Wednesday, March 27, 2013

i'm over sugar: 8 steps to stop feeling like crap

ohhhhh kay. welcome to this weird series where i try and intentionally tell you about what happened over this past 6 weeks. it makes me a little nervous because i'm not a doctor or a health guru or a yoga instructor. or a tambourine player. what? ok, i was trying to say, i'm not a hippie.  that's what people say when they kind of are hippies but don't want you to think they're weirdos. moving on!

and this is kind of long. so settle in and put a blanket over your cold toes.

(here is the first part of the series that explains what the heart is behind all this and what my symptoms of crappiness were.)

when i started lent, all i knew was that i was giving up sugar. i had no intention of doing anything long term.  i just knew i needed to stop eating sweet treats. so i stopped making cookies every other day. i stopped eating chocolate all throughout the day and into the evening. those first 3 days of pure hell for me, to be honest. i wanted sugar and couldn't have it. i had headaches and was lethargic. i prayed that God would help me...just help me get through the day! it was so silly...i couldn't believe how ridiculous i was.

one afternoon that first week when i was sulking, i turned on the TV (which is always on PBS basically) and there was one of those old people seminar shows. and this Dr. Fuhrman was talking about fruits and vegetables. for some reason i didn't change the chanel to HGTV. and what He said was pretty crazy...he was explaining me: my symptoms in general.
lethargic, hormonal issues, possible thyroid stuff, irritable, fatigued constantly, craving sugar bad, giant mood swings, cystic acne. just on and on.

then he was talking about typical american diets. while i stay away from fast foods and high fat foods, i eat mostly processed foods. they are organic processed foods, so i thought i was pretty ok. LAUGHTER. and then he pulled up what we should be eating for optimal health and so our bodies could break down food and process it.

uh oh. that was not me. my pyramid was upside down.

so the Dr. explained that i don't have to be miserable anymore. and i felt like that phrase went deep down in my heart and i heard it loud and clear. i was miserable and tired and grumpy and unhealthy. and i was using sugar like a drug, totally addicted. i was a total user. and it was then that i knew i needed to really change...like long term. who says God can't use a PBS special to tell you something?

well....i'm quitting sugar and i need the right kind of energy. Lord, you know i hate fruit. so you're going to have to change my heart and my tastebuds and help me do this. 

so when i went to the store that week, i went veggie and fruit crazy. i even bought beets for the first time ever. i was struck by how pretty they were.


he used this acronym and said that we should eat these gems everyday. he says,

G-BOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds
“G-BOMBS” is an acronym you can use to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet – these foods are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.

so i bought those things when i was at the store. and i try and eat those particular fruits and veggies every single day.
i fill up on the G-BOMBS so i don't get surprise attacked by sugar. see how i did a war pun there? i made myself laugh because it was dumb. but true. THIS IS WAR, players. 
if you're full on nutrients then sugar doesn't have as great of a pull as it normally would.
and you're not as hungry all the dang time. i was just eating constantly but never satisfied because they were empty calories. makes so much sense that i was starving in the nutrient department. 

so here's what i did:

1)i was in God's word in the morning. i needed him to comfort me instead of food. i needed His help desperately to say NO. i needed to repent for using food and worshiping it. i felt entitled to eat treats...they were rewards for what i had to "deal with" during the day ( subtle, entitled "using" attitude) and i also felt entitled because i wasn't overweight...so who cares if i eat a cookie for breakfast and lunch and dinner? it doesn't show on the outside! (oh hey, pharisee! looking good on the outside and rotting on the inside.) entitlement says, i don't need God. i don't need God because i have ___________ (sugar). i don't need God in this area because i "look ok". i deserve to eat whatever i want.  
save me Jesus! 
if you don't start at the root, which is seeing sin as the root issue, you're building this whole diet change on a shaky foundation. so start here!


2) before i do anything, drink a big glass of water. this helps move stuff out of your body. gets everything flowing, if you know what i mean. and helps you detoxify. do this before coffee, before food, before anything goes into your stomach. plus, if you're like me, you probably need to drink more water anyway. then drink your coffee or tea. 
if you love sugar in your coffee, try stevia. it's pretty great, in my opinion. i drink it in my green tea in the mornings.


3)breakfast is super important. for me, i used to wake up and and eat whatever was on the counter. bread, cookies, cake, crackers. and then i would be hungry 30 minutes later.
i knew this absolutely had to change. and i knew i needed to eat the G-BOMBS along with some protein to keep me full. enter...the omelet. i sauté a bunch of veggies...usually bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, spinach, zucchini. then i crack an egg and scramble it in. i eat this in a homemade tortilla (amazing recipe coming soon) or on ezekial bread. i think eating the whole egg is perfectly great and there are a ton of awesome nutrients in the egg yolk. you can read more about that here.


so now you're thinking, i don't have time for that. i know...most don't! but the key is...

4)prep, prep, prep! i cut all my veggies up, then put a serving size in little baggies. i chop enough for 2 weeks out. they go in the freezer to maintain nutrients and i pull them out every morning. salt and pepper them as needed and OMG. throw a couple avocado slices on there and BOOM. glorious.





and guess who doesn't feel hungry until 1:30? this gal. if i do get hungry in between or in the afternoon, i'll make a smoothie. there are a million recipes out there but try and stick to ones that have no added sugar. stevia is what i add if it's too tart. again, make a big smoothie in the morning and eat throughout the day so you don't constantly have to be making smoothies. freeze it and turn it into popsicles. get creative. 

or i guess you could just eat some fruit. ha. i don't like fruit so this is a struggle. i'm sort of weird like that, so smoothies are a good option for me. plus i can sneak in spinach and kale and mushrooms and not taste them. 

5)whatever i was making for dinner, i tried to veg it up. at first, that meant just adding a salad. then i got more clever (i will post more recipes later when i talk about how my diet effected the kids). but just start really really simple. salads are a great way to do that.

so basically, take out processed sugar (don't get nuts here, everything has sugar in it. i'm talking about sweet treats, sugaree drinks, and things you know you're using for a sugar fix) and add in as many fruits and (ESPECIALLY) veggies as you can. i couldn't believe how much i was eating and i was still losing weight. completely unintentional. and how great i started to feel...not to mention, i wasn't lugging myself around everywhere in a tired heap. 

6)have a day of rest. on sundays, we eat sweet treats. we don't over-do it...like don't binge on this day, that's very tempting to do! but just give yourself that day and to eat a couple sweet things. you're teaching your body that sweet treats are not for every day, they are RARE. and when you do have them it's like a gratefulness celebration. you find yourself saying, have you ever really tasted the way the coffee and the chocolate are interacting here in this cookie? do i taste a hint of chili powder? my mind is blown right now.
and i like that my "rest day" is on sunday. saturday is when all the birthday parties and celebrations are where i would normally eat a ton of sugar. so it just kind of spares me the over indulgence that day generally brings and helps me be intentional with my sugar. instead of binging on them all day long at different events.

7) if you mess up, ask God for help and get back on track. do that as many times as you need to. 
fall down, repent, ask for more help. wash, rinse, and repeat. God doesn't love you any more or any less if you do this right or wrong. 

8) tell people what you're doing. i wrote this on the inter web and that was a great amount of accountability to keep going when i wanted to quit. but also, you guys have been incredibly encouraging and kind. we need all the help we can get when we're tackling such a big habit. 

i mean, i'm at the end of the 6 weeks here and i can't go back. i feel too good. i feel like a film has been lifted off my eyes and i'm walking out of a fog! i pray this happens for you too if you decide to join this little challenge. 


alrighty, stay tuned and i'll be sharing some recipes and other such health related stuff.

if you're on instagram, you can use the hashtag #imoversugar if you're making something healthy or starting a new habit and we can all encourage each other in our endeavor to be healthy humans on the inside and out.

53 comments:

  1. oh, wow, jami. this post is such a blessing to my heart today and EXACTLY what I needed to read -- THANK YOU!

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  2. YESSSSSSS!!!! my husband and i are doing this as well! the documentaries- hungry for change and fat, sick, and nearly dead- really pushed us to being healthier! love that we're all trying to take better care of our bodies!

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  3. 1. i don't understand how you don't like fruit?
    2. can you really not taste the mushrooms in the smoothies? i'm not so much into the mushrooms, but it would be lovely to incorporate them into my life. smoothies are obviously the way to go. i don't like beans either, but you know, i just can't see myself throwing those into a smoothie. annnnnnnd mom just bought a vitamix, so holla.
    3. do you ever bake cookies on sundays? i'm just like dying thinking about not having cookies.
    4. am i asking too many questions?
    5. how long did you wait to start having treats on sundays? i'm a week in to this no sugar thing and i'm like dying for something sweet. like give me chocolate now. but i'm afraid i'll eat 14 donuts if i try and open the sweets door again. i'm still in the habit breaking stage, so yeah. thoughts?
    also so proud of you.

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  4. I found Dr. Fuhrman, and he literally changed my life. I had three little ones, 4 and under, I was eating whatever the kids left on their plates, whatever I could grab via drive-thru when the kids fell asleep in the car and whenever I had an hour to myself after they finally were fed-bathed-pj'ed into bed.... Junk, junk and more junk. I gained 30 lbs and felt...horrible.

    Then I found his book.

    I can do anything for a week, so I thought, "why not?". The first week was kinda torture. I was hungry. I wanted a cupcake, a COKE, SOMETHING to make me feel better... Toxic hunger.

    After a week, I felt....awesome. Lighter, no headaches and I could THINK CLEARER! After a month I lost 15 lbs. After 2 months, another 15.

    Best thing you'll do for yourself. This isn't a diet plan, its a LIFESTYLE.

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  5. you can do it! that's awesome. once you start eating like this, you'll feel amazing and find it hard to go back to your old ways :) (that's what i tell myself anyways!)

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  6. love this. of course, i am reading while eating pancakes...haha. i struggle when it comes to food. i have watched one too many documentaries on netflix and generally feel very confused on how to eat in a healthy, but balanced manner. i like that you use sunday as a day of "rest" from your sugar free life. i think getting off of sugar is a great place to start and may just have to join you! thanks for a great post!

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  7. This is so great, Jami! I like that this approach isn't super legalistic (like a teaspoon of sugar in homemade salad dressing doesn't mean you "failed") and I especially appreciate that your approach pays huge attention to the condition of your heart.

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  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

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  9. Lord! I need to do this! SO BAD! I, like you, am not overweight and I can justify my LARGE SWEET TEA that I get EVERY DAY because "I sip on it all day...and it's majority water..." and other lies. However, TODAY I didn't get one. I"m going to go fill my water bottle up RIGHT NOW and gulp it! I'm sure this is easier for you since you are at home...working causes an issue here beccause that's a lot of planning...but I already pack my lunch, I might as well make it RIGHT. Looking forward to more of your thoughts and recipes!

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  10. This is awesome!!! So motivational! I cut out sugar a couple months ago but didn't add in all the veggies. Time to start!!

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  11. Oh no. This is way too convicting. Chris and I were just talking about our overindulgence in sugar this week and now you write this? Especially this -- (oh hey, pharisee! looking good on the outside and rotting on the inside.) Yikes.

    So, what if a person (ahem) hates veggies? I love trying new foods, but when it comes to veggies, I have the palate of a 5 year old. I think you can probably get away with disliking fruits more than veggies. Time to grow up and get over that gag reflex?? o_0

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  12. I'm very excited about this series. I too new to make a change. I'm naturally thin, but I feel like a big lump of poo. Now to execute change...

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  13. Holy cow I love this!!! I read your post yesterday and it really got me thinking. I, too, am completely addicted to sugar. I quit smoking 3.5 years ago, but my addiction just transferred over. And here I am, trying to get pregnant for 2 years and absolutely nothing is wrong medically. I wonder if my mental and physical dependance on something so unhealthy is the culprit? I'm on board, my friend! Wish me luck!!

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  14. Yay, yay, yay. This is inspiring. And I'm so happy that you're doing it.

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  15. I am on a journey toward eating better and bringing my hubby and 4 kids along with me! I can't wait to see more of your food tips and recipes. I feel a million times better since getting rid of sugar and processed foods.

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  16. Wow, good for you! I'm not a huge sugar and sweets eater, but I do like some every now and then.. however, I can totally relate to feeling sluggish and tired and moody all the time. I've thought for a while that it's probably related to what I'm eating (and not eating enough of!). I just don't know if I can do without my coffee and creamer in the morning!

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  17. My parents started the Eat to Live (Dr. Fuhrman's) diet after my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. His doctor recommended it b/c with family history they were concerned about medicating him. They both lost a ton of weight and are super healthy and energetic.

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  18. This post really motivates me to start eating better. I'm the opposite of you, though-- I could eat fruit forever and I hate most vegetables, which sucks cause veggies are definitely more important. I used to do smoothies for snacks and sneak in some spinach, but I never loved the smoothie recipes. Any delicious smoothie ideas you can pass along?

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  19. wow. it's crazy to me that I start this process and then all of a sudden i see everyone else doing it too!!! and it's so awesome and encouraging!!!!! i can't wait to read more about your journey. i am having a super hard time cutting out the sugar but i'm trying, little by little. we are just trying to mostly remove processed foods and all fake dyes. BABY STEPS are the way to go!!

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  20. Soooo good! I always need improvement in the breakfast area, I always skip it or make an unhealthy choice!

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  21. I am on board. You motivate me to listen to HIM. Thank you. Sugar has been a long-time addiction of mine. The hardest part of this is that my son has an egg allergy. I rarely buy them because even if I eat them, and kiss him he gets a bad rash. And if for some reason he touches an egg or eats anything with an egg it requires an epipen and an ambulance. It sucks. I need to think of something to eat that is like an egg but not an egg. Bc my breakfasts need revolutionizing. If you eat a non-egg breaky, what is it?! Sorry to go on and on. And on.

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    1. What about the scrambled veggies with crumbled tofu, cottage cheese, or edamame for protein?

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  22. I love how God's care and love for us is comprehensive. He doesn't just provide nourishment for our souls but for our bodies too (among many other things, of course). I too have been changing my family's eating lifestyle...I would encourage you to check out thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, wellnessmama.com & the Weston Price Foundation (if you haven't heard of them already). Awesome how God has given us all that our body needs. Also, have you heard of the GAPS protocol? You may want to check it out especially in regards to your daughter. Blessings!

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  23. I can't believe how much this series is kicking my booty. You are describing me exactly. I really need this series. Thank you for sharing!

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  24. Oh man Jami Nato!! This post just annoyed me bc you are sooo speaking to me. I am sitting here at 3:45pm, eyes closing... so wanting to grab for a cookie. Dang you! I know you're so right. Glad you wrote about it. I'm inspired!

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  25. Thank you for sharing your experience, Jami. I think that because part of my endeavors to give up sugar have involved wanting to lose some weight along with it, I haven't dared to as God for help...I almost felt like it was too vain and not worthy of asking His help to give it up, so I haven't ever been able to totally kick the habit. After reading this, I know the only way is if I start with your #1 step. Thanks again for sharing.

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  26. I came over from Hannah's blog (Happy Days) and I'm sitting here with tears running down my face. I'm not the only one?! I gave up sugar 3 days ago, and it has been HARD so far, but I, like you, knew it was time. It was an addiction...a reward...a coping mechanism...blah, blah, blah. I am excited to have found your blog, and I look forward to following along as you share your recipes and experiences. Thank you for being honest and for sharing.

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  27. yessss! you are so inspiring!
    xoxo

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  28. Thank you for sharing this in a list format!!so helpful to me! I have been pondering and praying since reading your last post. I'm seeking God as I consider what to do with my idol of sugar. Love reading your posts! Thanks again!

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  29. just watched "forks over knives" today at work as a wellness thing - and this is almost exactly what they said! :)
    Bless you!

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  30. I keep trying to give up sugar...but not very hard. It is just so good. And I totally feel entitled to sneak cookies and candy all day while my kids aren't looking. The bag of jelly beans I bought to make Easter baskets with? Yeah, it's almost gone. Thanks for the encouragement and great ideas, especially prepping and freezing veggies ahead! Your breakfast burrito looks great. Gonna start tomorrow.

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  31. i love the idea of having little baggies in the freezer ready to go and i am definitely trying that breakfast dish. looks amazing! so excited you are sharing your journey!

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  32. This was me last year when I found myself pregnant with gestational diabetes. I had more energy on the day I gave birth than the day I found out I was pregnant.

    It's easier when you have a little nugget inside of you though to do a lot of the motivating to eat healthy. I had to, for both of us. Now it's a big harder with him here, but I know I'm just making excuses.

    Thanks for the push! I know what you're talking about!!! I miss feeling so HEALTHY and having so much energy.

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  33. I have been skipping over your posts on this topic and today finally read it. I needed to hear this. Thank you for writ
    ng so honestly. I think the Lord wanted me to hear this.

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  34. I love all these helpful hints! I've been trying to cut out white flour and sugar in my final trimester (32 weeks along, baby!) and I've recently fallen back into more sugar than I like, thanks to all the jelly beans that are around this time of year. Anyways, I'm going to use some of these tips! Thanks!! :)

    -Lexy

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  35. Thank you, thank you, Jami! I gave up sugar awhile back when I did this whole Project Real Food thing where I tried to learn everything there was to learn about food (ha!) and lasted about three weeks without sugar. Like I told you on instagram, it was totally coffee that did me in. Ack! Sounds like I need to give up coffee and sugar, eh? :)

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  36. Thank you, thank you, Jami! I gave up sugar awhile back when I did this whole Project Real Food thing where I tried to learn everything there was to learn about food (ha!) and lasted about three weeks without sugar. Like I told you on instagram, it was totally coffee that did me in. Ack! Sounds like I need to give up coffee and sugar, eh? :)

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  37. i cant wait to hear about the kids. my oldest jumped on board when my hubs and i started this a while back, but my youngest...we need prayers. ;0

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  38. I like that you're doing this with Christ at the core. I've seen tons of bloggers who go on without meat/egg/dairy/processed-foods/sugar/whatever it may be for a time. And it quickly consumes them and becomes their Lord. It takes over and it's all they think about. I hope your transformation is more of the heart than the body, though I'm glad you're feeling better with your healthy changes!

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  39. My husband and I did the Whole 30 (Paleo for 30 days - couldn't eat anything but seeds, nuts, veg, fruit, and meat) - it was horrible but so eye opening about my heart and my food idol - yikes! After we finished, I couldn't sustain not eating bread and dairy and basically fell back into old eating patterns. But I've found myself tired and sluggish again and know I need a change. What you've done sounds so much more sustainable and the chopping the veggies two weeks ahead is brilliant! Thank you! Can't wait for the tortilla recipe. Here is a great kale recipe: http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2011/06/simple-kale-salad/

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  40. This is awesome. Number one on the list is my fave - starting the day {and the battle} in God's Word and repenting of the sense of entitlement. Proud of you, in a Gospel way, and convicted to think about how I feel I entitled to eat certain things.

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  41. Really loved this post! It's encouraging to hear how awesome you're feeling! Would love to hear even more as you progress without sugar. I decided to kick sugar too almost 2 weeks ago. Right about that same time, I found your blog and saw on instagram you had kicked it too! I think the Lord used you as the perfect encouragement I needed to stick to it! Plus now I'm hooked on your blog :) Thanks for sharing!

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  42. Really loved this post! It's encouraging to hear how awesome you're feeling! Would love to hear even more as you progress without sugar. I decided to kick sugar too almost 2 weeks ago. Right about that same time, I found your blog and saw on instagram you had kicked it too! I think the Lord used you as the perfect encouragement I needed to stick to it! Plus now I'm hooked on your blog :) Thanks for sharing!

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  43. Looking forward to more of your recipes...I'm on the hunt these days for great options especially with kids!

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  44. love. this. God has been guiding me through a season of change lately and this is definitely something i need to change in my life. i seriously have an addiction to sugar. so i will absolutely be taking part in this! thank you thank you thank you!!!

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  45. Wow! Being completely honest here, I really don't know if I could cut sugar like that!! BUT I do think that it is time that I take a big step in that direction. I love how honest you are about calling out to God for help with this... that is encouraging to me!!
    PS. I love the idea of doing omelets for breakfast! Looks so yummy!

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  46. I just recently started cutting things from my diet because I realized how crappy I was feeling. First week, i cute out fast food and started feeling GREAT! Second week cut out soda, and these past few days have not been fun! I know that once i get past this week thought i will be feeling better! Cutting out sugar completely is such a good idea! I, like you have been clinging to the Lord through this whole thing. Who seriously can make it without him?? I know I can't! The headaches alone could do you in, but its about taking care of the body God gave you. We can all do this!!! :) I'm super excited i stumble upon your blog today, its a little blessing from the Lord!

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  47. My hubby and I have eaten pretty healthy for about 3 years...and then last year was full of stress and anxiety and comfort eating took over. Luckily, the pounds didn't PILE on, but some crept up (10-12 each) and then my dad suffered a massive heart attack last month. His cardiologist recommended Dr Fuhrman's book to us and I was on my Amazon app right there in the hospital and ordered 2 copies, but have still been struggling a bit giving some stuff up. This blog has really inspired me and opened my eyes to the fact that I've been relying on self and not God's help to get through this and using my self-control fruit:) Thank you!!!

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  48. This is such a great post! I am already somewhat into healthy eating, but since having my baby I've used nursing and the extra calories burned as an excuse to eat more sweets and junk than I used to. (Hello, Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter by the spoonful... ahem...) Having a husband who hates all fruits and all veggies doesn't help, either! But I really love how you focus on the heart and the motivation behind healthy eating.. thanks so much for this motivating post.

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  49. More than the push for health, I'm really encouraged by the Gospel centered way you are seeing 'everyday' struggles..I'm right here with the sugar , needing 'fixes' after dinner daily.. thanks for putting it on my 'oh, this IS related to my faith" radar...

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  50. While rereading this I literally got out of my chair and made an egg to eat in a whole wheat tortilla. SO GOOD.

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