Sunday, November 13, 2011

 So how did you do with Challenge #1? Hopefully you are patting yourself on the back for a job well done! If you didn’t make it through the whole week I hope you were more aware of the food you ate and especially how many chemicals and preservatives are in our foods! That’s what this is all about – noticing what you eat and how it makes you feel.  So…. time for the next challenge!
CHALLENGE 2 – November 13th –19th  
Cut Out All Refined Sweeteners Including Sugar
Sweet tooth – sugar cravings – sugar addictions – whatever you want to call it, it amounts to the need to put sugar into your body. Somehow I’ve gone from drinking the occasional cup of coffee on the weekend – to drinking several cups of coffee every morning. I add at least 1 spoon of sugar to each cup so I’m starting my day off with a ton of sugar before I even step out the door!! Not good! So my challenge this week is to CUT OUT ALL REFINED SWEETENERS INCLUDING SUGAR! I can surely live one week without sugar. Right? That obviously means I won’t be drinking coffee for a week because I don’t like coffee without sugar.  Sugar is in nearly everything we buy anymore; from ketchup to fruit juices to sports drinks. So to truly eliminate sugar from your diet will take a serious commitment.  Did you know a TBSP of ketchup has 1 Tsp of sugar? Who uses only 1 TBSP of ketchup? Certainly not me!  No wonder people like ketchup; it’s full of sugar!
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) the recommended sugar intake for adult women is 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, for adult men, its 9 teaspoons (36grams) per day , and for children its 3 teaspoons (12grams) per day. When you take in to account all the hidden sugars in our foods, we exceed our recommended sugar intake by a mile!! I actually found it fascinating and a little strange that there is actually a ‘recommended’ allowance for sugar intake at all!
Just to be clear – no refined or artificial sweeteners including white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, splenda, stevia, corn syrup, agave, or brown rice syrup. This probably doesn’t cover all artificial sweeteners so be honest with yourself! If you need to use a sweetener, opt for honey or pure maple syrup.  Yes, honey and maple syrup are forms of sugar but they are much better than the highly processed sugars. Just keep in mind that all sugars have little nutritional value and are high in calories so use sparingly. If you can go without ANY sweeteners at all; more power to you!
With sugar running rampant in our foods today, you might be asking yourself what’s left to eat!?? You’ll have to search the labels carefully but even then it’s hard to tell how much sugar is in the foods you eat so look for words like sucrose, fructose, maltose and glucose.
Here are a few samples to get you started.
Fruit Smoothie and whole wheat toast with a little butter and jelly
Homemade granola cereal with fresh fruit
Whole wheat waffles with maple syrup and honeydew       
Oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon – (no brown sugar L)
Lunch *
Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, whole grain pretzels and unsweetened applesauce
Egg salad with Triscuits, sliced apples and carrot sticks
Avocado/tomato sandwich on whole wheat toast
Whole wheat pasta topped with mushrooms, onion, garlic, peppers
Supper *
Grilled vegetable kabobs (squash, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions) with brown rice
Quesadillas made with corn tortillas
Grilled or baked fish, steamed asparagus, sweet potato fries
Stir fry loaded with vegetables
To keep my sweet tooth satisfied I’ll turn to my ‘go to foods’ which are a red apples or a banana; both of which have natural sugar but also have vitamins and nutrients. In all honesty I think this could be the toughest challenge ever! Good luck!! Let me know how you do!

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