Health Held Hostage: Step towards reclaiming My Health (Part I of III)

I carefully watched as she pinched her finger and a mound of blood pooled. I couldn’t help thinking, why did she make a boo-boo? And then it got worse! She put the blood in a device that gave her numbers and then got a needle like the doctors have, pulled medicine in it, and then pushed the needle in her skin. She gave herself a shot! Why would anyone want to do that!? Why is she hurting herself? And what’s more, she did this every day and more than once!! Those were some early thoughts and memories from childhood. I was around 2 or 3 years old and my grandmother would watch me before, and, sometimes after preschool. That was when I first learned about Type II Diabetes. And over the next 13 year I would watch as my grandmother’s body deteriorated due to complications caused by Type II Diabetes. She had open-heart surgery, kidney failure, dialysis, congestive heart failure; eventually losing her struggle at 63 years young, just mere months before her husband retired and they could finally take that trip to Hawaii to celebrate 40+ years of marriage and raising their 7 children together. She was a fun, vibrant individual, she had a contagious laugh, sloppy kisses, and hugs that made your soul feel safe; she had a way of making whomever she was speaking with feel like the most important person in the world. I so treasured every moment I spent with her. I just wish our memories could have had a different setting/backdrop, like at beach or road trip, as opposed to hospital rooms, dialysis, and towards the end, hospice.  For the first 16 years of my life I witnessed what my grandmother ate but it wasn’t until 15+ years later that I made the direct correlation of her diet with her rapidly deteriorating health.

diabetes-stats

It wasn’t until I was living her life, as a mom, as a wife, with so many responsibilities and obligations, pressure, and lure of the convenience foods. I am sure most women, wives, mothers/parents can relate to the fact that it is impossible to do it all, the laundry, dishes, work, housework, children’s homework, chauffer kids to practices, games, clubs, etc. and still have 3 square homemade meals.  Something has to give and thanks to the food industry “we’ve got you covered moms” slogans and ease of convenience we can easily outsource meals.

restaurant

But what we are actually outsourcing, without realizing it, due to the hypnotic tactics of the same individuals who so creatively got us hooked on tobacco (Tobacco Giant Phillip Morris owns Kraft (Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Post cereals, Maxwell House, Kool-Aid, Tombstone pizza) and Nabisco (Oreo, Ritz, Snackwells) http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Tobacco-Giant-Philip-Morris-Buying-Nabisco-2751987.php ) , is our family’s health!

After drinking the “Kool-Aid”, so-to-speak (no pun intended) for so long, it can be difficult to differentiate the truth amongst all the Sudo Health Slang. And let me tell you, I bought into it all! The ‘no fat’, ‘fat free’, ‘fortified with fiber’, ‘added fiber’, ‘low fat’, etc.

light-foods

I honestly thought by purchasing items that were fat free and/or low fat that I was doing something good for my family and myself. I never lost the baby weight from my first child and just packed it on with each additional pregnancy, thus I needed to lost weight and doesn’t it make sense to purchase food with no fat if you want to lose fat? Turns out a lot of those foods which contained no fat were actually drowning in sugar!! (Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10668189/Low-fat-foods-stuffed-with-harmful-levels-of-sugar.html ) And,” since fructose molecule is not a natural part of metabolism and humans do not produce it. In fact, very few cells in the body can make use of it except liver cells. When we eat a lot of sugar, most of the fructose gets metabolized by the liver. There it gets turned into fat, which is then secreted into the blood”. (Source: 4 Ways Sugar Makes You Fat https://authoritynutrition.com/4-ways-sugar-makes-you-fat/ ) At this point in my research the lightbulb goes off in my brain and the connection between my grandmother’s obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high fructose foods is made….and that was the first step towards reclaiming the health I had allowed The Food Industry to hijack.

What I did…over the course of 3 years I made small modification here and there to my family’s diet and lifestyle. The key is to take it slow; there is no magic pill, shake, etc. just adjustments here and there that will have you reclaiming your health. Food is medicine, food is your preventative health care, your livelihood, no one else should lose a family member due to Type II Diabetes….we, as parents put so much time, energy, effort, and love into raising our children we should be able to witness the fruits of our labor and watch them flourish, thrive, and watch them become parents.

Here are some actions I started taking 3 years ago to help my family and myself (I was a size 18 after giving birth to my first child and am now down to a size 10! I have more energy than ever before, I no longer have that foggy feeling, my mind is clear, my skin, hair, nails look awesome….it’s amazing and I want everyone to feel this good, which is why I am sharing my journey with you).

Tips to Take Action:

  1. Removed cereal from house-I started making breakfast. Scrambled eggs, omelet, hardboiled egg, leftovers from the night before, basically whatever the kids would eat, but cereal, it was no longer welcomed into our home. cerealThis one was a struggle; it took a good 6 months for the kids to conquer their cereal detox. (Interesting Read: Trisodium Phosphate currently used as an industrial paint thinner is used inside children’s breakfast cereal- http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/trisodium-phosphate-paint-thinner-in-consumer-products-kids-cereals.php )
  2. Stopped watching television in the evening-this gave us more time to prep lunches for the next day & it made me a much more patient mom in the evenings, I had no idea what kind of a hold a television program had over me. As we continued we started reading and saying the Rosary in the evening too….funny how people say they don’t have time- you need to make it a priority and you WILL find the time, promise!
  3. Removed Cable from the Home– you are probably thinking what does that have to do with food? A lot actually! See, we removed cable and purchased an antenna that only works on occasion (drives my husband nuts) which basically forced us to only watch Netflix, which is commercial free, thus the children aren’t being bombarded with commercials about toys and food, especially food. Junk Food request went down exponentially!!
  4. Start reading nutrition labels and only purchase items with 5 or less ingredients– this one was tricky, and I totally caved a few hundred times and bought items with 10 or so, but at least it got me in the habit of looking at the ingredients and surprisingly eliminating a lot of preservatives and additives from our diet.
  5. 1/3 of the cart needs to be fruits and vegetables– this was probably the hardest, even harder than giving up watching cable television. I struggled with this one as a mom because I didn’t want to waste food. We used to actually have fruits and veggies expire/go bad….fast forward 3 years and strawberries, bananas, & mini peppers are lucky if they make it to day 2 after grocery shopping. I found that I had to be the model, I had to model to the children how delicious fruits and veggies can be….and they can be convenient (this is often a big issue too), the key is to wash and prep, slice, cut as soon as you get home so children can just grab and go.

 

To be continued…….

 

Removing this one thing made my life SO much better!

How is the quality of your life? Do you exhibit brain fog? Do you have enough energy to play with your kids/grandchildren? Are you always hungry? Are you always tired? Are you easily irritable? Do you want a solution? What if I told you that you could cure these ailments and feel amazing?

I have been on a journey back to a healthy lifestyle for the past 9 months. And I am happy to report that the brain fog has officially lifted, my skin has cleared up, I have more energy than ever, I don’t need coffee in the morning or afternoon, I no longer crash around 2pm, I don’t crave sugars or carbs, my appetite has been curbed, oh, and added bonus, I have lost 12 pounds!! I feel amazing! This is the way I believe God intended us to feel so that we can actually enjoy our lives, to thrive! And the best part, I can still eat the foods I enjoy, chocolate pudding, peanut butter cups, fudge, butter, bacon, etc.!

PUDDINGmeals_gustbrothers 033

 

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And I don’t have to work out every day…in fact I only work out 3 times a week, for 20 minutes or less.

I will start at the beginning of my journey….my initial pursuit was to remove the brain fog, think more clearly, not be as agitated and irritable.

STEP ONE: I REMOVED the SUGAR!!

Did you know Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine!! (Source) The addiction is REAL folks! And sadly it is in EVERYTHING! We all know soda and candy has sugar, but did you know it can be found in foods marketed as “healthy”, like oatmeal, yogurt, bread, soup, etc. Our food supply has been altered so much! Fat has gotten such a bad rap; manufacturers have removed fat and increased sugar immensely! Too much fructose shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re full, so what do you do, eat more sugar just to get that feeling of being satiated.

SUGARCUBES

IMAGE http://www.diabetesinc.net/chart-for-sugar-content-in-foods/

This first step, removing the sugar, is the toughest step and one you will want to do slowly. I do not advice going cold turkey. If you go cold turkey you will have horrible withdrawals, headaches, stomach aches, irritability. Sugar is like a drug and after we consume a certain amount we need that same amount every day just to feel “normal”. So I advice taking it one day at a time, it took me weeks to get through this step.

Tips to wean your family off sugar:

  • Don’t bring it in the house! Stop buying the big sugar items like soda, cookies, desserts, etc. If those toxic items are not in the house then you & your family will not consume them.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store….the produce, meat, cheese, poultry areas, avoid the isles filled with temptations.
  • Look at your LABELS! Manufacturers have gotten sneaky; always double check the serving size! The nutritional facts might indicate that there is only 2g of sugar but look at that serving size, do you honestly only consume that serving size?
  • Keep a FOOD Journal. Write down what you are eating & how much sugar you are consuming each day then after a week reevaluate the consumption and determine where you can cut sugar the following week. Don’t obsess, only review once a week….the idea is to start a new lifestyle not diet fad….and to do so you need to go easy on yourself, it must be practical!
  • Focus on adjusting just one meal a month. I found it helpful to start with breakfast. It was amazing how much better I felt and the children acted when I didn’t fuel our brain with fructose. Click here to read about the day I Killed Cereal.

So how much sugar should you consume?

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 26g per day for women and 36g per day for men). Source

It is also important to remember that not ALL calories are created equal. But that is something I will discuss at a later date.

I lost my grandmother due to complications from diabetes, she was only 63! She got robbed of her life. Sadly I fear that there are so many friends and family heading in the same direction if we don’t take control. The research is mounting when it comes to the connections between sugar and Alzheimer as well as Cancer. They have found insulin receptors on cancer cells….sugar feeds tumors! (Source)

 

I am happy to say that I am no longer sugar dependent!! I will admit it wasn’t an easy road but one I am glad I went down and conquered. And you can too!!

I know what your thinking, “but she was eating chocolate pudding”!? And I promise you can too…I will share STEP 2 next week.

In case you have a lot of sugar on your hands, I will let you know that I have found a place for sugar in my life, I use it as a scrub in the shower…it is a FABULOUS exfoliator! Just an FYI….1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

Please share your thoughts and concerns in the comments. Did you realize sugar is practically added to everything these days? What are your thoughts? What do you currently consume for breakfast? What sweet will be the most difficult for you to give up?

Resources:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign

http://abc13.com/health/study-sugar-is-as-addictive-as-cocaine/533979/

http://vivo.med.cornell.edu/display/cwid-lec2014

http://www.realnatural.org/refined-sugar-promotes-cancer/