Friday, January 10, 2014

Sugar Free [Lucky Me]

I love cookies and I LOVE candy. Every day at 2:30pm I dig into my desk supply of sweets or go scrounging for them in others' offices. I eat my fair share whenever it is available at gatherings, and I bake and bring goodies into the office to share regularly.

Towards the end of the year after three holiday-related work parties, a few of my coworkers talked about taking a break from sugar in the New Year. I made fun of them at the time ("I'm not going to be a slave to diets!" I said), but when I got home from a Christmas trip homeaka family food fest 2013and was so over cookies I thought I might give them up for good, I decided I could make it through a sugar fast. Not permanently, mind you, just for 21 daysthe supposed length of time that it takes to break a craving (though 6-8 weeks is recommended to make it a long-term habit).

I started doing some research, found some sugar detox plans but they were all paleo-ish (NOT for me. I love bread and cheese), so I decided to just make my own personal rules that involved significant changes, but were still doable.

My 21 Day Sugar Detox Rules

21 days eating no foods with sugar in the ingredients, no fake sugars, and no alcohol. (honey, maple syrup are allowed in small portions)

This commitment inadvertently cut about half of the carbs from my diet because it meant almost no bread, no bagels or sweet breads and no cereal. Needless to say, one day into the experiment I was kicking myself (and others, if you must know). Have you ever tried drastically cutting carbs? It makes you light-headed and nauseated and stabby and pretty unpleasant to be around.

It's Friday, and I'm currently halfway through Day Five. I think I've made it through the "I hate everyone" portion of the diet, but I'm still sleepier than normal and feel hunger pangs more frequently than I used to. I chew on dried coconut chips when I want chocolate and I eat a tablespoon of almond butter while my husband wine in the evenings. It kind of sucks, but I'm doing it. And that's more than I can say about any health-related effort from the past.

Follow me on Instagram to see what I've been eating this week!

The main less I've learned so far is the impact of making good snack choices. Other than breakfast, my main meals haven't changed much. But now that I know I can't go get a pastry from Starbucks at 10am, I have to plan to pack a hard-boiled egg and cashews and hummus. And then they're right at my desk and they taste yummy and I thinkhow has it taken me this long to eat good snacks? Intentionality people.

I hope that at the end of this "detox", whether it turns out to be 7 days or the whole 21, I will have learned that enjoying treats is wonderful, they just cannot be a part of my daily snacking habits. I've already learning that making intentional snack choices takes only maybe five minutes a day. (much less scary than I imagined it to be!)

In case you're interested, here are a few resources I looked to for inspiration:

Meg Fee's series on giving up sugar
The 21 Day Sugar Detox (too extreme for me! but some helpful tips)
Is Sugar Toxic? (NY Times)

I'm feeling a little silly doing this detox and talking about it, since I don't usually subscribe to the strict healthy eating, paleo, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free stuff, nor have I ever been particularly healthy in my life, but I guess we can all make healthier choices, right? Have you made any changes recently? Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! A Recap and a Look Forward [like everyone else].

I tried to write haikus for 2013 and 2014, which I've done the past couple of years.
This year I realized that there is too much to say than can be said in a 17 syllable poem. And that's ok.

2013 was filled with epic moments. Welcoming a new soul into our family. Saying farewell to an anchor of our family, and helping him along the painful journey Home. Starting a new job and launching into ministry life with all its demands and woes.

It was also filled with many small moments, both joyful and frustrating, exciting and boring. Tasting beer in the best of Bruges' pubs and biking along Amsterdam canals. Snuggling lots of friends' babies. Dinners made and not photographed. Laundry washed and not folded. Plants long dead still in the windowsill. Hurts and miscommunications. Friendships developed and revived. Fights and forgiveness.

Balboa Park with friends, Oct 2013

Another year of marriage held together by the grace of God and his love for us invested in each other. I am continually surprised (why?!) that 4.5 years of marriages hasn't cured E and I from irritating or wounding each other. But we keep getting better, little by little, at loving. At saying I'm sorry first. At saying (and meaning and choosing) I love you, sooner. It is a joy to be his wife.

When I look back on 2013 I see all of the things I wish I'd done, and all of the things I did. Moments I didn't write about and I wish I had. There is the good and there is plenty of bad. This year, like all years, has been bumpy, but it has been full of rich blessing.

For 2014, I'm praying for an open heart. Open to changes to our schedule and lifestyle because of E's work as a pastor. Open to living with less and being content with what we have. Open to sharing our resources with others. Open to changing my expectations and allowing God's and others' priorities before my own.

Here's to a year of being open. It's gonna get messy.


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