016’ has been full of surprises and life lessons so far and I’m anticipating many more in 2017.

Yours in awesomeness,
Susan