Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Quit Sugar - Week 1, 2, & 3 Update

It's been 3 weeks (I'm in my 3rd week now) since I Quit Sugar. I am doing an 8-week detox program designed to get that junk out of my body and stop my addictions!

Read here for the full scoop.

And so far, so good! Well... okay, it's been a little rough. Let me explain.

Week 1: I had a lot of sugar cravings which I stifled by eating a lot of cheese and crackers. I felt so hungry the first week but rather than real hunger it was just a sweet tooth and cravings, which they said would be normal. So I would just eat something non-sweet to curb the munchies.

Week 2: The cravings were gone, and I was able to create a few new " treats" of my own - fructose free!

The first treat I enjoyed was Hot Choolate:

1 can Coconut Milk
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 TBS cocoa
1/2 TBS stevia
1 TBS raw cocao nibs

I love dark chocolate so this hit the spot for me. But I don't know of I'd make it for company since it's more on the bitter chocolate side. It was weird drinking hot chocolate, because I kept thinking I was breaking the rules!

A few other tricks I've used to avoid added sugar:

  • Pesto instead of marinara sauce (which has added sugar)
  • Sliced apples instead of honey on a PB sandwich
  • Plain yogurt and nuts
  • Red wine vinegar and olive oil instead of salad dressing

Avoiding sugar is so much easier when I'm at home and in charge of planning meals and buying food. It gets a little more complicated when I'm on vacation. when visiting my sister we went to a frozen yogurt shop but I didn't get any. It was hard to resist, but I stayed committed and after we left I was so glad I did!

Last weekend we took a quick trip with the Brown Family to Las Vegas and while there we hit up a buffet. I decided before going in that I was not going to eat any meat, white flour, nor sugar. Well, I didn't eat any meat! But I did have some white flour pasta - but no bread. And I did have some sugar....

Have you ever heard of Bananas Foster?! Oh my goodness, I love it! (I especially love the rum taste!!) Tanner got a Bananas Foster crepe and I looked at it longingly, resisted, looked again, waited, resisted and then had one little carmeled covered banana and decided I was going to get one myself! I ate about half of one and decided that was enough.

And enjoyed a sugar headache promptly afterwards.

Yes, I had sugar on my sugar detox, but you know what as different about it this time? I was in control and I said stop and didn't have anymore! It was a buffet - I could have gone crazy, but I stayed in control! And chose to treat myself to something I really love. It was also a good reminder as to why I'm doing this. I felt yucky afterwards.

Week 3: This week I have cut out fruit and will keep it out for 3 weeks. It sounds crazy, but the objective is to get fructose out of your system completely so my body can re-calibrate. It's amazing how taking out a whole food group can start to limit your variety. I find myself eating a lot of nuts and beans!

It has been harder this week to resist sugar, but I just keep going. Some other good alternatives have been:

Every sugary sweet I see I want - because when you tell yourself "no" you just want it more, right?! Well, I have been thinking to myself - what if I wasn't doing this, would I be eating every sugary sweet that came in front of me? I hope not. So it's a good time to reflect on how I want to come out of this "detox" and what I want my experience with sweets to be.

Anyways, there's a little update. I'm kind of crazy, I know. But this is who I am - a little bit of a health nut!

What crazy diets, detoxes, fasts have you done? Last year I tried to go raw for 28 days and lasted 5! That was horrible. Read about it here...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

3 Years and My Ring!

3 years ago (yesterday - January 23rd) Tanner and I were married! Oh, what bliss we have enjoyed!!! I love him so much! For proof see this...

In honor of 3 lovely years, I wanted to pay a special tribute to my wedding ring (okay, and brag a little)!

My ring.... I love my ring! It is perfect for me. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, but I knew that I  didn't want a free-standing diamond so I started looking for ideas online and found something similar to what mine looks like (it had a circle diamond and wasn't as intricate) and then really got excited about what it could become.

I took the picture I found to our fabulous ring designer, James (contact me for his info). And told him the feel I wanted and Tanner took it from there. James loved working on my ring and did a wonderful job!

Tanner was so creative and made sure that 27 diamonds were included (my lucky number) (26 little and the oval diamond)!

I love that it's unique and my very own! Good job, Tanner.

For Tanner's ring we chose a brushed Rose Gold! He loves his ring too!
Mine is perfect for my Type 2 personality and his is Type 3 perfect too!

While we're at it, here are a couple pictures from our wedding and our Bridal/Groomal session.
My photographer was Jessie Shurtleff. She is great. Check her out here.

This is my ABSOLUTE favorite picture from our wedding day!
It captures our feelings so well!

These pictures were taken at the Great Salt Lake.

This was taken at the Wells Fargo building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Taken in some random alley way in downtown SLC.

At the Salt Lake City Hall

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pregnant Sisters

Want to know what makes me being pregnant even more exciting? My sister is pregnant too!

My older and only sister, Jenny, is pregnant with her 3rd and is just 5 weeks behind me. It is so much fun to share this experience with her. And I am just thrilled that our little ones will be so close in age.

Jenny lives in West Virginia and we miss her dearly! She is so much fun and such a bright light to our family. We hope she comes back to Utah after her husband finishes his residency.

After my ultrasound I had the strong desire and wish to be with Jenny when she found out what she was having. So I started making plans and...

My dad and I flew out to surprise her! Her husband knew we were coming and helped us plan the details.

We arrived Thursday night and she wasn't home, so we had some time to plan a big surprise. Seth, Jenny's oldest, had the idea to hide in the closet. So the 4 of us (me, my dad, Seth and Joseph) hid in the closet and waited for her to come up!

When she finally came up - she was on the phone in her car for 10 minutes - she came into the boys room and thought it was so cute that they were hiding in the closet and wanted to play along and then BAM - we popped out! Watch the video to see it all.

Surprising Jenny is so much fun! She is a Type 1 and LOVES the element of surprise. She was soooo happy we were there!

The next morning we all went to the doctor's to find out what she is having. And she's having a little BOY! Another little BOY! To be honest, we were all kind of hoping for a girl - especially since I'm having a girl, but that doesn't really matter. They will be buddies regardless; and obviously God wants little boy #3 to join the Allen Family so we are thrilled to meet the little guy.

During our time together we enjoyed late nights and lots of giggles. I love Jenny and her boys - all 3 of them! It was so much fun to travel with my dad too and enjoy a little daddy-daughter time. Family is the best - I'm glad it's growing!

Silly little boys!
Seth - 4, Joseph - 2

Best Grandpa Ever!
(Even though they both ended up crying after this one.)

Playing with Play-Dough.
It's the Tree of Life. Seth made sure we included the Mist of Darkness - smart boy!

LOVE them!
Excited to have my own to add to the bunch!
This video is just the little boys playing with Grandpa - nothing too exciting, but I love it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Quit Sugar...well, I'm in the process.

Raise your hand if you ate too much sugar over the Holidays.
And I was feeling it...
So, I'm quitting...
the sugar habit.

Here's how....

First of all, before I make any changes in my health I need to know why I'm doing it. I believe the greatest contributor to bad food and health choices is lack of education. I'm not talking Mathematics. I'm suggesting that if you don't know why you should avoid or embrace certain foods then you'll just choose whatever is available or advertised or on sale.

It's no coincidence that the people suffering the most from obesity and disease are the lower class citizens. It's a real epidemic. If given a choice between an apple or a Snickers candy bar most people would choose the candy bar if they had no idea about the difference.

So with that said, I like to educate myself as to why I am making changes. We all know sugar is bad for you. But how? And what are the other options?

I read this article by Dr. Mercola and learned a lot. I suggest you read it, but I will copy some of my favorite points here.

The Danger of Sugar, by Dr. Mercola

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
  • Today, 32 percent of Americans are obese and an additional one-third are overweight. Compare that to 1890, when a survey of white males in their fifties revealed an obesity rate of just 3.4 percent. In 1975, the obesity rate in America had reached 15 percent, and since then it has doubled.
  • Agave syrup, falsely advertised as "natural," is typically HIGHLY processed and is usually 80 percent fructose. The end product does not even remotely resemble the original agave plant.
  • Honey is about 53 percent fructose[2], but is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach.
  • Stevia is a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form). Lo han (or luohanguo) is another natural sweetener, but derived from a fruit.
  • If your diet was like that of people a century ago, you'd consume about 15 grams per day—a far cry from the 73 grams per day the typical person gets from sweetened drinks. In vegetables and fruits, it's mixed in with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients, all which moderate the negative metabolic effects. Amazingly, 25 percent of people actually consume more than 130 grams of fructose per day.
  • Fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism—it turns off your body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.[3] [4]
  • Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
  • According to Dr. Johnson1, sugar activates its own pathways in your body—those metabolic pathways become "upregulated." In other words, the more sugar you eat, the more effective your body is in absorbing it; and the more you absorb, the more damage you'll do. You become "sensitized" to sugar as time goes by, and more sensitive to its toxic effects as well.

    Here are a few ways Sugar can ruin your health:
    1. Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.
    2. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
    3. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
    4. Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.
    5. Sugar can cause premature aging. In fact, the single most important factor that accelerates aging is insulin, which is triggered by sugar.

    Read the complete list of 78 here.

- - - - - - - - -
So that was enough to convince me. My favorite statistic of all is how much sugar the average person eats on a regular basis - 180 pounds a year vs. 4 pounds in the 1700's.

I am currently reading another book (How I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson) and I am doing her 8-week Detox program. I am on week 1! The first 2 weeks I will not consume any sweets or anything with added sugar, then for 3 weeks I take out ALL fructose - even fruit, and then you gradually bring it back in. The idea is to reset your body to normal sugar "cravings" - which is not craving it.

I learned that when people in the olden days happened upon a sugary substance - berries, fruits, etc. they would eat as much as they could to store up the energy for later. As you read above, sugar does not trigger our "satisfied" or "full" feeling so it's easier to eat a lot more Skittles than Almonds, which are fat based, because of the way our bodies are made.

If we cut out sugars our tolerance for them decreases and we naturally don't crave them anymore.

According to Sarah Wilson we should be aiming for about 24 grams of sugar a day rather than the average 161 grams a day!

While I am cutting back, here are a couple tips that have helped me...

Here are a few ideas that help me to ease my sugar cravings:
- Herbal Tea (with or without honey, I usually don't add it)
- A piece of fruit - especially an Orange. (It's a sweet treat, but all natural)
- Drinking more water
- Eating more full fat foods - fats naturally decreases your desire for sugar - try nuts or full-fat yogurt
- Don't buy it. We have no sugary sweets in our house. If I get munchy I have nuts, tea or water.
- Eating more greens.

Also, start paying attention to how much sugar is in the foods you eat. Remember sugar is in everything nowadays. We don't like it unless it's sweet. So pay attention to the nutritional labels on the food you buy. A good rule of thumb is no more than 4-7 grams per 100 gram serving.

I want to say one thing about all the natural sugars that have become so popular lately - Agave, Palm Sugar, Sucanat, Stevia, etc. All of these - except Stevia - are still Fructose and your body will react the same to them. As I mentioned about Agave is still highly processed from it's original state. Although these are much better options than processed white sugar they are still fructose and will cause the same reactions to some degree.

The thing with fruit is that it is combined with other nutrients and vitamins that help to naturally breakdown the sugars and your body absorbs them naturally and effectively. I usually eat my fruit with a handful of almonds just to even out the sugar/fat intake however.

Stevia is the best option. It is not a fructose. Read this article to learn more about this sweet plant. Reading that article I just found out that some brands (Truvia) of Stevia are not the whole plant, but just use parts of the plant. I am still searching for an option that doesn't do this. Anyone know?

So there you have it folks, a little pep talk for quitting or at least minimizing your sugar intake. I would suggest getting Sarah Wilson's book. It has been so helpful for me so far and I am super excited to keep you posted on my sugar detox. I invite you to join me!

What are some helpful things you have done to nix the sugar habit??

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Veggie (Vegan) Enchiladas

If you enjoyed my Meatless Tacos then you'll love these! Another vegetarian alternative to a classic dinner entree.

To make the Veggie Enchiladas:

 Chop any veggies you have on hand. I like onions, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, and whatever is in season (peppers, broccoli, etc.). About a cup each

You can also add Cilantro and salt and pepper

Lightly sauté with Grapeseed Oil

Warm 12 corn tortillas (or flour, corn is Gluten Free).

Smear 1 scoop of Canned Refried Beans on Tortilla. I like Rosarito brand Vegetarian kind.

After the beans, fill with veggies. I like mine pretty full.

Then place in 9x13 inch pan with opening down.

Top with Red Enchilada Sauce and cheese or (Almond Milk Cheese) and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pregnant and Active

Here's another quick update on the pregnancy...

I've been blessed with a very healthy and enjoyable pregnancy! I'm 23 weeks now. I experienced "food aversion" in the earlier months (and again a little bit recently, just needed more food in my belly). Had a few occasions of morning sickness and I've been a little more tired than usual, but overall I've been able to stay quite active!

I started running a little bit right before I found out I was pregnant and participated in a Halloween 5K when I was 13 weeks along.  It was so much fun because we all dressed up!

The Tooth Fairy!

 I also did a Triathlon (Turkey Tri) on Thanksgiving morning. Being in the water swimming was amazing! (I've started swimming once a week and it's heavenly.) I also cycled and ran in the tri.

I've also been snowboarding a few times! (Don't freak out. I am taking it easy and I'm experienced.)

I'm so grateful that Baby Girl likes moving with mommy! I actually think she prefers the high movement and activity. I look forward to swimming more and hopefully doing another Tri or race in the coming months.

Stretching had also been a huge part of my exercise. I can feel my hips moving and muscles loosening. So stretching and strengthening those areas relieves the pain! And I hope will assist in the birth!

The exercise program T-Tapp has even wonderful too! Some of you may already e fans, of not check it out! It's low impact, quick and easy, but gets you in all the muscles you didn't know you had, improves posture an flexibility. Awesome!!

What sorts of activities have you mommies enjoyed during pregnancy?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quick Health Fixes for the New Year!

It's the New Year and amongst the resolutions I am sure you have something in there about eating and living a little bit healthier. Let me suggest 3 easy ways you can increase your health starting now!

"Quick Fixes" I like to call them. But let's be honest, you have to be consistent with them to see results. But they are 3 easy steps you can add to your daily routine to experience improved health.

The first product I was introduced to 5 plus years ago, but stopped using it until my Mother-in-law reminded me about it. It's called Redmond Clay and is a miracle worker! It is inexpensive and a "cure-all."

It is volcanic ash from hundreds maybe thousands of years ago found in central Utah. When taken with water as a drink it will detox and cleanse your body in a gentle way. It attracts toxins and replenishes your body with good minerals. It helps to keep you "regular" and pushes all that yucky stuff out. I also love using it as a face mask!!!

I use it at least once or twice a week as a face mask. And I have noticed great improvements in my skin - less pregnancy acne. It can also be used to relieve sores, burns and all sorts of ailments. I burnt my wrist really bad and applied some wet clay and wrapped it in Saran wrap and the healing progress overnight was amazing.

You can read about other's experiences here. And purchase it here!

The next "quick fix" is powdered greens. Now that it's Winter I have cut back on the green smoothies. I find my body doesn't crave/want/need as many greens during these colder months. But it's good to keep greens as part of your daily regimine and using powdered greens keeps it quick and easy.

I use Ormus Greens. My dad likes Athletic Greens. They are both great. Ormus has a minty flavor and Athletic has a berry flavor to it.

I usually just mix a teaspoon or so with water and ice and chug. You can also add it to a protein smoothie for a fresh treat. Somedays when I'm feeling sluggish I'll have a quick sip of my powdered greens and I perk right up. I especially noticed a difference in the earlier weeks of my pregnancy.

If you are struggling to make your diet highly concentrated in whole raw vegetables then powdered greens is a great way to get started!! Click on the links above to purchase either one.

The third is an easy Liver Cleanse I have started doing each morning.

A clean Liver is vital for optimum health. Our Liver cleanses the toxins that enter our bodies. These toxins come from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the products we use on our skin and hair, and the list goes on. If it's overloaded with too many toxins the Liver can't do it's job of clearing out the toxins and these toxins remain in our body causing disease - joint pain, excess weight, headaches, moodiness, even dark circles under your eyes, etc., etc. A simple Liver cleanse will get the toxins moving through your Liver and out of your body and get rid of disease.

The Liver Cleanse: 
1 tablespoon juice from an organic Lemon
1 drop Peppermint Oil (If you're pregnant omit the peppermint.)
1 drop Lemon Oil
Each morning before eating or drinking anything drink this solution. Do it everyday for a month... or the rest of your life. (Put it in a glass or ceramic cup, not plastic.)

You want to get the high-grade oil from an oil distributor not what is sold in the health food store. I prefer Forever Green, DoTerra is good too. Try this one.

So how does it work?

Lemon: Encourages bile secretion, Aids liver function, Boosts metabolism, Reduces toxin buildup in fat  cells, Supports bile flow.

Peppermint: Clears liver from drugs.  helps gastritis, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, common cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, fever, & morning sickness

Together Lemon and Peppermint they are the perfect combination to restore your Liver after a month of over eating and lots of sugar. Check out this resource for more information on how to cleanse your Liver.

Hope these quick tips help! Let me know what you add to your daily health regimen. I love learning about new products.