The end of the beginning

or is it the beginning of the end?  

Yesterday was the beginning of Week Six of my 8-week sugar detox. This is the week that sweet things were invited back to the party. Not sugar–but sweet things like fruit. I looked ahead to Weeks 7 & 8 and it seems that I am pretty much done. Week 7 is advice on how to recover if you relapse, and week 8 focuses on how to move forward. But I feel like I have already moved forward. My intention when I started this was just to stop craving sweets and eating them every chance I got. I had developed a sweet tooth that was out of control. I like to be in control so this was an issue for me. Along the way I have learned more and more about sugar. Most importantly about all the sugar that is added to processed foods. I’ve learned a lot about what all that sugar does to our bodies and for me this knowledge has changed the way I want to feed myself. Knowing that there is only a certain amount of sugar your liver can make use of at a time makes it really easy to just chose not to make my liver’s job harder. God knows I have have worked that organ over the course of my life. I am not swearing off desserts by any means. I will still have a slice of pie or a cookie once in a while. But with the knowledge that dessert is a treat and you don’t need a treat every day. The major change for me is that I am not going to eat processed food anymore. Calling processed food FOOD is a joke. Having to avoid sugar the past few weeks has necessitated avoiding processed food.Therefore I have been making nearly all the food I eat myself. Cooking has always been such a pleasure of me. There have been times in the past when I felt too tired and lazy to make dinner. Now I feel like if I don’t make dinner I will be tired and lazy for days because what ever fast or convenient food I eat instead will not give my body what it needs and will throw a wrench in the gears of my biological clockwork.

All in all I feel fantastic. I feel happy and healthy. I am giddy while making dinner. I have tons of energy. I love that our fridge is full and the freezer is devoid of Lean Cuisine boxes. I love how delicious everything tastes. I am bursting with pride every time I sit down to a meal that I made. Mostly I am proud that I have taken this step toward taking care of myself. 

The book that started this off for me (sent to me by my lovely friend Anne) is Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar.

The movie Fed Up is all about added sugar and processed foods.  If it’s not playing in a theater near you it will be soon.  

More that anything I wish that everyone would watch the Robert Lustig’s lecture Fructose 2.0. He wrote the book Fat Chance and collaborated to write the Fat Chance Cookbook. More than anything I have read or seen this explains what is happening in your body when you eat sugar. 

It’s the principals he lays out that will serve as my guidelines for moving forward.  High fiber, low sugar foods and a plate that is half vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter high fiber grains.  And a slice of Honey Pie now and then.  Because what’s life without Honey Pie?

I Quit Sugar: Week 4

I’m half way through the detox plan.  It’s going great.  I’m fairly militant about following the rules even though the book clearly says slipping is find and to be gentle with yourself.  I said this morning that not eating sugar (or anything sweet) is super easy as long as you make everything yourself.  I have made some very good dishes.  This week I decided to try and up the amount of vegetables I eat.  I looked up some vegetarian recipes and found one especially that I really liked.

Pasta Giardiniera–I found this on Cooking Light (99% of what I cook comes from their site).  Having followed the recipe I highly recommend not doing that.  It was delicious don’t get me wrong.  I just inhaled the last serving for my lunch and I am thinking I have enough of the ingredients to make it again–but this time better.  Roasting the red pepper yourself isn’t too hard but I’d guess that buying a jar of roasted red peppers is cheaper.  (Produce is pricey.) I cooked with fennel for the first time in my life.  Looked up a youtube video to find out how to chop it.  The recipe says to boil the onions, carrots and peas.  Next time I will saute them with the fennel and red pepper.  And I don’t know what red pearl onion adds.  Seems to me there is never any reason to stray from a vidalia.  I added a few cherry tomatoes at the end.  I substituted a wheat egg linguine for the lasagna ribbons.  It was good Sunday night for dinner but I ate it cold Monday and Tuesday for lunch. My boss thought quinoa or couscous would be good in place of noodles.  I agree.

I’m having fun with food.  I like the focus I can put on making meals for myself (though Hunter is eating a lot of what I am making.)  I have always loved cooking for other people.  Cooking for myself seemed so far beyond a chore I never took pleasure in it.  So far I am loving this process.

I am looking forward to fruit (week six) and being able to go to a restaurant and not stress so much about what’s in the salad dressing.  And having a sandwich of some lovely whole grain seedy bread.  That will be really good–especially if I make it myself.

 

Quitting Sugar

I was talking to my friend Anne who is studying Naturopathy, about my increasing sugar cravings.  I have over the last few years developed a really big Peppermint Lifesaver habit.  But lately my need for cookies, cakes, and donuts has skyrocketed.  I wondered if in her studies she had found a way to curb craving.  She said ” I have a book for you! I will send it to you!” A couple of weeks later this book arrives on my doorstep:

 

YIKES! I was thinking something along the lines of a supplement.  Quit sugar?  Insanity.  But then I started reading.  First thing is to think of it as an experiment.  Just get it out of your system, reset and see what a new normal feels like.  It’s not even 8 weeks like it says on the cover.  The first two weeks you don’t quit.  (Though I did in the 2nd week.)  Once you start learning more and paying attention to sugar you fast realize that it is in EVERYTHING. It seems like it’s going to be impossible avoid.  It is hard, but not impossible.  Today is my 8th day without anything sweet–sweet by the old standards.  No honey, agave, fruit, or sugar substitutes (which I never ate anyway).  Things I thought would be horrible, like my morning tea without sugar, have been remarkably easy to stop.  I thought I would feel miserable and be a horrible bitch to everyone.  So far I’ve been ok.  After a pretty bad Friday and Saturday I do know that I need to have food on hand and I need a plan every day.  Plans are easy when I am at work.  On the go–not so much.

Yesterday Hunter and I had an afternoon snack of blue chips and salsa (Green Mountain has no sweetener) and the salsa tasted so sweet to me I said it was like I was eating jam.  Taste buds change, I feel (and am) lighter, and I have a megaton of energy.  I get these non-sugar highs where I feel like I’ve taken an amphetamine and some dopamine–really excited and happy and energetic.  There isn’t a corresponding low, but if I haven’t feed myself in a timely manner I will feel like I am going to throw up.  Luckily that passes quickly and in the future will hopefully be avoided altogether by have some travel food on hand.

I read ahead in the book and week 4 begins ominously with, “Chances are you feel like shit.”* So maybe I haven’t hit the bad part yet.  We will see.  I don’t know what the world will look like after this experiment is over.  I know for certain the Lifesavers are not going to be a part of my life.  I know that my relationship with the Cookie Bar at Whole Foods will never be the same.  As for the rest of it–I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.   I do know that when I opened the box from Anne I didn’t think I had it in me.  Glad I was wrong.

 

*Not an exact quote.

PS-For anyone freaking out about no fruit that is just for the detox–fruit comes back in Week 6.

Movie Not Nominated

A co-worker asked that I provide a list for him of movies from 2013 I liked that were not nominated.  

Side Effects

42

Mud

The Kings of Summer

The Bling Ring

World War Z

The Way Way Back

Fruitvale Station

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Drinking Buddies

About Time

Rush

Prisoners

Don Jon

How I Live Now

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Out of the Furnace

Everyone should see The Way Way Back, Mud, Don Jon, and About Time.  Everyone but Julia should see Fruitville Station, and Prisoners. 

My Oscar Watch List (Official)

Categories I must watch include Writing, Production Design, Film Editing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Direction, Acting, and Best Picture.

American Hustle

Nebraska

Philomena

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years a Slave

Gravity

The Wolf of Wall Street

Her

Captain Phillips

Blue Jasime

August: Osage County

The Grandmaster

Prisoners

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Invisible Woman

The Great Gatsby

Before Midnight

If there is time I’ll add in Hairstyle and Make Up, Original Song, Musical Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects

The Lone Ranger, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, The Book Thief, Saving Mr. Banks, All Is Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lone Survivor, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Alone Yet Not Alone

There will never be enough time for Documentaries, Shorts, Foreign Language or Animated Feature.

The Wind Rises, Frozen, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square, 20 Feet from Stardom, The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Missing Picture, Omar

85th Oscars Watch List

The Academy Award nominations were announced today and I am surprised that this year I am as giddy as ever. It seems that after all I am still me.  As is my annual tradition  I will watch all (or as many as possible) of the nominated films before Oscar night.  So that I don’t go completely crazy I eliminate a few categories–Foreign Films, Shorts and Docs and sadly Animated Features.  It’s just to hard to get to all of them and though I like Foreign Films I have to be in a special mood to see them and I love Shorts and Docs but they are too hard to find in time and Animated Films are cut because I just can’t.  I haven’t eliminated all of the films that might be torture for me–because of the Makeup category I have to watch Hitchcock and I really don’t want to.  And for Original Song I might have to watch Ted, but maybe if I just listen to all the songs that would be good enough?  Tough one.  Also not thrilled about Mirror Mirror, Promethus, or frankly The Avengers.  So here we go, my list of films to see before Feb 28th.  Good thing I got a head start!

  1. Silver Linings Playbook
  2. Lincoln
  3. Les Misérables
  4. The Master
  5. Flight
  6. Argo
  7. Django Unchained
  8. Amour
  9. The Impossible
  10. The Sessions
  11. Anna Karenina
  12. Mirror Mirror
  13. Life of Pi
  14. Marvel’s The Avengers
  15. Prometheus
  16. Hitchcock
  17. Ted
  18. Chasing Ice

Manifesto

Lately I have been thinking a lot about fixing things that are broken.  And by things I don’t really mean things.  So this cool manifesto came to my inbox via Design Sponge today.  It’s really cool.  You should read it.

Sugru’s Fixer’s Manifesto

When I read it I was thinking about my life and how I’ve been working to fix me for a while now and how when things fall apart I just want to fix them, how i just want to make it better or at least as good and I can help it be.  The people at Sugru encourage you to make the manifesto your own.  To fix it to how you need it.  Or at least that is the way I read it.  So here is what they wrote fixed up for me.

 

Shelby’s FIXER’S MANIFESTO

 

1. IF IT’S BROKEN, FIX IT! BECAUSE it can be done and it’s worth doing.

2. IF IT’S NOT BROKEN, IMPROVE IT. A SMALL, CLEVER TWEAK CAN IMPROVE HOW you WORK FOR YEARS TO COME.

3. GIVE YOUR SELF A LONGER LIFE. Fix your life and live longer, happier.

4. FIXING MEANS FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE. AS A FIXER, YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT

WEAR AND TEAR. NOTHING STAYS NEW, SO FORGET PERFECTION. Besides, perfect is boring.

5. RESIST TRENDS AND NEEDLESS UPGRADES. Make the best of what you’ve got.

6. DON’T LET OTHERS TREAT YOU AS PASSIVE. Your voice matters.  Don’t be ashamed of letting people know how strong you are.

7. A FIXED Being IS A BEAUTIFUL Being. EVERY FIX, WHETHER SKILLFUL OR IMPROVISED, HOLDS A STORY.

8. IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA, START SMALL AND MAKE IT GOOD. Taking one small step forward beats sitting around waiting any day.

9. NURTURE YOUR CURIOSITY. KEEP TRYING THINGS YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BEFORE. IT’S GOOD

FOR YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR SOUL. DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL — IT MAKES SUCCESS ALL THE SWEETER.

10. PEOPLE ARE INFINITELY DIVERSE and EVERYTHING CAN BE IMPROVED.

11. DISPOSABILITY IS A CHOICE, NOT A PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC. Other people matter.TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT.

12. SHARE YOUR IDEAS, YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND YOUR SKILLS.

IF YOU’VE FOUND THE JOY OF FIXING, PASS IT ON. IT’S A GIFT FOR LIFE.

 

Adapted From the inventors of sugru

 

Sign of the times

It is a testament to the current state of my life and to everything that is going on that my future husband had to point out to me that we are well within birthday month and I have not even mentioned it.

man.