Cutting sugar out of my diet

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It’s a difficult thing considering I am addicted to this wonderful sweet substance.

Yes…addicted.

I take after both parents who absolutely love sugary snacks.  I realized last night I have a problem when I was scooping Nesquik powder for my hot chocolate and savoring the delectable  sweetness of it all. Indeed a tasty reward which is a tough habit to break. A relationship I need to end and terminate now!            😦

I decided to do a little research on this topic and found the following article written by Dr. Mark Hyman, which states there may indeed be a genetic connection:

The Genetics of Pleasure

In our brain, a little receptor, the dopamine receptor D2 (or DRD2 for short), must be activated or switched on for us to feel pleasure. The amino acid dopamine triggers this response. Sugar and other stimulating addictions increase dopamine in the short term.

The only problem is it appears that those with sugar addictions, compulsive eating, and obesity have DRD2 systems that need much more stimulation to feel pleasure. Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on”.(i)

Functional MRI studies of teenagers, both lean and obese, found that the obese teenagers whose brains didn’t light up as much in the dopamine reward centers were more likely to be obese and gain weight later.(ii) They also were more likely to have the DRD2 gene that coded for fewer receptors.

(source)

Makes sense, especially when I have seen my parents eating habits.  There’s something existential about sugary rewards.

 

He goes on to discuss 5 signs you may be addicted to sugar, flour, and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

(source)

Time for me to detox

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Lifestyle change

Sometimes it’s harder to implement than to delve up a solution.  Struggling with my weight has always been a constant factor.  Unfortunately I am not blessed with genes which enabled me (in the past and now in the present) to eat whatever I want whenever I want.

Living in a society which markets to the American consumer in such an overindulgent (and unhealthy way) can prove to be quite challenging.

I do admire my husband for his will-power and fortitude to do what’s right and maintain his health.  I, on the other hand, can sometimes talk a lot of hot air. Receiving a recent health scare has made me pause to reconsider what truly is important at this junction of my life.

Do I wish to continue this self-destructive path of glutton want or do I wish to live a healthier and more fruitful life?

It’s quite easy to give in to your desires.  Stress can make you reach for the most unhealthy choices. Every day life happenstance gives us all that comfortable excuse to indulge just a little bit more, that it won’t hurt…for now.

The problem why most diets fail is that again, our American need to “have it right now” fails us.  We expect miraculous results the instant we start changing.

But our bodies, and life…really do not run like that.

We have to be patient, kind with ourselves.  Learn to pace, to give up the sinfully good snacking, incorporate some form of exercise.

But……..WHY does living a healthier lifestyle mean bland choices?????

Also, it’s far cheaper to grab that burger when organics always come with a steep price. Who hasn’t visited a wholefood’s store and seen those jaw-dropping prices?

If I could grow my own produce I would. But since I can’t I have to really work harder to ensure I don’t end up like my parents with their milieu of health problems.

And overcome any mental obstacles along the way.

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WHY I don’t like to cook….

When I was a teen no problem. I loved whipping up homemade pizza, homemade pot pie, biscuits etc….now? Now I’m too exhausted to even think of lifting up a fork or turning on an oven.  My job mentally exhausts me. Though 90% of the time I sit at a desk….it’s the questions, time-sensitive type of cases, stress and whatnot that makes me a bag of jello when I come home. And my home has always been my sanctuary.

Thankfully, dear hubby can cook. For a man he really is quite good and I say that because dad’s only culinary skill was the backyard BBQ.

Irregardless, I need to quit taking advantage of said husband and really learn to embrace the kitchen.  Perhaps delving into new recipes, creating casseroles and other delectable delights might motivate me.  I just need a shot of adrenaline to keep me going.

 

I found the blog post below interesting and wanted to share:

There are only 2 rules to follow if you want to use the freezer or the phone to get dinner on the table: 

1) Make sure that whatever you purchase looks as much like real food as possible.

These days it’s just as easy to get a rotisserie chicken as it to buy some chicken nuggets.  Rotisserie chicken might not always be a nutritional winner but it does a decent job teaching kids to eat right because it looks like what it is. It tastes like what it is too.  You can’t say the same thing for nuggets, which don’t have the taste, texture, appearance or aroma of something that once clucked.

Remember this too: Gorton’s doesn’t just sell fish sticks. They also sell grilled fish fillets.

2) Rotate what you serve.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s also the key to teaching kids to eat right.  I know it’s easy to get into a rut when you’re tired and worn out, but if the delivery guy knows your name (or knows your standard order), take that as a cue to call around to someplace new.

Establishing variety as a foundation for meals is the key to expanding your kids’ culinary repertoires.   You don’t have to use new foods to build variety.  In fact, it works best if you start by rotating through a selection of old standards.  Just keep the set of offerings spinning.  Read House Building 101 for more on this topic.

If you’re worried about the nutritional quality of packaged foods …

1) Remember that anything you buy is probably as “good” as pizza or Chinese food.

  • One slice of pizza might seem like a deal, coming in at around 200 calories, but most pies deliver a hefty dose of salt and fat too.  More importantly, pizza does not have any real nutritional value and it reinforces your children’s desire for similarly stodgy stuff.  Read Pizza and Peas: The Untold Story.
  • One serving of Kids’ Lo Mein from P.F. Chang’s has 360 mg of sodium – a big chunk of your kid’s daily intake.  Read Salt: The New Fat.

2) Everyone knows that nutritionists recommend people eat a wide range of foods to maximize the assortment of nutrients they take in — Vitamin A here, protein there.  Well, no one should make packaged food the main staple, but when you do go down that road, eating a wide range of prepared foods minimizes the amount of “bad” stuff you consume too — fat one night, sodium another.  Read It Doesn’t Matter WHAT Your Kids Eat!

3) You can always augment packaged foods to dilute the bad stuff.

Throw a bag of frozen vegetables into canned soup to cut the sodium per serving.  Or do what I did last night: mix a bag of lettuce leaves with a bag of cole slaw mix to make a salad in under 5 minutes.  Don’t think salad will cut it with your kids?  Read Salad Days.

 

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I also think preparing meals in advance is the sane way to go when you work 9-5 five days a week or in my case 6am-2:30pm most days.  Early to bed early to rise…yeah right!

 

The deliciousness of Puerto Rican Coffee

I started drinking coffee at 5 years.  And let me tell you Starbucks has nothing on these coffee beans. The rich aroma, flavor, and of course the exuberant Latin atmosphere makes for a great coffee drinking experience.

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Of course at that age my abuela (Spanish for grandmother) would put more milk than coffee in our cups. We’d get a piece of pan con mantequella (bread with butter) fresh from La Panderia (bakery)….it was an out of body experience.  Yesssss………….it was that good!  🙂

 

 

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Puerto Rican coffee was the favorite drink of choice for the 18th century European courts.  Everything else pales in comparison.  The richness, and as previously stated…the overall sensory experience is bar nunn.

I highly recommend getting yourself a cup, relax…sit back and simply enjoy the exotic flavor. I know I will!

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3 weeks…

While on AT I have several goals in mind. Besides giving 200% to Uncle Sam, I want-need to lose weight.  I have a small frame (so the doc says) and any extra weight weighs heavily on me. (Pun intended.)

Losing weight has always been a life-long battle for me.  My addiction is food and we need it to thrive.  The battle of wills has defeated me for so long my spirits have dampened.  So, with that being said, perhaps slipping into the military mindset for almost a month will give me the motivation I seem to lack lately.

And with being on the precipice of middle-age, I know my body is changing.  I don’t like it but must find a way to either embrace these changes or find healthier means to fight growing old.

They say all we have to do is look at our mothers and this is our future.  I love my mother but I have no desire to be overweight. It’s time to get off the pot and make things happen.

3 weeks I’ll be on forced portion control (the Army way) and besides, the military is well-known for its lack of culinary skills. In the end getting healthy, staying healthy, is all on me. Not my family, not the Army, but on me.  With a good portion of the American population being overweight I have NO desire to join those numbers.

And hopefully good things will come.

 

WHY is it so hard to lose weight?

I tried this protein diet with my significant other and low and behold he lost weight and I did not. God bless him though because he was all good intentions.

I however remained the same and it seems the older one gets (as a woman) the harder it is to lose weight.  Gaining is never a problem. Willpower sometimes is but I have really tried to remain on the straight and narrow. Sadly though it seems my body has other plans for me.

I have read that men’s metabolisms run faster than woman’s…now aint that a b!tch…..

(As you can see am a bit frustrated at the moment)….

According to Weight Watchers:

Men Have Faster Metabolisms
Men are biologically programmed to have higher amounts of lean body mass, or muscle, than women. Lean body mass is the key factor that determines the rate of one’s metabolism, the body’s calorie-burning system. Since men have more muscle, their metabolisms are higher, and they burn more calories even when they’re resting, so the final result is a more rapid weight loss.

How much faster are men’s metabolisms than women’s? Research has found that on average the metabolism of a man is 5 to 10 percent higher than that of a woman of the same weight and height.

In the end it’s all about modifying one’s behavior…you know where your weaknesses are and you make the changes accordingly.

But that still doesn’t stop me from wishing I had the same ability to lose weight at the same rate as my partner!  🙂

Clipping those coupons

A lot of Americans are tightening their belts. Gas prices are high (when you remember filling up your tank for $12.00)–it’s high…consumer goods are on the rise, as a federal employee my salary is frozen…so as you can see someone like myself can become a little frustrated at the turn of events.

I never have been one to clip coupons. I find it time consuming and frankly boring but a friend of mine introduced me to this website which contains massive amounts of deals I simply could not pass up. I also passed this along to my coworkers because we all are struggling to keep our head above water, and now I have passed on the savings to my readers.

I know that my country/society consumes a lot of natural ressources, along with goods and services.  It shows in our lifestyle and overall health.  We need to really do an overhaul on how we live our lives and one of them is where we spend our money and what we put in our mouths.  Me, I want cleaner living (stress free would be nice) and simply appreciating the salary I make working for Uncle Sam.

I used to keep a blackboard regarding my monthly expenses and that’s how I was able to buy my home…now with the knowlege that for the next year or so I won’t receive a cost of living raise I will have to become creative with my $$$$.

A new lifestyle

Am tired of feeling tired…you know body aches, constant fatigue, a sluggishness which seems to never wear itself off.  I read about how families who are predisposed to such disease as diabetes our bodies can become “sluggish” due to the inability to process all those carbs/sugars.

So, I am going to try to change my eating habits…hard I know when you are practically slapped in the face with monstrous portions of food at restaurants, the commercials (you know the ones that come on late at night when you are craving something sinful???) Been there and already done that a thousand times.

So I decided along with having to keep in shape for the reserves I want more energy (so I CAN stay in shape) and to simply feel alive.  Been reading up a bit on low carb and though some say this is a diet you cannot always stick to and can gain the weight right back right now I need a pick me up like nobody’s business. And I need to have the energy and motivation to stay in shape for so many many reasons.

My new favorite drink

It’s better than coffee…and it even picks up your mood.  The problem is it’s difficult to find around these parts and I really love the boost it gives and motivates me to keep pushing forward and trust me some days it’s sorely needed:

Click on this link to check out a more comprehensive review

Italian Meatball Soup and a redhead

I am an avid fan of Pioneer Woman (who also happens to be a red head) and enjoy reading her escapades on her family’s ranch.  She is also an awesome cook who recently went on a  book tour promoting her delicious recipes.

What makes me continue to read her blog is her sense of humor and having compassion for others such as donating money to help with the Haitian relief and her eye for beauty and laughter through her camera lens.

Now, if you have the time and inclination check out this recipe for Italian Meatball Soup and browse through all of her other wonderfully easily downloadable delicious recipes, trust me you wont regret it!