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.

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

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