You know the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, I definitely judged “I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook” but its cover, or at least its title. Give up sugar? For 8 weeks? Eek! That sounds like a lot of work and not a lot of good (or at least tasty) eating. But even the World Health Organization has joined the sugar reduction trend so when Crown Publishing sent me a copy I tried to keep an open mind.
The book, written by Australian television personality Sarah Wilson, is a guide to slowly giving up sugar, welcoming in fat, and finding a place of balance in your body. Over 8 weeks you start to cut back on sugar then quit it all together, spend a couple of weeks without any sweetness to help reset your tastebuds and your cravings, then slowly add in a little natural sweetness as you’d like. The idea is that a little natural sugar (such as those found in fruits and brown rice syrup) goes a long ways, so long as you break your body’s processed sugar habit.
I read through the book and it sounded plausible, if not actually appealing. But when I got to the recipe section—108 healthy, inspiring meals, snacks, and desserts—I was convinced that “I Quit Sugar” deserved a place on my bookshelf. The recipes are absolutely divine. So far I’ve made two soups—a warm one with sweet potato, lentils, onion, and a blend of spices and a cool one with avocado, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. And I have the ingredients for a few more: fluffy squash and chia muffins, cashews chia pudding, and coconut curry meatballs, to name a few. These aren’t necessarily items I would expect to have sugar in them, but it is a good reminder that by focusing on eating good stuff I might naturally start to eat less sugar, which is a concept that’s a lot easier to digest then simply going cold-turkey on sweets.
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By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
I generally practice what I preach: My diet is high in fruits and vegetables, pretty much all my grains are whole, fish is my primary high-protein food… you get the picture. Fortunately, I like these healthy foods, so none of this is a sacrifice, but I also like some very fattening and/or unhealthy foods—and I’m not willing to give them up.
How can you have your cake and stay trim, too? Here’s how I do it. Feel free to use these tricks or tweak them so that you can come up with your own creative ways to enjoy less-than-stellar fare without packing on pounds.
Just remember one ground rule: Your diet should be nutritious and you should stick to at a calorie level that keeps you at a healthy weight. (Of course, getting regular exercise helps a lot.) Once you’ve nailed that—at least most of the time—you should be able to use my indulging tips!
- Don’t be in calorie denial. Know just how many calories are in your favorite treats, or in that extra slice of pepperoni pizza, or whatever it is you’re indulging in.
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You would think that after losing over 100 pounds, getting in the best shape of my life, maintaining it for 5 years. becoming a weight loss coach, motivational speaker and published author on the book “Fat Boy to Fit Man: A One Step at a Time Story of Success“, that it would be easy for me not to revert to old habits, right? WRONG!
Although it has become some what easier for me than when I first started on this journey, there are still times that I fall prey to the desires of wanting to eat mindlessly. (Eat mindlessly. HA! Who am i kidding? Pigging out is really what I want to do sometimes.)
Just last weekend, my fiancee and I went out to meet some friends for brunch. That morning I had gone to the gym and done an intense work out. Shortly after I arrived home and showered we left for our Sunday brunch. I was STARVING, yet I didn’t eat anything post work out because I reasoned that I was going to have a nice meal at brunch. BIG MISTAKE! Before we even got to the restaurant, my stomach was growling and I was about to chew my fiancee’s arm off! (Ok, I’m exaggerating. I was just going to nibble on her ear!)
Around the holidays I found myself suffering from a cold. Since going gluten-free and dairy-free, it’s an anomaly for me to need an anti-histamine or decongestant. Knowing how sugar impacts the immune system, I assumed one of the culprits must be the holiday sweets I was consuming, even though it was in moderation. When I received the book the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo as a Christmas gift, I decided that I would give the program a try starting January 1.
Last year around this same time, I completed approximately 16 weeks of a three-level allergy-detox (stopping when I had lost too much weight). The programs did not seem all that different so I didn’t think it would be that difficult to go 21 days.
One of the most important things I have learned about dietary change is that restriction can lead to binging. If we feel limited, desire increases and takes on more importance. During my allergy detox, while I constantly had to check my list of approved foods, I was able to eat as much steak and eggs or bacon burgers (no bun) as I needed to. While I realize not everyone agrees, I don’t have a problem with eating fats.
Pamela Reilly, ND, CNHP, MH, CWHP, is a Naturopathic Physician and speaker that I trust with my own health and wellness. She designed the allergy-detox program that I completed last year. She clarifies that “if an eating style is extremely restrictive it is not intended to be permanent.”
I do think part of the secret to success is making sure that you do not feel restricted and finding indulgences when you need them. Sometimes you really do just need to make it just a few more hours before the craving subsides. On the other hand, over indulging does not do your body any favors.
Even if the indulgence is something like grapefruit—too much of even a good thing is still too much. Reilly believes that “people who truly want to change react really well to restrictions”; however, she adds that she “always provides substitutes when telling people to remove something” because she believes “it’s a lot healthier to function from an abundance mindset and to focus on the benefits and not what you are eliminating.”
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Welcome to the weekend! Saturdays and Sundays may mean relaxed diet and fitness rules during much of the year, but the timing of this specific weekend—right between Christmas and New Year’s Eve—may inspire you to get in a few final acts of health in 2013. If you’re feeling like you could use a health reboot right now, here are 10 ways to have a healthy weekend.
1. Limit your coffee intake. Inherently, coffee is full of all sorts of health-promoting properties. The beverage has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. However, regularly loading up on caffeinated coffee can make you moody and dependent on its energy boosting effects; what started as one cup can quickly turn into three or four if you don’t keep your habit in check. So, if you need extra pep have a single cup, then switch to decaf, which has many of the same health-protecting properties but isn’t addictive.
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