Mind Your Sugar This Holiday; You’ll Be Glad You Did

December is the time of year when we splurge on delightful deserts a little more than usual. We attend office parties, end-of-year celebrations, family dinners, and banquets. These celebratory events besiege us with sugar-coated treats that have you feeling like a kid in a candy store. But you know what? If the holiday sugar feast isn’t your norm, then it is okay to indulge a little.

This post is not about encouraging you to avoid your holiday favorites. I only want to inspire you to remain mindful while you enjoy the holiday season. How do you live mindfully?

Stay Present.

To remain present means to observe everything that is happening to you. If you are present, you are in the moment; not thinking about tomorrow, what someone else thinks, or grappling about an incident that occurred yesterday. Being mindful means to:

  • Actively listen to the sounds around you. When listening to music, try to pick up on the background instruments.
  • Observe (but don’t judge) the colors, shapes, sizes in detail that is around you.
  • When eating, concentrate on the color, flavor, texture, smell, taste, and temperature of the food.
    • When eating, take smaller bites and avoid multi-tasking (watching TV, reading, surfing the net, etc…). The aftereffect of mindless eating is overindulging.
  • When communicating with others, focus on their words not what your response is going to be.
  • When driving, observe the cars and the roadway.  When was the last time you were driving down a road and the next thing you know, you arrived at your destination and don’t remember passing familiar streets and landmarks?  A wandering mind is reasonable; however, the trick is to catch the thoughts but then reject it and return to your focus.

We are hosting Christmas dinner, so as I began to think about the menu and desserts, I realized that the one common bothersome ingredient comprised of most holiday main course meals, desserts and beverages is sugar.

Sugar is an addiction. The more we eat sugar, the more we crave it. So, as you approach the dessert table, be mindful… How many trips have you made? Are you eating because you’re hungry or are inattentively shoving food in your mouth? Just something for you to think about.

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Image courtesy of Me_living (Instagram)

Eggnog Martini, White Christmas Martini, Santa Clausmopolitan, Jack Frost Cocktail-– Look them up on Pinterest; there are many!   Do I indulge? Absolutely!!  But the solution is to sip consciously.  Drink a glass of water between drinks. Go ahead, enjoy one sweet cocktail but if you decide to take a second drink, order it without the sugar on the rim, or just have your favorite spirit on the rocks.

 

Image: CDC (Center for Disease Control)

 

Even if you don’t consume alcohol, still think about the non-alcoholic eggnog, the punches, sodas, and juices.  When the news reported this week that the current U.S. President drinks 12 cans of diet coke each week, I cringed.  The label on diet coke shows zero “0” sugar, but it does contain aspartame. Too much of anything, especially, a GMO ingredient, is not good for the body.

Sixteen days remain in 2017, and I am still going Vegan strong!  My holiday festivities will undoubtedly include cocktails (mainly cabernet) but will exclude meat and dairy products.  I made it through Thanksgiving, so Christmas and New Year’s should be a breeze.

Happy Holidays!


It Was Good While It Lasted

The decision to give up coffee was kind of spontaneous.  Nearly two months have passed since I gave up my freshly brewed java.    Fresh coffee was a nice early morning treat and part of my morning ritual.

The decision to give up coffee was sudden and random.  One day I just noticed that I didn’t  feel like myself.  The feeling was more than the typical jitters from too much caffeine.  Aside from the increase in hot flashes,  I felt sick from it.  The taste changed too.  It was nasty.   That’s not supposed to happen. What the heck is going on?  Hormones I suppose.  Or maybe it’s my body’s way of telling me it’s time to give it up.

Anyways my current morning ritual now includes organic loose leaf green tea. And guess what?   It’s working well.  I actually feel better, more energized and I don’t get the dragging feeling after the caffeine boost. Yay!

So imagine my delight when I stumbled on a Green Tea Latte at Starbucks.


 🙂 Aaaaaaaah!  The heavenly gates opened up.   I tried the latte and loooooooved it!  Although I like the vibe of Starbucks, they’re too pricey for me.  This day was an exception because I was on the road and ran in to get some oatmeal.  I ended up with the oats and the green tea latte.  I substituted regular milk for coconut milk.

Fast forward to my third one.   😦

You know I had to know the nutritional content, so I went to the company’s website.

“Smooth and Creamy.” Yes.

“Lightly sweetened.” NOT!!

Check out the sugar content!!  Oh my gosh!  I was devastated then I realized the whopping 27 grams of sugar was for a Grande.  Uh oh. I’ve been drinking the Venti, which is even larger. Ugh!

The Venti is loaded with even more sugar!  36 grams!!  This is ridiculous.  Starbucks has to do better. They got that one off on me.  This is yet another example of why we have to stay diligent in researching all that we eat and drink.  250 Calories. 9 grams of saturated fat. 90 calories from fat.  When I read the label, I became sad and angry. Who would think green tea would have so much sugar?  Yup. They tricked me.  

Whelp.  It was good while it lasted.  I just can’t and don’t consume sugar like that. Speaking of sugar, if you’re trying to lose weight or maybe trying to reduce your sugar intake, check out the video, The Truth About Sugar that I recently watched. It may change the way you think about your favorite sugary snack.

I’ve got a lot going on these days.  When things settle down, I have tons of good stuff to share.  So hang in there with me.  If you like this post, please like, share and follow me.

Smooches!  🙂



How Much Sugar Are in These Crackers?

After leaving the gym one morning, I stopped by Shoprite my local grocery store to pick up a few items.  

After paying for my groceries, I am about to walk out the door when an elderly man stopped me.  As he approached me, he held a box of crackers in his hand. Pointing his finger at the label he says…

  

Excuse me honey, can you tell me how much sugar are in these crackers?

I was not wearing my reading glasses, so to read the label and to see the sugar content, I had to focus really hard. 🤓

Sir, according to the label, the crackers contain only one gram of sugar per serving, but if you are watching your sugar intake, I don’t recommend you eat them?

Really?   Why is that?

I point to the first ingredient, Enriched Flour.  “Do you see this here?” 
I try to give him a quick synopsis and tell him that the white flour is a starch, which isn’t the best choice for him. I explain that the starches are going to eventually break down in his body into simple sugar.   

He is shocked and says he is not going to buy them.  I tell him to look for “whole grains.” 

Of course there is so much to it then eating whole grains but I did not have the time to say all that I wanted and needed to say. 

My time was limited but I desperately wanted to take his hand and walk him aisle by aisle through the store to show him healthier options.  

Food labels are tricky and deceptive. The labels are colorful and are strategically designed to get our attention to buy their products.  It  seems that every aspect of this country is about profit. 

Healthy living is sacrificed for greed and for profit. 

Just look at Martin Shkreli.  The jerk… I mean CEO of Turing Pharmaceuicals.  He jacked up the price of a prescription drug designed to help save the lives of HIV patients.  He tried to increase the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 per pill!  What the heck!!

GREED!!  

The intentional trickery and lies told by food manufacturers is disturbing.  Consumers must read food labels; however, the education does not stop with reading labels. The process of educating oneself is ongoing and there are many valuable sources available online and in print.  Below are a few sites to check out but there are many. 

I also enjoy reading the free magazines from The Vitamin Store.  Several  magazines are located at the register and they are full of resourceful information.   

As I said in the beginning, I wish I had the time to walk the man and others like him through the store to help them to find healthier alternatives.  Hmm…. Maybe that’s something I could do on the side.   

Just remember, don’t be so quick to believe the pretty little lies they tell you on the colorful packaging.  Dig deeper to find what’s really in the food.   Just because the words “natural,” “low calorie,” “organic,” or “sugar free” are printed on a package, doesn’t mean that is true. Sadly, food manufacturers and companies can make all kinds of outlandish and untrue statements about their products.  The practice should be unlawful but it is not.

Some of these companies are such blatant liars, I can’t stand it!  If you stand close enough to me in the grocery store, you can overhear me saying, “liar! Liar!”   Lol!  I’m laughing but it is true.   

My rule of thumb is if an item has too many ingredients listed, for the most part, I leave it alone.  If you don’t already know, there is a large amount of the first ingredient listed on a label.  So when you see sugar as one of the first, second, or third ingredients written in anyone of it’s 61 forms, toss it pack on the shelf. 

Yes!!  According to Sugar Science, there are “at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. I didn’t know that!  Some of the most common names are:

Sucrose

High-fructose corn syrup

Barley malt

Dextrose

Maltose

Rice syrup

Americans consume 66 pounds of added sugar each year, on average.

Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged food.

Okay, my sugar rant is over. I could go on and on, but I will end with a friendly reminder to read the food labels and educate yourself.   Don’t cheat yourself by putting bad stuff in your body.  The body is like an automobile, the better you care for it, the better your body will perform for you. 

For the most part, the better you care for yourself, the better you will look and feel.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by and remember to keep it moving!  


10 Things To Try Instead of Making A New Year’s Resolution

beauty-isnt-measured-in-pounds-quote-1The scale says I weigh 151.1 pounds. So what! I have weighed less but looked worse. Lol!

At 49 1/2, I’m fit, healthy, and am in the best shape of my life. 🙂

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Women are obsessed with their weight. Each day thousands of women choose to skip meals, pop diet pills, or start some fad diet.  And why? For the sake of seeing a magic number on a scale that falsely suggests they are… umm.. somewhat in shape. Or maybe it’s for bragging rights to share with peers? Oh wait I know!  The big one is to slip into “the gown” or “that dress” for a wedding, a high school reunion, or some other big event.

I dunno, but it is ridiculous and it needs to stop because unless a lifestyle change is made, the pattern will never end.

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ATTENTION LADIES!!

Why not make today your last weigh in…  for a least a month or two. Go ahead– first thing in the morning hop your butt on the scale and record the number.

Afterwards pick up the scale and put it away where you will not be tempted to step on it for at least 30 days. If you haven’t had a checkup in the past year, schedule a visit ASAP and, with your MD’s blessing, for the next 30 – 60 days try the following:

  1. Eat breakfast every day!  A smoothie, oatmeal, or an egg white omelet.
  2. Don’t drink any alcohol (it’s only 30 to 60 days, you CAN do it). *Alcohol has sugar.
  3. Replace soda and juice with water.  Increase your daily water intake to 32 – 64 ounces (flavored bottled water doesn’t count).
  4. Avoid unhealthy and processed snacks such as, chips (all of them), Doritos, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, donuts, etc…  Snack on nuts, non sugary fruits like apples, strawberries, and blueberries.
  5. Eat fresh leafy and green veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale, broccoli rabe, asparagus, zucchini and avocados.  Avoid canned veggies like the plague but frozen veggies will do.
  6. Reduce your sugar (including honey) intake.  Read labels on everything you eat.
  7. Hold off on white anything and drastically reduce your  Bread, rice, cheese, pancakes, pasta, grits, cereal, etc… Replace with sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice, or whole grain pasta (in moderation).
  8. Coffee!  Skip the fattening latte’s with heavy creams and milk. Switch to a non-dairy milk like plain almond milk. I get the caffeine fix! Drink the coffee, but skip the sugar and watch your cream.. less is best!
  9. Get movin at least 4-5 days per week.  No, you don’t have to join a gym, you can start out by walking.
    1. Wear a good walking sneaker.
    2. Time your walk and distance. I like the FREE app MapMyRun, but there are tons of options out there.
    3. Each day try to increase your pace and distance.
    4. Don’t talk on your cell phone while walking!  Doing this will slow you down.  Listen to musics that makes you wanna dance–that should keep you moving. 🙂
  10. Get a good night’s sleep every night. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Specific hormones and the metabolism are linked to weight loss. Sleep deprivation may increase your Ghrelin hormone, decrease your leptin hormones and will have you eating more– of the bad stuff you should be avoiding.

Skip the annual New Year’s Resolution; they come and go. Instead commit to a lifestyle change and do it now.

During the next 30 or 60 days, keep a journal. Pay attention to how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day. Record your findings. You might as well record how you feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

healthier Lifestyle

This post is inspired by a close friend who decided to take on a challenge of avoiding alcohol and eating better for 30 days.  🙂

After your 30 or 60 days are up, if you so wish, step on the scale.  You may or may not have lost weight, but I guarantee (barring any healthy issues) that you will feel 100% better than you did before the change.

For healthier meal ideas, visit my healthy eating board, soup board, or crock pot meals on Pinterest.

Not a day passes that I am not asked by someone about my lifestyle or seek advice about how to look like me, so that is another reason I wrote this post.

If you are at a place in your life where you feel compelled to make some positive changes, I hope and pray this post helps you.  Are you up for the challenge?  I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.  🙂

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