Archive for articles

What We are Reading/Listening to

http://thesweetlifesugarfree.com/what-were-reading-or-listening-to/

It’s Posted! YAY!

We just posted a page for those out there that would like to do more reading (or listening) and research a bit further on their own.

 

Sample of Erin’s Keto library

 

There are TONS of books, sites, Podcasts, and articles out there, and we have read or listened to so many of them. Together we have created a list of a few of our favorites and brought that list to our site to share with you. You can purchase these off of our Amazon store – right out of our page (EASY!).
Yes!  We have read pretty much everything we can get our hands on regarding the topic of Keto! We have read a ton about Paleo as well (if you have questions on that) and the Paleo resources are much more abundant.
I will also say, from first hand experience, the selection of material at the San Antonio Library has also been very good. And if its not there you can ask online or at any branch they are extremely helpful in locating anything specific. This is a great way to try out cookbooks as well!

 

We are full of suggestions on this topic! Please just ask if you would like to know where to start depending on your goals we will lead you in the right direction.

 

 

 

What’s Up In The Gut?

For those of you that have seen our library of Keto resources, you know that it is extensive.  We read A LOT!  Erin and I are very passionate about diet and nutrition so we literally live, eat, and breathe what we preach!  While we love our books, there is also a lot of information coming out in the news on a daily basis.  In addition to our books, we subscribe to wellness and health magazines, both through snail mail and email, and scour the internet for the latest and greatest information.  Gut health and depression has been in the headlines quite often the past few weeks.  This is an article from Paleo Plan, an online subscription I follow on occasion:

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“Did you hear the good news!? At long last…science is recognizing something that’s been known since antiquity…the interconnectedness between gut health and disease!
Recently researchers have begun to realize how depression and overall brain health are intimately connected to our microbiome (the 3-5 pounds of bacteria living inside our bodies which outnumber our own cells 10:1). Several studies are now linking depression with imbalances in our microbiome. In other words, having too much ‘bad bacteria’ and not enough ‘good bacteria’ in our guts can trigger depression (and a host of other diseases).
While scientists are rejoicing about their ‘discovery’ that the brain is indeed influenced by gut health, this is not breaking news. The father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, proclaimed over 2,000 years ago, “All disease begins in the gut”.
What is more along the lines of breaking news are recent headlines likening yogurt to Prozac for treating depression. Now before you go raid the dairy aisle of your local grocery store, let’s chat about why yogurt is being touted as an antidepressant.
Yogurt is marketed to contain probiotics, which are beneficial ‘good’ bacteria critical for immune function and overall health. These probiotics are also capable of altering our emotional state, and studies have found that supplementation with them can improve mood and act as a mild antidepressant.
There are some problems with most yogurts sold at the market (other than the dairy, sugar and other non-Paleo ingredients they commonly contain). Many commercial yogurt products have been pasteurized at high temperatures after the live bacteria cultures have been added, essentially killing all of the probiotics.
Further, we house hundreds of different species of bacteria in our guts, yet most yogurts (and probiotic pills) contain only a small handful of species. Dysbiosis (an imbalanced gut microbiome) is defined as overgrowth of any one type of bacteria. Unfortunately a ‘good’ bacteria can become ‘bad’ if taken in excess.
While yogurt may not be the best source of probiotics, there are several ways to increase your microbial diversity. Eating dietary fiber from whole, natural foods at every meal feeds the good bacteria in your gut and colon, helping them to naturally populate. Other foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir or yogurt, kombucha, live probiotic drinks, and other fermented/cultured vegetables are packed full of living probiotics. The key is to select a brand that is live or raw, meaning the bacteria haven’t been killed via pasteurization. Better yet, you can make your own raw fermented foods!
Lastly, it’s easy to overconsume any one type of bacteria if you take the same probiotic pills over and over. That’s why I urge my clients to rotate their brand of probiotic supplements and ideally get their probiotics from whole food sources.
Ok, so yogurt is probably not the”new Prozac” as news reports are so eagerly proclaiming, but the message is valid: a happy gut precedes a happy mind! It’s time for us all to quit fearing bacteria, and to embrace the reality that our bodies contain more bacterial cells than human cells…now that’s some food for thought! :)” – Paleo Plan

 

While we do not recommend yogurt for adults on a Ketogenic diet, I do allow my children to have good quality, unsweetened yogurt from grass-fed cows.  It has the quality probiotics as well as the nutrients from grass-fed cows that you can’t get from any other kind of yogurt.  This one in particular is also WHOLE milk yogurt that is almost impossible to find in this day of low-fat everything!  It is the best I have found and a great treat for the kiddos.

 

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I was listening to this same study on Good Morning America this morning and then came across it online as well, so I wanted to share it and put it in line with the Keto diet.  It is written from a Paleo perspective so it does not follow all of our rules exactly, but it does have some good tips about cleaning up your gut!  This is where Keto helps a ton!  Fat is great for the brain and Keto does a great job cleaning up the gut bacteria even alone.  The GMA segment was mainly focusing on carbs causing depression and the great probiotic foods we can use to help it.  We all know we need to cut the carbs, but not everyone knows that there are actually healing foods that can repair some of the damage we have caused.

 

Dr. Perlmutter’s new book entitled, Brain Maker is all about the gut, and the foods you can use to clean it up!  In fact, a large part of the article above is taken directly from his book.  This is on my bedside table at the moment, and about to move to the kitchen to try the recipes he has included in it as well.  Check it out in our Amazon Store!

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The gut and the brain are more connected than we ever thought.   What you put in your mouth can greatly effect what happens in your brain.  Even more, as ketoers, we know that the brain prefers fat as a fuel, and by replacing your carbs for fat you are already helping.  Now imagine going a step further to feed it healing foods as well!

 

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How do we cause damage?  Many ways, but a BIG one is antibiotics.  We try to limit antibiotics as much as possible.  While they were created for life-saving measures, they are highly overprescribed and frankly abused this day in age.  I only take them and give them to my family if they are absolutely necessary – and by that, I mean a raging ear infection, sinus infection or something we know, without a doubt, an antibiotic can fix.  If a virus is a possibility – I pass.  Another example; I had a severe allergic reaction to a yellow-jacket sting last week.  After two days my foot swelled so badly that I couldn’t get a flip flop on and it was turning colors.  I reluctantly went to an emergency clinic when my foot was hot to the touch.  The doctor immediately wanted to give me an antibiotic to reduce the CHANCES of infection.  I did NOT have an infection, I had a reaction!  I verified this and refused the antibiotic.  There ARE cases when an antibiotic is needed.  Just tell your doctor that if it’s not necessary you don’t want it.  So many doctors today are quick to provide a fix because they think that is what YOU want, when in reality, you may just need to wait a couple of days to shake off a virus.  If, however, an antibiotic is taken, you need to know that it not only kills the bad bacteria, but also kills the GOOD bacteria your body needs for many functions.  I know it sounds crazy, but your body NEEDS bacteria.  There is actually a purpose for it.  So what to do, if you are sick with a fever and NEED an antibiotic?  Take a great quality probiotic TWO hours after taking your antibiotic.  While there isn’t exact science, this seems to have the best results in replacing some of the good bacteria you kill with the antibiotic.  Here are a couple of probiotics we believe are GREAT ones.  I do take these daily and switch them up after I finish a bottle.

These first two need to stay in the refrigerator:

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This one below does not need to be refrigerated so it is great for travel:

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To sum it up…Take care of your gut and it will take care of you.  It kind of goes along with what we have heard for years…”You are what you eat.”  It seems now, that this saying is more accurate than we ever imagined!

Take care of you, yours, and your gut!  Happy Friday!

 

Camp Time!

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Last Sunday I sent my two oldest children off to camp in another state.  They were super excited about their time at camp except for one thing…the food!

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It is kind of funny that this was somewhat upsetting to them considering other children look forward to the pancakes at breakfast, chicken fried steak, and the candy store.  Other children that go to this camp rave about the food, but mine, of course, were anxious.  I have to admit, it makes me a little anxious too, but so proud of them at the same time for knowing that they understand the foods that fuel their bodies best.  If you read my post recently about my children refusing the almond flour muffins it makes sense.

My oldest is definitely Keto-adapted.  The other two have a way to go, but my middle child would be closer if not given outside choices.  As parents, it is virtually impossible to keep our children healthy at all times.  Erin and I have a 90/10 rule.  If you are sugar-free and Keto-adapted 90% of the time, forgive yourself for the other 10%.  Many times it can’t be helped if you are away from home also.  If my children are 75%/25%, I am happy.  I can’t control everything that happens at birthday parties, grandparent’s homes, and eating out with friends, nor do I try.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a bit of a control freak, but I know a bad ending when I see it coming!  The last thing we want to create is the forbidden fruit syndrome.  They need to experience the difference in how food makes them feel to make them WANT to eat healthy.  This takes time, just as it does for us. My goodness, it took me over 35 years to figure it out!  Hopefully with our guidance it won’t take our children as long.

Once they figure out that carbs and sugar make them feel badly, it becomes much easier.    That is, until camp time; or really anytime they are away from home for a prolonged period of time!  I tried to counsel them about food choices before they left.  I thought about requesting no sugar from the camp, but my husband talked me out of it saying this is their time to be kids.  Again, the 75/25 for them, and he was right.  My prayer is that they always make good choices, and just like most other bad choices, they will feel the consequences of them quickly if they decide to buy three candy bars and a gatorade at the camp store for snack.  I have to admit, I am really curious to see how it goes.  This is a lot of freedom for them.

The best advice I could give them was to remember the foods we eat at home and try to mimic them.  If everything is fried or brown, go for the salad bar option and pile on the proteins and full-fat salad dressings to make sure you are energized.  Instead of the cinnamon rolls and waffles at breakfast, remember how much better and energized you feel when you choose eggs and bacon for breakfast.  They can skip the extra bread, have two patties instead of a bun, and go for extra veggies instead of the mashed potatoes.  Pick the bag of nuts or sunflower seeds in the camp store instead of a candy bar or crackers.  They know how food makes them feel now, so now is the time to put that into play.  I think we all realize there will be days when there may not be a better choice, but that is okay too.

As many of us send our kids off for a few weeks, we pray for their safety, lasting friendships, spiritual growth, and growth as individuals.  Encourage them to make good choices in all aspects of life including nutrition.  Know, however, that if they can’t always make good healthy eating decisions, it is okay.  The most important thing that you can do as a parent in teaching them, as in so many other aspects of life, is modeling.  If you are making good eating choices in front of them, and cooking good healthy, low-sugar meals for them when they are sitting at YOUR table, you are making a world of difference in their futures.  They will have those memories of dinnertime rituals at your table forever and carry those on to future generations.  So set those examples at home, and with a little hope and a lot of prayer, let’s look forward to a future generation of very healthy eaters that can make great decisions on their own.

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Happy summer!

What is Keto?

We were chatting the other day about keto (of course) and thought it might be a good idea to post a bit about the “basics.” While we we have been trucking right along with recipes and tips we realize not every one has been with us since the very beginning. So today’s post will be a little refresher about what the Ketogenic Diet is about.

This information is also located on the “What is Keto?” tab.

 

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So what are we talking about?


When Erin was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer, she was immediately given books, journals and studies outlining the tragic effects sugar has on the body. Her father-in-law insisted she remove sugar from her life and start a Ketogenic diet. Upon further research, both Erin and Cindy have come to discover the benefits of a Ketogenic diet for more than just cancer patients. Other than Type I diabetics and alcoholics, the ketogenic diet is good for most people if even just used to power the brain with it’s preferred source of energy…FAT!

Fat is great for our brains and our bodies. Fat was given a really bad name back in the 1950’s, and continued to be beaten out of our diets based on false science until recently. When the fat was removed from our diets, food manufacturers added copious amounts of sugars and fillers to replace the fat that had once given us the natural flavors and textures we all loved in our food. In turn, this made us not only food addicts, but sugar addicts as well! Now, it is time to break the cycle and bring our nation back to the way we were originally designed to eat!

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In a Nutshell – KETO explained


A Ketogenic diet is a diet that consists of primarily fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate intake. Many times referred to as Low Carb/High Fat (LCHF). The percentage of Macronutrients varies for each individual depending on insulin resistance and metabolic panel. For instance, Erin can eat quite a bit more protein and carbs without a negative impact on blood ketones. Cindy, on the other hand, has to have a higher fat intake with fewer carbs and protein in order to keep her blood sugar minimized because of her insulin resistance due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). A typical day for most individuals would consist of 72.5% Fat, 22.5% Protein, and 5% Carbohydrates.

Ketosis occurs when your body shifts from burning glucose (sugar and carbohydrates) for fuel and instead burns ketone bodies produced by the consumption of fat. We call this Keto-Adapted.

Ketones are the ideal fuel for the body, unlike glucose, which is damaging, less stable, and shortens your life-span. Ketones are non-glycating, which means they don’t have an aging effect on your body.

The energy producing cells (powerhouse) of our body, the mitochondria, work much better on a Ketogenic diet as they are able to increase energy levels on a stable, long-burning, efficient, and steady supply of Ketones. No drug has been able to mimic the effect of Ketosis because the mitochondria were specifically designed to use fat for energy.

This was the diet of our ancestors years ago, and the way we were designed to live as they were scavengers and hunters. Our brains have evolved to live off of fat. In fact, our brains are primarily composed of fat and prefer such as a fuel.

Babies live on a Ketogenic diet. We were given a gift to provide newborns with the ultimate brain fuel naturally in breast milk. When babies are given breast milk which is primarily fat they are essentially Keto-Adapted and burning ketones for fuel which in turn helps construct and grow their brains.

In a nutshell…Being in Ketosis means your body is burning fat (Yay!). For your brain, it means clarity, less risk for seizures, a better environment for neuronal recovery and repair, plus more energy!

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What does a ketogenic diet treat?


Inflammation of many kinds, including joint pain
Individuals with high cholesterol
Individuals seeking greater mental focus
Obesity
Cancer
Type 2 Diabetes
Epilepsy
Autism
Alzheimers
Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Depression
Stroke and Head Trauma
Parkinsons
Migraines
Sleep Disorders
Schizophrenia
Anxiety
PCOS and Infertiltiy
ADHD
IBS
Cardiovascular Disease
Respiratory Failure
Reflux
Acne
Allergies
Strengths Immune System
Great for Indurance Athletes that want Sustained Energy
Great for Body Builders or Fitness Buffs that want increased definition of their muscles.
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“Why Is the Federal Government Afraid of Fat?” NYTimes Article


We are so excited about this article!  July 10, 2015, the New York Times printed an article, that in our opinion, is long over due.

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The authors of this article appear to know what they are talking about:

Dariush Mozaffarian is dean ­of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. David S. Ludwig is the director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and the author of the forthcoming book “Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently.”

 

“BOSTON — SINCE the publication of the federal government’s 1980 Dietary Guidelines, dietary policy has focused on reducing total fat in the American diet — specifically, to no more than 30 percent of a person’s daily calories. This fear of fat has had far-reaching impacts, from consumer preferences to the billions of dollars spent by the military, government-run hospitals and school districts on food. As we argue in a recently published article in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 35 years after that policy shift, it’s long past time for us to exonerate dietary fat.”

 

Full article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/opinion/why-is-the-federal-government-afraid-of-fat.html

 

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How great is it that?!

While this article doesn’t address all the current issues with the Standard American Diet, (SAD) it’s a giant step in the right direction.

 

The reality is, the more the general population starts asking for real food, the more truly healthy options we are going to get.

 

Please take a couple short minutes to read the article above (it’s not long) and feel confident when you ask for extra butter on your steak.

No More Buns!

So today I served up some leftover hamburger patties for my kiddos.  As I was fixing my lunch and carrying on with my day, I suddenly realized that not one of my three children even asked for a bun!  I had one ask for blueberries, one ask for milk, and the other ask for cheese, but not one asked for bread! What a glorious day!

This is what our hamburger used to look like:

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Hopefully this image doesn’t send you to the nearest burger joint!  Honestly, this image does nothing for me anymore.  As a self-proclaimed carb-aholic, I am amazed that I no longer have cravings for the bun!  The meat – yes!  I could care less about the bun though. I never thought I would say this, so I post in order to bring you hope for a happy bunless forever.

I am so grateful too.  A typical 100% whole wheat hamburger bun has 25-35 grams of carbs, and generally is about 75% carbs or more when calculating macros (Fat, Carbs, Protein).  I’m not even going to talk about the dreaded refined white flour buns!  And…30 grams of carbs is about my max intake of carbs on a typical day so that bun would be it.

I knew I had made it past the carb craving stage, but I also knew it would be a more difficult task for my children. After all, they usually eat what they are served and find themselves in places with many offerings.  In the beginning of this new “Way of Eating” (WOE), I heard a lot of comments like, “How long are you going to do this diet?”, or “Why can’t we have buns?”

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It is hard to explain to children how wheat, something that is grown from the earth, is harmful to them.  I used to mill my own wheat and bake my own bread for goodness sakes. I get the questions!  I used to think I was doing all the right things by giving my children fresh milled whole grains.  Then I read Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD and Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD.  Wow!  What eye opening reads!  Being a faithful person, I always believed that anything provided on earth and grown from the ground had to be good for us.  I had no idea how much the wheat we were provided has been changed over the years by human scientists.  It is actually very sad!  I prefer my family eat things from nature, not the product of a scientist.  So, that is why I removed wheat not only from my diet, but that of the rest of my family as well.

I was shocked today when I realized that there was not a comment, not a mention, not a whine for bread!  Even the kids get over it!

At breakfast today, I served grain-free lemon blueberry muffins, and my oldest told me that he just doesn’t really care for the muffins anymore.  When I asked him why he didn’t like the muffins, he told me that it wasn’t these muffins in particular, it was just muffins in general.  He asked for a poached egg instead.

Wow!  Breakfast breads used to be a staple, and now they are turning them away!  What a corner we have turned.

So, I hope that this gives you a glimmer of hope that the whole family can live this Keto lifestyle. I emphasize lifestyle.  This is not a diet for us anymore – it is a lifestyle.  It is the way we shop, eat, cook, and live.  We love it!  It gives us more energy to get through the day and through these years of parenting.  The kids notice the difference too.  Everyone just feels better, which gives us the willpower to get through the choices that used to challenge us.  Now it is not a obstacle for us, and surprisingly our children either.  I do want to say, that I don’t offer the options at home, but if we are out, I don’t tell the kids it is off limits.  I let them make the choice for themselves.  I never want them to feel like the things we choose to eat are “forbidden fruit”.  I try to educate them to make healthy choices so that they have a lifetime of healthy eating, not just the forbidden foods we tell them they cannot eat.  Example teaches what 10,000 words cannot!  Be a great example for the kids, and they will follow suit!

Here’s to healthy eating and healthy teaching!  It is possible!

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Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Fourth of July!!!  Wave that Red, White, and Blue!  Show off your stars and stripes!  Enjoy your day, and celebrate with friends and family!  We love our Independence Day in the Lutz and Stavros households!

We have been over several recipe ideas to keep your day healthy and low carb!  Here are a few ideas from the past and the ones we have posted the last few weeks to help you compile your menu into one concise spot…right here!  All of these recipes can be found on this webpage on our blog:

Main Courses:

Brisket (You can even pick up or buy a precooked one to bake to make it easy!)

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Ribs – Yum!!!

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With our sugar-free sauce…

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Bunless Burgers (We love our ABC burger – Avocado, Bacon, and Cheddar)

IMG_0785Bunless Hot Dogs or Sausage Links

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Egg Salad

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Sides:

Refreshing Cukes

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Cheesy Tater Tots

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Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Appetizers and Snack Ideas:

Stuffed Mushrooms

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Cheese Crisps

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Zucchini Chips

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Guacamole

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Deviled Eggs:

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Dessert:

Stars and Stripes Cheesecake with Berries:

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Drinks:

Refreshing Low-Carb Margarita on the Rocks

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Enjoy a wonderful celebratory day filled with healthy food, healthy sun, friends and family.

God Bless America!

 

 

 

But it said, “Sugar Free”!?!?

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For the most part, I think most would agree that sugar is bad, very bad!  It causes a copious amount of diseases, is almost entirely responsible for the obesity epidemic in our country, and is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.  Yes 8 TIMES more addictive than COCAINE!

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So what about all those “sugar free” choices out there?  Well, this is the definition by the FDA of “sugar free” : “Sugar Free”: Less than 0.5 g sugars per RACC and per labeled serving (or for meals and main dishes, less than 0.5 g per labeled serving) (c)(1)
Contains no ingredient that is a sugar or generally understood to contain sugars except as noted below (*)  You can read their definitions on the FDA website here.  The problem with this definition is the fact that there are a lot of ingredients these days that are hidden in our foods that will spike your insulin levels faster than cane sugar and are not identified as so called “sugar”.  Many of these are sneaky ingredients in foods you would never guess like salad dressings, spices and seasonings, and marinated products.  These are foods that you may still be eating because I know you are not eating those awful processed foods anymore, right?

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You need to know that just because you don’t see “sugar” or dare I say, “high fructose corn syrup” on the label does not mean you are home free.

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Here is a list taken from JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet book:

The Many Names for Sugar

Barley Malt

Beet Sugar

Brown Sugar

Buttered Syrup

Cane Juice Crystals

Cane Sugar

Caramel

Carob Syrup

Castor Sugar

Confectioners’ Sugar

Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup Solids

Date Sugar

Demerara Sugar

Dextran

Dextrose

Diastatic Malt

Diatase

Ethyl Maltol

Fructose

Fruit Juice

Fruit Juice Concentrate

Galactose

Glucose

Glucose Solids

Golden Sugar

Golden Syrup

Grape Syrup

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Honey

Icing Sugar

Invert Sugar

Lactose

Malt Syrup

Maltodextrin (This is a BIG one!)

Maltose

Maple Syrup

Molasses

Muscovado Sugar

Panocha

Raw Sugar

Refiner’s Syrup

Rice Syrup

Sorbitol

Sorghum Syrup

Sucrose

Treacle

Turbinado Sugar

Yellow Sugar

And don’t forget the sweeteners:

Acesulfame Potassium

Alitame

Aspartame

Aspartame-acesulfame salt

Cyclamate

Isomalt

Neohesperidin dihydrochalcone

Nutrasweet

Saccharin

Spenda

Sucralose

If you see any of these ingredients – Stay away – far, far away.  If you are still drinking diet drinks – wean yourself, by drinking sparking water, La Croix, fresh brewed tea, or water!  It does the body good!

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The sneakiest one on the list for me has been the Maltodextrin!  It is in more than you could imagine.  I have found it in sauces, and especially seasoning mixes.  For instance, I used to love dumping a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix into 16 ounces of sour cream for a yummy veggie dip.  Then, I actually took a minute to look at the ingredients, and there it was, in black and white – #3 on the ingredient list – Maltodextrin.  That was a huge wake up call for me when I thought I was doing it all right!  I cannot say it enough, “READ YOUR LABELS!”  A really good rule of thumb to follow is this:  If it has more than 5 ingredients, you probably shouldn’t eat it, but if it has ingredients you cannot pronounce, you definitely should not eat it!  I guarantee that if you saw the manufacturing and chemical processing of these products you wouldn’t want them in your body.  Best to choose foods grown from the earth or raised grazing the green grass.  These are your REAL FOODS!

The other mention on this subject is the Glycemic Index.  There is more study needed on this index, but it is a good resource going back to ingredients like Maltodextrin.  The Glycemic Index measures how much the food you eat affects your blood sugar levels.  The higher the rating, the greater the effect the food will have on your blood sugar.  The scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest (well-used to be the highest).  A 100 rating will shoot your blood sugar through the roof!  Here are some examples:

Remember that Maltodextrin? Well, it measured higher than pure Glucose which used to top the scale:

Maltodextrin – 110

Pure Glucose – 100

Splenda – 80

Sucrose (Table Sugar) – 65

Maple Syrup – 54

Honey – 50

Lactose – 45

Coconut Palm Sugar – 35

Maltitol – 35

Agave – 15

I like this website published by the University of Sydney, that allows you to enter in foods to calculate the impact it has on your body.  This website published by Harvard is also an eye-opening chart that lists common foods with their Glycemic Index as well as the Glycemic Load which takes into account the serving size, or “dose” of sugar.  The difference between the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load is the serving size.  The “Index” measures the sugar impact on the same amount of food, not a typical serving size.  The “Load” uses the Glycemic Index as its foundation but takes serving size into account.

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Watch out for those hidden sugars.  “No Sugar Added” always mean sugar!  Food labels are tricky.  I really like the way JJ Virgin writes in her book, “Let’s be honest.  You get excited when you see that sparkly starburst on the box telling you there’s been no sugar added to those fruit roll-ups.  Well, I’ll be delicate here.  They’re taking some poetic license – with you health.  Manufacturers give you some credit, and they know that if you saw a box that read “21 teaspoons of added sugar for your metabolic upheaval!” you might think twice.  So they’ve spent a lot of time and money testing ways to get around your sensible objections so they can manipulate you into buying as much of what they’re selling as possible, guilt and worry free.  They’ve made all your favorite treats “without added sugar,” so you could have your cake and eat it, too….And just because a manufacturer labels a food or drink “no added sugar,” that in no way means that it doesn’t contain sugar.  No added sugar does not mean sugar-free.  It can also mean they’ve used fruit juice concentrate as their sweetener.  That’s essentially fructose without the fiber. (Fructose goes straight to your liver!)  And remember that white flour will end up as sugar anyway, so many of the ingredients in your no-sugar added cookie will turn into sugar as soon as you start munching.  Labels can be misleading.”  JJ Virgin – Sugar Impact Diet.

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In a nutshell, read your labels – the ones on the back, buy “Real Food”, and know your sugars and their impact.  And remember:

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Sweeteners; How to Choose the Right One

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We know sugar is BAD!  The sad truth is that many “No Calorie Sweeteners” are also bad. The choices are plentiful!  The health consequences of these are also plentiful!

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My first choice of sweetener when we decided to go Keto was Splenda (Larger name is Sucralose.) because that was my husband’s sweetener of choice, and you could bake with it in equal amounts.  Then…I heard the story about how Sucralose was invented.  It was invented by a group of chemists looking for a new formula for pesticide.  Yes, I said pesticide!  When you eat Splenda or other versions of Sucralose you are eating the mistake of chemists looking for a new improved pesticide.  When Chemist A said to Chemist B, “Have you tested it?”, Chemist B responded, “It tastes sweet!” Obviously mishearing, taste for test, Chemist A was horrified that B actually put this poison in his mouth.  But, the formula for a new product began at this point.  Let’s see when you put that stuff to your lips again.

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There are many other choices…We are all familiar with the blue stuff, the pink stuff, and the list goes on.  Then you have honey, agave, and maple syrup.  Granted, these are natural sweeteners, but have an effect on blood sugar.  Honey, agave and maple syrup can all have a dramatic effect on your blood sugar, and leave you craving for more.  Honey?  I know, but just like everything else, it has become highly processed, and basically “all the good stuff” has been removed.  The only exception I would find, would be a good local source that you know has quality honey from the area in which you live.  I still would not eat it, but I would use it to sweeten things such as grass-fed plain yogurt and other quality foods for my children.  If you can find good LOCAL honey, it is great for allergy resistance for your children in very small amounts – I emphasize SMALL.  Please use with caution because it still will spike blood sugar.  If you are trying to lose weight or have insulin resistance at all (which over 70% of our adult population does) stay away and stick to the others mentioned next.  To read more about the worst and best sweetener, check out this article, The 4 Best and 3 Worst Sweeteners to Have in Your Kitchen, written by Dr. Mercola.

Natural sweeteners that do not have an impact on blood sugar are Swerve, Stevia, and Chicory Root, and every once in a while, Xylitol for certain foods (be careful with Xylitol – toxic for pets).  These are the ones that we choose to use.  You can purchase Swerve at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or in our Amazon store, here.  There are many different forms of Stevia on the market.  Be careful, and READ your labels.  I have found all sorts of added ingredients.  This is the Chicory Root powder sold by Chocoperfection:

Sweet PErfection

 

This is granular swerve, good used on anything that is NOT cold, such as coffee or baked goods.  Choose the purple confectioners for cold items, such as puddings or custards.

 

Swerve

We do all need to try to be as sugar free as possible for so many health reasons.  The problem is, any time there is a good thing, the food industry can take it and make it BAD!  Take for instance, Stevia.  Stevia is a great product, used for centuries in South America.  It is all natural, has a low glycemic index, and a little goes a long way. The food industry in America saw that this was an up and coming sweetener, and has come along and ruined it in many ways.  For example, Pure Stevia used to be the only thing you could buy.  Now you have huge food and beverage companies coming into the market, and adding other ingredients, such as sugar (yes, sugar) maltodextrin, and a variety of other ingredients we do not want inside our bodies.  My point of this post is to tell you to be careful when choosing sweeteners and reading labels.  We need to cut down on the “sweet” period!  That is, teach our tongues not to crave the sweet.  If you do need a little sweet every once in a while, choose carefully by doing your research, and reading your labels.  Do not go by what you see on the front of a box!  At the moment, I buy the Sweet Leaf packets:

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And Stevia Drops which come in a variety of flavors and you can purchase at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or our Amazon store here:

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Sometimes as a treat, I use these drops to sweeten plain unsweetened almond milk for the children.  When I use the chocolate drops, it magically turns into a chocolate milkshake!

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Stevia measures VERY VERY differently than any of these other sweeteners which more or less can be measured cup for cup just like sugar.  This website is a great resource for conversions if you have any questions.  Just click here for a conversion chart!  This works for PURE Stevia only.

I ordered a “Pure Stevia” off of Amazon last week, and was livid when I received it to find that the “other ingredient” was Malodextrin which has one of the highest glycemic index values out there.  It is BAD stuff! Needless to say, it is going back, and I will continue to do my research to find an actual PURE stevia with no other added ingredients.  It is becoming harder and harder to do this.  The one place I have been able to find actual pure, organic, non-GMO stevia for baking is Trader Joe’s.  While there, pick up some coconut cream, ghee, nuts of many varieties, and some Creme Fraiche!  Yum!!!

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So the take away of this article is to READ, READ, READ you labels!  There are new brands of Stevia, especially, coming to the market daily because it is a HOT item.  To make them better, companies are making these sweeteners worse for us.  Take care and sweeten carefully!

Bottoms Up!

Well this article doesn’t mince words – http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/21/health/sitting-will-kill-you/

Nor does this one – https://hbr.org/2013/01/sitting-is-the-smoking-of-our-generation/

There are hundreds, if not thousands of these articles coming out.

While we don’t know the exact amount of sitting a day that could be considered “safe” it’s fairly easy to guess that most of us likely are exceeding that amount.

 

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I started to think about the hours spent on my tush, and the reality is…. I’m sitting more than any other position, including laying down to sleep!

8 hours at work

1 hour, roughly, in the car

2 hours of screen time at home – don’t judge: online shopping, writing, researching, etc.

1 hour for meals or coffee

=

12 hours

OUCH!

I don’t think that I am outside the “norm” for those of us that work in an office environment.

 

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I have tried to get up as much as possible. Drinking a lot of water helps ;).  I also like to get up to talk to coworkers – 9x out of 10, jokes are funnier in person than through email or instant messenger.

Recently, I was inspired by a fitness minded co-worker and purchased a small elliptical. It was the best decision! I feel SO MUCH BETTER. You can find the exact one here.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am averaging over 30 miles a day while at my desk. It sounds like a ton, but I am doing this off an on for EIGHT hours, so it adds up-over 150 miles a week!! I really had no idea how much I would enjoy this guy, or the amount of miles I could log. It’s AWESOME, and I feel so much more energized. I’m thinking about buying another to put under my home desk as well.

 

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

 

Even those that are not in the office environment should pay attention to the amount of time they are sitting. It truly adds up quickly – between the car, computer, phone time, and even a ton of “activities”, can and likely, are being done in a chair.  So, get up and move when you can!

 

 

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