Category Archives: Healthy Habits

Clean eating, Healthy food, Health tips

Life After 21 Days of No Sugar and Carbs

When I started this journey, I can’t lie I wasn’t sure I was going to make it the whole three weeks. The first week was hard – the sugar withdrawal gave me headaches and I kept wanting to have a piece of bread or rice with my dinner. Trying to figure out new recipes, spending more time planning meals and having to read ingredients all the time felt daunting in the beginning.

Thankfully I wasn’t on my own on this journey. Along with a group of my girlfriends who were also detoxing with me, we shared recipes, healthy snack options and words of encouragement. Honestly, I wouldn’t have made it without them.

By week two I started seeing the benefits of the detox and began to enjoy it.

Here are some of the benefits that I noticed –

More energy in the AM – In the past, I used to hit the snooze button at least three times each morning. However now, I can get up in the morning with ease and I don’t feel groggy. The need for caffeine to wake up is gone. I’m alert and more focused than I’ve ever been in the mornings.

Less dependent on coffee –¬† I love coffee. I’m genetically entwined to good coffee but whenever I feel lethargic I’ve needed a cup of coffee to keep me going. With this detox, I’ve had to take sugar and milk out of my coffee and drink it black. It was an adjustment so I stuck to one a day. During the first week when the headaches were strong, I thought I’d need another coffee when that 3pm wall hit, but I just snacked properly and drank lemon water. I found that helped and soon I didn’t need coffee as an energy boost at all.

Clearer skin – Following a binge on chocolate, coffee and carbs over the holidays my skin was less than kind to me. Having darker skin, the pimples that do appear love to leave a souvenir of a dark scar. As a reminder to always stay humble. However since cutting out sugar completely, my skin hasn’t had any breakouts and the hyper pigmentation has gone down. My skin is noticeably smoother and glowed up.

Clear thinking – My job is busy and can be stressful at times. I love what I do but I need to be constantly present and ready to put out as many fires as I can in one day. Having too much sugar impacted my performance at work. Too much sugar can cause “free radical damage and inflammation of the brain…making it hard to think clearly.” Having too much sugar such as in fruit juices, low fat snacks and/or carbs can lead to higher blood sugar levels that “trigger the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which can lead to feelings of anxiety and further impair your thought processes.”

Overall this detox has become more than a dietary modification. This is now a permanent lifestyle change. I’m going to keep this up and only allow myself to have sugar and carbs once a week as a treat if I ever need to treat myself. I’ve already done 21 days, so I know I can do it. But without setting myself up for a deadly binge, I want to allow myself one day a week as a ‘get out of jail’ card just in case.

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So this is pretty much how I’m feeling right now, knowing I conquered this detox and can keep going.

If you’re thinking of also cutting sugar and carbs out of your diet, know that it is definitely doable. There are so many tools and resources online to help you find easy recipes, tips to cut sugar cravings and lists of benefits to keep you motivated.

Sugar Addiction Is Real

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday, I was blessed with time off work. I had so many grand plans of catching up on errands, gym time, trying out new recipes and other life enhancing tasks. But as I said goodbye to my office for a week, I left with boxes of chocolates that were handed out as gifts. This was the first step that led to my destruction.

So now I have time off work and way too much chocolate on hand. This deadly combo caused  postponed errands, endless hours of Netflix and way too many naps. The intense surge of sugar in my system led to roller coaster crashes causing me to nap at all hours, heavy lethargy and break outs all over my face. What a way to start the New Year.

While venting away to a close girlfriend she mentioned she was starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox. The exact remedy I needed! She sent me the list and I was energized to get started. What really got my attention was the list of indicators that your blood sugar might be out of balance –

  • Cravings for sugar, sweets and bread products
  • Fatigue after eating a meal
  • Getting lightheaded if missed a meal
  • Eating sweets doesn’t relieve the craving for sweets
  • Dependence on coffee to keep going
  • Difficulty losing weight

The first three and the need for coffee are exactly what I go through all the time. Seeing this list made it imperative I do something to get my blood sugar in check. Diabetes runs in my family.

The desire to shake off the cloud of fatigue and to clear up my skin was so strong, I didn’t thoroughly look over the list of foods that I was about to swear off for three weeks. And the list of foods to avoid is LONG! I pretty much didn’t have a lot of items to pick up at the grocery store.

Thankfully I’m not alone in this detox. My girlfriend reached out to a group of her friends and they also joined the detox. We’ve created a text messaging group to support one another. We share recipes, tips and jokes on how much we’re over eating eggs. Thank goodness for them because the first few days were rough. The sugar withdrawal had the headaches extra strong. That 3pm sugar wall is harder than ever and trying to cook in a whole new way feels daunting but there is strength in numbers. Having that community to reach out when the frustration kicks in or just to hear stories makes it easier.

Week one done so far and 2 more to go. I’ll be done on Jan 27th. And I can say that right now, I know this is going to lead to a lifestyle change. The new meals I’ve made are great and easy to duplicate, I prefer my coffee black now and I’m loving how much easier it is to wake up in the morning. It feels great to have energy throughout the day and not always feel that I need to take a nap after work. The breakouts have subsided and I can’t wait to see what the results are like at the end of the three weeks.

Have you tired a detox of some sorts? Have you changed your diet for health reasons recently? Let me know some of your tips.

 

Women’s Football (aka Soccer)

The biggest and best sport in my opinion is the real football, also known as soccer on this side of the Atlantic. Football is played the world over and draws in the largest audiences. And this year, Canada is hosting the Women’s World Cup.

Growing up watching and playing football, I’m happy to see my country not only hosting it but our national team doing well. Fingers crossed our team wins the title, but nonetheless its great to see how much women’s football has grown.

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Years past, it was near to impossible to find a game on TV. Now women’s soccer is televised across North America with this year’s World Cup drawing larger stadium attendance. Also in 2016, EA Sports will include 12 women’s team including Canada and the US’ national teams in their best selling video game.

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Vacation

An explanation for why I’ve been quiet on the blog – I’ve been away on vacation in Europe. Took almost two weeks off to relax with family in Germany and The Netherlands.

I’m back so expect regular posts to resume soon.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer so far as well.

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The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles

There are times when pictures don’t live up to the real thing. That is often the case with pictures of food on Instagram/Twitter. There are some filters that can make chicken look plumper than they really are.

However the pictures from Toronto’s newest restaurant The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles have had me salivating for weeks. Combining two great things, fried chicken and buttermilk waffles, The Dirty Bird also incorporates a signature ingredient special to Canada, maple syrup.

The reviews have been bang on and the food amazing. I ordered their The Up North Trip with ‘tato salad and was so stuffed, I needed to go for a walk after or fall victim to itis. My friend had their ODB that came with their special ‘dirty’ sauce. The place was packed which is always a good sign. Located within Kensington Market, The Dirty Bird is a great place to eat!