30 Days to healthy living: Day 22

Blogging is not for the faint of heart. Or the undisciplined. So many things get in the way. Same with taking charge of your health, right? There are so many other demands on us that we push the things we don’t consider to be overly important to the side and let the busy seep in or even wash over us. So it stands to ask: how important are these things really? Are you committed? If not, why are you bothering to try? Maybe we need to Marie Kondo our to-do lists….

Well, good news is that I think blogging IS important and I like to disseminate what I learn about healthy living so YOU are in luck! I may be slow to post but I’m not going anywhere 😁

So let’s talk SUGAR! Where do we leave off? I think I said sugar is bad, we should avoid it but it’s in everything. Did you do your homework? What surprised you? Did you know sugar is in mayonnaise? Worcestershire sauce? Tomato soup? And every other thing? Did you find anything that didn’t have sugar in it? Reading labels is the only way you will find out. Even items that say they are sugar free or have no added sugar may, in fact, contain sugar. Which leads me to this: do you know what I mean when I say “sugar?”

I had to do a little review myself so don’t feel bad if you’re not sure what’s good and what’s not. I’m going to give a brief lesson.


Your body needs GLUCOSE to function. Most of us equate glucose with sugar but we were deceived. Sugar contains fructose. That sparkly white stuff on your table? 50% fructose. High fructose corn syrup? 50% fructose. So technically it’s not metabolized differently than table sugar but neither is good for you. Agave is healthy, right? Nope. Agave is 90% fructose! Honey? Fructose. Maple syrup? Delicious. But fructose. Corn syrup? Fructose.

Fructose is super sweet and super cheap. Your body doesn’t register it when you consume it so you are still hungry after you eat or drink it. It’s metabolized incompletely by your liver which in turn stores it as terrible byproducts and causes fatty liver. It also creates the bad type of cholesterol that clogs your arteries (it looks like cheesecake in your artery. I saw it firsthand during my surgical rotation in nursing school 🤢) . It is the perfect thing to put in your food products if you are a manufacturer because it makes people eat MORE! I’m not a conspiracy theorist but this is the science. This is researched. Fructose is killing us.

Now, I am not a complete kill joy. Your liver can handle tiny amounts of this stuff on occasion (say once a month) but not on a daily basis. Watch THIS video for all the details. Dr Richard Lustig is much more interesting to listen to than if I were to try explaining the metabolism of fructose vs glucose vs ethanol. Seriously,  Dr Lustig does a great job at making it interesting! Pinkie swear!

So what about fruit? Fruit is good. How? Fruit is a whole food and it contains fiber which mitigates the effect of fructose and also slows its absorption. It has fructose but it contains fructose the way God intended for us to be able to eat it. Fruit makes an excellent dessert.

Ok, back to what your body needs which is glucose. This is what fuels your muscle and brain. Glucose = dextrose. So if a food contains dextrose, its ok as far as the sugar issue is concerned. Ironically, thus far, the only food I’ve been able to find that contains dextrose and not sugar is salami. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love salami, but its not health food. I do, however, have some in my fridge now… 😉

Keep checking your labels. Consider how many foods you eat everyday that contains some form of added sugar. What can you live without? What can you find a substitute for? Although Eve Schaub* was able to go for a whole year without sugar*, I am aiming for a lifetime of avoidance. Not zero but very little. to be honest, I think chocolate is going to be the hardest to find a substitute for. Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate looks like a viable contender although it contains stevia and erythritol. I will keep my eyes peeled for evidence that we shouldn’t consume these either. Lily’s chocolate chips have been adorning my paleo waffles. No syrup needed!

As you shop, let me know what you find. I am starting a list of good for you and good tasting foods that are truly free of added sugars. Help me create the list!!

Next up? Ways to measure fitness and how to set goals.

Until then, here’s to your health!



*links with an asterix are affiliate links. these are no cost to you but if you make a purchase I may make a few cents. I only link to things that I use myself or books I have read and love. Always check the library for books first or buy the used version if available to save $$!

links without an asterix are non-affiliate links. They do not cost you anything either.

30 Days to healthy living : Day 21

As you have seen, this wasn’t a sequential 30 days. My apologies for that. I was derailed by the holidays compounded with life. Can I get a witness??

So how are you? I hope your holidays went well and that you got to enjoy all the things and then celebrate the New Year. Are you ready to pick up again? I am! I have had my fill of sugar and I am ready to roll!

Last night I finished reading “A year of no sugar” by Eve Schaub and I have a new mission.  AVOID SUGAR. The problem? Its in EVERYTHING! Really, EVERYTHING.

I started reading labels looking for sugar (I already look for sources of gluten) and WOW. I took my kids to Sweet Frog and got no sugar added frozen yogurt. So after I ate it I asked what it was sweetened with instead. The answer: Sorbitol. Do you know what sorbitol is? Its a sugar alcohol, made from sugar that is not calorie free (it has 2.6kcal/g) and guess what? It turns back into sugar in your body once it gets to your large intestines where it also acts as a laxative. Ahem. It sure does. <cough>  UGH.

On Friday I read labels at Target and couldn’t buy any condiments except for maybe mustard. I couldn’t buy a single brand of deli meat except an organic salami. Salami is yummy but is NOT a health food but it doesn’t contain sugar per se, it contains dextrose.  Today I found that Wegman’s brand organic deli turkey and roast beef do not contain any sugar. Yay! But most store bought bread, gluten free or not, contain sugar. Ugh. Have I mentioned that I don’t bake?

What has shocked me the most is that I thought I was doing pretty well avoiding added sugars. I’ve lost 10+ pounds this summer watching what I was eating and (I thought) avoiding sugar. I did not, however, make all of my own food from scratch and thus after going through my pantry I realize that I have most definitely been eating added sugars. Everyday. Less than I was previously and between less sugar, less snacking and more exercise, I’ve lost weight anyway. I am still concerned with the amount of sugar that I am still ingesting though and even more concerned about my kids. How is there so much sugar in everything?

EAsy answer: Its a cheap filler (like gluten) especially when you’ve made so many products low fat because we (wrongly) thought all fat was the cause of heart disease and obesity. It’s cheap AND it tastes good. Most processed foods need a hefty dose of sugar and/or salt to taste good after its been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long before you buy it. It’s also a great preservative when many of us want to avoid preservatives. Basically, people buy food that tastes good and sugar fits that bill, so that’s what manufacturers use. They are after profit after all. You can’t blame them for that. They make what we buy and ask for and if we don’t they make sure to tell us why we should be buying and asking for what they have to offer. Good old capitalism.

What do we do? Lets start with a homework assignment:

Go through your cabinets and pantry and fridge. Read the labels. Tell me how many products you currently have in your house that do not list any of the following as ingredients: sugar, cane sugar, organic cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, sorghum, molasses, brown sugar, agave, sorbitol, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated apple or pear or grape or any other kind of fruit juice, fruit juice or barley malt/syrup. Good luck and report back.

Next up will be a discussion of what kinds of sugar there are and what kinds to avoid (hint: see the above paragraph) as well as what is actually ok to consume regularly.

Until then, stay sweet!


ps: someone commented on my last post with a recommendation for a website run by docs who give information on both the keto diet and intermittent fasting. I am all for intermittent fasting. Not 100% sold on keto. the site is called Diet Doctor. Check it out and let me know what you think. (not an affiliate link and I didn’t pay for anything on the site. )