No Sugar and No Processed Food Update- Over a Year Later!

Hello everyone!

Wow, has the time flown over here!  I hope your area of the woods has been sunny!  So many things have happened this past year and so many things have changed for me (many of them good).

Let’s start with how I am doing on the No Sugar and No Processed Foods lifestyle I was doing so well on, back in 2011….I have still been eating very little to no sugar!  (I will occasionally have chocolate, but it’s so infrequent).

I must confess though, that when it comes to how much professed food I am eating, it is more than what I ate back in 2011.  I am still pretty much eating the way I did in 2011, but I have been eating some Amy’s frozen macaroni and cheese, and also eating some homemade organic white bread (made with honey, not sugar).

I have also changed what rice I am eating- I no longer eat brown rice, but rather have chosen to eat basmati rice, and I love basmati rice! (Lundberg rice is awesome!)  I have also been cutting down the amount of wheat I eat in general.

It is a daily challenge to continually eat no processed food, and it is easier to just take the processed food route.  It is.  However, I do still eat mostly no processed food.  I just am not nearly as strict about it as I once was (for better or for worse).  Since I am no longer being as strict about it, I have gained back 20 lbs, (I had gone down to 120 lbs. while eating no processed food), which leaves me still weighing less than I did in high school.

I have been focusing more on trying to make sure that all food I eat is either certified organic, or locally grown/raised.

I had four goals for my No Sugar and No Processed Food Challenge, back on April 23, 2011.  They were:

1. More Energy

2. Help clear up my acne.

3. Maybe lose a couple pounds (though this was not a major goal of mine)

4. Just feel overall healthy.

So how am I feeling?  Well, I have more energy, my face is essentially clear (except for an occasional pimple), I did gain some weight back (but that is not an issue for me), and, right now, I do feel overall more healthy than I have in years!

So did this challenge help my lack of energy?  Not really (for me anyway).  Cutting out sugar and processed foods for many people will help them with their lack of energy.

What I found for myself though, was that two major things were causing my energy to be constantly depleted- a relationship (that I broke off a year ago), and a job (that I stopped back in September).  It is a reminder that how we feel is not just affected by the foods we eat, or the products we use on our skin.  We are also affected by people that are in our lives, and by our environment And for me, since I do have some multiple chemical sensitivity, I found that I needed to let go of these two things to allow my health to become better.

How is my acne?  It’s essentially non-existent!  I found that as long as I have kept cutting out sugar from my diet, that my skin is essentially clear.  I still wash my face daily with local pure honey, and only use lime as an occasional nighttime treatment if I do have a pimple or two, or when I have an acne scar.

How is my weight?  I’ve gained some weight back, but I am still a healthy weight 🙂  I truly believe it is less about how much I weigh, and more about whether or not I am healthy.

How do I feel?  I am feeling pretty healthy right now.  I am eating pretty well (though not as perfect as before).  I am still making sure that the products I use on my body and in my environment are healthy for me to be around.  I am in a healthy relationship with a man that I love.

Please feel free to leave comments and/or questions, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

I hope you have a wonderfully sunny day!

~Kim

Please note:  Please check with your doctor or a nutrionist/dietician before starting any new diet/lifestyle.

A Mini Grocery Haul: What I Eat While Eating Real Foods aka No Processed Foods

Hello there!  Long time no see!  I’m so sorry that I haven’t been on this blog in forever~ this summer has been SO much busier than I ever expected it to be!  I finally found the time to upload a couple of videos that I actually recorded over a month ago~ I will be posting more hopefully tomorrow.

This video is a mini grocery haul that I was asked to do.  It is a glimpse at what I eat on a regular basis~ including what vitamins/supplements I take, and what type of processed food I eat if I do eat any (except I forgot chocolate~ sometime I’ll have to show you what organic chocolates I eat if I really want chocolate).

Some random info:
~ My stomach feels good, too, on the Smarty Pants Vitamins.  If you have stomach issues, like IBS, like me, vitamins is something that are recommended to be avoided.  However, these are ok since they do not have any artifical colorings, flavorings, etc.  I actually could not take any vitamins since I was 12 (7 years before my IBS started), due to how horrible I would feel on them.  These, and the Vitamin C ones I talk about in this video, are the only two vitamins I can actually take.

~The snap peas and organic carrots in this video at 11:00 are ones my dad grew.  An awesome way to save money, and gas having to go to the store=grow your own veggies!

~Please note: I am affiliated with Compass Teas.  However, any high quality tea is great for your body and your health 🙂

~Somehow I completely missed mentioning peppermint tea: I LOVE it! Peppermint is also great for IBS symptoms/stomach issues (unless you have heartburn issues too).

~For some reason, parts of the video stop working for a second, but it starts to work again.  I’m really sorry about that.  I tried to fix it, but could not :/

But most importantly, have a sunny day!!
~Kim

Please note: If you wish to try eating real foods, and cut out all the processed foods, please do your research, and ask your doctor or registered dietician for more information.  All the information I talk about here is info I have collected while trying to cure my acne naturally and help myself become a healthy person (not just “healthier”).

Beginner’s Guide to Cutting Out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar

Hello!

So this video I actually recorded and uploaded onto Youtube the same day as my Processed Food Free for 1 Year- Story and Results Video, and thought I had posted it on here as well.  However, apparently I missed posting it here, so here it is! 🙂

In this video I give an explanation of what processed foods are, what foods I eat when trying to eat real foods (and avoid processed foods and refined sugar), what to avoid, and what to look for.  This video did end up much longer than I really had intended it to be, but it gives overall answers to the questions I list above.  Enjoy!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please note: If you are worried about starting this type of diet, or whether it is right for you, please consult your doctor.

Processed Food Free for 1 Year: Story and Results!

Hi everyone!

Back on April 23, 2012 (as I was preparing for the college semester to close within a few weeks), was my 1 Year anniversary of starting the No Processed Foods and Processed (Refined) Sugar Challenge, AKA The Real Food Challenge!

Partly in celebration of this, I recorded a video a few days ago explaining what personally led me to decide that I wanted to stop eating processed foods and refined sugar.  Closer to the end of the video I do also talk about the results I have seen since following this for a year! (I do want to clarify- I lost the 35 lbs. between April 2011 and November 2011.  I have not lost any more weight since then.)  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: If you are worried about starting this type of diet, or want to know whether it’s right for you, please consult your doctor.

5 Months of No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar!

I can hardly believe that it’s been 5 months since I started the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge (aka the Real Food Challenge) on April 23, 2011! It’s been a really interesting 5 months.

Here’s some updates on my four goals I wrote about from my first blog post on Day 1 of No Sugar and No Processed Foods Challenge with Sunny Mother Nature . To go to my first blog post, click here.

Update on my Energy Level

Honestly, my energy level has been really low recently. However, this has not been caused by what I’m eating but much more based on other things going on in my life: crazy long commuting times, lack of sleep, flooding scare, etc. So, my energy level probably won’t be going up really quickly anytime soon. I’ll just keep drinking the yerba mate with honey til then 🙂

Update on my Acne

From the middle of July until the middle of August I wasn’t home (No, I wasn’t on vacation) and so I just couldn’t be as strict with what I ate and didn’t eat. So, my acne did start showing up again.

What was awesome though is that once I was back home from the middle of August until now, I’ve been pretty consistent with what I have been eating (other than one day which I basically ate whatever and so I felt physically horrible for a couple days after).

So, my acne has really been improving. What’s interesting is that my acne really is related to what I’m eating. So, whenever I’m eating just real food, my skin begins to clear up.

This is a huge thing for me because I normally would have four pimples starting every week (if not more pimples). And, my acne was mostly cystic acne. The pimples were just so painful. Now, my acne isn’t nearly as painful, and most of the pimples come to a head (instead of maybe just slowly going away).

Except for the occasional pimple, I mostly have only scars on my face anymore. And since I am very fair (aka very pale) the red acne scars are noticable on my skin. However, even they are starting to fade away! So, this no processed foods and no sugar is really working for my skin. It’s just awesome. (I might put up before and after photos of my face~ let me know if you’re interested 🙂 ).

Update on Weight Loss

Photo from November 2010 (below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from September 2011 (below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one of my minor goals was to possibly lose about 10 pounds (that is the amount of weight that I typically gained during the winter).

I have actually lost 29 lbs since April 23rd, 2011. I went from being around 156 lbs. (This was my weight maybe a week or two into the challenge. I might have lost a couple pounds before this?) down to 127 lbs. in 5 months.

This is incredible. What was so interesting was that I kept thinking when I hit a weight that I would level off there: at 145 lbs, at 140 lbs, at 135 lbs, and even at 130 lbs. And yet, I kept losing weight. I honestly haven’t been 127 lbs. since I was around 12 years old. I was 135 lbs. at 13 years old and in 7th grade. The lowest I was in high school was 145 lbs. so I really thought I wouldn’t go lower than that.

Since I didn’t update during this time on my weight, here’s how it went:

beginning of August- 138 lbs

middle of August- 136 lbs

beginning of September- 130 lbs

on Sept 23- 127 lbs

And there were basically three things that I did: I stopped eating processed foods. I stopped eating sugar. And in June I started doing yoga daily.

I do really want to emphasize that I do not count calories. I believe that if you are eating healthy that you do not need to count them. I just eat until I’m full. I also just find it annoying to count calories. I have enough to look at on the label with ingredients, cholesterol, and saturated fat content. 🙂

Update on Feeling Healthy Goal

I have been feeling healthy (minus the lack of energy). I honestly just consistently feel better when I’m eating real foods and no processed foods or sugar.

I don’t believe I put this into any of my other posts, but I was told by my doctor in August 2010 that I have IBS (aka irritable bowel syndrome). It was probably the the worst summer ever for me because I literally felt so incredibly horrible all the time. There were very few days that I felt even just ok.

Although I was able to get my IBS under control by the end of August 2010, there still would be times from August until May 2011 where I would feel fine and then suddenly I would just feel horrible again. Just the pain itself was really bad, excluding the other symptoms.

Once I started eating no processed foods and no sugar though, I feel great most of the time. The times that I don’t feel good are when I’m not eating as consistently. This is probably the best result I’ve had from this challenge. I love that I can go out and do not have to wonder whether my IBS will make me feel absolutely horrible that day.

I hope that some of my positive results from the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge inspires you to eat healthy too!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Alternatives to Refined Sugar and Artifical Sweeteners

Hi everyone!

Let’s face it~for most of us, there are just times where we want something sweet and/or sweetened, regardless of whether we’re trying not to eat sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, etc.  So, here are some nice alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners to try!

And remember, that whenever you are trying to switch from one product~ like sugar, splenda, sweet’n’low, etc.,~ that you have been using for months, years, or even decades, to another product, please realize that there will be a transition period.  Just be patient with yourself and your taste buds. 🙂

The Alternatives

Blue Agave~ This is a wonderful liquid sweetener made from agave nectar, from the agave plant.  It tastes very similar to regular sugar (to me it tastes exactly the same, but to my boyfriend it doesn’t completely).

If you need to make sure your blood sugar does not spike, this has a low glycemic index.  So, this will not make your blood sugar spike, which makes this a nice alternative for diabetics.  Blue Agave does have calories (This could be a positive or negative for you).

Before my No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge, I did really like blue agave as a sweetener.  However, I worry that it may make my face break out like regular sugar.  So, I have not tried it since my challenge.

Honey~ This is another natural sweetener.  It naturally has vitamins and minerals in it.  I have not found it to make me break out on my face at all (like I have trouble with when having any regular sugar).  So, this is a nice alternative for anyone with acne-prone skin.

Another awesome thing about honey is that if you buy honey from around your nook of the woods, it helps with allergies you may have trouble with, like pollen allergies.  If you buy honey that says “Product of U.S.A.,” or from somewhere else in the world, that’s fine, you just won’t get the allergy help (U.S.A. is too general to really help with allergies).  To get a really good honey, you want to find one that is pure and raw which will look creamier than “regular” honey.

This is my go-to sweetener now.  However, honestly it did take me a couple of uses to finally like it.  I have actually only started liking honey within the past month (and did not like it for the other 22 years of my life).  Now though, I love it. (Maybe this is partly because of my no processed foods and no sugar challenge that I now like honey?)

Honey does have calories (Could be a positive or negative to you).

*Make sure though that you do not use honey if you are allergic to honey.*

Stevia~ This is another natural sweetener from a plant.  If you normally use more artificial sweeteners, than this is the one that you will probably have a little bit of an easier transition to.

Out of the alternatives above and this one, this is the one that I am not completely convinced on.  I have heard that although this is from a plant, that it can make your body react like it is an artificial sweetener- in the fact that it may make you crave more sweet stuff (sugar may make you crave more sweet things as well, but it is not as bad as artificial sweeteners because sugar has calories.  Since artificial sweeteners do not have calories, the body thinks it has not gotten the food/sugar it thought it was going to receive.  So, it makes you crave more.)

Stevia does not have any calories, so this is why it is questioned whether the body reacts to it in the same way.

Regardless though, I still truly believe that this is such a better choice for one’s health than artificial sweeteners because Stevia is not a chemical. 🙂

And, if all else fails, use Organic Sugar!~ Although organic sugar will almost be the same as regular sugar, it at least is better for your health than normal sugar in this way.  When it is grown~ pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers are not used on it.  There are also no added chemicals to bleach or filter the sugar either.  Just make sure to look for USDA Certified Organic Sugar!

So, here are some of the good alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners!  What do you think?~ Did you find any of these to be useful alternatives, or could you just not stand the taste of one of them?  Comment below and tell us what you tried, and what you normally use as a sweetener (regular sugar, splenda, etc.)  Or, did I completely miss a wonderful alternative?  Comment and let me know! 🙂

I hope one of these alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners made your day a little sweeter!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 100 of the No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge

Hi everyone!

Sorry I’ve haven’t written in a while.  The truth is I haven’t been near a computer long enough to write since I last wrote.

I wanted to do a little update though on how my No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge has been going since Day 75.  When I counted what day it was, I found out I had made it to Day 100!

Honestly though, I have not been as strict about eating no processed foods or sugar during these past two weeks that I have been during the rest of the challenge.  Basically since I found out my friend Seth died two weeks ago, that first week I ate tons of chocolate (and I hadn’t really eaten any chocolate before that during my challenge).  Then, this past week it was my birthday and so I indulged in “Birthday Magic” a little bit too much.  (“Birthday Magic” is this idea, in my family, that during your birthday or Christmas, etc. that you can eat things you may not normally feel you can eat, without the bad side effects.  ex. “Those cookies don’t have cholesterol or sodium~ ‘It’s Christmas Magic.’ ” ).  I ate I think two dishes of pasta alfredo at restaurants, and at three of the dinners out I ended up drinking very sugary drinks. My mom also made a Shoofly Cake for my birthday (my mom is an amazing cook, and I love her desserts, which she rarely makes anymore because they aren’t healthy enough for her to be able to eat them eating them more than a couple times a year~ so I couldn’t resist eating two pieces 😉 ).  Now, although I did splurge on these things during these weeks, I still consistently ate my other normal stuff~ whole wheat pasta, brown rice, fresh vegetables and fruits, organic milk, etc.  So, it was moreso in addition to my normal eating, or only replaced one meal a day.  Yet, even at that I could tell a difference in how I felt and in my body.

I could even tell that I was paying for this through my skin.  I ended up getting 5 pimples, all 5 being painful ones that are the kind that are under the skin, within these two weeks.  Compare this to how my face had for a couple of weeks before that had only gotten one new pimple.  I do know though that these pimples are just my body attempting to get rid of all of the toxins, etc. from my body.  Yet, that is a definite sign from my body that it wants me to go back to how I was eating.  And I’m definitely up for it.  I also know that when I am really consistent with eating real foods that my acne does begin to heal itself and I have very few new pimples that form.  It just makes sense to me that food does contribute to my acne, whether I like it or not.

The other thing I think that is partly what I’m having trouble with these past two weeks is that I am not home right now.  So, this is the first time since this challenge that I did not pretty much have a stable eating plan/habit.  It’s different, and so I have to get used to that and find a way to start eating right, again, but now in a little bit different environment.  It’s not necessarily easy, but I have seen the positive benefits of eating completely real foods, and not eating processed foods or sugar, so I’m willing to get back on track. And I know I can do it! 🙂

I hope your day is sunny!

~Kim

What to Avoid When Trying to Eat Healthy and Eat No Processed Foods or Sugar

Here are the ingredients and foods that I completely avoid since I’ve started eating healthy and have been avoiding processed foods and sugar. Now you can too! 

I’ve also included a couple tips on healthy eating that will help you to start eating healthy too!

This list is long, so just read it over.  If you don’t think you can avoid all of them at this time, it’s ok.  Just avoiding a few of these ingredients and/or foods will help your health. 🙂

Ingredients to Avoid If Avoiding Sugar of any kind:

1. All artificial sweeteners (ex. aspartame, saccharin, dextrose, corn sugar, grape sugar, sucralose)

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

3. Corn Syrup

4. Sugar

Ingredients to Avoid if Avoiding Trans Fat:

1. Hydrogenated Oils of any kind (ex. hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated canola oil)

2. Partially Hydrogenated Oils of any kind

3. Interesterified Oils of any kind

Any of these oils listed in a food, means that there is some trans fat in that food, even if the label states it has 0g trans fat.  This is because the FDA decided that companies could advertise any of their food products as having 0g of trans fat if it has less than 0.5 g of trans fat in them per serving.  Trans fat is more harmful to your health than saturated fat.

You need to be especially careful of this loophole when the serving size seems especially small.  This can result in you consuming a lot of trans fat when you believe you are consuming none at all.

There are three types of fat: two are naturally occuring and one is manmade.  The two naturally occuring fats are unsaturated fats and saturated fats.  Unsaturated fats are the good kind, and are naturally liquid at room temperature (think olive oil).  Saturated fats are considered the less healthy type of fat (but still better than trans fat) and are naturally solid at room temperature (think butter on the counter).

The third type of fat, and the manmade type, is trans fat.  Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified to be solid at room temperature, not liquid.  This modification is what created margarine, shortening, etc.  However, this alteration is also the reason why they are more harmful than saturated fats.

Other Ingredients to Avoid, to Help Overall Health and to Help Avoid Processed Foods:

1. Artifical Flavoring

2. “Natural Flavoring”

3. Propylene Glycol

4. Caramel Coloring

5. Fake coloring added (ex. Yellow 5, Blue 1)

5. “Enriched” Flours ~ Although some people look at “enriched” foods as a good thing, it really is not.  “Enriched” means that whatever food product it is, has been so processed that the natural vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber that would normally be found in it have been stripped out.  So, companies had to add vitamins, minerals and/or fiber back in to make it more balanced.

6. Added vitamins and minerals (look at “enriched” flours)

7. Soybean oil, Soy Lecithin, anything soy (soy has become the “new” corn- soy and corn are cheap fillers)  Soy is okay in small amounts for people (ex. Someone who has a glass of soymilk once a day because they are vegan/vegetarian).  However, too many people are getting lots of soy in their diet through processed foods and not even realizing it.  Soy mimics hormones in our bodies, and we need to be careful of that.  Soy is in anything from salad dressing, pasta sauces to chocolate.

Foods (That May Have a “Healthy/Healthier” Reputation), and Food Packaging, to Avoid:

1. Margarines– has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

2. Shortenings (ex. Crisco) -has trans fat/ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them

3. “Wheat” foods that have 0g of fiber~ this means that it’s overly processed because wheat naturally has fiber in it.

4. White bread

5. White rice

6. White pasta

7. Any foods that are “instant,” or have a reduced cooking time: most of the time, they are more processed than the foods they are imitating (ex. instant mashed potatoes vs. homemade mashed potatoes; parboiled instant rice vs. brown rice)

8. Any foods, including meat, that have high percentages of sodium, cholesterol, or saturated fat

~Sodium- the highest percentage on any food should be 10%, but ideally lower

~ Cholesterol- the highest percentage on meat should be 30%, but ideally lower and should be more around 20% or less for any other food

9. Avoid Food Packaged in Plastics #3 and #6 – these are the most harmful types of plastics.  The chemicals in these plastics can leech into the food the plastic packaging is holding, which then makes it unsafe for our health.

10. Limit and/or avoid Plastics #1 and #7.   #1 Plastic is one that the studies are inconclusive about.  Some people suggest it is harmful while others say it is safe.  Plastic #7 is the miscellaneous category for plastics.  Some plastic labelled as #7 is safe, but other #7s are not.  I like to be on the cautious side when it comes to my health.  So, I try to limit these as much as possible.

 Tips for Healthy Eating and Eating No Processed Foods or Sugar:

1. When looking at any wheat or whole grain products, make sure there is at least 2g of fiber.  This normally means the product is less processed.

2. Look for ingredients that you can instantly imagine in their natural state: tomatoes, brown rice, etc.

3. The fresher the food is, and less packaging there is, the better.

4. Go for the rainbow when selecting fruits and vegetables

5. Eat whole wheat and whole grain foods like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread- instead of white rice, white pasta, white bread, etc.  Wheat and whole grain are complex carbs, not simple carbs like their white counterparts, which make them a better fuel for your body.

6. Eat only 2 palm-sized portions of meat a day.  This is an easy way to visually see what an 1 oz. serving of meat looks like without having to buy a scale, or carry one around with you everywhere.  Also, this is the amount of meat recommended for a person daily.  Following this keeps in check the amount of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium you’re consuming in a day.  The rest of your daily protein should come from beans and/or nuts.

8. If cutting out most processed foods from your diet/food intake, make sure you still get enough sodium.  Most Americans get way too much sodium in their diets/daily food intake because of how much processed foods we eat, and how much sodium is in processed foods.  So, most of the time, Americans have trouble with too much sodium.  For us who cut out most processed foods though, we have the problem of getting too little sodium, which our bodies do need to function (and will cause horrible leg cramps if receiving too little).  So, make sure you have enough sodium by salting your meat a little,  eating salted nuts, etc.

9. If you are financially able, go organic.  USDA Certified Organic foods are regulated and are required to not have pesticides, artifical growth hormones, etc. in them or on them, making them an even healthier choice.  However, I am even not able to go completely organic because of finances.  I have a few items (milk, eggs, cheese, and I believe one other item I can’t think of) that I regularly get organic.

However, I believe that eating fresh produce, leaner meats, and overall healthy foods will benefit anybody’s health regardless of whether they eat only organic foods, only conventionally made/grown foods, or a mixture of both.

That’s it!  Thanks for making it through the entire list!  I did not go into the reasons why I avoid each ingredient and food because I felt that it already was a really long blog post.  So, I only included reasoning when I felt that it was especially needed.

If you have any questions on any of these ingredients or foods- like why one of them is on my list– please comment below, and I’ll answer back!

This is not an all-inclusive list.  This is only what I can think of right now. I will be continuously adding things to it when I think of more.  🙂

Did I miss an ingredient or food you think needs to be avoided?  Or, did this list help you start eating better?  Comment below and let me know! 🙂

Have a sunny day, and happy healthy eating and grocery shopping!

~Kim

“Why settle for eating healthier, when you could be eating healthy?” ~Kim Maurer

Why I’ve Continued Eating No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar, aka Day 75

Hi!

The past couple of weeks have gone by so quickly for me. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging! I can hardly believe it’s July 6th already.

So, if I was still counting, (which I haven’t been, but I figured some of you would be curious to know how long I’ve been going without processed foods and sugar 🙂 ) today would be Day 75!

Honestly, it feels like I’ve been eating real foods and no processed foods or sugar for much, much longer than 2 1/2 months.

So, why am I still eating no processed foods and no processed sugars?

I just overall feel healthy now. That was one of my goals when I initially decided to eat this way. And this one change has led to two other changes in my life. After I started this challenge, I began to exercise, started yoga again, and even began to heal my two pulled hamstrings that had “made” me stop doing yoga two years ago (I thought that doing yoga was making them worse. So, I thought I would let them rest. Instead, my hamstrings got so bad on this plan that I would majorly pull them when I leaned over to wash my hands, or when I bent over to pick something off of the floor. They were that bad). The yoga and the walking have been making my hamstrings stronger. The other major change that I started was that I began to really look at how much plastic was in my life and how I could limit it to protect my health and the Earth’s health.

This challenge has even connected me more with my body. I am realizing when I am hungry and when I’m just rummaging around the kitchen because I’m bored, tired, anxious~ place any word you like there. And so, I go do yoga, or just get a glass of water. Anything to get out of the kitchen.

I also have clearer skin. Is it completely clear yet? No, but I know that there are still a lot of toxins in my body that my body is attempting to get out. And, I also know that my skin will never be 100% clear. But, it still is a lot clearer than before I started this challenge, and I’ve even stopped using any acne skincare products.

I am even down to 141 lbs. compared to 156 lbs. when I started this challenge, and this wasn’t even a goal of mine. However, it is a natural response the body has when it is being fed better.

Yet, the one thing that continually brings me back from a craving of chocolate, pizza, a cookie, etc. is that I am feeding my body and my mind right.

It is easy to say, “Oh, but that cookie, junk food, extra-huge portion of steak, or any kind of processed food and sugar tastes so good. I deserve it.”, or “I want it.”

But, do any of us truly deserve or want health problems? Being overweight? Obese? Heart Disease? Diabetes? etc.

No, we don’t! We don’t deserve that. No one does.

So, eat healthy! Eating actual food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, wheat pasta, etc.), milk, nuts, fish, chicken, and those in the right portions, help to nourish you and your body.

Healthy eating:

~ maintains a healthy body weight

~ helps lose weight if overweight

~ helps energize (and eliminates feeling sluggish and tired caused by unhealthy foods)

~ helps lower cholesterol

~ helps lower high blood pressure

~ lowers your risk of Heart Disease

~ lowers your risk for Diabetes, etc.

The list truly goes on and on!

While food-like substances and foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat (look for hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients EVEN if the package says “0 g. trans fat”), cholesterol, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, artifical sweetners, and sugar like ice cream, canned soups, crackers, bread, macaroni and cheese, jello, white pasta, white bread, white rice, cookies, chips, etc. only make you feel sluggish, tired, and can make you gain weight. And no one really wants that.

My goal here is to expose you to how much food is processed, and not actual food, around us! How much processed “food” we believe is food because the ads, companies, and our friends are telling us it is food!

Yet, is it food?

With so many processed foods “enriched” and “nutriously rich” are they really enriched naturally? Or, did companies have to add so many vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. to those “foods” because they were so processed that they barely even resembled food? They are really empty calories that companies sometimes attempt to make “seem” better.

Do you really want to eat foods that are instant? That don’t spoil? That are meant to have long shelf lives?

When it comes to processed foods:

Long shelf lives in the store= Long shelf lives in our bodies

I don’t. I don’t want to eat foods that have ingredients I can’t pronounce, or that have ingredients that I can’t buy or picture that ingredient in its natural form.

And that is why I am continuing to eat this way. I am willing to eat healthy because I know it will be good for me now and later on down the road.

And, it tastes good! 🙂

Anyone can say they will make a change, one day. Are you willing to be different and start making that change today?” ~Kim Maurer

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 57 of the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar AKA the Real Food Challenge

Hello everyone!

So I wanted to give an update on how my food challenge was going and tell you that I have been seeing improvements.

My acne does significantly clear up when I follow this food intake plan religiously.  Yet, when I stray my acne just flares up and it takes it awhile for it to clear up again.  Right now, my skin is once again in its clearing up stage. 

I was so good and did not eat anything bad at a get together/party my boyfriend’s friend was having.  However, the next day (this last Monday) my boyfriend and I ended up eating out and I ordered a vegetable stir fry, kind of hoping (but not really believing) it would be a healthy stir fry.  It wasn’t.   It had a very salty sauce, white rice, and very salty vegetables.  It was a major letdown. 

And my skin has been paying for it.  It’s so interesting that now that I really focus on not eating anything bad or harmful (aka processed, or any type of sugar~ refined, artificial sweetners, etc.), I can see how sugar and processed foods really affect my skin.  But, it has been clearing up, so that’s good.

I also was not sure whether my skin was not having a reaction from the Tarte Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer that I’ve been using for a little less than a month.  So, I’ve stopped using it for a week now.  It does seem like I have less of the tiny bumps on my face, but I am going to give it another week to see if I really think it was partly the Tarte that was causing my breakouts.

I have also lost 12 lbs. in the almost two months that I’ve been cutting out processed foods and sugar.  I’m now at 144 lbs., compared to 156 lbs. two months ago.

Other than that one day that I ate out, I have been sticking to my no processed foods and no sugar plan very well.

My calve muscles also have not been cramping up badly at all recently.  I think I’ve found my balance of how much sodium I need in a day to make sure that the cramps do not happen.

I even feel like I’ve started to have a little bit more energy.  I am a little less stressed than what I have been recently, so I think because of the lower levels of stress I am finally able to see that my energy is higher because of what I’m eating, and what I’m not eating.  Or, maybe I just needed to be eating no processed foods or sugar for two months to finally start seeing my energy level rising.  Or, it could be a combination of the two.  Either way though, I am enjoying the little bit more energy that I am feeling.  I am hoping that as I continue to eat real foods that I will continue to see my energy level increase.

Overall, I have consciously made this a lifestyle change.  I no longer want to put anything that’s processed in my body, and I believe that is the main reason why I have overall really succeeded in keeping with this, despite having my weak moments. 

I believe that any of you can take this challenge to stop eating processed foods and sugar, and start eating real food (whole grains, raw fruits, raw vegetables, the correct portions of meat,etc.) too!  You just have to believe in yourself that you can do it, and truly want to change your food intake.  And the result will be changing your health for the better

“It is one thing to say you will make a change, one dayIt is an entirely different thing to start making that change today.” ~Kim Maurer

If you want to see my progress up to this point during this challenge, and for tips on how you can take this challenge too, please go to my No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge Category Page here: https://sunnymothernature.wordpress.com/category/no-sugar-and-no-processed-foods-challenge/

So, this challenge is almost over, but I am not giving up this change.  This is permanent for me, and I’m now in the stage of maintaining it.  I will continue to do updates on this even after the two months are up.

Are you ready to make this change?  Or do you have any questions, or comments?  Tell me in a comment below!

Have a sunny day! 🙂

~Kim

Day 40 of the No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge AKA the Real Food Challenge

Hi!  I hope your almost-summer days are wonderful!

I’m sorry it’s been a week since I last posted anything!  I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been on a computer this entire week except two times to work on homework.

I wanted to update you though on how my little challenge is going, and it’s still going fairly nicely! 

However, since Day 27, I have gone to two outdoor parties, and a little luncheon.  I did not eat as well as I have been on this challenge at any of these three get-togethers.  At two of them I ended up having sugar (at the luncheon I had tomato soup cake, which I never had before and figured I’d probably never have another chance.  It tastes exactly like a spice cake.  It is really good 😉 ) and at the one I ended up eating mashed potatoes (a major comfort food of mine) which I know had tons of butter in it. 

So, my face has not been fairing as well as it has been since I stopped using the Bare Minerals Foundation.  I have a couple extra pimples on my face, but I am not too worried about it.  I know that it is my body’s natural way of getting rid of toxins in my body, if the toxins are not being released through my digestive system.  I will be happy when the extra pimples go away though. 😉

Other than these three times (and a lapse where I ate chocolate fudge ice cream 😉 ) I have been sticking to my no processed foods and no processed sugars food intake really well.

I have not been having trouble with my calve muscles cramping up recently, but the past couple of days they have been especially tight, so I have been trying to drink extra amounts of water (it got really hot here really quick, so I am wondering if I am just a little dehydrated).

I have been still losing weight though.  I have lost two more pounds since Day 27.  So, I am now at 148 lbs., down from Day 1 when I was around 156 lbs. 🙂

My energy level still is about the same.  However, I have not really been getting a consistent amount of sleep, so that could be part of the reason.  I am also wondering if my energy level will stay where it is unless I begin to exercise more.  So, that may be another lifestyle challenge coming up. 🙂

Check out my No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge Category Page to see all of my entries during this challenge, and to see tips on how to lessen your processed food and/or sugar intake here: https://sunnymothernature.wordpress.com/category/no-sugar-and-no-processed-foods-challenge/

Come back soon to see more updates on my progress and leave a comment below if you have any questions, comments, or if you too are cutting out processed foods and/or sugar! 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 27 of the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge aka the Real Food Challenge

Hi everyone!

Wow, so I started this challenge on April 23~ its almost been one month already!

I wanted to do another update on how this No Processed Foods/No Sugar/ Real Food Challenge has been going for me!

I probably have less negatives to mention this time around than any other time!  The only problem that I have been having since my last update (Day 19) was that I have been having trouble with leg cramps again.  However, I have, so far, not had any other full blown leg cramps, but I have felt that left calve muscle cramping up for the past couple of days.  This was especially true between Sunday and yesterday (Wednesday).  Tuesday driving home from my last final was the worst it felt.  It was so bad that I thought I would get a horrible leg cramp while driving.  Luckily, I didn’t.  Today my leg has been feeling a lot better though. 

Between various people I’ve talked to, we all came to the conclusion that my left calve muscle will tense up more when I’m stressed.  So, that could have been partly why I have been having so much trouble.  (Finals in college do not equal to low levels of stress 😉 ).

Basically leg cramps in calves can happen because of lack of sodium, potassium, or water.  So, whenever I have problems I try to get all three, which does help.  I do believe it gets aggravated with stress too.  Just something to keep in mind.

All the positives I have been having are much nicer though!

1. My acne has started to clear up again!  Right before Day 19, I had stopped using the Bareminerals Foundation in Fair again because I had started to break out so badly on my face and my neck (where I was using it).  And I wash my face twice a day (I do not sleep in makeup), so I knew it was not because I was not washing it. 

Once I stopped using the Bareminerals again, my face almost immediately started clearing up again!  And this was during my finals week, so there was no lack of stress.  I do like to mention when I have lots of stress just because some people will say to me that my acne might have gotten better or worse because of my stress levels, which is true

However, when I find that my acne is actually getting better when my stress levels are getting worse, that then is definitely saying something about this challenge and the positive effects that it is having on my body. 

So, anyone who is having trouble with acne definitely should consider trying to cut out processed foods and/or processed sugars from their food intake. 

I will keep you informed on how my skin is doing!

2. I have lost some weight.  I actually started following this because I was curious whether I was losing weight eating this way, and I found that I have.  At first, I do not believe I was, but I went from at the beginning weighing around 156 lbs. (I might have weighed a little more than that, I’m not sure, but I do know that I at least weighed that before I started this challenge.) to 150 lbs. now.  So, that’s at least 6 lbs. I’ve lost in almost a month without changes in exercise, or anything other than my food intake. 

(I do want to mention that I have never lost weight when I’m stressed.  When I am stressed I either stay the same weight, or I actually gain weight.)

My energy level is about the same though.  I do feel this is more from how much stress I was under from my finals and hopefully, it will begin to go up again once I have rested.

Here’s one tip on how to resist processed foods and processed sugars that has really helped me~

Read the ingredients on labels!  Every time I feel the urge to eat something processed, I read its ingredients and it immediately makes me not want to eat it! 🙂

Whenever I see high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, Red 40, Blue 1, hydrogenated oil, interesterified oil, etc. and many other words that I will probably never be able to pronounce on my food ingredient labels, it makes me not want to eat them because I don’t want them in my body. 

Hopefully that will help you resist too!

And I do want to let you know that I did give myself three days before my Day 1 of this challenge to allow my body a little time to adjust.  Basically I switched over to the stuff that I was going to eat during the challenge, but I was still eating yogurt during this time because I wanted to eat it up before I officially started the challenge.  So, I was still getting a little bit of sugar before I cut it out completely.

And, I did not really eat a whole lot of sugar to begin with before my challenge, so I did not personally have some of the major withdrawal symptoms that some people do have while cutting out sugar. 

If cutting out processed foods, or processed sugars is too much for you to do, or if they are so immersed in your daily food intake that you don’t know how your body would react if you cut them out completely, take small steps. 

Cut one thing out from your food intake.  For example, you could cut out high fructose corn syrup, or all hydrogenated oils and interesterified oils (Interesterified oils I just found out about yesterday.  Oils that are interesterified are what companies are now using instead of hydrogenated oils because hydrogenated oils have been labelled as bad for one’s health.  However, interesterified oils are just as bad). 

Cutting out these ingredients may seem like something a little bit too small, but you may be surprised to find how often these ingredients are in food products. 

And be proud of yourself that you are taking a tiny step for your health!  I personally do not believe that any step towards better health is too small, as long as you keep taking more and more small steps. 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Organic Milk Reviews and Why I Switched

Hello!

I’m sorry it’s been another week since I last posted~ my last final was yesterday!  So, I’m going to be blogging much more frequently now 🙂

I’ve been trying to eat healthy and good quality foods, including a little bit more organic.  So, while I was looking into starting a No Processed Foods and No Sugar Challenge (which I’m doing right now) I started relooking at ingredient labels. 

Imagine my surprise when I saw nonfat dry milk in my Swiss 2% milk!  I did not like that.  Before this I had been drinking the generic grocery store brand’s 1% milk, and then the Swiss 1% milk, but I was having trouble with both of them spoiling on me within a couple of days (one time even the next day)!  That was when I went to 2%.

Once I saw the nonfat dry milk though, I decided to look into other options.  So, my dad and I were at the grocery store looking at all of the milk ingredient labels.  I questioned why some of the Swiss containers (the plastic gallon and 1/2 gallon jugs) had nonfat dry milk listed, but others (the plastic “water bottle sized” bottles and the cartons) did not.  So, I went to look at organic milks.

And what I found out later, after researching more, was that the FDA does not require companies to have on their labels whether or not they put nonfat dry milk in their regular milk!   

Apparently the only ways you can know if they add dry milk is if you call the company and ask them, or if they have more than 9g  of protein in each serving.

Why does it matter if there is nonfat dry milk in the milk? 

Well, for me, it’s just the fact that if I’m drinking milk, I want actual milk, not any nonfat dry milk in it.  If there is nonfat dry milk in it, it makes me not want to drink it. 

The actual reasons why are more controversial because some people believe nonfat dry milk is harmful to your health while others say that there isn’t enough oxidized cholesterol in nonfat dry milk to make a big deal of it.  More studies are needed to show whether there is enough oxidized cholesterol in nonfat dry milk, or not.

What it is though, is that nonfat dry milk is said to make you gain more weight in the long run.  For example, they are now saying it is better to drink whole milk instead of lowfat milk because the nonfat dry milk is added to a decent amount of lowfat and skim milks anymore. 

The other problem is that the process that makes milk into nonfat dry milk changes the cholesterol in milk to oxidized cholesterol.  This oxidized cholesterol has sharper edges than normal cholesterol.  So, your arteries than become irritated from the rougher edges, and start to create plaque.  This is the beginning of heart disease.  This oxidized cholesterol can even make other cholesterol in your body turn into oxidized cholesterol. 

All fun stuff right?..Yeah, not really.  So, when I realized this is what nonfat dry milk could possibly do, I was very happy to have already had the uneasy feeling about it and had already gone to organic milk a week before finding this stuff out.  I do not want to be the one they are testing this on. 

The Three Organic Milks

Ok, so I have tried three different organic milks, and there is a slight taste difference between the three.  Other than that, I find all three to essentially be the same and last for the same amount of time.  These last for the same amount of time (before they sour) that regular milk normally does~about a week.  (I personally am able to drink 1/2 gallon of milk within a couple of days though). 

I have tried Stonyfield Farms Lowfat Milk, Organic Valley 1% Milk, and Nature’s Promise 1% Milk. 

All three have a slightly different taste than regular milk does.  It could very well be the food that the cows are eating that causes this slight different taste, or something else.  However, this difference is not in a bad way at all.  It just takes a couple cups to get used to. 

How they rank (this is my personal preference, it could be a different ranking for you) :

1. Stonyfield Farms Lowfat Milk.  This one out of the three just tastes the best to me.

2. Organic Valley 1% Milk.  This is only slightly below Stonyfield Farms.

3. Nature’s Promise 1% Milk.  The taste in this one did taste a little bit worse than the other three.  However, it’s not such a huge difference that I wouldn’t buy it again.

I found that all three were very good quality organic milk.  All three were pasteurized (so you do not have to worry about that), and all three were available in my normal grocery store.  (You will have to check for availability in your own stores though. And if they don’t carry it, suggest that they do 🙂 ).

All three also are certified USDA organic.  Make sure that any organic milk you try is! 

So, why drink organic milk instead of regular milk?

Certified USDA organic milk is produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, and persistent pesticides.  This means that you, and your family, will not be consuming antiobiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides that are harmful to your health that can be in regular milk.

The FDA even has confirmed numbers that show 80% of all antibiotics in America go to animal agriculture.  This is a scary number of antibiotics that we, Americans, are consuming, not because we are sick and need the antibiotics to make us better, but because we are eating dairy and/or meat (beef, chicken, etc.).  

A way to avoid this amount of antibiotics is by eating organic dairy and/or organic grassfed meats.

So, try an organic milk instead of your regular milk!  There are many different organic milk brands out there other than just these three.  These three (other organic brands do as well) have whole, lowfat, and skim milk.  Organic Valley even has little packages of 1% milk and chocolate milk for your kids, or for yourself, to take for lunches! 

You and Mother Nature will smile a little bit more knowing that you are drinking something healthy for you. 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: I am not affiliated with Stonyfield Farms, Organic Valley, Nature’s Promise, or Swiss, nor did any of these companies give me free milk, or products, nor did any of these companies compensate me for my review.  I started trying different organic milks because I was curious, and because my first choice, Stonyfield Farms, was out of stock constantly. 🙂

Day 19 of the No Processed Food and No Sugar Challenge

Hello!

I hope everyone is healthy and doing well 🙂

I’m sorry it’s been about a week since I last posted a blog.  This past week was the last days of classes.  I just finished writing my final paper for my one class that’s due tomorrow, and I just have Monday and Tuesday, with two final exams, two essays, and a presentation, and I’m done with this college semester! 🙂

So, how has it been going with this challenge, for me?

It’s been going really well!  Basically I had two days last week (Thursday and Saturday) where I did end up eating not so great foods for one meal, each day.  Thursday was actually my Award Ceremony~ I received an Honors Program Graduate Award from my college.  I was expecting more people to receive it, but there were only two of us! (the guy besides me didn’t show).  But, I did end up eating a bowl of really good soup from Panera Bread.  I honestly haven’t been to a Panera Bread in years so I couldn’t resist! 😉

Then on Saturday, my parents and I went out to celebrate my mom’s birthday (which was on mother’s day this year) and mother’s day!  We ended up choosing Chipotle because it seemed like it would have the healthiest food that my mom could eat.  It was awesome!  I loved the food there!  Sadly, the food was SOOO spicy!  My mouth was on fire! ~ Luckily they had organic milk there.  But we all enjoyed ourselves, my mom, I think, especially 🙂

At this point in the challenge, I don’t think I’ve been having any mood swings because of the lack of sugar or processed food (I have been moody, but I think it’s stress related).  Also, I haven’t been having any cravings for anything.  The only craving I’ve had is the one when I was at Panera Bread, for Broccoli Cheese soup.

Sadly, my acne, and the tiny little bumps I get on my face, has flared up again.  I do think this is partly due to stress though, and I did start using my Bareminerals Fair foundation again.  So, I stopped using that foundation to see if that was partly it.  So far, my face does seem to be slowly clearing up again.  I don’t know what I think about that. 

And, just because I was curious, I did decide to weigh myself either on Day 12, or the day after, to see how much I weighed.  At that time I weighed 156 lbs.  I’ve weighed myself yesterday and today, and I now seem to weigh 152 lbs.   I do weigh myself around the same time every day, and for my height, this is considered in the normal range.  So, if you are considering doing this challenge for weight loss, it is a definite possibility.  Like I said in other posts, I normally gain 10 lbs. over the winter and so that is the weight that I don’t mind losing by summer.  🙂  However, I do think how much you could lose with this type of challenge depends on how much processed food and sugar you normally intake on a daily basis.  If it wasn’t too much (like me), then I don’t feel that there is going to be as big of a weight loss.  But if you do consume more, then you could lose much more weight than I probably will.  Just to keep that in mind 🙂

I do still feel like I have some more energy than I did starting this challenge.  However, I think since this is my last little bit of time in this semester, I am having a little bit more difficulty focusing.  (It probably didn’t help that the project I needed to finish first was the one I really didn’t want to work on 😉 )

So far, I also have not had anymore leg cramps!  I am really happy about this!  But I have been trying to make sure that I do get enough sodium.  There was one day where my left calve did feel a little off (like it was possibly starting to get a leg cramp), but luckily it went away.

Overall, I have been feeling really happy that I did take the plunge and start this challenge because I feel that it has been very beneficial.  I know that Mother Nature would approve 😉

 Once my finals are done, I have tons of blog posts that I want to write, so come back soon!  🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

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