workin’ hard for the money

SO HARD for the money.

Seriously. So. Freaking. Hard.  I’ve put in more 9, 10 and even 11-hour days than I have 8-hour days, mostly because there is just So. Much. To. Do.  And a pretty steep learning curve at that.

But, I LOVE my job.  I love being able to walk to work, my co-worker is perhaps the best teacher I’ve ever had (and so patient!), everyone is nice and I love bringing a smile to the residents every day.  So, I’m really hoping these hours improve, and FAST. Continue reading “workin’ hard for the money”

‘No-Added-Sugar’ Challenge: Day 1

 

sugar-clipart-photo-24785645-clip-art-no-sugarHappy Day 1!  I started my morning with a cup of coffee with less than a teaspoon of sugar (the one exception is no more than 1 tsp in coffee), some food prep, and breakfast: 1/2 C plain greek yogurt, 1/4 C grain-free granola and 1/2 banana. It was delicious and kept me satisfied for a few hours before I snacked on some almonds.

*If you’re just joining us, Andrew and I (and a handful of motivated friends) are avoiding added sugar for the 30 days in April.  It’s not too late to join us!  For the ‘rules’, click here.

After Andrew woke up, we both emptied out the fridge and pantry together. (Hadrian, Andrew and Odie made cameos, below.)

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What came out included our maple syrups, jams, some condiments and salad dressings, Andrew’s Gatorade mix, my stash of Justin’s goodies, Andrew’s flavored nuts, honey, and–obviously–any sweets. I think it was good for Andrew to read labels, although he wasn’t too surprised since he’s gone through this with me before.

Here’s the fridge after:

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I was pleasantly surprised that, despite hauling a TV tray full of food down to our basement storage area and fridge (out of sight, out of mind), we were still left with quite a full fridge.

A few quick notes:

-Alcohol: I’ve gotten a few questions about alcohol, and I failed to address it in my column.  Yes, alcohol is OK in moderation, and only beer and wine.  Mixed drinks are full of sugar and sweeteners, so they’re out.

-Juice: Ordinarily, I’d say juice (at least sweet juice) is out.  Almost all of them, even those that are 100% juice, are super sweet.  I’d always rather someone eat a piece of fruit over a glass of juice.  Andrew loves V8 (low sodium) and I like about a 1/2 C of Naked Juice’s Kale Blazer at breakfast, neither of which has added sugar nor are they sweet. You’ll see we currently have some OJ in the fridge (which NEVER happens, I just had a craving about a week ago).  In the interest of not wasting food, we’ll finish it but I’m not going to replace it.

-Bread: This one is a little tough.  While we don’t tend to have a lot of bread in the house, I do believe whole grains can be part of a healthy diet.  Unfortunately, a lot of breads contain a little sugar yet aren’t what you’d call sweet.  My plan is to scour the grocery shelves and see if I can find sandwich bread without sugar, limit breads in general and rely a little more on Ezekiel bread (no added sugar) anyway. Honestly, I don’t foresee this being a problem at home as much as it might be eating away from home. For the sake of Andrew’s sanity and participation in the challenge, I might have to overlook some of his bread intake.

In a nutshell, Andrew and I are embarking on this journey because we feel like we need to ‘clean up’ our diets a bit.  Yes, we eat a lot of healthy foods (especially me), but we also splurge a lot on ordering pizza, sweets and junk.  In fact, this whole thing was Andrew’s idea!  (Hard to believe, I know.)  Andrew suggested we limit our sweets and bread, then I started talking about avoiding added sugars (I’d been working on my no-added-sugar banana bread at this same time.) and one thing led to another and I laid down some rules and published it in the March nutrition column in the East Aurora Advertiser.  He’s not thrilled with the strictness of the rules, but hopefully he’ll persevere.

He’s more interested in making sustainable changes (i.e. he doesn’t want to really give up ALL sugar) and I like participating in challenges because they motivate me and keep me accountable.  I felt like doing this 30-day challenge would be a way to ‘reset’ our taste-buds to appreciate things less-sweet and introduce some self-control.

For lunch, we grabbed food from the co-op. I paired a salad with s cup of lentil soup and Andrew chose Chipotle Pork with cous-cous (and bread) on the side. He did, however, opt for a bottle of tea without added sugar, despite his initial protests.

For those joining us, good luck!  I’ll be posting no-added-sugar recipes on the blog throughout. For those on the fence, give it a try!  It’s never too late to make changes to your diet for the better!