In recognition of American Heart Month in February, I have moved up my post about nutrition and will publish about taking care of my skin with Biologique Recherche next time!
Day 50 of NO SUGAR and Day 1 of NO CARBS. Oh sugar, my sweet sugar… I miss you not as much as I thought I would! If you are anything like me and millions of others, you could very well have a problem with sugar. Sugar is in so many of the foods we eat and is disguised under a wide variety of names. In my quest to get Fitter by Fifty, I started looking more carefully at food labels and saw that sugar is in practically everything that is processed. I gave up soda more than ten years ago but other than that, I have never really thought too much about cutting back or cutting out sugar altogether. Then I realized that I actually have a very high sugar diet.
Studies show that people who consume 17% – 21% of their calories from added sugar have a 38% greater risk of getting heart disease than people who consume only 8%. And as we all know, heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. If you drink just ONE soda a day, you are likely already over your daily limit of added sugar intake. So I thought cutting back on sugar intake would be a great place for me to start on my nutritional journey to wellness. But let me be clear, I’m not cutting out natural sugar…meaning sugar that is naturally in fruit, for example. I’m cutting out all ADDED SUGAR…sugar that is added to anything in the processing of it. For me, that means almost everything I would usually eat that is processed like cereal, yogurt, and yes…alcohol. And of course, any kind of candy or desserts.
I’m working closely with Karly Powell, a Naturopathic Doctor at the Strata Integrated Wellness Spa, who is helping me ease into some very important nutritional lifestyle changes. She ordered a variety of blood-work tests that I had done at the beginning of the year so that we can track the changes every three months. I won’t be sharing specific numbers for privacy reasons, but I will be sharing the changes in those numbers. The next set of tests will be done in three months.
Along with making changes to diet, Dr. Powell is also recommending a variety of supplements that are customized to my needs and change as my needs change. As my body becomes more well balanced, the amount and types of supplements I take will change as well. To start off, I am taking a general multi-vitamin daily as well as a Mushroom Extract designed to improve my healthy immune system response. Please note…one of these supplements is turning my pee a bright neon yellow! But I have been assured it is nothing to worry about.
In addition to the supplements, Dr. Powell is also recommending that I do “intermittent fasting” three times a week. This actually isn’t as bad as it sounded to me when she first suggested it. Basically, three days per week, I eat a normal breakfast such as eggs with as many vegetables as I want thrown in, a mid-morning snack (like a small banana), then a late lunch/early dinner around 3 pm that includes lean protein, good fat, and veggies. Then I don’t eat again for 16 hours…which is 7 am the next day. Science backed studies show that intermittent fasting has a wide variety of benefits. Just some of them include, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, and enabling the body to metabolize fat and glucose faster. All of these things are super important to reducing the risk of heart disease.
So far the physical challenges of making these changes has not been as difficult as I thought they would be. I have not felt bad or had any “withdrawal” effects from cutting out sugar. In fact, I’m actually starting to feel better in a variety of ways including no heartburn in almost two months. Surprisingly, it has been the mental side that has been more challenging. Obviously, I have to pay closer attention to what does and does not have sugar in it. I have to get a little more creative in finding ways to satisfy cravings for something sweet…that’s where fruit comes in! And I have been assured that it is okay to cheat once in awhile…which I have taken advantage of only once when I couldn’t stop thinking about cinnamon rolls for a week! The interesting thing is that after I ate them, I realized, they weren’t as great as I had built up in my mind and that gave me the resolve to get back on the wagon and strengthen my resistance.
In fact, this is all going so well, that today is the day that I give up CARBS! Going cold turkey is what works best for me but eventually, we will add back in the good carbs that come from things like sweet potatoes. Until then, wish me luck and check back every two weeks on Wellness Wednesday as I get Fitter by Fifty with the Strata Integrated Wellness Spa!