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I Quit Sugar: Week 5

In week 5 of this experiment, Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar,” suggests ways to detox. I have been doing many of the things (activate nuts, make kale chips, drink tea) since the earlier weeks, so I’m taking this post to talk to you about some good things to have come from quitting fructose.

These are in no particular order because everything that is good is equally so!

Good thing No. 1: Weight loss

I weight a little bit more than this baby being weighed during a college homemaking class (year unknown). Side note: My, how the times have changed!

I weigh a little bit more than this baby being weighed during a college homemaking class (year unknown). Side note: My, how the times have changed!

When I started all this, I was hoping to lose a few pounds and get back to a healthy weight. I don’t need a scale to tell me my clothes fit differently. I used to put my belt on the first notch, but now I’m comfortably at the second. Woot!

Good thing No. 2: Saving money on food

This 1954 family shops at their local grocery stor--wait a minute ... is that kid sampling the cat food??

This 1954 family shops at their local grocery stor–wait a minute … is that kid standing sampling the cat food??

In week one I said I spend way too much money on food, and I don’t even eat out often. This week I compared last month’s food spending with my costs pre-quit. I’m proud to say I have cut my grocery bill by 25 percent. This is awesome. I’m eating less, which lets me enjoy good foods that used to be luxury items because of their prices: avocado, quality tea, coconut/almond milk, a coffeehouse latte, just to name a few.

Good thing No. 3: Balanced state

I have been sleeping well, like these sailors taking a nap on the flight deck of the USS Lexington in 1943. This photo is precious, by the way. Oh, you know you were thinking it!

I have been sleeping well, like these sailors taking a nap on the flight deck of the USS Lexington in 1943. This photo is precious, by the way. Oh, you know you were thinking it!

I am beginning to feel like my body is happy with me. My digestive issues are essentially gone. I sleep through the night, can focus during the day, and have no problems falling asleep.

Good thing No. 4: Increased willpower, motivation to try new things

This kid in Amsterdam in 1987 is too cool for the first day of school. He needs a little motivation to get his booty in line.

This kid in Amsterdam in 1987 is too cool for the first day of school. He needs a little motivation to get his booty in line.

There were a carrot cake and some books in the break room at work this week. I hovered over the cake for a minute, then looked at the book next to it, which was something about spiritual health. I laughed at the thought of someone reading that book and eating cake at the same time. Most people wouldn’t even think about how the book and the cake are connected.

This journey, this lifestyle change, is as much physical and mental as it is spiritual. I have pushed myself to break routines — even if it’s just taking a different route to work or visiting a store I’ve never been to before. I have become more motivated to live positively and look toward and plan for the future. My hope is to keep growing my spiritual, physical, and mental health for long as God gives me.

I did not eat the carrot cake, but I did eat an Olympic cupcake yesterday. Just one. An amazing test of willpower when there are a dozen staring me down, and considering a month ago I would have eaten four without batting an eyelash.

OK, y’all. I’m moving on to week six, which is when I get to start adding some sweetness back into my life, such as a low-sugar fruit each day!

Also, a giveaway is coming. Thanks to those who have already voted in the poll below; for those who haven’t, now is your chance!

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Olympics: Swim Team Gone Viral

It only took one day for this video to pass 1 million views. Because, honestly, who can resist the following three things: Team USA, fit swimmers, and Carly Rae Jepsen? Lochte, I will definitely ring you on your mobile.

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Currently this is my favorite video cover of this song. What are your favorites? Which Olympic sport’s team do you want to see make a “Call Me Maybe” video next?

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Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: XXX Olympic Games hosted by London

I refuse to use the super ugly London 2012 logo, so all you get are the always amazing Olympic rings ...

I refuse to use the super ugly London 2012 logo, so all you get are the always amazing Olympic rings …

... and this photograph of the British Women’s Olympic swimming team, shown the day before the official opening of the Olympic Games in 1948. This was the first time the Games were held since Berlin hosted in 1936, as they were canceled because of World War II. It was also the second time London hosted the worldwide gathering, the most recent hosting gig until today!

… and this photograph of the British Women’s Olympic swimming team, shown the day before the official opening of the Olympic Games in 1948! This was the first time the Games were held since Berlin hosted in 1936, as they were canceled because of World War II. It was also the second time London hosted the worldwide gathering, the most recent hosting gig until today.

After the Academy Awards, the Olympics are my favorite television spectacle. Maybe it’s the fact it only happens every two years. Maybe it’s because it switches from sun to snow each time around. But mostly I think it has something to do with the most elite athletes on the face of the earth gathering to compete in their specialized sport.

Emotions run high. I know this because I watched NBC’s top 30 greatest moments special Saturday and cried tears of joy over about 93 percent of the selections. When someone wins — especially if their story is a particularly moving one — you feel like you have won.

 

I can’t wait to cheer on Team USA. And watch Ryan Lochte, since he managed to do this at the Olympic trials. I am very much looking forward to seeing the 16-year-old flying squirrel fight for the women’s all-around gymnast title.

To kick it all off, and since I work tonight and do not have a DVR, I will catch the rerun of the opening ceremonies at 1:30 a.m. For those of you keeping score, I love the Olympics so much, I will be staying up until 4 a.m. just to watch the start of the festivities!

 

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Song of the week: “She’s So Mean” by Matchbox Twenty

I’m on a new-songs-from-old-bands kick. I was in love with Rob Thomas my senior year in high school, and I bought his first solo album with euros. So of course I’m over the moon that the band is writing new tunes! The new album, “North,” releases Sept. 4. I also just saw Thomas is mentoring with CeeLo Green on Season 3 of “The Voice.” Ahh! Photographic proof.

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Video stream of the week: Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen” on Netflix and Hulu

I don’t have cable and “Top Chef Masters” started Wednesday. Thus my stumbling upon this show starring an ex-Top Chef contestant.

Molecular gastronomy chef Marcel Vigneron was a big ball of crazy on “Top Chef” Season 2, as seen in this mildly funny, fan-made rap video. He’s still crazy on this show, which aired six episodes on Syfy in 2011. It’s easier to watch Marcel on “Quantum Kitchen” because he is in his own element, making his style of food with a couple of his friends.

The premise is Marcel runs a catering company, so there are clients and party planners with whom to deal, equaling a bit o’ drama. But the real drama happens in the kitchen when Marcel and Co. test the wacky dishes two days before events. Spoiler alert: Everything always works out in the end and the dishes are magical creations everyone loves.

Here’s one of the kitchen test fails:

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Remix of the week: “Cameo Lover” by Kimbra, remixed by Sam Sparro and Golden Touch

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You already know I love Kimbra. She’s my new favorite artist, and her debut album is the best of the year (so far). My littlest sister and I are going to see her and Gotye in concert come October. Until then I will play her record on repeat and download this remix. For free!

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On a side note, if you haven’t voted in my “I Quit Sugar” giveaway poll, hop over and give your input! I’ll be gifting one lucky commenter with something wondrous in an upcoming post, but first I need your help deciding what to give you!

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I Quit Sugar: Week 4

Week four is over. This is basically how I feel:

Preach it, Harry.

Preach it, Harry. P.S. Let’s be no-sugar buddies.

Life without sugar is making me vocally grumpy, and even though I know what I’m doing is for the best, I just want some ice cream, man! And that doughnut on the office table. And the whole bag of brown sugar I hid in the back of my pantry. Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar,” said this would happen. It may be the hardest part of all this.

Explaining why I’m doing this is getting easier. Those closest to me are beginning to understand this is not just breaking the physical addiction to sugar (grab and eat whatever is in sight) but also the mental dependence (see above thoughts on ice cream, doughnut, brown sugar).

The best new snack I made this week is homemade peanut butter. Here’s how it works:

  • Dump a bunch o’ unsalted roasted peanuts in your food processor.
  • Grind ’em up until smooth. Or chunky. I don’t like chunky PB.

That’s it. You don’t even have to add oil because the peanut oil seeps out of the nuts when ground. Amazing. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Next time I make it I’m going to add some cinnamon to make it more dessert-like!

What's a pea nut? These gents at the1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, held in Seattle, Wash., were trying to sell them.

What’s a pea nut? These gents at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, held in Seattle, Wash., were trying to sell them.

I’m back on yoga track. I forgot how calming it is. I practice my breathing technique while lying in bed at night. It helps me fall asleep.

I certainly had food trials in week four:

  • Each day is still a test. When I’m not thinking of other things, I’m thinking of sugar. I forget how it tastes, but my brain thinks I need it. No, brain, you’re wrong.
  • Eating out. Lucky for me I can’t afford to eat out but maybe once a month, and I much prefer learning a new recipe and having lots of leftovers. But the roommate and I had a tea party at The Crumpet in Rogers, thanks to the awesome J who passed along her soon-to-expire Living Social daily deal. We had a lovely pot of Londonderry tea, and I resisted the amazing orange rolls. I opted for a turkey and Swiss sandwich on rye (there were a few slices of tomato … and I ate them), which came with a good, dark green salad. I didn’t know the sugar content of the dressing, but it was a feta vinaigrette. It was good, but I’m going to take a gander and say it was sugar-filled. Ah well, I can’t do anything about it now.

No new side-effects have appeared this week. I actually feel pretty good, considering I’m detoxing. I have been taking baths each weekend in my small apartment tub.

The New York Tribune page from Dec. 17, 1905 advertises the benefits of a public bath. It does not look like fun to me. I'll take my tiny tub any day.

This New York Tribune page from Dec. 17, 1905 advertises the benefits of a public bath. It does not look like fun to me. I’ll take my tiny tub any day.

I haven’t noticed any new positive changes, but I am still impressed that I eat less and feel more full. My wallet thanks me.

Week five! Hooray, I made it past the halfway point! I’m thinking a giveaway should be in the near future. Vote below and let me know what you think!

Filed under: Books, Health, News, Products, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream

This stuff is magical.

This stuff is magical.

Excuse me, gentlemen, as I gush about this product. It is a primer, moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation all in one. I couldn’t believe how soft it made my skin immediately after putting it on, and the coverage it provides is much better than any foundation I’ve ever tried, and oh, have I tried many! This cream has sped up my makeup process. For that, this stuff if priceless.

I’m preparing for a vacation, and this 2.5 oz. tube will fit those tricky TSA carry-on regulations, plus I won’t have to bring along my primer and foundation. I still use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it under the B.B. cream for extra sun protection.

Garnier isn’t the only company making B.B. cream, but I have liked the Garnier moisturizers I’ve used, so I thought this would be a safe bet. The advertised price is $12.99, but look for sales and manufacturer’s coupons (of course that’s how I bought mine!).

My only real qualm is the cream only comes in two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. It blends well and seems to match my skin tone but not everyone may be so lucky. Ask your local Ulta stylist if you can sample it.

Are there other B.B. cream brands you’ve used and liked? Did any fall short of your makeup dreams?

New single of the week: “Settle Down” by No Doubt

Sorry, Green Day. No Doubt’s 40-somethings beat your 40-somethings (and a 39-year-old) in this week’s battle of the early ’90s bands! Both groups released new singles Monday. But in my opinion, seeing as how No Doubt’s most recent original album, the excellent “Rock Steady,” was released 10.5 years ago, they take the cake with the hip and hyper “Settle Down.”

To compare, here is Green Day’s “Oh Love.” Don’t burn your eyes out trying to watch the lyric video.

Carly Rae Jepsen news of the week: “Curiosity” Carly Rae Jepsen

You say you aren’t a Carly Rae fan? I’m determined to turn you into one. If you’ve had just about enough of her begging you to call her, maybe, delve into her curious side with the second single off her “Curiosity” EP. The song, released in May, hasn’t heard a lot of radio play yet, probably because CRJ is still comfortably riding the 60-foot “Call Me Maybe” wave.

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