Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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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.

Filed under: Entertainment, Music, Products, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Quit Sugar: Week 3

Week three brought about the banning of all things sugar: Fruit, fruit juice, veggies high in sugar, tomato anything, honey, candy, soda … all of it. I’m not even allowing sugar substitutes such as stevia. I have to break myself of the entire taste of sweet, at least this week and next, but I do have some Truvia waiting patiently in my pantry for later in my journey.

If I were a canner, I could can all the fruit I want, like this woman in 1946. I just can't eat it in the next few weeks.

If I were a canner, I could can all the fruit I want, like this woman in 1946 who’s showing off her extensive fruit and veggie collection. I just can’t eat the goods while I’m breaking the sugar habit! I did, however, freeze eggplant from a super nice co-worker for future cooking.

Time for a reality check, folks. Our bodies are made to safely take in 6 grams of fructose a day. Four grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar = 1 sugar cube. Oh my gosh, that’s not very much!

So what the heck do I actually eat? Spinach is a main staple at dinnertime, and I have discovered Mediterranean food is extremely low in sugar! For the first time ever I made falafel’s from scratch. They were so easy! I cooked mine in coconut oil. I also paired them with a great tahini dressing and goat cheese.

Goats do a lot more than just make us delicious cheese. They also provide ecofriendly transportation for small children circa 1915.

Goats do a lot more than just make us delicious cheese. They also provide ecofriendly transportation for small Australian children circa 1915.

I kept snacking on my usual (spicy pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut flakes, almonds). The almonds were getting kind of old, so I learned how to make them more delicious: activate the nuts!

Here’s how you activate nuts , according to Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar,” and modified by me, a successful nut activator:

  • Soak overnight a lot o’ almonds in water and 1 teaspoon of celtic sea salt.
  • The next day, cover a cookie tray with the almonds. It’s OK if there is overlapping happening.
  • Stick them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 12 hours. Yes, it’s a long time, but the good news is you can freeze a large batch and not do this too often.
  • After 12 hours the nuts are perfectly crunchy and delicious and easier to digest, thanks to the soaking at the start, which is the step that actually activates the enzymes!

I have failed in my yogaventures this week, which is bad because I can feel my body getting out of whack. I have to get back on track today, no excuses.

I may have missed a few days of yoga, but I think I do this pose better than Billy Sunday, a baseball player in the 1880s who later became a famous American evangelist. I never do yoga in a suit, either. That's just silly.

I may have missed a few days of yoga, but I think I do this pose better than Billy Sunday, a baseball player in the 1880s who later became a famous American evangelist. I never do yoga in a suit, either. That’s just silly.

I had lots of food trials in week three:

  • Every single day. Seriously, my sugar cravings are bad, bad, bad. How do I cope? A cup of coffee or chai with almond milk. Activated almonds. Chia seed pudding. Hummus. A bit of cheese or lunch meat. Below are “The 9 Cs of goodness,” which Wilson offers as good substitutes for cravings.
  1. Cacao — Tastes like chocolate because it is the raw ingredient, cocoa.
  2. Chia — Seeds full of healthful benefits, just make sure you add them to a liquid (water, milk, egg, smoothie) so you can easily digest them.
  3. Chai — Delicious tea bags or from your own stock of ingredients, and not the sugary concentrate from Starbucks. I love Yogi’s Chai Rooibos. It’s caffeine free, which means I can drink it later in my newspaper shift and not be up all night long!
  4. Cheese — So satisfying. I enjoy perusing the specialty section at the grocery store.
  5. Cinnamon — I add this to a lot of things since it helps with anti-inflammation!
  6. Coconut water — I tried this for the first time this week. It was weird, but it was also out a can. I think I’ll spring for the kind in a paper box since my real problem was the taste of metal.
  7. Chicken — I live next door to the land of Tyson, so this is easy. I’m too cheap to buy the organic meat at this time.
  8. Coffee — I’m addicted.
  9. Coconut oil — Good for cooking or adding to dishes. I add a spoonful to oatmeal.
You don't have to dress like a chicken to eat one. Did nobody tell these folks? They are wearing these ridonkulous costumes for Mardi Gras in The Netherlands, 1911.

You don’t have to dress like a chicken to eat one. Did nobody tell these folks? They are wearing these ridonkulous costumes for Mardi Gras in The Netherlands, 1911. Naturally.

No new side-effects have occurred this week. I haven’t had any headaches, but am still lightheaded when I haven’t had a munchy in a few hours.

Changes I’ve noticed:

  • Weight loss. While I do not own a scale, I can tell my jeans are looser in my thighs, where I hold most of my extra poundage.
  • Focused. More so than usual, that is!

OK, week four, you’re the halfway point. Let’s get there!

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

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

Sea Salt Spray

I love this hair product! I can create easy, beach breezy hair in seconds. The seriously salty solution is sprayed into damp or dry hair. Comb through and twirl your strands a bit. I just let it dry naturally on the run. I feel like I have hopped straight from Lumahai Beach to work. I bought it for $6 on Ulta.com.

Free download of the week: The Northern’s “All I Live For”.

After a successful fundraising campaign, these talented dudes released their brand new album this week. You can download the first song off “The Shadowlands” for free, but you should probably pop over to iTunes or Amazon and snatch up the whole kit and caboodle. I can’t wait until my copy arrives in the mail!

Video stream of the week: “A State of Mind” on Netflix.

Most people know very little about North Korea, but not because we’re all ignorant. The communist country is completely closed off to the world and rarely lets in outsiders. In this British documentary, filmmakers were given an unprecedented look into North Korea in 2003 (when Kim Jong Il was still alive and ruling) as they follow two girls training for selection in the Mass Games, a gymnastics and dance performance of 80,000 children that cements nationalism into the country’s young participants.

The film is not so much about the Games as it’s about the loyalty citizens have to their ruler. I was shocked by the extreme hate for the United States, which is taught in schools, and the way privileged families live in close quarters and are rationed a chicken and five eggs per person per month. These facts are nine years old but I can’t imagine the country has progressed much with its internal way of life and power being passed down through family members, who are worshiped by the people.

Song of the week: “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard

I just discovered Ben Howard. He sounds like a folksy James Blunt with better lyrics, and I’m not comparing them because they’re both British! He sounds Blunt-y. Sort of Tracy Chapman-y at times. She’s American.

It’s been a bit of a rough week, and this song is uplifting!

And because I can’t get enough of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” here’s Howard’s cover, which according to AOL Music’s blog, Howard wasn’t too thrilled to cover.

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Products, TV on DVD

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