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.

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.

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

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