Tag Archives: no refined sugar

Here We Go. Again. Cleanse.

A year to the day, my partner and I decided to give up refined sugar for a month. I had no idea that such a seemingly small goal would completely alter the way I eat and view food forever. Here we are, a year later, returning to that same goal to once again bring some heightened awareness into our diets. This time, however, our cleanse will be a modified Ayurvedic Cleanse, inspired by Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health.

Over the period of a month, we will be eliminating refined sugar and alcohol (week 1), red meat (week 2), caffeine, dairy, all meat (week 3) and all sugars (week 4) to begin my Candida cleanse. Each time a food is eliminated, a more nutritional food or healthy practice gets put in its place (take out the bad, put in the good). In my experience, the first and the last week are the hardest. The first, because energy levels are low as your body is looking for that sugar rush it’s used to getting. The last, because the diet is so simple (and, ok, a bit boring really) that it becomes incredibly hard not to satiate the appetite with all the amazing foods we have available to us. And that desire to satiate myself with foods of all kind is EXACTLY why I’m doing this cleanse again.

I’ve had an enormous appetite since I was young- a true Pitta by nature. I once had eight jumbo tacos as a teenager and didn’t even bat an eye. After surfing for an afternoon, it wasn’t uncommon for my friend and I to share a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream before having dinner. During snack break in high school, my diet consisted of three chocolate chip cookies followed by a bag of cool ranch doritos to compliment my cup-o-noodles and lemon-lime Gatorade. And I wonder why I had acne? My skin was begging me to stop!

Gaining knowledge about the food/body/mind experience is an amazing process, but it’s not the primary goal of this cleanse. This time I’m focusing on my mental and emotional connection to food. One pattern I recognized during the last cleanse was my tendency to be completely unhappy and unsatisfied when I had wholesome, albeit boring, foods in front of me. At times I was so “over” eating rice and beans (the staples of week 4) that I would even not eat them. With a little perspective on the situation, I realized how privileged I am to have a plethora of delicious, organic foods at my fingertips. Being able to cleanse and negotiate what I can and cannot eat is in itself a privilege. On any given night I can eat Thai, Italian, Indian or whatever my taste buds desire. But when I strip my diet down the bare essentials, I never feel satisfied…

I force myself to think about how many people on this globe would bend over backwards for a small, healthy meal. People who dream of rice and beans but stare at empty plates at night. And yet I shun it, because I can. I guess I’m just not OK with that. So this time around, I want to do things a little differently. I’ve set intentions to begin a meditation practice. My goal is to meditate every day in the fourth week. I’ll be focusing on slowing down around eating practices (instead of my normal inhaling tendencies) and gratitude.

Do me a favor – remind me about gratitude in about two weeks?

P.S. I was thinking about my cleanse while driving on Flatbush Ave. and looked up and saw this sign. I laughed and thought to myself, “I know.”

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Filed under Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Cleanse, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Fitness, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, Healthy Eating, Nature, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Refined Sugar Free, Spirituality, Yoga

Saccharin In My Toothpaste?

Of the many things I’m learning while on my no-refined-sugar diet, one of the more disturbing ones was realizing that my Arm & Hammer toothpaste has saccharin in it. Saccharin? Really? The same sweetener in Sweet’n Low is in my toothpaste- the stuff that is supposed to help protect your teeth and fight against everything sugar is doing to destroy them. Maybe I should just brush with Sweet’n Low.

I switched to Tom’s natural toothpaste right away. No saccharin or other sweeteners. Brushing your teeth is supposed to be about teeth and gum care. I don’t care how jacked up on sugar we are as a culture- toothpaste is one place where sweet does not belong. Give me mint, give me flouride. Don’t give me a lollipop.

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Refined Sugar Sounds Sweet. But It’s Not.

A week ago I said goodbye to refined sugar. For a month anyways. It was a goal that bloomed out of a random conversation about nutrition that I was having with my girlfriend. I had heard about the joys of taking refined sugar out of the diet- superman energy, good skin, weight loss. But I also knew that such a diet wouldn’t be easy because SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING!! I’m not talking about the healthy, nutrient-filled sugars that come in natural foods like oranges and apples. I’m talking about the stripped-of-anything-good-it-might-have-once-possessed kind of sugar. We call this refined sugar.

Refined sounds sweet, but it’s not. This kind of sugar is a simple sugar that basically has to steal nutrients from your body in order for it to be processed. Ever wonder why you might get a little buzz after eating something sweet but then fall into a sugar coma?

Refined sugars hide under many names: high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose and corn syrup are merely a few of the biggies but there are hundreds more. And I’m not joking, THEY’RE IN EVERYTHING: soda, ketchup, chips, pasta, mustard, hot sauces, soy milk, salad dressings, bacon, flavored coffees, alcohol, juices…
The list goes on.

I knew the “diet” wasn’t going to be easy but I also knew it would really force me to examine what I’m putting into my body. As of late I’ve become somewhat of a ninja in the kitchen, concocting things like homemade sriracha and thai peanut sauce. No refined sugars, of course 🙂

More on those delicious recipes later, but for now, if you really want to know about the evils of sugar read Sugar Blues or watch the documentary Big Sugar.

Not only is a non-refined-sugar diet good for my body, but it’s also a fun, politically loaded decision that lets me give the finger to big sugar companies that are invested in keeping my glycemic index up and my health down. For a month, anways.

One week down.

Catch me if you can…

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Filed under Challenge, change, Empowerment, Fitness, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, Health, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Personal Growth