Thursday, January 28, 2016

30 days of sugar free: Kicking the Addiction

I'm halfway through my 30 days without sugar, and feeling the benefits. My psoriasis is clearing up, the inflammation in my palms is noticeably reduced, and the cravings are next to nothing. I had one breakdown and it was on the day trip to Denver last weekend. Something about being in a car for 6 hours makes an old reflex kick in. I will confess. I ate a doughnut. I'm putting it behind me.

I have always had an addiction to sugar, and I'm not alone. During the past 100 years, the average American's intake of sugar and other natural sweeteners doubled- from 80 pounds a year to over 130 pounds a year. In a lifetime, that equals enough to fill a dumpster. And knowing what sugar does to us, it's no wonder why our health has decreased over that time as well. We have the technology and the knowledge to be healthy, but we're not.

Sugar suppresses the immune system, leads to chronic inflammation (next blog post), and if you're craving sugar, you're probably deficient in chromium, carbon, phosphorous, sulfur, and tryptophan (see image). Many of those foods rich in those nutrients are very helpful to curb my cravings when I'm weaning back off sugar, especially nuts, raisins, cranberries, and blueberries. I wish I'd had them in the car during my Denver trip!

Do yourself a favor, try a week without sugar and see how you feel. You'll see that sugar's in everything - you must be vigilant about reading labels. Even if you're good about not eating any processed foods (which your body would appreciate), you still have to be mindful of the sugars hidden in recipes like soups, casseroles, homemade granolas and protein bars.

I get asked: Am I doing honey? Occasionally, yes. Agave? A tiny bit in the raw cacao balls I have after dinner (not nightly). There's a little stevia in my Juice Plus Complete protein powder, so I cut that back as well. I repeat. IT'S IN EVERYTHING. It's no wonder our bodies are struggling.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

30 days sugar free: alkalizing the body and prepping for good choices

We are living in a very acidic world; it seems like nearly everything we do lowers our pH, and in a low pH internal environment, inflammation occurs, bad gut flora thrives, our bodies oxidize faster, and disease sets roots. Therefore eating an alkalized diet is a must to return the body to it's natural state of self-healing.

When I look at these two food charts it's easy for me to see why the new "food pyramid" and FDA recommendation is for 70-80% vegetables and fruits at every meal. That's no easy task, but the 30 days of sugar-free and Transform 30 program I embarked on this past Monday helps me alkalize my body.

I know that when I eat that way, my body feels better, I have more energy, I sleep better and wake up refreshed, I heal faster and generally don't get sick. When I am acidic, my joints hurt, I'm sluggish and unmotivated, and I've even gotten gout (as a vegetarian, that's pretty hard).

But even though I know better, eating right is no easy task, and stocking the refrigerator and cabinets with the right choices set me up for success.

At the beginning of the week I make sure I have prepared an arsenal of healthy snacks and I've decided on 4-5 healthy recipes and have the ingredients stocked.

Here are some of my existing favorite recipes, websites, and boards... and I'm excited to spend this month adding to the list!
New favorite - Vegan Enchiladas
Rainbow Pad Thai
Vegan Alfredo Zoodles
Kitchari - a staple for detoxing
SCD Processed-Free cooking
Vegan and GF Breakfasts
Food-Wise Choices board
Vegan eating board
Smoothies board

Monday, January 11, 2016

30 days Sugar Free: Switching date sugar

I've embarked on my 30 days without sugar and want to first report on the date crystals from a date farm in Arizona.  While I wean myself off the sweet addiction, dates are going to be my sweet treat anyway, but I was excited to start finding recipes with the date sugar substitute. Eventually I hope to steer clear of grains all together, but the date sugar intrigued me, and I'm a baker by DNA, so fully grain-free is a stretch.

In a 2013 Virginia Tech biochemistry study ranking the health of the 12 most popular sweeteners by antioxidant content, date sugar ranked the healthiest.

Flourless banana bread from Chocolate Covered Katie
The first two recipes I went for were banana and zucchini breads - both gluten free, one vegan, one with eggs.

After looking at several top rank options based on ingredients, the banana bread recipe I went with was from Chocolate Covered Katie.  The foundation for this recipe is GF Oat Flour, calls for honey, not date sugar, and is entirely vegan (no eggs, no milk).

This is a great recipe, it's great tasting, has great texture (if you cook gluten free you know that breads can be gummy), and a mild banana flavor. I actually used 1/4 cup apple sauce because my 3 defrosted bananas didn't quite yield 1 3/4 cups.

The second recipe I tested was a zucchini bread recipe from A Little Insanity. I'm not cutting out eggs this month (although I plan to ease back into a vegan diet), so I wanted to try this recipe before I did. This was a great option for the date sugar, although the sugar content in general is very low. Worth note- at the top it calls for 20 min cook time (which refers to the muffins) - read thru to the end, and bake a loaf for 50.

I love this recipe! The other one I've been using for years has TWO cups of sugar in it and makes me cringe to make it. This one is slightly savory, and very light on the sugar with 1/2 cup of date crystals (ground).

I did not add chocolate chips to either, so I could appreciate the full flavor of the bread, and if you're going for sugar free, they don't need it. I added walnuts to the zucchini bread and it's a great addition. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Committing to 30 days without sugar - YOU will hold me to it

Every year at this time we commit to something new; changes for the better that we hope will stick. I've found that publicly committing to something and having a buddy in doing so is exponentially more successful than just writing some wishes in my journal, especially when the new plan is a big one.

Last year I spent a month of summer sugar-free. It wasn't my first attempt, I've spent the last 7 years on one elimination diet or another in attempts to take better control of my health and the auto-immune and inflammation symptoms my body's been displaying. I've been gluten-free for those 7 years, dairy-free off and on for 30+ years, and even meat free for a portion of my life as well.

So I know that cutting out foods is never easy, and for each of us, there's always one vice that's the hardest. Dairy, wheat, starches, sugar, alcohol, salt, it doesn't matter; if it's our crutch, eliminating it feels like we're depriving ourselves of the pleasures of life. And if we're truly addicted to it, we can even get a little mental when we cut it out.

For me, that strongest vice is sugar. So I've spent the last week preparing for the next 30 days so I can have the highest success possible. I've been collecting recipes and motivating infographics, reading about the harm sugar causes (right), and psyching myself up for the detox. Yes, I'm excited for the detox. Because after the last month of cookies, maple-chocolate granola, Frango mints, bagels and cream cheese... I feel like shit. I'm tired, inflamed, uninspired, achy, lazy, and a little depressed. And I'm ready to let all of that go. I'm guessing the holidays have had a similar influence on you.

I invite you to join me. Our Juice Plus family is launching a Transform 30 group tomorrow - where we embark on the One Simple Change plan to guide our bodies back to optimum health with whole food nutrition, good habits, and support each other to do so. Email me to learn more about "T30" and get started.

Whether you want to wean yourself from sugar, gluten, dairy, meat, snacking or something else, or whether you want to create better habits - exercise more, drink more water, sleep longer, or start meditating, this group is a great resource and we have a private Facebook page for it where our team of coaches will be posting.

Follow this blog (sign up for it to the left) to get updates on my journey. Thank you for holding me accountable to this #OneSimpleChange! 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Manifesting with Synchronicity course starts January 31

This will be the fourth year I've taught this wonderful course and I'm super excited to share it again with my fellow Steamboaters. A few seats remain, take a look at what this course offers!

Based on James Redfield's Celestine Prophesy's first 9 insights, this course is an in-depth look at:

  • What Jung's definition of synchronicity means and how to use it for creating the life we want to live
  • Where we've come from in the last 100 years and where we may go from here
  • How the Earth's energy moves around us and what it means to connect to us
  • The four human psychological dramas and how to navigate them with peace and groundedness
  • Why we've chosen the parents we were born to and how to learn from their lessons and forgive the past
  • How the many religions of the world are connecte
    d and tapping into that One energy
  • We learn the quantum tools for manifesting: mantras and affirmations, meditation, intention
  • And so much more!

This course has become a foundation of the way I live my life, and I feel blessed to facilitate it.

Email me at to sign up before it's too late. We only run it once a year!