Tag Archive | sugar


As part of my health coaching course, we’ve spent several weeks studying gut health, how to heal it, and how it impacts overall wellness. In fact, Hippocrates is credited with saying “All disease begins in the gut.”  A healthy microbiome is one of the many reasons it’s so important to maintain a healthy diet (more on this in a future post).

One of the tools to help you start healing your gut is an elimination diet and, as part of the course, it was recommended that students try it out for a few weeks to better support clients who may choose to do an elimination diet.  And so, I decided to try a three elimination diet with my family. My husband agreed to the experiment while my son kind of rolled his eyes.  He’d never be 100% anyway, considering his time in school, school functions or at his Dad’s.  But I figured he’d be 100% while at home.

The recommended elimination diet included removal of eggs, dairy, gluten, soy, sugar and corn.   The intent was to eliminate those foods and keep track of how you felt (better/worse).

So here’s how things went:

  • For me, at least, eggs, dairy and corn were easy. My hubby likes eggs for breakfast on the weekends, so that presented a challenge.  I was able to find a yummy gluten-, egg- and dairy-free recipe for pancakes and I would definitely make those again.
  • It was a bit more work than usual because I was trying my best to accommodate everyone for every meal, just to keep them “compliant”.
  • Day one Ethan indicated he was “not a fan” of the oatmeal I served him (although he loved the pear compote I made for it). But I made him stick with it and found the right blend of flavorings for him to find it agreeable. (For the record, cacao powder, goji berries and date paste as a sweetener. Interestingly, David needed it to be sweeter than Ethan did.)
  • Sugar is always tough with Ethan since he’s a sugar addict, but we made progress by freezing any leftover Christmas cookies, and just not bringing sugar into the house. I made an occasional treat, like banana peanut butter ice cream, that made up for the lack of sweets.
  • Eating out is difficult. At the end of the first week, we ended up at an Italian restaurant where David ordered a pizza. Total non-compliance. And I had gnocchi, which likely had cheese and egg in them.  (Progress not perfection…?)
  • By the first weekend, the boys were cranky. I hadn’t planned well enough for snacks and such. My crabby husband, who ate leftover pizza all weekend, was suddenly mad that the pretzels weren’t gluten free!
  • Speaking of gluten-free… this was by far the hardest part. None of us were really fans of GF bread or pasta. I didn’t care as much about the bread, but David did. Toast and tomatoes with mayo is one of his go-to breakfast meals, so he wasn’t happy with that.  I think we could get used to the pasta if we had to. After all, we got used to whole wheat pasta instead of white.
  • We did really like the GF pretzels and crackers we tried, and GF breadcrumbs were fine.  I give those with celiac and gluten insensitivity a lot of credit for sticking with that.  I always knew it would be challenging; I didn’t know how much.
  • Giving up soy was also tough.  We eat tofu or tempeh a few times a month and many recipes I make use soy sauce.
  • Doing this made me get back to healthier lunches. Mostly I ate a baked sweet potato with a veggie. I’m planning to keep going with that.
  • With some crazy schedules and David with the flu, we’ve had to abandon the remainder of the 3 week plan.  I think I’ll try it again by myself. While I was hoping there would be benefits to both David and Ethan by joining me, it was really hard carrying them along. Maybe once I’m successful with it on my own, we can have another go.

Moral of the story: Elimination diets have a lot of benefits, but they do take some extra planning and extra work!

IMDb: Elimination (2010)

Bad Sugar

We haven’t talked about sugar in a while and I’ve started thinking about that again while reading the book “Anticancer, A New Way of Life” (by David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD).

In the chapter on “the anticancer environment”, there’s a section devoted to sugar.  There’s an explanation of how refined sugars and white flour have a high glycemic index which cause glucose levels in your blood to quickly rise.  The body releases insulin to enable your body to process all that glucose, and the insulin is accompanied by IGF (insulin-like growth factor), which stimulates cell growth.  Therefore, sugar has a direct impact on making cells grow faster.  Insulin and IGF also promote inflammation, another contributor to tumor growth.  The amount of processed sugar and flour, including high fructose corn syrup, seems to be a key contributor to the increase in cancer.

To quote the book: “All scientific literature points in the same direction:  People who want to protect themselves from cancer should seriously reduce their consumption of processed sugar and bleached flour.”

For me, giving up “sugar” wasn’t too hard.  I am not a huge consumer of sugary foods (I tend to crave salt instead of sugar).  Giving up processed foods and bleached flour was a lot harder.  After all, these are the foods of convenience.  When you are trying to juggle family, house, work, and everything else, those convenience foods seem like a Godsend.  But sure wish I knew then what I know now.

I have eliminated all processed foods from my diet (although I’m sure I get some processed junk in restaurants and should probably cut back on eating out…).  I do allow myself a sweet now and then, but interestingly enough, they don’t taste quite as good as they used.  Maybe knowing the linkage between sugar and cancer takes the fun out of it, or maybe my taste buds are adjusted to better food.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad.

New recipe tonight — I loved it & David and Ethan also enjoyed it.  Ethan’s first bite of an artichoke!  Easy to make and really good!  I did cut back on both the olive oil (1/2 cup seemed like a lot) and the cheese (just sprinkled some on top).  I did not use the tarragon, since I don’t really know what it is or what it tastes like, but I didn’t feel like anything was missing.  I also used canned artichoke hearts instead of frozen.


Blog update:  I am going to start including information on each of the movies I use as my titles.  Apparently some people don’t believe these are all real movie names!  (There was a lot of doubt on The Attack of the Vegan Zombies!)  If I get ambitious, I may go back and update the 250 prior blogs…  🙂

Bad Sugar (2012)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2129898/