The horse's pasture to the East...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NO SUGAR FOR FOUR MONTHS ... and Counting!

I promised I'd check back in with you, about my quest to take sugar out of the equation and have one smoothie a day. Did I do it? Have I stuck to my 'guns' and eaten without sugar in my diet? 

I kept a running account on my journey, this Summer. I had an ice cream cone in July. I was downtown shopping with a friend of mine and it was over 100 degrees F. We walked past the local home made ice cream place ... and then turned around and went back for an ice cream cone. It was the best ice cream I've had in years! It was the real deal made out of heavy cream, dark chocolate pieces, real vanilla and honey. I tried to make it last but it was melting, the way real ice cream does, and I didn't want to waste any of it. The cone was home made too, made in an old fashioned waffle cone maker and rolled while it was still hot. More than worth falling off the wagon!

And this month, when one son came home and we went to visit the other, no smoothies for those days. And I missed them too. But those were mini vacations and time well spent. We ate out way too many times but the places we went to had good food and excellent service so It was more than worth it. And, in that weird way our bodies have of using calories, it revved up my metabolism too. 

So I guess this is one of those tiny confessions of an old cowgirl. I wasn't perfect EXCEPT I've bought no processed foods with sugar of any kind in them and no sugar either since June first of this year. 

We've eaten a majority of our food harvested from our own gardens this year, all organic too. That part is surprisingly easy to do, growing organically. We've been fed , pun intended , a load of bunk about the necessity of chemicals in our food chain. See those tomatoes, in the image above? That was one morning harvest on one day and that didn't count the evening harvest. We planted 26 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and eight kinds of peppers (as well as seven kinds of greens, celery, four kinds of squash, two types of carrots, potatoes, turnips, radishes, onions, and the list goes on.) It wasn't even a good year crop wise because the weather patterns were so harsh and we still had so much we were able to can, freeze and dehydrate food for the winter AND share with the neighbors. Great exercise mentally, emotionally and physically. Did I forget to mention the raspberries and blackberries? Quarts and quarts of them and we're still harvesting raspberries every day this autumn. We eat like royalty here and it's all from two gardens no bigger than 15 ' by 30 ' each. But I'm off the subject, sort of.

I"m not going to tell you there are any miraculous over night changes here. That's bunk sold to you by the media. I haven't gone back to wearing size six skinny jeans like I did in my youth. I did squeeze myself in to a pair of size eight jeans but it wasn't comfortable. 

The wrinkles didn't magically disappear and my hair didn't go back to being blonde and thick. There were all sorts of good things that did come from eliminating sugar and eating no processed foods. I love doing lists so suffer through it with me, if you will.

1. No aches in any of my joints at all. They're gone. I've lost track of the number of friends I have who are having hips and knees replaced with titanium. My back is straight and strong, knees flexible and no swelling in my hands either. Gone, all gone. The aches are completely gone! And I've only lost 19 pounds too. 

I did notice that going out to eat too many times began to interrupt my sleep and make my hips ache again. How interesting!

2. I'm sleeping! I've had problems with insomnia for years. And I am sleeping! Let me write that one more time. I AM SLEEPING! I'm post menopausal, born in the middle of the last century and I AM SLEEPING! And, yes, I'm doing a happy feet dance here. I am getting an average of seven hours of sleep a night (which means I sometimes get nine, sometimes five or six) . I've only had a few nights of true sleeplessness since June. Some of those were spent up with Miniver, and some happened during the week I spent eating out with my family. Again, how interesting.

3. Now we haven't used prescribed meds for years. We've been very lucky. But it's still worth mentioning that we still DO NOT use prescription medicines. Not only that but no ibuprofen or other over the counter pain meds or allergy meds for that matter. Everyone I know in my age group takes medicine like candy. We use nothing except supplements.

4. Our grocery bills are cut in half! Oh yeah. Definitely worth noting in a world where raspberries cost $5 for a half a pint and apples are more than $3.50 a pound. We've gone from spending an easy $400 to $500 a month trying to eat all organic to just $240 a month. That's just $60 a week for two adults. Cutting out meat, processed foods and almost all dairy (I still eat yogurt and cheese.) and growing our own is making a huge difference in the process of eliminating debt. Funny how it all connects!

5. I'm back to exercising every day. It's so much easier to do when the excess weight is disappearing and my joints no longer ache. My lovely Miniver is gone and I have two young dogs to exercise. I love walking the hills and valleys with them, especially now that I can keep up with them. And, oh glory be, I'm working with my horses every day again too. I garden, walk out to plein air paint, and my size ten blue jeans are loose! Does it get any better than that?!

6. Now I can't tell you that no sugar is doing this, but my vision is improving. It's a mystery to me. I rarely use my reading glasses anymore. I have no proof at all that no sugar or processed food is contributing to this, but my vision is better. ( And now it's easier to see the wrinkles! OHHHH NOOOO! It's a Twilight Zone moment. Someone's made a terrible mistake. My hair is turning grey and my chin is melting. It's hanging out on my neck. What's up with that?! I'm a Boomer. I'm supposed to be young forever! Getting old is what my parents did, a grave mistake on their parts, that I was never going to do. Yikes!)

Keep trying. It is so worth it. Go back to square one if you have to. Stop wasting time on berating yourself. Just start over. There's no contest here.  It's all good. BEGIN with :
1. eliminating processed foods from your pantry. Give them away if you can't get yourself to throw them away. The worst thing in your kitchen? Soda pop, and that includes diet soda pop. Get rid of all of it. Pour it down the drain and recycle the cans.

2. Stop buying sugar. It's a simple as that. Stop buying it, all of it (that means all of the candy you have stashed in that bottom drawer in your desk and no more soda pop, not even when you crave it. NONE!). And, again, throw it all away. Make it a cathartic day. Pitch it and ditch it. GET RID OF THE SUGAR. 

3. Try a smoothie every day. Replace a meal with your smoothie. I like a green smoothie for the evening meal because I don't want to use my time cooking and cleaning, but any meal will do. Use at least three fruits and three vegetables in your smoothies too. No fair cheating. You can't use ice cream in a smoothie and act like you aren't really eating ice cream.

4. When you feel ready, start exercising again. Walk. Easiest thing in the world to do. Put one foot in front of the other and move forward. And if you can't walk, then swim or bike. Just get yourself moving again. 

5. One last caveat. (Geez, I ask a lot.) TURN OFF THE CABLE, TURN OFF THE TV. At first you're going to have a hard time with this. You'll probably be grumpy and think seriously about writing me hate mail. But look at it from another direction. You're going to be saving money (cable is expensive) and sooner or later you'll begin to exercise because you're bored doing nothing. You'll pick up a book and read it or take that scary, hairy step and try painting or drawing. You'll get back three to six hours, on average, a day to do whatever you want with! Time. Turning off the TV gives you more time. And who doesn't want that?

I crack myself up! I am, ever yours, Nancy who has greying hair and a whole lot of attitude, smiling at you

PS. This is dedicated to the ones I love! That means all of you, whoever stops by to visit. None of the things I propose here cost you any money. Just try it. Do it for thirty days! 

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