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.

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Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life AND Save Money! The Using Less Plastic Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! 🙂

Ok, so the image above of women wearing plastic face protection from snowstorms may have not caught on (thankfully), most of us can still reduce plastic in our lives very easily!

Here are some simple ways to reduce plastic in your life (adding onto my previous Using Less Plastic Challenge Posts).  Most, if not all, of these simple steps help you save money in the long run too!

1. Switch to body oil to moisturize your body.  Most lotions come in plastic tubes or plastic bottles.  By switching to body oil packaged in a glass bottle with a metal lid, you help to make sure that the packaging is truly able to be recycled.  Just make sure that your skin is damp (just after taking a shower is a good time to moisturize skin with oil), and you do not need to use very much.  A small amount really goes a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Switch to handkerchiefs.  This may seem like it does not actually have to do with plastic, but it does.  Most disposable tissue boxes do have a plastic window around the opening where you grab a tissue from.  Handkerchiefs are so much more economical (only have to buy them once and they last for years) and you can just throw them in with any wash load you wish.  Plus they feel, and are, so much softer on your nose!  The above image is my collection of handkerchiefs that I have been using for several months now 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Switch to at least a couple natural homemade skincare products.  I know it is hard to switch all of your skincare products over, but even just switching over one or two helps to significantly reduce the amount of plastic consumed.  Honey is an awesome cleanser (the only one I use at this point) and fresh lime juice is a wonderful acne and acne scar treatment.

Click here to see My Skincare Routine for Clear Skin Naturally post about how I use these!  You will also save money by switching to these if you typically use a little bit more pricy cleansers and treatments.  Also, you will not have as much visual clutter in your bathroom.

4. Switch to a safety razor.  What is a safety razor?  It is like a disposable razor, but rather than throwing the razor away, or buying new cartridges and throwing the old ones away, you buy a metal razor (some do have plastic handles) and you just replace the blades.  I have not bought a safety razor yet (I’m using up my disposable razors first) but many people who do use them say they give closer shaves, and that you do need to use a lighter hand when using them (ever notice how much pressure you have to use with disposable razors to shave?).

Now, you can buy a new safety razor, but they are expensive (the cheapest I’ve seen is $60 and up).  So, why not be extra nice to your wallet and the Earth by buying a vintage one? (You won’t be using vintage blades- essentially you’ll only be reusing the handle).  You can buy a vintage safety razor at some antique stores, www.etsy.com, among other sites.  And replacement blades can be bought in bulk on Amazon and are much less expensive compared to the replacement disposable cartridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Buy some of your clothes secondhand.  Although while researching I do not get a definite yes or no answer, most polyester (if not all) is actually plastic.  Have you heard of the polyester clothing made from PET bottles?  That’s why that is possible.  So, by buying some of your clothes secondhand, you help to reduce the amount of clothing made of thermoplastics, and also help to reduce the amount of clothing discarded yearly.  Buying secondhand also helps your wallet!  If you have a little bit more money to spare, organic cotton, or hemp, clothing are also nice alternatives to man-made.  The image above is a beautiful blue striped sweaterdress that I found at a local thrift store for $2.50!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make your own laundry soap with castile bar soaps!  Even if we ignore the possible health problems of conventional laundry detergents (including even ones such as Tide Free & Gentle), these along with even most eco-friendly laundry detergents are packaged in plastic.  We can simply avoid this constant buying of laundry detergent packaged in plastic by making our own!  Above is a photo of the container I am using at the moment to hold my laundry soap (It is an old castile liquid soap container.  I plan to switch to a glass container at some point) and an old laundry detergent lid that has the measurements on it.

How to: Take one bar of castile soap and grate 1/3 to 1/2 of a bar.  Bring about one gallon of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, stir the grated soap into the water, until it dissolves.  Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Then, take the pot off the stove and let the laundry soap cool for a couple of hours (or until it is completely cool).  Lastly, place into a container of your choice.

And there you have a wonderful laundry soap!  I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps.  They smell amazing, and their Baby Mild one is nice if you are very sensitive to scents, or if you have young children.  My three favorites are Lavender, Peppermint, and Baby Mild.  They are a little less than $5 a bar of soap.  You can buy the Lavender and Peppermint scents at Target, or you can buy all of their scents on Dr. Bronner’s site at www.drbronner.com. So, you are paying $2.50 for laundry soap that is safe for the planet, safe for you, you are saving money, and you are reducing the amount of plastic consumed! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve found that I use the same amount of this laundry soap as I did with conventional laundry detergents.  If you have not used castile liquid soap to wash your clothes before, I have read that it may take a wash or two for your clothes to get the residue of the previous detergents off.  However, I have not found this to be the case, even when I switched from conventional detergents over to a castile liquid soap I bought (it was so expensive though).  Also, this laundry soap works nicely even in hard water!  I have extremely hard water, and it cleans wonderfully in it.

So there are some simple ways to reduce plastic!  Have you tried any of the suggestions above, or have any others to add?  Any questions?  Leave them in the comment section!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: The image of the women wearing the plastic snowstorm protectors is used under the Commons license, shared by the Nationaal Archief on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/  All the other images shown are my own.

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

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

Using Less Plastic Challenge

Hello!

My last quest has been to cut out processed foods and sugar, which has been going really well!  I still have a couple more weeks in the challenge, but I am definitely going to continue this lifestyle change long after my challenge has “ended.” 

But while I was studying for my finals at the beginning of May, a new quest started to show itself to me.

So, what is my latest quest?  To use less plastic! 

This is my next challenge I am going to work on.  So much plastic used by us ends up in our oceans: some places in the ocean have more small pieces of plastic than plankton!  And the scariest thing?  None of the plastic that has ever existed is gone:  It all still exists today!  It only breaks down into smaller and smaller molecules.  It does not biodegrade.

The problem is somewhat recycling~not enough people are concisously recycling everything they possibly can.  Another problem is that not all plastic can be recycled, especially in all areas.

But the biggest problem?  We are consuming way too much plastic!

 The solution?  Using less plastic in our lives!  Go out of your way to find non-plastic packaging, or non-plastic alternatives to what you need, or want to buy. 

It will help our oceans, our environment (we only get one Earth) and it will help protect our health from harmful chemicals in plastics! 

 Want some inspiration to get you started?  Look up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to help inspire you to save our oceans, or read other bloggers quests to use less plastic! 

Here are some of my favorites:  Jeanne Haegele at www.lifelessplastic.blogspot.com (This blog is where I found the awesome video below.  Sadly, she hasn’t written a post in over a year, but she still has some awesome tips and blog posts); and Beth Terry at www.myplasticfreelife.com (She is continuously writing and updating her blog, and there is so much information here!) 🙂

3 Ways I’ve Already Reduced My Plastic Consumption

1) By taking reusable shopping bags with me (instead of using plastic grocery bags)

2) By bringing my own drink in a reusable container (instead of buying a drink in a plastic bottle)

3) By using soap instead of body wash (which is packaged in plastic)

I have used a grocery shopping bag, bought a plastic bottle of water, and used body wash all within the past couple of months (if not within the past couple of weeks), but I have already begun to lower my plastic consumption just with these three items!

Check back soon for more ways I am cutting out plastic.  🙂

If we all would truly notice just how much plastic surrounds us 24/7, day in and day out, 1) You would be surprised and shocked (I have been!) and 2) many of us would begin to wonder how much plastic is really safe for our health?

Watch the video below to help inspire you to start cutting back on the amount of plastics in your life! 🙂

~Kim