Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beware of Sucralose!

My food label reading has expanded to not only include the info in the box, but also to include a detailed reading of the ingredients in what I am eating. Since I have been trying to eat mostly all natural foods and watching my sugar intake, I have noticed that a lot of foods labeled "Low Sugar" or "Reduced Sugar" actually contain an artificial sweetener. Now it used to be that those foods would have a nutri-sweet or splenda (more recently) logo somewhere on the package so one would instantly know there was an artificial sweetener involved. But nowadays these packages are in natural colors sans logo, and include whole grains -- giving the appearance of a wholesome natural choice. But buyer beware and READ THOSE LABELS! I recently found that the Quaker "Low Sugar" and "Weight Control" oatmeals include the artificial sweetener 'sucralose' - same thing as splenda. Yes I know Splenda is supposed to be safe, yada yada, but do some googling on sucralose and you'll find it linked to a myriad of problems in large quantities.  Anyhow, I just want to know what I am eating so I'm reading the ingredients on all food packages very closely now.  My goal at reducing my sugar intake is not to simply substitute and fill myself with tons of artificial chemicals. No thanks - I think I'd rather have the actual sugar!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Day Without Sugar.....

Seriously - I did it.  And if you are thinking 'no big deal' then you need to read the ingredients on everything you eat.  In all kinds of foods from whole grain bread to ketchup, there is refined sugar snuck in there somewhere. 

One benefit of keeping a daily food journal for a long period of time is that you can see hunger patterns.  I probably eat less sugar than most people, and the sweets I eat are not considered 'bad' foods (well except for those Christmas cookies, but that is a different story!).  I hardly eat any sugar during the day, but after dinner my sweet tooth takes over.  Low fat granola bars or even just plain old cereal.  Once I eat something sugary, then it just seems to make me hungrier.  I've discovered that my nighttime eating adds nothing but sugar and calories and an increased appetite.  So yesterday I decided I was going to go 100% refined sugar free and see how I did.  Interestingly, my calories for the day were only at about 1000 and I was not hungry (except immediately after dinner when I had my typical sweet craving which I was able to satisfy with a small glass of fruit and vegetable juice).  I also had enough energy to run 2 miles on the treadmill.  Who knew?!  So what did I eat yesterday?  Here it is:

Plain Oatmeal (no flavor) to which I added one spoon of ground flax seed, one chopped up date and 4 chopped up almonds.
about 1 cup raw broccoli
about 1/2 cup raw carrots
about 1/2 cup raw sugar snap peas
Bok Choy and White Bean Soup (my own recipe, don't ask for it, it was not good but I ate it anyway)
1/2 large Sweet Potato
Small glass of V8 Fusion fruit/veggie juice
A few carrots and about 1 tbs Hummus
3 dates and 12 small almonds (put together and rolled in flax seed - my short cut date-nut poppers)
Lots of water with lemon juice for flavoring

Dr. Fuhrman says, everything other than plant food should be a condiment.  Many of my days I have sugar as a condiment, but now I'm confident that I can have more and more sugar free days.  Now if I could only get my family on board.........

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Triple Berry Tart Recipe!

School was cancelled last week due to snow, so I was home with the boys all day.  I do really well eating during the work week because my job keeps me busy and there is no food handy.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous about being home all day from an eating standpoint (I often think if I was a stay-at-home Mom that I would be obese!).  Anyhow, knowing that my sweet tooth would get the best of me at some point, I made this easy Triple Berry Tart to snack on:

Here is my recipe which has much less sugar than most 'normal' tart recipes.  Suggested alterations are noted below.  This is not necessarily a 'healthy' recipe, but a reduced sugar and reduced fat version. 

1 14oz. bag frozen blueberries
1 14oz. bag frozen raspberries
1 14oz. bag frozen blackberries
4 tbs. cornstarch*
1/3 cp. white sugar*
1 cp. Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
1/2 cp. instant oatmeal (plain)
1/3 cp. shredded coconut
2 tbs. whole wheat flour
10 pecan halves, finley chopped/crushed
1/3 cp. brown sugar
3 tbs. light margarine, melted (I used Parkay light sticks)

Toss frozen berries with cornstarch and sugar.  *Note that there was still quite a bit of liquid after cooking - next time I would increase the cornstarch or add tapioca to thicken the sauce (rather than increasing the sugar, as most recipes call for 1 cup of sugar).  Spread evenly into ungreased pie dish (I used a Pampered Chef stoneware pie dish).  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  While baking, mix topping ingredients in separate bowl until well blended (break up any large clusters of cereal as needed).  After initial berry cooking, remove pie dish from oven and spread topping evenly over top of berries.  Retun to oven and bake 30 minutes or until topping begins to brown.  Allow to cool somewhat before eating so sauce can thicken.  Enjoy!!

Still am trying to reduce the sugar in my diet, doing ok, but still craving sweets.  I'm wondering if I need to go cold turkey for awhile to allow the cravings to pass.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


So I'm a bit late in actually posting my 2010 Resolutions because I really wanted to make sure my goals were challenging but attainable.  So here they are (well the ones related to health anyhow):
(1)  Reduce the amount of sugar in my diet.  I am proud to say that overall I eat very healthy - way more fruits and veggies than the average person - but my one downfall is my sweet tooth.  I would love to say I was going to cut out sugar alltogether, however, sugar is in so many things that would not be realistic.  Therefore, my resolution is to greatly reduce the sugar in my diet - substituting natural sweet foods like fresh or dried fruits when possible, choosing low sugar versions of various foods/condiments, etc. 
(2)  Stepping up my Nutritarian diet.  I really moved towards Dr. Fuhrman's goal of 80-90% nutrient dense plant foods last year, but still could make a few other adjustments.  I'm probably at a 60-70% rate on average, so I'd like to step that up to 70-80%.  Reducing sugar will help, but I also need to break out of my broccoli rut and incorporate new vegetables into my diet.  I am still keeping my food journal but really only for calories and to determine plant food percentages.  I might try to make my own new version of a food journal for purposes of this quest. 
(3)  Get back into running.  My hip injury sidelined me in September and I've never quite found my groove again.  I have tried other exercises, but nothing gives me the feeling that running does.  So I may need to go slow or get some PT to help along the way, but I'm bound and determined to get back into it.  I plan to look for and sign up for a 5k in the next few months.  Maybe I can find a St. Patty's Day run somewhere.

Ok, so that is where I am for now.  I'm proud that I have been able to maintain my weight loss despite my injury and the holidays, but I know there is more I can do to get myself into a totally healthy lifestyle.  The Christmas cookie stomach and head ache sent me a message loud and clear that I feel so much better when I am eating ultra healthy!