Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Healthy Adventure: Diet Week 2

So, how did you all do with the first week of going without soda/carbonation? What about drinking 8 glasses of water a day? I didn't give you any links to the several thousand articles and studies that prove that soda pop is unhealthy for you. I am going to assume that we all know by now that it is unhealthy...but if you do need proof, just google "soda unhealthy" and knock yourself out! :)

Most of my friends have told me that they already eliminated soda out of their diet a while ago, so for many of you this first goal was easy to accomplish. Then there are those of you who would rather die than give up your daily dose of soda pop. This will be the hardest (and the most rewarding) step for those who are soda addicts. If you are having difficulty in going without the caffeine, perhaps green tea will help to ease you off of the carbonation and sugar, while still giving you your caffeine for a while. I was amazed when I saw this caffeine comparison chart . Wow.

Week 2 Goal: No candy/candy bars

For those of you who are now soda-free, the next step in my adventure is to go without candy and candy bars. For me, it was easy. I don't really crave "candy". I do love sugar, just not in this form. For the few of you who crave candy and struggle with it, right now should be easier than October-December. By the time October comes around, the cravings will be well out of your system.

It may seem silly to go without candy and candy bars and still be eating cookies, brownies, and etc., but for me it is easier this way. I am kind of a free spirit and hate to feel controlled (even if it is me that has put up the restrictions) and so the gradual process of elimination works much better for me. I am in the process of finding healthier recipes for my favorite baked goods and have begun going without them, even now, just to make that step that much easier.

For those of you who do find that candy is the most difficult item to resist, beginning right now, you will go through all of your cupboards and gather all of the candy you have and get rid of it. Gather up every last piece of candy and trash it. If it is difficult for you to resist eating it, you will need to get rid of the temptation in your own home and your workplace. Also, remember that you are helping to cut down on the candy your other family members are consuming. They still have the freedom to choose to eat candy or drink soda, just not in your home. If you have a spouse who is extremely stubborn (not that I would know anything about this) and insists that you not trash your candy, donate it to a homeless/women's shelter. I still have 2 bottles of soda in our garage and a shelf full of candy, only because I don't have issues with these items and I am still trying to figure out who to give them to. Any suggestions? :)

Your replacement for candy/candy bars is fresh fruit. Go to the store and buy a fridge full of fresh fruit. Oranges, apples, bananas, pears, pineapple, berries, kiwi, peaches, grapes, grapefruits, limes, lemons, cherries, plums, mangoes, papaya, or whatever fresh fruits you can find that you know you will eat. If you can't find any in the fresh produce, get some unsweetened frozen fruits. Remember that the order for getting the most nutritional value out of your foods is fresh, then frozen, then canned. If your craving is for chocolate, in general, you many want to find a replacement such as carob chips for now. Eat a fruit first, and then wait for 15 minutes or so to see if you still have a craving for the carob chips. If you do, eat them sparingly and still continue to eat them only after eating your fresh fruit. I know, this may seem so silly to those who don't suffer from true addiction to simple sugars, but for those of you who are sitting there thinking of how you could never go without chocolate, you will appreciate this experiment. ;)

One of the things I have noticed over the past few weeks of beginning to eliminate the obviously unhealthy items out of my diet, is the psychological aspect of my eating habits. I've heard that when you are first going without something that has become a daily part of your life, it is difficult on three different levels. First, there is the obvious PHYSICAL level. You will have to physically let go of the substance because it is in your system and your body craves it. Obviously, you have grown accustomed to having the flavor and smell of whatever it is you crave around on a regular basis. Secondly, there is the MENTAL habit that you need to break. Whatever makes you crave for it, whether it is a time of day or before or after a meal or etc, you will need to find something to replace that unhealthy habit. But, the most difficult part of all, I think, is the EMOTIONAL aspect. I found that the rare occasion that I did want a coke, was when I was having a rather difficult day. It was almost like having a stiff drink for me...a nice, ice cold coke to help me to feel all perky (and bloated) at the end of the day. As far as candy goes, I have found that I expect it when I am at the movies and I especially expect to enjoy some around Halloween and Christmas. Soda and candy (and any other type of processed sugars that we eat) have far more emotional ties than we are even aware of. I would urge you to look at why you want the candy bar or drink. What is it that this sugar fulfills for you? Educate yourself, through research and experimentation, to better realize the effects that processed and simple sugars have on your body. This alone, will help you to want to eat better. ;)

Once we are finished with eliminating the obvious naughty foods, we are going to work on creating healthier substitutes for all of the gray-area foods. This is a gradual process, that is the whole point to going an entire week without an item before moving on to the next. Sure, you can do a 3 day juice fast and probably get rid of quite a few of the toxins that have built up in your system (and if you are up to that, I would suggest doing that along with the other goals of this adventure), but the psychological aspect is what will kill you almost every time. For some, it will take a couple of weeks of going without a particular item, just because it is so stressful for them at first. I promise, it will be worth it and we will all feel better when you are past this part. If you are interested in a more intensive program that will give you a lot of information on why you need to eat specific foods and avoid others, I have heard great reviews from friends who have tried the green smoothie girl's 12 step plan. I'm not sure what it entails, as I haven't convinced myself to spend $150 for it, but I am sure it is awesome. ;)

Thanks for joining me on the adventure! I have decided to reward myself and any of my friends who are also going on this Healthy Adventure by having a dinner to celebrate our success at the end of the three months....I can promise you that the food will be won't want to miss it, my friends.

Let me know how you did with your first week's goal!
~.~the purple sprout

p.s. Almost completed my 8 week meal plan...start now on your own rotating meal plan by making a list of all of your family's favorite meals (including your favorite restaurant dishes). I'll check in later this week to go through the process I have taken to go from fast food/eating out to making meals at home and finally (still in the process) to making healthier/more whole meals at home.

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