Tag Archives: chocolate

How easy is it to give up sugar?

sugarI’m not going to tell a lie, it’s difficult.

After all, if you start looking at the labels on stuff there’s pretty much added sugar in everything from bread to the really naughty food stuffs.

And then there’s all the naturally occurring sugars in fruit, which gets increased when you smoothie them down – glad I sold my juice extractor!

Sugar, although it doesn’t have any real nutritional value is still part of the carbohydrate food group, which give us energy.

And we all know that anything sweet, sticky and generally looks sugar laden might be bad for us, but boy does it give us a quick, almost instantaneous sugar rush.  (You only need to watch a group of children at a party once the ice cream and cakes have gone).

The addictive nature of sugar is what makes it so tempting and easy to reach for a chocolate bar or a slice of cake (or even the entire cake) when we’re feeling down, tired, emotional, etc.

But sugar is now the bad boy of the food world.

We consume too much refined sugar which in turn, can increase our chances of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to name but a few. And with a health service that’s already stretched shouldn’t we do something that may ease the burden?  Even if it means missing out on a slice of cake?

Now, I don’t eat chocolate. I know, I’m a girl so I must have chocolate cravings, right? Um, no. Actually, I can’t eat it. I’m one of the rare few for whom chocolate actually does not give a euphoric contentment. It does the complete opposite, I get a real, real, bad low.

And, as you all know I’m a recovering “Biscuitholic” – it’s now been 4½ years since my last biscuit!

But, I do have to confess to liking cake. The creamier the better. Carrot cake (slightly healthier option), coffee cake, vanilla, you name it, if it has got frosting, yes please.

Well, back to the point, last year I kind of got to the stage where I thought I needed to lose a few pounds – the jeans were feeling a tad on the tight side – and I had a bit of a flabby tum from not having done too much ab work following my op.

When lo, what should behold me at the local newsagent but a magazine about how to get rid of your “sugar belly”. And so, of course I bought it.

It was very enlightening, I can tell you.

For instance, I now know that the little aches and pains I notice in my joints after I’ve had something sweet are actually called “sugar aches” – who knew?  That certainly explains a lot.

So after reading the magazine thoroughly, several times, I decided that I should try this crazy idea. (At this point I had weighed myself – big mistake, huge!)

The basic idea is that you go pretty much cold turkey for 2 weeks and then gradually reintroduce sugar, see what reaction your body has and then just reduce the amount you eat.

After all, going back to the fact that it is a carbohydrate, it’s not all bad.  Just like anything it’s better in moderation.

Out went the sugar-laden breakfast cereal (I hasten to add it was only Shreddies) and in came porridge. I have to confess I couldn’t give up milk (which yes has sugar in it – obviously a naturally occurring one, but still pretty much ½teaspoon every 100ml), so I didn’t go completely cold turkey.

And to the porridge I added cinnamon. This gives it the sweet(ish) taste that your body may crave, but is actually (and I didn’t know this) a “fat-busting” herb! (Bring it on!)

I’ve got so accustomed to this now, that I simply couldn’t go back to any other cereal – it would be too sweet.

So, what else did I cut out?  Fruit, smoothies, cake, bread, etc., and I avidly began reading labels off everything.

The first day was breeze, by the second day I did start to feel a bit shaky and headachy, the third day I was pleased I didn’t actually have to work but by the fourth day I felt much brighter.

So, for the first few days you do have to think of the long-term aim and not give up.  It is hard, but you have to use that old willpower.

Over the next 2 months, I was amazed at how easy it became not to reach for the sugary stuff. And yes, I did substitute, like all the celebrity magazines. I’ve used brown sugar for years instead of white, but I also now use agave nectar, which is low GI and has a lower sugar content than honey.

And like when I gave up biscuits, my taste buds changed. I no longer craved sugar, and when I smelt something sweet all I could smell was the manufactured, processed yuckiness!

And did I mention the weight? Well, it literally fell off. (As that weight control freak, I wanted to lose a good 10-12Kgs. Not that I needed to, but that would then get me down to a weight I felt comfortable with and pretty much back to pre-baby weight).

After 2 months I had lost 5Kgs and felt great. I actually had more energy than when I had been eating sugar.

So, then I started gradually introducing a “sin” – not every day, but once a week. What I did notice, was that after eating it I got sugar-aches. The weight stabilised, but then as we drew near to Christmas…let’s just say “Oops!” maybe a few pounds crept back on – what can I say, I’m a sucker for Stollen!

But, here we are 4 months into the year and I am almost, so very nearly there. I have maybe 2-3Kg to go.

I’m still on the porridge with cinnamon and I try to avoid foodstuff with sugar in, but if it does I actually (how sad is this?) calculate how many teaspoons it is.  I generally manage to stick within 1tsp a day – it’s tough, but you can do it.

I now find I have more energy not eating sugar than I did when I did.

 

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How important are the senses when it comes to food?

The world has people who are deemed ‘visual eaters’ – they eat stuff if it looks good, and if it looks bad then they do not eat it. (That’s why parents tend to try to make pretty cheesecakepictures with their children’s food in an attempt to get them to eat green vegetables and the such)

Can we, therefore, assume that other senses can come into play when approaching food?

And, if so, would it be possible that this sense reaction could have the same effect?

I was just wondering.

Now, I admit that I can be somewhat fussy in the food department – after all being a vegetarian is never a good starting point with potential boyfriends, especially if they are carnivores and they can’t seem to accept that you just don’t like meat – and I’m not very adventurous either really. Plain, wholesome cooking is a winner in my books.

But to get back to the point, SC is very much a visual eater. If he doesn’t like the look of something, savoury or sweet, he will literally crawl under the table in an attempt to avoid even smelling it, let alone trying it!

Whereas, I have come to the conclusion that maybe I am an “aroma eater” – if it doesn’t smell good I will not go near it.

As an example, I have never eaten Indian food in my life. The reason? Oh, that’s too simple. It’s purely because I cannot stand the smell that wafts out of Indian restaurants. I don’t know what it is, and I know, deep down, that individual dishes will not smell bad, but because of the smell I cannot bring myself even to attempt to cook a curry.

Similarly, parmesan cheese, to me smells like vomit, and I cannot bring myself to use it. Even though I have been told that fresh parmesan smells nothing of the sort!

On the plus side, it has helped me kick my addiction to biscuits. I have not had a biscuit in 2 years. After about a week the smell changed. It went from being a scrummy smell, to me being able to smell only the fats and other industrial components, and as a consequence I now cannot eat them.

This I believe is one the foremost techniques in NLP when trying to get someone to ‘kick a habit’, by getting them to give the habit a different smell or taste. So, if you like chocolate, I believe the idea is that when you take a bite instead of enjoying the chocolatey flavour, you train your brain into thinking it tastes of brussel sprouts, so after a few days when you reach for the afternoon ‘pick-me-up’, your brain screams “YUK! Brussel sprouts!” and you think twice about eating it.

But would it work the other way around?

So, for instance, if SC refuses to eat something because of the way it looks, should I try the blindfold test?

Similarly, should I try to cook a curry and hold my nose in the first instance of tasting?

After all, if you can train your brain to think one way, surely you can train it to think another?

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Warning: Allergy to Chocolate

Seriously! I have an allergy to chocolate.Chocolate

Not sure what part of the ingredient list it is, but I have just basically avoided the stuff since I was about 20, and realised it was what was making me more nuts than usual 😉

It’s not life threatening, I don’t come out in huge hives, rashes, or any other ‘normal’ allergic reaction.

Chocolate gives 99% of people a big ‘happy rush’, for me it has the opposite effect.

It literally sinks my mood completely, to the extent I could pretty much be Mr Hyde!!!

Then, it does something to all the muscles in my body, which become so incredibly tense that I cannot relax, or feel comfortable (being hyper-mobile does not help this). What then happens is I end up writhing about on the floor wanting to pretty much rip out all my joints from their sockets and put them back in, because that is the only way I would be able to feel less tense and tetchy.

It is not a pretty sight!

So I’m pretty pernickity when it comes to checking ingredients, etc.

Some seemingly innocent things can contain chocolate!

Mr Wrong No. 2 didn’t care whether he ate chocolate and then came near me (like I’d let him when I knew) and Mr Wrong No. 1 just thought I was nuts anyway!

There is only 1 person who has been sensitive and considerate enough about this matter, when I have told them.

Thankfully, this is the only serious thing that affects me.

Shellfish just makes me throw up!

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What will you give up?

It’s pancake day tomorrow, so that means, in theory, from Wednesday we have to give up something for Lent.ash wednesday

I can’t give up biscuits. Been there, done that! (13½ months to date)

I don’t drink alcohol, or eat chocolate, so they are out!

I’ve given up crisps – need to get my figure in trim for showgirl outfit (just over a month to go!) – I’m cutting the carbs as well, that always helps 😉

So what do you give up?

It has to be something that you would miss, or have to work at abstaining from.

I would love to be able to say that I’m giving up worrying and stressing for Lent, but let’s face it, that’s never going to be achievable at all, let alone in a month of Sundays (OK 6 weeks).

Mmmmm (thinks very hard!)

I think I’m going to give up thinking the worst of a situation and try to find a positive for each problem I encounter.

And…

Try to give up using sarcastic banter as a cloaking device in awkward situations!

Ooo, that’s going to take some doing…wish me luck!

 

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10 interesting (or not) facts about me!

So, here you go 10 interesting (or not) facts about “l’il ol’ me!”

  1. I don’t smoke or drink – prefer not to harm my lungs or liver! I don’t drink purely because I don’t like the taste – some wines really would be better being poured over a plate of chips! And smoking, ladies, whatever the magazines and films may make you think does not look glamorous, or cool. But just because I don’t drink or smoke does not mean I don’t know how to enjoy myself 😉
  2. I love the smell of coffee but cannot stand the taste. Seriously, I love the smell you get from opening a jar of coffee, but can’t drink it, no matter how milky, frothy or decorated with sprinkles you make it! I prefer a good old cup of tea. Brewed the builder’s way – tea-bag in mug, milk, no sugar, preferably de-caffeinated but not compulsory 😉
  3. I’m allergic to e-numbers and chocolate! That’s right chocolate. I go totally haywire, and you end up having to scrape me off the ceiling. Not a pretty sight. Chocolate gives most people an incredible high – that’s why everyone loves it – but some for some people it has the opposite effect. As for me, well if I have chocolate or e-numbers I make Mr Hyde look like a pussy cat. I literally writhe about on the floor wanting to rip every limb of my body out of its socket to replace it as my muscles completely tense up.
  4. I’m an old-fashioned romantic at heart – still waiting for a handsome prince to sweep me off my feet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. A girl should be wooed by a potential suitor – hearts and flowers (deep red fragrant roses obviously and happen to be my favourite) and all that jazz. It is all about romance – don’t let Cosmo or Elle tell you any different. Deep down, every girl wants the fairytale.
  5. I love reading. I’ll read anything. I pick books literally by scanning the shelves and looking at the front cover. If I like what I see I’ll buy it. I’ve read some hummers mind you. But have also read some surprisingly good ones. I am lucky that I can skim read (I can also read upside-down, but that’s only handy in interviews 😉 ) so without interruption I can read a book in about a day. I went on a fortnight’s holiday once and took 6 books with me. Take away the 2 travel days and 3 excursion days. I read all 6 in the remaining 9 – and still had time to read one again!
  6. I am completely obsessed when it comes to washing my clothes – no one, but myself can touch my washing. For the simple fact all washing machines shrink clothes! Once they are washed – on the gentlest cycle and lowest spin setting – they have to be stretched to within an inch of their life. I am at one with my obsession! But don’t think you’d be doing me a favour by doing my washing, seriously, and don’t even think tumble drier unless you want Mr Hyde to reappear!
  7. Pants – another obsession. I want a pair of pants to cover my backside. I don’t do dental floss up my bum and seriously if I wanted boy shorts I’d grow a penis (they are just as bad as G-strings as they end up stuck up your bum. Why is it so difficult to find a pair that covers your bottom. Even those that are supposed to … don’t – yes I’m talking M&S!
  8. I love cooking. I have a raft of recipe books, but at the moment very little time to actually try out different recipes. My friends used to call me the ‘dessert queen’ as I always came up trumps with pudding – essential I feel to finish off the meal. If I go out to eat I prefer main and dessert to starter and main.
  9. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 14 – not through any moral standing, just purely based on watching a video in a biology lesson about how they killed animals. My friend and I looked at each other and said “not eating meat again!” – she caved after a few weeks, I’m still going. To be honest, never was a huge fan of meat. I eat fish, and have no problems handling and cooking meat for others.
  10. I am a single mother. It certainly wasn’t a path I envisaged, but that just serves me right for picking a toad! Still, I am blessed with SC, and thank the angels every day for sending me such a wonderful gift. I didn’t want SC to be an only child, when I was little I always wanted 6 children! Now I think 2 or 3 would be a good number – if pushing it, considering my age and lack of handsome prince. But if I’m a really good girl, one day, who knows, maybe I’ll get to play happy families like everyone else 😉

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