Kicking Sugar

Sugar. I’m so into it, I love sweets. Love love. So when I let it get out of hand, I know I need a personal intervention.

For the last 3 years around this time I’ve done the 21 Day Sugar Detox so that I can kick my sugar habit. (I will link to it at the end of the post).

Here’s the thing: in life I pretty much always have a sweet tooth, and when the holiday season comes around I’m in my happiest happy place. It’s the time of year (usually starting at about mid/end of November😏) when I let chocolates and all the baked goodies into the house. It’s also the time of year when I don’t feel an ounce of guilt or conflicting feelings about it. Friends bring goodies over, I buy some of our favourites, and then I BAKE. I make all kinds of things, squares, cookies, truffles, and I use all the best stuff… butter, sugar, condensed milk, chocolate, you name it!  I save this kind of baking for the Christmas season because when all the treats come around I (we) can’t help but eat it up 😍

The baking…

Outside of December I don’t do this kind of indulgent baking. If I bake, it consists of a batch of cookies or muffins for my kids where I make healthier versions of recipes. I do the ingredient swap, like apple sauce for oils and butter, I use different types of flours like almond flour, spelt or oat flour instead of wheat. I sneak in veggies by grating up zucchini or carrots, I will use raisins or nuts instead of chocolate chips, or go a little lighter on the chocolate chips. I’ve found that as long as my boys can visably see a couple chocolate chips in a cookie, it’s enough to get them super excited about their treat (but I’m not sure how much longer that will last🤔).

For me, 1 or 2 chocolate chips at Christmas time would never give me a thrill, so that’s why I give in and enjoy the Christmas season.

All that said, I don’t want to give you the impression that I am gorging on chocolate and baked goods every minute of everyday, but I do indulge when I want to.  The trouble with my frequent indulging over several weeks is that it leaves me craving more…..and MORE.

shutterstock_278894744

Craving it is the key word there, NOT SO GOOD.  The thing with sugar specifically is that it fuels every cell in the brain.  Your brain also sees sugar as a reward which makes you want more of it.  If you let a lot of sugar into your diet, you’re reinforcing that reward centre which makes the habit a tough one to break🤯

This is why every year (for the last 3 years) I have felt the need to get serious about breaking my sweet tooth habit by doing the The 21 Day Sugar Detox.

In the simplest form, the detox eliminates all forms of sugar from your diet. I’m starting my detox in a couple days and from experience, I know is will be a challenge!

Almost all year round I find ways to sneak something sweet into my diet nearly everyday. So although I’m not totally out of control, I do almost always keep my sugar cycle going. Sooo when the Christmas season rolls around I really exacerbate my cravings.

The 21 Days…

I remember from past years, the first 7 days are the toughest. I find that I really need to keep myself distracted when my cravings hit. For me, mid/late afternoon and every evening are tough.

I’ve also found that if I am tired during the day, I want to reach for sweets so much more. Thankfully before I start my detox I always clean out the cupboards, freezer, desk drawers, and secret stashes so there is nothing I can easily reach for at home.

I find that once I get into the second week, my cravings begin to fade, and by the start of the third week I don’t really feel that strong urge for sugar. In past detoxes I usually coast through the final days not even thinking about sweet treats.

The best part….

The thing I love most about cutting all sugar and refined carbohydrates is that my body feels incredible. I feel lighter, I have more energy, and I have no bloating at all. Ahhh-mazing.

IMG_1127

If you’re interested, some of the main criteria for the 21 Day Sugar Detox is:

  • It’s a 3 week program that starts you off with a short questionnaire. It provides you with 3 different levels to help customize your program (the 3 levels are based on how strong your sugar cravings are).
  • Eliminate ALL sugar from your diet. What exactly does that mean? It means NO: sugary treats and refined grains/gluten containing grains (bagels, crackers, cookies, granola, pasta, etc.), no fruit juices, alcohol or sweet tasting drinks, no artificial sweeteners of any kind.
  • As well, no fruit with the exception of a few: green apples, grapefruit and green tip bananas (not quite ripe). You are allowed 1 serving per day if you would like.
  • YES Foods: a huge list of vegetables/starchy vegetables, protein sources, fats & oils. As well, approved beverage and condiments.

The plan provides you with examples of how to build your plate for all meals and snacks so you will feel satiated and have energy throughout the day.  The detox also comes with a recipe book if you need that.

In a crazy way, the detox has felt more difficult than my competition diets (though the detox is a much shorter time fame) but it’s definitely something I need to do after the holidays.

I recommend giving this a try if you are struggling to cut sugar out of your diet.  Coming off the 21 days you will feel great and you will re-establish some better eating habits. Until next Christmas season, bye-bye sugar!😆

Anyways that’s been my trick for kicking sugar so maybe this can help you too!

Carm

All or nothing? Or is something better than nothing? 🤔

Well hey! It’s been a while….a long while. I feel like I’ve been doing an exceptional job of letting myself off the hook when it comes to sitting at my computer for any length of time. I’m not sure what it’s like for you, but for me, writing feels a bit like a muscle, when you use it a lot, it works really great, it’s efficient, but when you don’t it’s weak, real weak 😒. I honestly just got out of the groove and it felt so easy to let myself off the hook all together. Bad bad! Read more

Grilled Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing

BEHOLD. A Kale salad that is seriously incredible. Just. Perfect! ⚡️

fullsizeoutput_2d8

I’m not sure if anyone else get here but I seem to hit the same point every summer – salad everyday.  I don’t even realize it until one day I reflect on all my frequent visits to the grocery store for MORE  vegetables.  I can barely keep up (but it’s not just me, my kids are good little veggie eaters too 🙂

When it comes to salads for dinner, I usually try to make them a little more hearty. Not so much heavy in the sense of starchy carbs, I’m more into the fats – healthy fats.

I do this for a few reasons…

  • We need healthy fat in our diet so that our metabolic processes function efficiently.
  •  It helps you to absorb other nutrients.
  •  It helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Fat is satiating, so maybe, just maybe you won’t feel such a strong urge to go searching through your fridge and cupboards for treats a few hours after you’ve eaten.

So when I circle back to my summer time salad obsession (say the 10 times fast), one of the key ingredients is avocados. Aside from guacamole, I think the best use for an avocado might just be this salad ✅

Lets get into it – the fist part: Grilled KaleIMG_1502

Before this salad I had never grilled kale before, I don’t think I ever thought to do it, but it’s super easy, and KEY to the incredible flavour so you can’t take a short cut and not grill the kale!

IMG_5533

One thing abut grilling kale is that the big pile of kale will quickly shrink down, so use more kale then you think you will need. Kale grills quite fast so I recommend staying close by, turning the leaves when they begin to char. As they do, removed each leaf once it’s grilled. (I give more details in the recipe)

Aside from the avocado and kale, there are a few other key ingredients to this salad. There are toasted chickpeas and bread crumbs which add a nice crunchy texture.

IMG_1536

GRILLED KALE SALAD with AVOCADO DRESSING

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large heads Green Kale
  • Olive oil (it lightly coat kale before grilling)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Corn (on the cob)
  • 1 c  Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Fresh Lemon (to grill)

Avocado Dressing

  • 1        Ripe Avocado
  • 1/3 c  Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1        Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 tsp  Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4     each Salt and Pepper
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
    • place all ingredients in a container and blend until smooth. Set in the fridge until ready to use.

IMG_1511

Bread Crumbs

  • 1 c  Bread, sliced into cubes
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • S&P for flavor, I also had some Flavor God, Lemon & Garlic spice so I sprinkled that on top as well.

IMG_1505

These little crumbs are simple, once you slice up the bread, toss in a little olive oil and season with the spice.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake until the bread is golden and dried out. Mine took about 35 minutes, but this might vary from one oven to the next, so just keep an eye on them. Once they are cooled, place in a bag and crush into smaller pieces with a rolling pin (or whatever you have on hand).

Crispy Chickpeas

  • 1 c Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • S&P to taste

IMG_1514

Once the chickpeas are rinced, place on a paper towel to dry them completely, remove the loose skins. Coat them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then spread over a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425 degrees. Bake 15 minutes and then shake them around, bake another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

The grill. 

  • With the grill at medium heat, first put your lemon on the grill face down for about 5 minute before putting the kale on the grill.
  • Spray or lightly brush all kale leaves with olive oil, then place all the leaves on the grill. Like I mentioned earlier, stay close by because the grilling doesn’t take long! Once the leaves become charred flip over and grill an additional minute, after that remove from the BBQ.

Tear all stems off the leaves and tear the charred kale leaves into small pieces. Put all kale into a bowl and then add some of the avocado dressing (use as much or as little as you would like), and toss well.

Top with the tomatoes, corn, chickpeas, and bread crumbs, then squeeze the grilled lemon over the entire salad.

And Behold – one incredible salad!

fullsizeoutput_2d5

IMG_1536

You can enjoy this as a vegetarian dish, or since you will have the BBQ heated up you can grill some chicken, prawns….whatever you like!

Enjoy!

Carm

Full Body Workout

How can it be that we are approaching the end of August?! Howwwww…. What have you all been up to?!

We’ve had a few little trips over the summer, along with some family visits which have been great. I’ve had a ton of time with my little guys and our adventures have been – The. Best! I think my iPhone camera roll is over 4200 photos and almost 900 videos, so I’ve basically documented our entire summer 📸 🤗 Read more