My 15-day No Added Sugar Challenge

I kicked off 2017 by resolving to remove all added sugar from my diet for two weeks.

I have an insane sweet tooth, and I noticed my sugar cravings were getting worse and worse. I’ve been acutely aware of how sugar negatively impacts long term health and how it’s essentially empty calories. After one too many holiday indulgences, I was inspired to give my system a reset and try the no sugar challenge.

The trickiest part of the challenge for me was not giving up sweets, but actually avoiding the savory sauces and condiments in a typical restaurant meal. I let myself eat fruit, but I avoided high sugar to low fiber ratio fruit such as grapes. I also stopped snacking on the dried mango and pineapple that we stock at work, as well as the rest of the prepackaged snacks since almost all had added sugar.

I tried to avoid high glycemic carbs in general such as white rice and white bread, though I had pizza and homemade wheat sourdough loaf in my diet.

I wasn’t perfect during the two weeks, but I ate cleaner, definitely had withdrawal symptoms, and noticed a reset of my tastebud sensitivity to sweetness.

Day 1

I had a minor headache, but it was probably from dehydration. I felt good otherwise. My first meal of the New Year was white pizza for lunch. For dinner we had cheese, homemade bread, and homemade Zuni chicken. Not a bad diet when you can indulge in pizza and cheese!

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How to Make Perfect Steel-Cut Oatmeal

After a long holiday weekend, I try a little harder to eat healthy. You know how that goes. The bloat from salty food, beer, and general indulgences gives you that extra push to eat “clean” for a bit. At least for a day or two, right? Okay maybe just breakfast.

I truly believe breakfast is the most important meal, so starting my day healthy at least sets the stage for better decisions later on. My easy, go-to breakfast is a half cup of yogurt with peanut butter. Takes barely no prep and has enough protein to keep me feeling full longer.

However, cold yogurt doesn’t hit the spot like a warm, hearty cup of oats. I avoided making oatmeal for most of my adult life because of the time involved. There’s no substitution for steel-cut oats, and proper steel-cut oatmeal requires 45 minutes of your morning. I’ve recently come around though after realizing how well steel-cut oatmeal lasts in the fridge. Once you make a batch, it’s quick and simple to reheat in the microwave. The oats retain most of their firm texture, unlike regular or instant oats. It’s worth the extra effort at the beginning for a week of creamy, next-level oatmeal!

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Closing out 2015 with a Project Juice Cleanse

2015 was a year characterized by travel. According to TripIt, I spent 115 days on the road. I sailed around the Greek islands and took three trips to Mexico. In the U.S., I explored a few cities for the first time, including Portland, Provincetown, and Tampa. I revisited New Orleans, went home to DC twice, and traveled all around California. Perhaps the biggest life event this year was my move from Orange County back to the Bay Area. While I do miss the warm SoCal weather, there’s nothing quite like the feel of the Bay Area. The culture, the geography, the food…this is home.

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