Hello! And happy Tuesday.
Hope you had a fantastic weekend and a lovely Mother’s Day (if that’s your thing of course!).
Yesterday marked the beginning of the 10-day Fed Up Challenge. What is the Fed Up Challenge you ask? To go 10 days without eating sugar. 10 days!
So what is Fed Up?
Fed Up is a new movie that highlights the obesity epidemic and how it is linked to sugar. Sugar is in almost EVERYTHING, and contributes to a lot of illnesses. Research shows that sugar can be physically addicting, and acts almost like a drug within our body. Being companies use so much sugar in their products, our government subsidizes sugar (as in, gives farmers financial incentives to grow it). Instead of giving subsidies to, say, organic vegetable farmers. The stuff we really should be eating more of!
As a teacher, I see a lot of sugar in our students’ school breakfasts and lunches. We have become so concerned with fat over the past decade (or so!) that we have loaded our food up with sugar to compensate (and have meanwhile turned to highly processed low-fat or no-fat products). We are now finding that fat wasn’t such a problem after all. It’s sugar that is doing the real damage, spiking our blood sugar and leaving us wanting more.
If you’re curious in learning more, I encourage you to go see the movie (I have yet to see it – but am hoping to soon!) or educate yourself more on the effects of sugar on the body. You can read any of the following articles or posts to start:
And although I believe it’s too late to officially sign-up, feel free to start your own 10-day challenge! You could even start with one day and work your way up from there. Even a little sugar reduction will go a long way!
As the challenge progresses, I’ll be posting what I have been eating every day, what challenges I encounter, and what resources I find helpful.
First off, what is sugar?
According to Merriam-Webster.com sugar has the following definitions:
Most of us know what sugar is. However, did you know that there are roughly 56 different names for sugar?! Craziness!
Now not all sugar is created equal. The highly processed kind is obviously the worst for us (just like anything highly processed). Other sugars, such as raw honey, have antioxidants and other nutrients that do provide health benefits. And then there is fruit, which is about as close to natural sugar as you can get.
There are also types of food and drink that turn into sugars in our bodies (i.e. carbohydrates). I’m not saying that carbohydrates are bad (especially not complex carbohydrates), but as a nation we eat a lot of refined carbohydrates (such as white flour) which turn into sugar very quickly in the body.
The Bottom Line
In this 10-day Challenge, I am vowing to not eat any refined or added sugars. I am allowing myself to eat whole fruit (although I typically only eat 1 piece a day for health reasons anyway). And although I typically eat a relatively gluten-free diet, I am also trying to restrict the number of refined “gluten-free” products I consume (most have sugar in them anyway!).
What did my first day of sugar-free look like? Read on…
Breakfast (7:30 a.m.): My new favorite smoothie. Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie. OK, you’re thinking chocolate has sugar in it, right? Well this isn’t exactly chocolate. This smoothie contains cacoa nibs, which are pieces of raw cacao beans that have been roasted. When you make chocolate you combine these with cacao butter, sugar, milk, and other ingredients.
Lunch (11:15 a.m.): Spring mix lettuce with avocado, cojito cheese, and cucumbers. I had to top it with roasted tomato salsa that I had in the fridge as all the other salad dressings at work have sugar in them. Wasn’t the most appealing combination, but it worked!
Snack (3:00 p.m.): Small bag of original kettle chips and an unflavored black iced tea (with lemon) from local cafe.
Snack (6:00 p.m.): Handful plain roasted almonds.
Dinner (7:30 p.m.): Caprese salad with burrata cheese, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Sauteed shrimp in butter, lemon, and garlic. Served over gluten-free linguine. This linguine has no added sugar, and is made locally in Wisconsin. It’s obviously a bit refined, but is better than some other options!
Biggest Obstacle of the Day
That would have to be condiments. Boy are they loaded with sugar! Salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, barbeque sauce, the list goes on! I had to buy special salad dressing for work (usually I have small bottles of olive oil and vinegar, but I’m out). I bought the Annie’s Organic Olive Oil and Vinegar, which contains no sugar. Woo-hoo!