Hold the sugar, please.

In continuing my efforts to become a better me, I have chosen to stop eating sugar.  I don’t mean that I can’t have any sugar because that’s not really practical.  I have stopped eating added sugars.  For 5 weeks now, I have been eating less than 45 grams of sugar a day.  It’s usually between 20 and 25 grams per day.  From what I have read, 4.2 grams of granulated sugar equals one teaspoon.  So I am averaging 4 or 5 teaspoons a day which is what the American Heart Association recommends for a woman. It doesn’t seem like that’s a difficult request but they do not distinguish between natural and added sugars.  It all counts toward the same total grams of sugar.

How did this start?  This was not something I planned on doing.  In fact, I was certain I would never give up my candy, soda or cupcakes.  Man do I love a good cupcake!  It started one weekend when I ran out of candy and was too lazy to go to the store.  I realized on Sunday that I had already gone two days without candy so I thought, this is a good time to stop eating sugar.

In the first week I was astonished by how much sugar was in EVERYTHING.  What can I eat that doesn’t have sugar?  Pizza?  No.  Cereal?  Only occasionally and yes, it tastes no different than eating the box.  “Healthy” granola bars?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  No!  Juice, of any kind?  Absolutely not.  I realized quickly that it was pretty much impossible to eat no sugar and be healthy.  I’m sure there will be people that argue with me about that, but I think you should still have fruit once in a while and fruit has quite a bit of sugar naturally.  Also, I do not want to ingest to many artificial sweeteners.  I doubt that is healthy.  So in this first week, I resigned myself to the idea that I will never again eat candy, dessert or drink soda.  No pizza either but, as you will read later, that changes.  The good news is that you no longer crave those things.  You may want it when you see it, but for the most part, you realize that is a want, not a need and you don’t have to indulge.

During week two, I noticed that I wasn’t as tired during the day.  Probably because my sleep is deeper and better quality.  I don’t toss and turn as often or wake up every two hours like I used to.  In fact, during the 3rd week, I slept straight through the night sometimes.  This may not be amazing to some, but I have never slept through the night unless I was sick or something.  I was a bit perky and hyper during this time period as well.

I think it was week three that I thought I was sweating more than normal and some people do a 21 day sugar detox so maybe I was sweating things out.  I also noticed that I would just keep working and forget to take my lunch because I wasn’t actually hungry yet.  One word of caution here.  When you are not eating sugar and your tank runs out, you are out and need to find food fast.  The alternative is one cranky individual that can no longer function properly.  I was pretty sure I was going to faint in the middle of the Halloween store because I didn’t stop to eat before going in and it was larger than expected.  It was my own fault.  I knew it was past lunch time and that I needed to eat, but wasn’t feeling the hunger pangs yet.  Lesson learned.

Week four and five have been smooth sailing.  No side affects and I’ve discovered that I can make homemade pizza that has much less sugar, but still tastes pretty good.  In the future I may try to make the dough and sauce myself, but for now, I look for marinara with the fewest grams of sugar per serving and pre-made pizza dough from the store.  Also with the lowest grams of sugar, per serving, that I can find.  It’s not ideal, but it’s a nice treat.

If you have tried to stop eating so much sugar or know a great, low sugar recipe for barbecue sauce, feel free to share in the comments.  I would love to hear all about it.

 

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My Continued Struggle

It’s been a few months since I decided to deactivate my facebook and spend less time on social media.  Life without facebook has been so much easier than I expected!  I have even noticed that I am proud of not being attached to my phone.  Much like my pride when I quit smoking and drinking.   When you make an effort to improve your way of life, you should be proud of yourself.

Do I occasionally find myself reaching toward the facebook app?  Of course!  Obviously, I should have deleted the app, but I only think about it for a millisecond out of habit and its extremely easy to redirect myself.

How do I keep in touch with my friends?  I don’t.  I realize that may seem harsh, but I’m not really a social person anyway.  I will text people occasionally to make plans, but if I was only keeping in touch by clicking a like button on a picture or meme that you posted, I wasn’t really invested in our interaction anyway.  People think they are, but think about it, how much effort do you really put into liking a post?  Sure, maybe you spent time finding the emoji you think fit the moment best, but its not like you spent the time to put pen to parchment and focus solely on your relationship with this person.  I would love to bring back the days of writing letters but that is a subject for another blog, another day.

What do I do with my extra time?  Everything.  Nothing.  Life is a beautiful thing, try not to miss too much of it.

My Struggle Today

On Sunday, I decided that I should reduce my dependency on social media as a way to waste time until my eventual death.  Because, that’s really what we are doing.  At least that’s what I am doing.  It’s called social media, but it’s not being social when you are ignoring people you are out with in an attempt to be legitimately social.  For me, all social media seems to do is further alienate me.  Before everyone posted their meals, feelings, politics and every other aspects of their daily lives on full volume, I had know idea I was so different from the norm.  The problem is that I am probably not much different than everyone else, just different than everyone that is loud.

I decided my Facebook was what needed to go.  Out of everything I am involved with online, Facebook causes me the greatest stress.  I have never felt that I could really be myself on my own page because so many people that I know are completely different from myself and, if I go by their posts, not interested in accepting other sides.  Not to mention my own limitations of accepting other views.  Not much would get me as angry as a ridiculous political meme.  I’m not against people keeping in touch with their friends and making new friends.  There are some great things that can come from social media, but I am a firm believer in removing any stress that is in your power to remove.  I have always had issues with holding onto stress and need to minimize all the stress I can so bye bye Facebook and hello blogging and the outside world!

Fast forward to today and my Facebook free life.  It sounds great, but as I have discovered, quite difficult to adjust to after years of regularly scrolling through updates or posting pics of the things I find worth sharing.  There were several times that I found myself reaching for my phone or iPad to see what people were up to or if anyone has commented on my lasted posts.  It has been such a struggle to stay on the path.  I know it’s possible to reduce my dependency on social media and I am looking forward to spending more time outside, learning and experiencing the world with my complete attention.  If nothing else, at least I will get to spend more time smelling the roses.

 

Dressing up the pathway

I’ve disliked our rock pathway from the beginning.  There was not enough rocks to keep it from getting muddy and was lumpy and uneven to walk on.  Not to mention painful if you were not wearing shoes.  I was delaying putting down pavers because it was going to be a huge ordeal to do it properly and I do not have the energy or patience to take on that task.  However, last weekend I was heading to the store to buy a pot for a tomato plant and decided to grab some pavers and Irish Moss.  Why I lost my mind for a moment I will never know.  It didn’t cost a lot so I figured I would do it quick and easy with multiple shortcuts.  If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and if it did work, great!  

My walkway before, with Susie supervising


As you can see, the walkway is pretty unsightly.  I will deal with the left side and those wooden beams later.  I’m think of building up the side and adding some shade plants, but back to the walk way.  By the time I was back from the store, it was hot and I only had about 6 hours of daylight left on a Sunday afternoon.  Meaning, I was pressed for time and my plan to use short cuts was definitely going to happen.  Since I am a procrastinator, setting things aside for when I have time is not an option.  I will never get back to them.  Ever.  So I started pulling up rocks with my little hand rake and once I had a foot square, I put down a cement paver.  Now, if I was doing this properly, I would have made sure the ground was level, but I’m pretty sure they will settle in after walking on them a while.  It’s only been a week since I put them down and they already seem pretty stable.  What I was most concerned about was planting the Irish Moss because it was going to be really shallow.  At this point, I don’t remember if it’s Irish or Scottish Moss so if I said the wrong thing, I apologize.  I dug the rocks out, added some soil about 1 inch deep, spread the roots out, patted the soil and hoped for the best.

Freshly planted

 I was not concerned about setting the pavers evenly or in a straight line.  I actually like the imperfect look in the garden so it was easy to not be hard on myself about that.  The whole job took me between 2 and 3 hours, with a break of course.  I wasn’t sure the moss would survive because it was planted so shallow, but so far it’s working.

Moss one week later


As you can see in this picture, the moss is growing and flowering one week later.  I have been watering them every evening and have not seen any signs of trouble.  If they continue to flourish, I will probably add some more because I would like to have the Irish moss all the way around the pavers.  We shall see.  Of course I should have taken more time and done things properly, but for a quick afternoon activity, I am really enjoying my path and looking forward to watching it grow.

One week later


Gardening is an exercise in patience.  You just keep going, one step at a time.

Shoe therapy

I must admit that I love shoes!  I know that’s not an earth shattering admission, but it goes against the minimalist ideals that I am trying to maintain in my closet.  A few months ago, while reading some blogs about minimizing, I decided that I would tear apart my wardrobe and only keep essentials that I can wear with multiple items.  It’s not a bad idea and definitely opened up storage space.  The problem is not purchasing new items.  I’ve done really well until I met these babies today.

I can’t be too angry with myself because they can be used with almost everything in my wardrobe. Except for my black clothes. I don’t care what people tell me, I am old school and will not wear black with brown shoes.

The most difficult part of having a minimalist closet is that it feels so good to buy new things!  After purchasing my new pretties I was in such a good mood.  The daily chores I tire of were suddenly not so boring and tedious.  At the end of the day I am still happy with my purchase and stayed close to my rules for the wardrobe.  I may lose the new shoe high when it’s time to make my car payment, but that’s not today. Haha!

Delicious, baked baby potatoes

Hello, food lovers!  They say to blog about what you know so, for my first attempt at blogging, I have decided to share my favorite potatoes.  Seasoned baby potatoes baked in the oven.  So easy and so delicious!1-DSC_0015 (1)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.  While the oven is heating up you have plenty of time to prepare the potatoes.
  2. Foil the baking pan.  I usually cook for one or two people so a small cake pan is big enough.
  3. Wash those babies!  I’m talking the potatoes.
  4. Dice.  Depending on the size of the potato, I usually cut them in fourths.  You can cut them smaller if you want your potatoes crispier, just make sure you are checking them regularly because it will take less time to cook through.
  5. Cover in oil and seasoning.  To do this, I put my potatoes in a plastic container that has a lid.  I then pour in about a tablespoon of olive oil.  The seasoning depends on what you like and how many potatoes you are cooking.  I usually cut up about 10 baby potatoes and add just under 1 teaspoon of seasoning.  I personally use McCormick’s Grill Mates, Montreal Steak Seasoning.  I like to have a minimalist kitchen so I’m a big fan of one seasoning that works for many foods.  I lid the container and shake the potatoes until they are evenly coated.
  6. Pour the coated potatoes into baking pan.

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Once the oven is preheated, place the pan of potatoes in the oven on the top or middle rack and set the timer for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, poke a few potatoes with a fork to make sure they are cooked before removing.  They should feel fairly soft on the inside, but crispy on the outside.

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Once cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and enjoy!  They are steaming hot on the inside so I recommend letting them sit for a few minutes before eating.  My final word of advice is, don’t be like me and forget to turn off the oven!

Thanks for reading and please stop by again soon!