Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Right now I feel completely overwhelmed. I can’t exactly handle life. After spring break ended, all of a sudden everything started again. My emotions aren’t exactly in check. I’m a mess. I’m busy pulling myself back together, I guess. I’ve been lucky with grades recently. They’re starting to come up, and I’m getting on track, but I’m still stressed. I’ve got a long list of things I need to take care of. Papers, homework, paperwork, summer plans. I kind of wish I could spend what little money I have on scuba gear and a plane ticket, and simply leave. 

Alright, I’ve recovered. Wow. That was awful. I’m still alive.

I get these horrid feelings of depression every once in a while. They pass, but for an hour or two I feel like finding the nearest train tracks or razor blade. I’m not sure if this is caused by sugar imbalances or stress. 

I’m learning a few things right now. First is that protein is the best way to stifle cravings. If I feel like downing a bottle of soda and a pint of ice cream, what I really need is a cheese stick or a handful of nuts. I don’t know why it works, but I’m so, so glad it does. Second is that naturally sweet foods are ridiculously delicious. Like tea. And air popped popcorn. And apples. They’re so nice. And they don’t kill my energy like sweetened foods do. So yay. Third? This no sugar thing is difficult to do perfectly, and there’s no need to. Today I bought myself a croissant at a coffee shop, and Kentucky Blend tea (which really does taste like Kentucky, somehow. Magic.), and they offered me a chocolate coffee bean. Which I ate. And it was delicious. So even if my regular diet is like, 95% sugar free, one coffee bean is not exactly going to kill me. A half liter soda or a cup of ice cream every day might, but a bean? Not likely. 

Ordering tea at a coffee shop really is a bit of a bummer though. I was thinking of an unsweetened latte but that just makes me crave a mocha or a honey bear (a honey-vanilla latte). Which caused me to steer clear completely. I’d had two cups of honey-sweetened coffee for breakfast anyway (yes, my caffeine consumption is a bit insane right now) and so, se la vie. But mocha….

I’m keeping this up til Friday, this time. I figure I’m working so hard this week already, I’m gonna need a little bit of a reward by the end of it. Cake, maybe? 

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I’m starting over on this whole no sugar thing. I’ve decided I’m going to buy raw honey in the grocery store today, in order to make bread and sweeten my coffee. Although it contains the same simple sugar as table sugar and corn syrup, raw honey is the closest thing to unprocessed sweetener I can think of. Fruits contain these same compounds, too, so the point is quite moot, I believe. I’m still struggling to eloquently express my point at all.

I ran across a fantastic article on sugar by Nat Geo. (find it here) It confirms some of my previous knowledge and suspicions. Sugar is addictive, it’s bad for us, and the industry that produces it was created through simply terrible ethics. Add to this the fact that table sugar is refined using charred bones of cow, making it not so veg-friendly, and there are enough reasons to drop the stuff (source). What I found interesting throughout this research is that fructose, the main sugar found in fruits, is actually processed in the liver, which turns it into fat right away. It’s likely an evolutionary adaptation from our primate ancestors many thousands of years ago. This is kind-of the reason why cutting back on fats won’t make you less fat more quickly than cutting back on sugars. Facts!

On a completely unrelated note: bracelets! I made some. They were quite fun to make, and in my opinion very pretty. I learned how to make a lace pattern for these pieces. ImageImage

So I baked bread… and ate it all. Because I am an awful person. My stomach is complaining, by the way. Or rather my digestive track… *shudders* I’m thinking of getting back on track tomorrow. No one has to know about my slip up, right? Especially not the sugar I put in my coffee this afternoon…. I’m an awful person.

And I spent like 6 hours today on this: Image

I have twins. Please, calm your excitement. (although I can’t even hold my own. Ohmaigawsh they’re so cute.)

As the trend has been, they’ll be up on Etsy when the light is good. The photo above is rather awful because desk lamps aren’t the greatest for product photography.

Also! I’m doing something actually sort of travel related tomorrow: skydiving. And holy shit I’m nervous. And I shouldn’t have told my mum. Because she is freaking out. My friend went with the strategy of telling the parents after he’s already back on the ground… and that may have been best. But I’ll try and take some pics of the way there! Although the weather is supposed to be sort of terrible tomorrow. Yikes. *Filled with useless worries*

I ate bread. And it was absolutely delicious.

My friend took me out to an Indian place to have lunch. And I had curry with rice and unsweetened ice tea and *gasp* naan. And the naan was heavenly. It was just really fucking good. And so bread is most definitely back in my diet. *sigh* Whelp, this run was good while it lasted. I’m sticking with unsweetened everything, but bread is in. Which means I know what I’m baking today. (Unf, baking. I love it so much.)

I posted one more of those cute little birds, by the way. I can’t get over how positively adorable they are. The friend I was eating lunch with (and who allowed me to eat bread. What a bad guy.) suggested I make an army. I’m thinking about taking this advice seriously, and whipping up some armor for these guys. Little pikes and shields… perhaps helmets. Yes, please.

Anyway, if you’d like a currently unarmed bird, here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/183107052/blue-amigurumi-cockatiel

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They’re now in my Etsy shop. Or, they’re coming up one by one today. Here’s the first one: https://www.etsy.com/listing/183012122/amigurumi-cockatiel?

And of course, the shop home page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kittilia?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Alright, first of all: I am grateful to the God that created Dutch pancakes because unf, those are delicious. Instead of putting sugar on top like I usually do, I mixed minced apples and bananas into the batter, and the intention was to put some more on top but the leftover apple and banana ended up in my stomach while I was still frying up the batter. Also, as usual, coffee with milk was part of breakfast.

ImageThe thing is, I still miss sugary stuff. I’m highly motivated as of this moment so I’m not going to eat any sugar, but I also can’t deny that coffee is better with a little bit of sugar and those pancakes just weren’t quite sweet enough. Eventually, hopefully, this feeling will pass. My pantry is still stocked for several more days with all sorts of delicious foods, so I shall be quite good until it runs out. Not facing places that sell sweet foods might be the best idea right now. Yesterday I drove past a Chic-Fil-A and it was like I was already tasting their sweet tea… and I hardly ever order their sweet tea.

But on that drive I experienced some things that were equally sweet, one of them being cows. It was cold and sleeting and incredibly unpleasant outside. I got lost in the backroads of Kentucky because I felt like getting away for a little bit, and when I feel like getting away I drive stupid. My phone’s navigation was freaking out in this unknown territory. When I pulled to the side of the road I pulled over next to a small pasture, and while sitting there I noticed this huddle of cows at the side nearest me. Two of these fellows noticed a human sitting in a car next to their pasture, and came to have a closer look. Their adorable faces peaking through the fence reminded me of exactly why I prefer these animals alive over sitting on my plate. They’re just so incredibly beautiful. The mutual curiosity, too, struck me in a strange way. It was a beautifully sweet moment.

ImageThis is one of the things I’ve noticed these last few days — there are things much sweeter than a sweet tea, and infinitely more worth while. The feeling of seeing a flat stomach in the mirror is one of those, but so is being noticed by a few young cows or expanding one’s yarn stash or making some adorable amigurumi animals for friends. It’s all much better than any cake could taste.

[Those amigurumi animals are quite cute by the way: 

Image These little guys will be up for sale in my Etsy store before the end of the day too, actually. They’re all incredibly cute, and rather small, and also incredibly time-consuming to make. But owning one is so very worth it! They’re undeniably adorable. I’m working on a larger pattern too, as we speak, but that guy is months in the making, and won’t be done any time soon.  

Which reminds me! I’m open for commissions, any time. So message me! I’m always looking for something new to make.]

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The point is, I’m enjoying this challenge quite a lot right now. The elimination of something that is typically a staple in my life forces me to get creative with food, and work out new ways to eat well. I’m eating more greens, reds, yellows and pretty much all other colors too, while lowering my intake of unhealthy foods and still being able to eat a pancake every once in a while. This doesn’t mean I’m not planning on baking a cake next Monday, but it does mean that this is indeed not a crazy idea, and actually makes me feel rather good. The first few days were difficult, but as promised on day 4 I feel pretty alright. 

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Okay, alright. I need to pump myself up. I’m watching Food Network and oh, those desserts look so beautiful and tempting. Can I pretty pretty pleasssse? But no. No freaking way. Because I’ve got so many days in my life, and these ten are devoted to this. I’m going to nail this so hard, man.

But the thing is, I still don’t feel all too fantastic. I feel kind of crappy, actually. And there’s still that light headache that comes and goes. But earlier today I felt quite awesome. It might be now because I’ve had a pretty long day. And I’ve been a bit emotional because in Kentucky I don’t quite have all that support that a family and my pets give me in Arizona. I love this place but sometimes, it’s just incredibly tough. This might come down to the “emotionally sensitive” on that list from last time too, though.

Today’s food consists of an omelet, a bunch of nuts, a salad, a veggie patty, an apple, strawberries and a banana, and a cup of coffee. It’s good stuff, man. I mean, I feel like I’ve eaten a lot today. And there also seems to be something missing…. Which is probably because I haven’t eaten anything “bread” in three days. And I love bread. And it contains sugar. (I actually had a small bite of bread this evening, but it was kinda old and stale and just… nope.)

There’s also this thing about fruit: it contains a lot of sugar, too. And I’m wondering about the sheer amount of fruit I’ve been eating…. At this point I’m saying “screw it.” I’m doing enough as it is. Eliminating so much of my regular diet is a mental battle already. I think of going out and getting caramel macchiattos and baking souffle and eating a pint of ice cream. I mean… the addiction is real, man. I also think it may be really nice to have a drink tonight.

I’ve got to be strong. Let’s not lie: I want a pretty little slim body, too. A “wow, you look great” would be nice from a certain someone, anyway. And I mean there are girls that live off coffee. Should I really be complaining? Therefore, I shall push on. Without bread. Without sugar. And I shall be healthy and beautiful. Pep talk: done.

I must begin by saying this: sugarless coffee ain’t bad. It ain’t great either but it ain’t bad. My mum gave me the Senseo coffee machine we’ve had sitting around forever when I went back to college this semester and it’s been an absolute god-send. The only problem I’ve ever had with it is the fact that coffee pads have to be ordered from Amazon, and that week long wait I usually end up doing because my planning ahead skills aren’t that great is absolute torture, and I usually give in to Starbucks or Coffea. I can never replicate a caramel macchiato or mocha however…. How they do it will continue to be a mystery to me. But the point is, sugarless coffee is indeed drinkable.

I kind of died this afternoon. I had the last egg from my fridge and coffee with milk for breakfast, and let me tell you that is not enough. By the time I made it to the grocery store around 4 in the afternoon I felt like I was actually starving. And so I bought a lot of food. And ended up paying too much. Damn. 

When I came back from the grocery store (a damn long walk when you’re carrying so many fruits and veggies) I think I started eating “lunch” before I even fully unpacked. It consisted of a quarter head of lettuce (I kinda just bit into it), carrots, hummus, and peanuts. And while this sounds like a pretty decent lunch, and filled me up for a while, 2 hours later I was already pretty hungry again. 

While shopping I found a little bit of a problem with carbs, especially bread products: they all contain sugar. Reading the ingredients of these products was pretty disheartening to be honest. I should have known this in advance. I bake bread myself sometimes, and what you learn quite quickly is that yeast needs sugar to metabolize and turn into carbon dioxide. Which means that either you have a flat bread, or you put sugar in it. I’ll figure out later what kinds of carbs I can safely eat but for a little while, I’m playing it safe. And that means no breads. *sighs out of frustration* I suppose this may be a good thing. Refined carbs do break down into sugars during digestion, so they’ve got the potential to be pretty much the same thing. Keeping them out of my diet for a little while may be exactly what I need. 

Let’s get down to how I’m feeling today: not all too great. I’ve had a light headache for a while now, and my mind isn’t very focused. I’m having mixed feelings about wanting to sleep or eat or just browse the internet. Earlier in the day I felt pretty normal, which was nice because I had one last exam to take before break started. But now I’m exhausted and I want to collapse on my bed and pass out. I’m probably going to do just that. I’ve heard that day 2 is worse, and day 3 is worst. So this little bit of a start is… a promise for greater things ahead. Ugh. Right now I’m not exactly craving sugars as much as bread. I’m sure it’ll be like that for a while. This pamphlet I was reading about an aptly named “21 Sugar Detox” says “sometimes feeling worse means your are actually getting better.” Again: great things lie ahead. The pamphlet also provides this lovely little list of “negative symptoms” for the cleanse: 

  • Headaches
  • Flu / Cold-like symptoms / Chilling
  • More emotionally sensitive
  • Lethargic / Low energy
  • Diarrhea/ Constipation
  • Gas / Bloating
  • Body odor / Bad breath
  • Skin breakouts / Rashes
  • Irritable
  • Sporadic sleep
  • Old memories / emotions resurfacing
  • Mucus drainage

Joy. Of this list, I’m a little bit sensitive, I’m definitely lethargic, and I’m expecting the sleep I get this evening and night to be “sporadic” as they put it, and not extremely deep. The headaches exist, but I’m not quite sure where they’re coming from and this detox is a pretty good guess. I’ve just started my period as well, so that’s probably exaggerating some of what is normally felt anyway. I can’t say I’ve had any of the others yet. I might just bring back this list in the days to come to monitor the rest of them.

On the plus side, we’ve got: 

  • Fat loss
  • Less bloating
  • Clearer skin
  • Less craving for sugar / food
  • Increased sense of taste (healthy food starts tasting better)
  • Increased energy
  • More consistent energy
  • More regular bowel movements
  • Increased sense of wellbeing
  • Elevated mood/less depression
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Better sleep
  • Old memories / emotions resurfacing

I’ve yet to see any of these positive symptoms, but this is only Day 1 and I still need to approach the mythical three-day hump. The fat loss I’m most definitely looking forward to. My body is at a point where my fat isn’t unhealthy, but my shape still has a lot of improvement that needs doing. I can’t say I monitor my cholesterol any, and the rest of these things are just a wait-and-see. The memories are a peculiar little piece that I’m the most curious about. Is this because of the generally heightened emotional sensitivity?

These symptoms are also strangely the same things that occur when on a fast. I’m curious to see how fasting compares to this type of detox, to be honest. And I’m curious as to whether or not the similar symptoms seen while water-fasting are because of sugar deprivation or food deprivation as a whole, and how these two relate. More research needs to be done! And perhaps one day I’ll try a water fast on, although the idea is incredibly daunting and doesn’t have quite the same appeal as eliminating sugar does.

The prescribed 21 days of this plan seem like an extremely long time to be rather out of social circles that include drinking and ice cream and general sugar-laden socialization. I’ll see what happens when I hit day ten and decide whether or not to continue, but I love my friends and I love food bonding and I’m not sure I’m willing to compromise that kind of thing. I’m guessing day 11 is going to start out with a sugary coffee drink and a cookie.

For food inspiration I’m turning to vegan and paleo blogs. For tonight’s dinner I’m eating this: http://thepaleodiet.com/weekend-warrior-omelette/ Hopefully it’ll turn out pretty awesome.

I’m dropping the sugar for Spring Break. I’m having none of this processed refined crap we put in our bodies and get addicted to in such a way that entire societies think it’s perfectly acceptable, normal and expected. This stuff is just bad for us — it’s bad for me. It puts me in a bad place, mentally. And I’ve been eating a lot of it.

Now I’ll ask you to bear with me for a second. This blog is meant to talk about trekking places, correct? And now my first real post, and the first post on this blog in such an incredibly long time, is just about sugar? I mean, sugar is not exactly a foreign concept. It’s not even a place. It’s just… sugar. 

But sugar has incredible consequences. It has consequences directly on our bodies, our mental health, the people around us and even the globe. It’s entrenched in our politics and it has an incredible hold on the economy. But let’s not get into too much too quickly. We’ve got an entire break to talk about all of that.

For now, let’s stick to me. Because this is where I’m starting. And I feel like my consumption has spiked through the roof of acceptable lately. There is a bit of a reason for this. Not an acceptable reason by any means, but a reason all the same. It’s personal, and a story for another day, but let’s just say that getting dumped makes me eat like an entire pint of ice cream and drink lots of soda and consume a bit of chocolate, too, and just… ugh. It’s too much. And the thing about sugar is that it feels good to eat it, but a bit after stopping the cravings start. And then a few hours later it’s the headaches and the fuzziness of thought. And I’m not even going into the fact that fat just eats this stuff up. All these consequences mean that while I’m writing this, mere hours from when I last drank a soda and ate honey-vanilla Greek yogurt, I’m feeling the consequences of these actions. My thoughts aren’t very clear, and my body isn’t very happy, and somehow my brain has had the thought within the last few minutes that a piece of chocolate would be fantastic right now when in fact, that piece of chocolate would just make the situation worse. I’ve downed like a liter of water since then in an attempt to flush out the system, but this isn’t going to go away very quickly. And I seriously need to just quit cold turkey, and detox from it all. 

A quick body survey before the beginning of this little experiment: a light headache and sub-par brain speed is noticeable. I feel distracted, and my thoughts are difficult to align onto a task. Writing this is not without its distractions. My body is feeling not quite right. I don’t feel like exercising or doing anything active at all. I’m rather tired but that may simply be because it’s already past midnight. Overall: low energy levels, distracted head-achy brain. 

Tomorrow morning I’ll detail exactly what coffee tastes like without sugar to mellow out some of those bitter tones. I don’t actually have any breakfast foods in the house right now aside from one sad egg sitting in the fridge, alone, alongside a gallon of milk. I may pick up some fruit before heading to class. I’ll mesh out what exactly constitutes sugar-free eating tomorrow as well, and I’ll have to take a stance on bread: are those two tablespoons per loaf enough to make me avoid the stuff for the extent of the experiment? And if so, what exactly are my alternatives? And how much stuff is sugar actually in, exactly? It seems like an awful lot. This break is going to be long and arduous, but hopefully also interesting. I’ll start it gung-ho and see where I end up.