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 ūüôā ) 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! ūüôā

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

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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 day.¬† It 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! ūüôā

~Kim

No Sugar and No Processed Foods Challenge with Sunny Mother Nature

Happy Belated Earth Day everyone!

I hope you found some little way to make our Earth a little bit sunnier yesterday, or this week!¬† Whether it was recycling, cleaning, or planting (like me!) any little bit helps ūüôā

I have decided to do a Lifestyle Challenge where I am going to give up sugar and processed foods for two months!

Sound a little extreme?¬† Perhaps.¬† However, is my new food intake (I hate the word “diet”~have never been on one, and never plan to be! ūüėČ ) really that extreme?¬†

Think of it this way~ how many¬†thousands of years¬†did humans *somehow* manage to live without processed foods and processed sugar?¬† Yes, thousands!¬† It has only been since the Industrial Revolution that processed foods and sugars became part of a person’s “normal” food intake.¬† And when¬†did it happen that more and more people started to become overweight and obese?¬† When more and more processed foods and sugars¬†were considered “normal” in a person’s daily food intake.¬† This is food for thought (no pun intended ūüėČ )¬†

What are processed foods?

Basically, processed foods are anything that have been altered from its original state that you are buying.  For example, pasteurized milk is considered processed.  However, if you bought milk from a farm and pasteurized it yourself it would not be considered processed. 

Another way to think of it is anything you buy that comes in a package.  So, anything in boxes, plastic, or glass would be considered processed.

Or, anything that has ingredients that you cannot pronounce, that are not “natural” ingredients (Red 40¬†vs. corn).¬†

For me, I am taking a mixture of these three definitions and applying them to my new challenge.¬† However, don’t feel like everything that would fall into these definitions is “off-limits.”¬† With this challenge, I am personalizing it to what I feel my body needs to be healthy.¬† So, I will continue to have pasteurized milk although, no, I won’t be pasteurizing it myself. ūüėȬ†

This is about finding balance with foods that were truly meant for your body to be eating.¬† It’s about not just eating “normal”¬†foods that have been processed so much that most of the companies¬†have to add nutrients back in because the nutrients that were in the food were stripped out when they were processed.

Basically, anyone who decides, or is considering,¬†to cut out sugar and processed foods from what they eat need to decide for themselves how far they are going to go.¬† For example, some would say that you need to even cut out¬†most fruits because they have natural sugar in them.¬† For me, that is too much.¬† On the other hand, I read another blog where someone was cutting out processed foods and he (or she) was eating a deli sandwich with bread (obviously processed), with deli cheese (processed) and then lettuce and tomatoes.¬† What “processed food”¬†he did not eat was the bag of potato chips that came with the sandwich.¬† To me, this is not really cutting out processed foods at all.¬† It is really up to you though.

So, what to do if cutting out sugar?

1. Cut out anything that has high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient.  This little bugger is in EVERYTHING!  Look at the ingredients of your ketchup, your bread, bascially anything you have bought that has an ingredient label!  High Fructose Corn Syrup surprises anyone where it hides! 

Even if you aren’t going to cut out sugar, cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup!¬† It loves to play with your blood sugar more than refined white sugar does!¬† It raises your blood sugar quickly and then plummets it even more quickly, making you crave more.¬†

2. Cut out most processed foods.  Sadly, most processed foods add sugar of some kind to it, to make it taste better.   

3. Look at ingredient labels!  You have to look for any type of sugar (including fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucose, sugar, etc.) on the label.

What to do if cutting out processed foods?

1.¬†Cut out unknown ingredients listed on the package.¬† Don’t know what propylene glycol is?¬† Don’t buy it.

2. Go for fresh foods over prepackaged ones whenever possible. 

3. Frozen food, or boxed foods can sometimes be ok too though.  For example, frozen spinach that has no added salt, sugar, or sauce to it is good.  Or, boxed brown rice with the only ingredient on the package is rice. 

4. If you look at the ingredients, and the ingredients listed are actual things you could buy, then it’s good.¬† Peas, carrots and chicken on a soup’s ingredients?¬† Awesome!¬† Thiamin?¬† Not so much.

So, what will I be eating?

1. Vegetables

2. Meats~ I am not going vegan.  If you are vegan, or want to become one, awesome.  Just make sure that you still are eating and getting the nutrients  your body needs!

3.¬†Complex Carbs~ One of the things I majorly looked at before officially starting this challenge was I wanted to make sure that I would still get carbs.¬† I am not anti-carbs and do feel that the right ones are needed.¬† To get complex carbs I’m eating brown rice, sweet potatoes and spinach, and sometimes whole wheat pasta.

4. Fruit

5. Nuts

6. Milk, and some Cheese ~ This is one of those items that I am still going to have although some people would consider it processed.¬† I am drinking Swiss Milk right now.¬† However, since I read the ingredients of it~reduced fat milk AND nonfat dry milk!~ I am going to look at the ingredients of other milks.¬† I may even end up going to organic milk, if it’s pasteurized.¬† (I’m still drinking it, but knowing that there is nonfat dry milk in my regular 2% milk just makes me wonder..)

What do I hope to get out of this Lifestyle Challenge?

1. More energy.  This is something that recently I have been lacking and I hope that this will boost my energy level.

2. Help clear up my acne.  Recently, my acne has gotten worse and so I want to see if I stop feeding my body processed foods and processed sugars if my acne clears up.

3. Maybe lose a couple pounds.¬† This is not one of my major goals, but losing weight is apparently one of the effects of no longer eating processed food and sugar.¬† Like usual, I gained¬†about ten pounds during winter, so if I lost that, I’d be¬†fine with that.

4. Just¬†feel overall healthy.¬† Not just healthier, but truly and utterly healthy.¬† I am not one for settling for things that are¬†“healthier.”¬† I want “healthy!” ūüôā¬†

I know this is a lot of information that I tried to cover in this one blog post.¬† If something doesn’t make sense, or anything I wrote brings up a question, please leave a comment below and I’ll write back!¬†

I will be writing continuous updates on my progress during this challenge.¬† I’m hoping that this goes well and I will be able to keep this as my new food intake to help promote a healthy me.

This Lifestyle Challenge will be difficult.  However, I do have faith in myself that I can do this and that I am worth it. 

If I fall off the wagon and eat something that is not part of this challenge, I am not going to beat myself up about it.  I will just continue on with it. 

This challenge is not meant to make ourselves feel bad.  It is meant to make ourselves feel overall good and healthy. 

Do you think you’ll try this Lifestyle Challenge too?¬† Let me know!¬† We can support each other! ūüôā

Have a sunny day everyone!

~Kim