Love the Way You Lie (“You” Being Sugar)

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candace graves

I love sugar, but sugar doesn’t love me. It’s like an abusive relationship I can’t walk away from. (Just giving an illustration; obviously the two aren’t really comparable … that would be pretty offensive.) Sugar tells me that it will make me happy, and I may be happy at first… But after eating the processed, added sugar, refined carb deliciousness, I feel like crap.

Ever since getting sick last year, I realized that white sugar is one of the worst things we can put in our bodies. I don’t even call it a “food”; it’s more like an addictive chemical. Actually, that’s what it is. Addictive. And a chemical.

I love learning about health, nutrition, preventative medicine, etc. BUT quite honestly I battle a massive sugar addiction. It sucks!!

I was going to write a list of reasons explaining why sugar is terrible for you, but this article from Authority Nutrition does a pretty great job. Here are a few of the main points:

– Sugar contains no usable nutrients – no protein, essential fat, vitamins or minerals. The bacteria in our mouths digest this energy very easily. Sugar feeds bacteria. This leads to tooth decay.

– Added sugar contains fructose, which our bodies have no physiological need for, and excess amounts can harm the liver. Excess sugar gets stored in the liver as fat. This can lead to fatty liver disease plus other serious health issues.

– Sugar can cause insulin resistance! Which can cause metabolic syndrome and diabetes! Overloading our bodies with glucose leads to insulin resistance.

Ok now I’m feeling lazy, so to see the rest of the article, click the link above!

Basically, sugar is a toxic chemical to our bodies. Each time we ingest added sugar, our bodies have to work harder to maintain our homeostasis. It’s completely counter-productive to a healthy diet. It also enables rapid cell reproduction, which is very, very bad in regards to cancer. The more sugar we ingest, the less-healthy our cells become… There are just so many reasons to give it up.

YET.

Because it is addicting, I still struggle to give it up. Do you? Share your sugar addiction stories below, or how you overcame them. I’d love to hear!

Oh, last note:

I didn’t write anything about sugar and weight loss, because quite honestly I care more about my health than losing weight. Plus, once you start looking at food as a way to sustain your body, everything else kind of falls into place.

But the truth is that once our bodies digest and process sugar, they store it as fat. So an excellent step forward if you’re trying to lose weight is to cut back on added sugars!

(Hint: the best way to look at food properly is through a Biblical lens – realizing that we were created to worship our Creator, not other parts of creation, including food. God is so good that he blessed us with nourishment that tastes amazing! Amen for delicious food. And when we worship God instead of our bellies, emotions, control, etc., we can truly enjoy what he has given us.)

Book Review: “Eat Move Sleep”

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I LOVE the library! I think it is one of the most brilliant institutions on planet earth. Tons of free books, movies and music. Last summer I had three years’ worth of fines built up and, wanting to finally face the music, I went in to pay them. Amazingly, the librarian reduced my fee from $80+ to somewhere around $5! I could go on, BUT…

Eat Move Sleep

THIS is why I’m not a graphic designer. 😛

…The point of this post is to review one of the books I rented – “Eat Move Sleep” by Tom Rath. Rath is not a doctor; he’s just a regular dude trying to live a healthy life. He actually discloses in the book that he has a rare genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow in his body. He eats, moves and sleeps as if his life depended on it, because it does!

This book was extremely easy to read and provided tons of interesting facts about healthy eating, exercise and sleep. His “Eat, Move, Sleep Equation” looks like this:

“Starting your day with a healthy breakfast increases your odds of being active in the hours that follow. This helps you eat well throughout the day. Consuming the right foods and adding activity makes for a much better night’s sleep. This sound night of sleep will make it even easier to eat well and move more tomorrow.”

I’ve seen this truth play out in my life, and I’m sure you have, too. It all works together, and each decision impacts the next. One major takeaway from this book was when Rath explained that, “Each bite is a net gain or loss,” meaning each food decision that does more good than harm is a net gain, and vise versa. Remembering this helps me to make good decisions throughout the day.

I recommend this book as a quick and helpful read. It provides “snackable” pieces of info that can be applied to your everyday life. Would be a great pool-side read this summer!

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Sickness

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As I noted in my last post, I recently started working full-time. Unfortunately, my body is still adjusting to going to bed early and waking up at the buttcrack of dawn. This has resulted in a lack of sleep.

It seems like every time I start to become sleep-deprived I catch a cold, no matter how healthy my diet is.

sleep

Sleep is so, so, SO important. Lack of sleep leads to weight gain, stress, imbalanced hormones, a messed up metabolism, and case-in-point, sickness! I made it through the entire winter perfectly healthy, but as soon as I started losing sleep I caught a cold. Talk about a bad trade-off.

Now that I’m fighting a cold, here’s what I’ve been doing to support a quick recovery:

– Trying to sleep as much as I can! Since I have to wake up around 6:30 a.m., I try to be in bed by 10 p.m. Our bodies have an amazing way of repairing themselves, and much of that is done while we’re asleep. When we curtail sleep we’re robbing our bodies of their ability to fight for us.

– Cutting down on sugar & loading up on whole foods! Sugar suppresses your immune system. When I’m sick, I try to avoid any extra work my body has to do to maintain my homeostasis. This way, my cells & immune system can focus on keeping me healthy. Avoiding processed foods and choosing whole foods like vegetables, fruit and plant-based proteins seems to help! (I’m not a vegetarian, just an FYI…)

– Drinking fluids! Water, tea and coffee are my staples. As far as vitamin C, I choose whole oranges over processed OJ. I read somewhere that the manufacturing of OJ adds chemicals that make it less-than-ideal to drink; not to mention the concentrated sugar & lack of fiber. I also have a theory that your body absorbs nutrients better when the food is closest to its natural form.

– Resting! I’ve been keeping it pretty low-key at home…

– Exercising! …Except when I’m on my treadmill! No, it’s not a paradox; light exercise is thought to help your immune system. (But always listen to your body – if you don’t feel up to it, then don’t do it.)

– Taking PM cold medicine! I am anti-pharma to a degree, BUT I do take pain relievers and cold medicine in moderation. I don’t think cold medicine removes the cold quicker, but where’s the harm in making the symptoms more bearable? It also helps my breathing while I sleep.

And something I wish I hadn’t done:

– Take generic airborne! Drug Mart brand, to be exact. I can’t say for sure whether it was the ‘borne or my lunch, but my stomach felt like death! Seeing how I frequently eat the same thing for lunch, I think it was the medicine…

How do you prevent or fight off the common cold??

Staying Healthy at an Office Job

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fruit

I just started my first full-time marketing job! Oddly enough, I wasn’t as nervous to start the actual job as I was about the sedentary work style I’d be embracing.

There are tons of studies out there suggesting that office jobs are hazardous to our health. While some factors are out of my control, here’s what I’ve been doing to stay healthy:

– Eat healthy foods! In the morning, I aim for protein (oatmeal, eggs or bran flakes & almond milk) with fresh fruit. If I oversleep, I’ll whip up half a pb&j on whole grain bread and eat it in the car.

Lunch varies, but my staple is a spinach salad from Heinen’s salad bar. I sprinkle lean proteins like chick peas and nuts on top. Chicken salad is also one of my favorite lunchtime picks.

Snacks are a must for me. I’ll keep almonds, prunes, apples or a granola bar at my desk. My downfall is sugar; I always crave something sweet after a meal. A small quantity of chocolate usually does the trick.

– Drink fluids! I HAVE to start the day with water, or else I feel very dehydrated (because I am). Once I get to the office, I pour a cup of coffee with plain cream. Throughout the day I’ll sip water, and after lunch I’ll have a cup of peppermint tea to aid digestion.

The added benefit of drinking fluids is taking bathroom breaks! Getting up to move around is soooo important. It helps me focus more on my work.

– Move! Like I just stated, if I sit at my desk for too long I start to go stir crazy. Thankfully, my company’s lounge is downstairs, so each time I get a cup of tea or walk to the conference room it involves taking the stairs.

– Break for my eyes! Staring at a computer screen is so draining, mentally and physically. Taking my eyes off of the screen and resting them for a few moments, even if its just to read something on paper, goes a long way.

There are some areas I could improve on; willpower being one. As bad as they are, I love donuts! If someone brings them into the office, I will most-likely partake.

Sitting at a desk all day is very tiring. I know that if I fill my diet with crap I’ll be exhausted, and probably not very productive. I figure if I eat healthy most of the time, occasional treats like donuts won’t kill me.

How do YOU stay healthy at work??

So I’ve Realized…

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…That I suck at maintaining a blog. I’m not dedicated, I’m not consistent, and its really difficult to write about professional topics on the same platform as personal matters. SO, I re-routed my blog toward health, nutrition and overall wellness! The fact is that our bodies were created to operate with proper nutrition, exercise and sleep (but most of all an intimate relationship with our Creator). So if you want to know what it looks like to properly care for your “temple”, keep reading, because that’s what I’m trying to figure out for myself!