Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Hip, Sugar-Free Convenience Store: Locali

We have created the demand, so here is our supply: Locali.

Hot off the press, MSNBC describes this new convenience store with a conscious: "A hip version of the mom and pop corner store, Locali's aim is simply to bring healthy, fun and delicious food and beverages to a diverse range of communities across the country. There is an emphasis on local and organic food artisans, producers and growers in the inventory line-up. However, refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified products are missing from the shelves."

Finally, a store that, "promotes conscious consumerism and healthy living." Can you imagine walking into a store knowing you don't have to fend for yourself among an ocean of tricky labels, false advertising, and products from China? Actually, I can't. We are actually thinking of taking a trip to LA to check out this store! I checked out Locali's website and they are eager to expand. This will happen. We are entering the Age of Transparency. People are thinking about the ramifications of their food selections like never before. Hormones and antibiotics and corn syrups and GMO's will hopefully become a thing of the past. Droves of people are starting farms and CSA's of their own, in an attempt to live more sustainably, provide local food and connect with people.

"Founders and co-owners, Greg Horos and Melissa Rosen, are a husband and wife team equally passionate about food, wellness and sustainability issues. They see Locali as part of the bridge towards a more sustainable future, providing an opportunity for themselves and others to lead more fruitful, responsible and ultimately healthier lives."


Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Naturally Sweet Pantry

Here is a small list of the naturally sweetened items I have been sipping and munching on lately. Hope the links help. You might have to ask the company where to find their product or if you can order it from them. Some of these have been hard for me to find, but worth it.

  • graham crackers (So far, I've only been able to find these at Whole Paycheck. They are so fabulous dunked in my morning cup of coffee.): Midel
  • moist, bite-sized, chewy cookies (These wonderful little bite-sized cookies make me really tired. They contain wheat flour. They can really satisfy the sweet tooth, though and are excellent substitutes for donut holes with your coffee): Fabe's
  • chewy black licorice (Trader Joes has them cheapest): Panda
  • large, filling, very sweet cookies (Very crumby, almost too sweet, but perfect in a sweet tooth emergency): Nana's
  • grape juice (You will never go back to cheap grape juice after trying this.): R.W. Knudsen
  • rich, creamy coconut ice cream (The chocolate mint variety has refined sugar in the chocolate flecks. Personally, I love the cherry almond and the dark chocolate): Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss
  • crumbly, very tasty cookies (Most of these have evaporated cane juice as a sweetener. Too bad. The naturally sweetened cookies are the plain shortbread and the ginger cookies: Pamela's Products
  • prunes-Get 'em anywhere, but don't eat more than 2 or 3 at a time. Trust me.
  • local apples. I love to slice them up for a mid-day snack or make them part of a meal. I either chop them up in a salad, or cut big slices and eat them with exotic cheeses.
  • bananas and almond butter (This makes a very healthy, filling breakfast, especially on sprouted wheat toast.)
If you think of any tasty, naturally sweetened treats, please pass them on! It's very helpful to have a variety of options in your kitchen at all times so you don't stray from your goals. When there is nothing healthy available, it is too tempting to give in to whatever you do have lying around your kitchen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Genes Remember Sugar"-an interesting study

Here is another undeniably good reason to give up the white stuff: Your genes may remember the sugar it had and alter your DNA.

Not in a good way. It will not alter your DNA to look like a Sugar Disneyland. Rather, the Australian research study found that, "cells showed the effects of a one-off sugar hit for a fortnight, by switching off genetic controls designed to protect the body against diabetes and heart disease." Read more, here.

Granted, this is one study. It was done by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. In my opinion, it's worth taking note of until further studies confirm these findings. Trust me, I wish research studies found that white sugar was good for us. I could go back on the white stuff and never look at another food label again--it would save me several minutes at the grocery store. I could go back to eating my favorite cereals. I could stop writing to companies--or keep writing them and instead ask for more sugar in their products. I could buy a package of Oreos, confident that the sugar rush I would experience is actually good for me! This is what I would like to be the truth.

The fact is, sugar has been a problem for generations, and because it has found its way into more and more products (black beans and toothpaste...), we are ingesting more and more of it and our national health issues (especially diabetes, obesity and heart disease) have grotesquely increased.

I have no idea what researchers will find in the next several years as the effects of sugar will continue to be studied. My guess is that what they find will not be good. My body (and yours, too) can attest to the fact that refined sugar is not good for it. To get even more ridiculous, I will use the Garden of Eden arguement: if we were meant to eat something, it was readily available in that garden. Sugar cane, yes. White refined sugar, no. Honey, yes. Corn syrup, no. (Using this reasoning I can't help but wonder if I'm being duped by the "health food" industry in buying products like brown rice syrup, agave nectar, molasses....)

Next on my list of things to do is research universities. There is only so much I can say at my current level of education. There is only so much I can say about sugar with a Psychology degree and massage therapy license. I am willing to pay a hefty price for a Public Health degree combined with a Registered Dietitian license to earn the right to make certain statements. Especially to doctors that continue serving green Jell-O to their patients (sorry, I can't let that go.)

press release: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090116/hl_afp/healthaustraliageneticssugar;_ylt=At8juaZrV2AoHEmOvom1Hj4PLBIF
Journal of Experimental Medicine: http://jem.rupress.org/
*Full article is not published yet at the time of this post.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sugar in Moderation?

If you are able to eat sugar in moderation, I would love to hear how you do it.

Most of the people that I have talked with tell me that moderating sugar consumption is nearly impossible. It's more practical to give it up completely than to try and ingest it in small doses. For many reasons. One of which is that it's in everything. Just because the ingredients on the packaged food product may not say, "sugar" does not mean that sugar is not in there. Products that tout themselves as health food, and yet use a sneaky word actually meaning sugar, are just deceiving their customers. Write to companies that are using this marketing tactic. Email them, call them, send them mail. Tell them you don't appreciate their tricky marketing. Ask them to use natural sweeteners. Here are a few examples of tricky gimmick words used to perpetuate the idea that sugar is not in the ingredients, when indeed it is.

List of ingredients meaning sugar: "Saccharose, Sucanat, Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Refined Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cane Juice, Evaporated Cane Juice, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Cane Sugar, Raw Cane Sugar, Demerera, Muscovado, Turbinado, Cane syrup, Beet syrup, Baker's Sugar, Bar Sugar, Barbados Sugar, Berry Sugar, Chinese Rock Sugar , Confectioners Sugar, Gemsugar, Polincillo, Rock sugar, Wasanbon" to name a few.
(This list was compiled by Methuselah on the great, "Pay Now Live Later" blog.)

Take charge of how much sugar to eat, if at all. I understand that for some of us, cutting down on something is easier than cutting it out completely. Some of you "avoid" as best you can, but don't get down on yourself when you have some. I guess I am an example of someone who takes things to extremes--with sugar for sure. Either give me two pints of ice cream, brownies and hot fudge or give me an apple. If I'm going to be bad, I make it count. If I'm going to be good, I make it holy. This extremism isn't exactly a healthy, balanced take on eating, I realize. Honestly, though, for those of you who balance your sugar consumption, how do you do it?

Friday, January 16, 2009

More News on Coke Lawsuit (VitaminWater)

If you don't know what this story is about, click here or see my previous post.

I picked up a bottle of VitaminWater today at a cafe. No wonder this product is the subject of so much controversy. It's full of sugar and contains no fruit juice or less than one percent. The problem is, its labels imply that it is a healthy product. In my opinion, even if there were all the vitamins you ever needed in a drink, but still 33 grams of sugar added, forget it.

Decide for yourself whether you side with Coca-Cola, or with the main organization behind the class action lawsuit, Center for Science in the Public Interest. Here are some excerpts taken from different publications/websites, which I have provided links to:

"...how should consumers decipher punchy buzzwords like "triple antioxidants" and "definitely au natural" on some of the bottles' labels?" -US News & World Report


"Vitaminwater has been a huge success for Coke which is facing declining soft drink sales as concerns over obesity bite. Last year it beat its sales forecast to sell 24 millon bottles, retailing for about $3.50 each.

Each 500 millitre bottle contains half the sugar of a can of Coke and less than 1 per cent fruit juice.

Coke denied it ever marketed Vitaminwater as a healthy drink. 'It's an option between a soft drink and a water. It's more of a lifestyle brand than a hard health drink,' the spokeswoman said." -The Sydney Morning Herald


"Glacéau vitaminwater is a great tasting, hydrating beverage with essential vitamins and water, with labels showing calorie content," said Coke spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante. "Consumers can readily see the nutrition facts panels on every bottle of glacéau vitaminwater, which show what’s in our product and what’s not." -Chicago Tribune


"Coca-Cola bought Glaceau's VitaminWater for $4.1 billion in June 2007. At the time, it was considered a coup for the company, which was competing for customers who were buying less and less soda.

VitaminWater has been good for Coke's bottom line since the acquisition, with sales rising by a double-digit percentage in the third quarter.

'It truly shocks the conscience that a company like Coke would try to keep customers by selling them a soft drink and telling them it's a vitamin,' said Stephen Gardner, director of litigation for the group." -The Associated Press

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coke Sued for Fraudulent Claims

"Coke Sued for Fraudulent Claims on Obesity-Promoting VitaminWater"--To read the entire article about this class action lawsuit, click here.

This is very important information. I highly recommend that you read this. I will give you a brief synopsis of what this is about, but reading the entire article will shed more light on what is happening.

Basically, Coke has been promoting their product, VitaminWater, to be a healthy source of vitamins, using words like "defense" and "rescue" and "energy" and "endurance". The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has called Coke out for making deceptive claims. In case this is your favorite drink, check this out: there are 33 grams of sugar in each bottle, and between zero and one percent of actual juice, despite the yummy juice flavors labeled on the bottles like "grape" "kiwi strawberry" etc. You have been buying sugar water!

This is just one example of why it is so important to check the ingredients of products that you are buying.


Do not be fooled by a healthy label implied on the front of a product. The truth is, the label might be deceptive, but no matter what, the label has been created to sell you a product. Companies selling packaged foods are in the business of making money. Many of these companies could care less about your health. Grocery stores sell products that make themselves money, so even your local grocery store does not necessarily have your health in mind. If you are not sure, just walk through a grocery store and look at the products on the shelves. When it comes to the end of the month sales, the products that are high in demand (we as consumers have control over this by what we choose to buy and not buy!) will be stocked on the shelves again.

If in doubt as to what companies to buy from, which products are healthiest--buy fresh produce and/or ingredients to make your own food. If you do not have enough time to do this or to check ingredients in foods, consider re-examining your priorities. What we ultimately care about is what we end up doing. In my opinion, it is never a sacrifice to be sure that I am eating the right foods. If you know a health-nut, ask that person their opinion to save you some time.

I love what the Executive Director of CSPI says,
"My advice to consumers is to get your vitamins from real food. If you have reason to believe you have a shortcoming of one vitamin or another, perhaps take an inexpensive supplement. But don't seek out your vitamins in sugary soft drinks like Coke’s VitaminWater."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Molasses Cookie Balls & Pumpkin Scones

Yesterday I made Pumpkin Scones and Mounds candy bars. My cousin, a professional cook, has been messing around with sugar-free recipes lately. On New Year's Eve she made me the Molasses Cookie Balls. They were really good. They resemble my World's Best Gingersnaps because of the molasses and spices, but they are different enough due to the brown rice flour and high quantity of ground ginger. The brown rice flour really helped sweeten everything, and gives the final product a nice, chewy texture. She also invented the Pumpkin Scone recipe, below. Think dinner, not dessert. The cornmeal adds a nice crunchy texture to this otherwise chewy scone. They are not very sweet which makes them go really well with a meal. Think honey-butter on top....

Molasses Cookie Balls

3/4 C. butter, room temperature
2 C. date sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C. molasses
2 tsp. lemon juice
Then, mix in a separate bowl:
3 3/4 C. brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Then, mix well with wet ingredients. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls. Bake at 325 for 12 minutes. The cookie keeps its ball shape and is fun to eat. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones
¾ C. brown rice flour
¾ C. whole spelt flour
½ C. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
mix separately:
¾ C. canned pumpkin
¾ C. almond or rice milk
¼ C. coconut oil
¼ C. maple syrup

Combine wet and dry ingredients but don’t over mix. Fold in raisins or dried cranberries or cherries. (It's nearly impossible to find dried cherries or dried cranberries without added sugar. If you live in PDX, go to People's Food Co-op for both.) By hand, form into little triangles and place onto greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with date sugar. Bake at 450° for 12-15 minutes.

Thanks to my cousin, Chris, for two great recipes!

Monday, January 12, 2009

No Sugar, No Problem. It's Easy Now

Maybe because the holidaze are over or maybe because it's a new year.....but....I'm over the hump. Going without sugar is no longer what I do--it has become a lifestyle. Friends and family know that I am committed, so there is little pressure anymore. I wondered if it would ever be easy, or second nature to go without. It is so easy now that I feel almost bored with it! I know that this year I won't be wrestling with mental donut demons, or whiffing baked goods with tears in my eyes. When a sugar craving hits me now, it is so minor that I can ignore it or make hot tea with a drop of honey, or eat an apple or a prune. It's insignificant. The holidaze were the climax of my personal research project. I experienced being present with friends and family as they ate desserts and goodies. I came to terms with the fact that just because I am not eating a bowl of ice cream, I am still sharing in the moment.

Several people, by their own choosing (I've never asked someone to go without sugar) have joined me this year in going without sugar. Some are friends, some are strangers. It is an inspiration to me, and an exciting journey ahead for each person. I like that everyone's way of cutting back on or going without sugar looks different. For some, it is avoiding the junk food aisle at the grocery store. For others, it's stocking with kitchen with healthy, naturally sweet items.

When you make one little commitment to healthier living, it often snowballs into other areas of your life.

For me, it played out like this:
1. 2008 New Year's resolution: No white refined sugar
2. Within the first month, I also pledged to myself to include no corn syrups
3. I decided I would AVOID white flour, and do for the most part
4. I began eating less packaged food (this happened by default because most packaged foods contain refined sugars)
5. I bake and cook with healthy ingredients. I don't even consider baking with white flour. I have begun to explore all the varieties of flours out there, thanks to Bob's Red Mill.
6. I have adopted a healthy, regular exercise routine using baby steps. It's not only realistic, but it keeps me wanting more.
7. 2009 became my second year to go without sugar/corn syrups

Good luck to those of you who have made healthy resolutions for 2009, and to the rest of you, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank You Philly News!

(For a peek at the article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, click on THIS. It is the same article that was published in the Seattle PI--now it's available in Philadelphia.)

I have another confession.

It's about what my New Year's resolution was going to be this year. I was going to get really fanatical and give up not only sugar for another year, but all sweeteners. No honey. No molasses. No agave. No brown rice syrup or maple syrup. My plan was to get all of my sugar needs met through fruits and vegetables. It's possible! I'm guessing it's what the cave people did long ago.

However, the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a really bad idea. For several reasons. First of all, I'm finding that in conversations about nutrition, it's hard enough relating to people who are still eating sugar. My palate is from a different planet now, and for those who have to have sugar, my stories don't seem to make much sense. Secondly, being this fanatical might alienate me from other people. Who would I relate to? Lastly, I figure that it was hard enough to go without sugar. What would I be getting myself into if I gave up those sweeteners? They alone are what make going without sugar so easy! Why would I put myself in that kind of position?

We are so lucky that we have so many food/diet options here in our country. Or maybe this does not mean we are lucky. Maybe we are overwhelmed by it. I get really caught up in the smallest details of the quality of ingredients in foods. I feel like I need to lighten up. On that note, I don't feel like "I am doing" or "not doing" the sugar thing. Because I spent all of last year perfecting my relationship (or lack thereof) with sugar, it is not something I am doing. I would like to consider it my lifestyle. The no-sugar lifestyle. I don't like using words like "forever" because that is too long to commit to, but I can say that I now have a no-sugar lifestyle.

One of my favorite store-bought cookies are called "Traditional Spice Windmill Cookies" and they are made by Heaven Scent. Wow. Very crunchy, light and flaky. Very tasty. You would never guess that they are fruit juice sweetened only. I highly recommend that you try them. Click here if you are interested in knowing more. Then click on the "Windmill Cookies". They have a spicy, gingery flavor.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Late Night Munchies Syndrome

You've eaten dinner. You ate enough to satisfy your belly for the rest of the evening.


All of a sudden....

You get the munchies! You are not even hungry!

Do you have the late night munchies syndrome?

Look here to find out!

You have eaten a complete meal for dinner (maybe you've even overeaten!):
  1. Within a few hours or less you find yourself wandering through your kitchen.
  2. You look for something to eat, but you're not hungry.
  3. You look for something to eat because you're bored.
  4. You look for something to eat to distract you from something else.
  5. You look for something to eat to procrastinate.
  6. You look for something to eat out of habit.
  7. Your sweet tooth is talking. Hollering. Screaming!
  8. You begin to think of alternatives to eating, because you're not hungry, but you know there is ______ (add your naughty goodie here, that you currently have in your kitchen).
  9. You want something to eat, so you try to feel hungry, even though you're not.
  10. You're with someone who gets the snacks out, or goes through a fast-food drive thru.
  11. You're at a party and (see 2-7 above).
  12. You're angry about something, so you snack-out, but you're not hungry.
  13. You feel bad about yourself for some reason anyway. You might as well have a few moments of eating something that tastes really good.
Having the late night munchies syndrome does not mean that you are hungry. You might be hungry, but more often than not, the late night munchies syndrome is a very, very bad habit. If you were really hungry, you'd eat some healthful food, right? A banana, some peanut butter and celery, toast, or cottage cheese to name a few. Unfortunately, the late night munchies syndrome has developed over time, and from your habit of giving in to it from the beginning. When you don't give in to it, you feel empty like something is missing. You would rather have that sick-to-your-stomach feeling from eating half a bag of chips/crackers/cookies, than have that empty, needy feeling. I understand because I feel like the inventor of the late night munchies syndrome!

How to Overcome the Late Night Munchies Syndrome
  1. Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal for dinner.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Find interesting things to do after dinner.
  4. Don't sit around watching television every night. If you do, prepare healthy snacks ahead of time.
  5. When you feel like you're going to give in to the munchies, call a friend or someone that you have been meaning to talk to.
  6. Go for an evening walk. This is one way people stay healthy, active and young even into their 90's.
  7. If you are on the computer in the evening after dinner, have healthy snacks ready to munch on, and water.
  8. If you enjoy reading at night, keep water and healthy snacks handy.
  9. Purge your kitchen of junk food. Only stock healthy items.
  10. Make friends with your mean roommate if you have one, and give that person all your junk food. Let them get fat.
  11. Stop procrastinating. Do what's on your list of things to do, and if it involves house cleaning, either crank up loud dance music, or if you have little sleeping ones, listen to headphones.
  12. Make a new evening habit. If it's eating, have healthy foods ready to snack on. If it's being more active, invite your partner or a friend or your pet to join you in being active.
  13. Write out a list of reasons why you have the Late Night Munchies Syndrome. Work from there.
  14. Keep snacks handy at all times. In your bag, in your car, in your pocket. Then if you are around others who are eating junk, you can join them in eating, only you'll be eating healthy. Who knows how this will influence your friends. (It's okay if they tease you, it's actually their way of caring and/or telling you that they are proud of you without actually saying it.)
  15. Bake something naturally sweetened and share it with others.
  16. Revisit this post and send it on to anyone else who needs to read it

Benefits of Overcoming the Late Night Munchies Syndrome:
  • You will feel better about yourself.
  • You will identify an unhealthy pattern and begin a new, healthy one.
  • You may lose weight.
  • You will find that evening walks are much more fun than vegging out.
  • You might start eating healthier dinners.
  • You will wake up feeling fantastic!
  • You'll stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • You might be more productive.
  • Your kids will learn from your habits. What you do, more than what you say.
  • You'll realize your sweet tooth can be overcome!
  • If you can overcome this bad habit, you're more likely to overcome other bad habits.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How To Politely Pass on Dessert

I must be getting my inspiration for this post from all of you, my readers! I have received a lot of interesting questions, suggestions and comments from you, some concerning this very topic, which have inspired me to write about it.

I'll cut right to it--It feels rude to turn down dessert! It's especially tough to turn down if you are a guest for dinner and dessert was made for you. Yikes! Your host doesn't know that you have decided to give up sugar for a week, a month, or a year. What do you do?!?

The psychology of this is quite strange, and I experienced situations like this last year. First of all, you want to please your host and let them know that you are gracious for their time and effort in cooking for you.

It starts off like this: You are welcomed into their home and smell brownies cooking in the oven. Your heart sinks. You forgot to let them know about your no-sugar diet. You start immediately obsessing about what to do. You could tell them about your no-sugar diet, but you know how much they love to bake for you. You know that they will either feel bad secretly, or really let you have it! So, you consider eating dessert anyway. Just a tiny, little piece.

Then, (supposing that you have not said anything about your no-sugar diet) all through dinner you wonder what you should do about dessert. Maybe you should say you're full. But you know that your good friend, or mom, or grandmother, or whomever is your host will talk you into eating dessert anyway. You've already played the "I'm really full!" card, and it's never worked before. All through dinner you are putting a load of pressure on yourself to do the right thing.

There are only two right things:
1. Eat the dessert so you don't offend your host.
2. Be true to yourself and pass on dessert.

What do you do?

At this point, only you know what the right thing is to do. There are a plethora of variables that only you know about your host. Some hosts may not be offended at all if you pass on dessert. Other hosts may act all dramatic and horribly offended but then draw you into a pleasant conversation about your no-sugar diet asking all kinds of great questions. Still others may get pushy and start to get angry that you won't take any--because you've always eaten dessert before and they spent hours working on the Tiramisu!

The "guilt-trip" is my least favorite tactic that a host chooses to use. Little do they know that you are already feeling bad that you didn't disclose your diet ahead of time, and little do they know how difficult it is for you to stick to a diet/resolution! The host who uses the guilt trip most likely uses food as their way of showing you how much they love you. Rejecting their dessert is like rejecting them. This goes way back, generations ago. Grandma always had hot, gooey cinnamon rolls for me because she loved me. Mom always has warm cookies or a chocolate cake made from scratch because she loves me.

I'm not saying that baking for somebody because you love them is a bad thing, but if it's to make the baker feel better about themselves, despite what the eater wants, then it is selfish. Like I said, the psychology of this is strange, and I may be way off. However, I've had a lot of time to think about the meaning of desserts and baking for others, because I've found myself in similar, quite precarious situations! Downright uncomfortable! Fortunately, I declared at the very beginning of the year last year, that I was going sugar-free. Believe it or not though, I had people bug me about my decision all year long! For some reason, going sugar-free makes some people really defensive. Please be patient. Win someone over with your patience and being kind. This will make a bigger difference than a shouting match that you won't win.

How about preventing uncomfortable situations before they happen? I'll share some tactics that I have used, and others that I thought of after offending someone. I never gave in--and I do not regret my decisions.

How To Politely Pass on Dessert:
  • Let your host know ahead of time that you are currently on a no-sugar diet. Ask if you can bring a "naturally sweetened" baked good for dessert, or some naturally sweetened ice cream. (Luna & Larry's--delicious coconut ice cream!)
  • If you've forgotten to let your host know about your diet ahead of time, bring some naturally sweetened goodies anyway, and perhaps a basket of fruit and a bottle of wine, or flavored tea. Let your host know, at the appropriate time, that you forgot to inform him/her about your no-sugar diet, but that you have brought some naturally sweetened goodies/fruit and wine that you would enjoy sharing with everyone.
  • Let's say that not only have you forgotten to inform your host ahead of time, but you have also not had the time to pick up goodies or fruit or wine. My advice to you is STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF ANYWAY! If you give in to dessert out of obligation, not only will you feel bad about yourself, but you may unfairly resent your host for offering you the dessert. It is not your hosts fault if they don't know.
  • In an effort to be polite and stay true to your resolution, if the time comes for you to either take a piece of dessert or decline, be graceful about it. This may make the difference between a pleasant reaction from your host or an all-out shouting match. Politely say, "No thank you. Looks and smells delicious, but I am abstaining from sugar right now." I hope that your host will treat your decision with respect. Whether or not it goes over well with him or her, you will feel incredibly good about yourself, and will be more likely to decline desserts in the future.
I really hope this helps!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Healthier Hospital Food?

My work is not over until hospitals stop feeding Jell-O and sugar water to their patients.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gerber Markets Candy as Baby Food

The following article represents why I check labels so closely and why I write to various companies. Through devious marketing strategies, companies like Gerber are able to get away with selling sugary, junk food as nutritious baby food.

"Court Scolds Gerber for Marketing Candy as "Fruit Juice Snacks"

Lawsuit Against Company to Move Forward

WASHINGTON—The Gerber Products Company, owned by Nestleì, has drawn harsh criticism from a U.S. Court of Appeals for using pictures of real fruit to market a gummi-bear-like candy formerly called "Fruit Juice Snacks." The Court said that consumers would likely be deceived because the package depicts images of oranges, cherries and strawberries, though the leading ingredients are corn syrup and sugar.

The case brought against Gerber by a private citizen was initially dismissed by a Federal District Court in California, but then reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on December 22. Gerber argued that consumers could avoid being misled by turning the package around and reading the ingredient list. But the Court stated that consumers should not be "expected to look beyond misleading representations on the front of the box to discover the truth from the ingredient list in small print on the side of the box."

"The Court’s decision is a warning to all companies that try to make junk food look healthy by depicting nutritious fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on the labels of sugary, high-calorie snacks," said Bruce Silverglade, CSPI director of legal affairs.

Gerber has since renamed the product "Juice Treats," but continues to sell it alongside its baby and toddler food instead of at the candy counter. With corn syrup and sugar as the major ingredients, the product contains far more refined sugar than fruit juice concentrate. CSPI will serve as lead counsel when proceedings resume."

If you would like to contact Gerber and let them know how you feel, here is the mailing address:
445 State St.
Fremont, MI 49413-0001

If you would like to send an email or speak with a "Childcare Professional", click here:

Having worked in the television/media industry for 10 years, my husband always says that one person calling/writing represents 1,000. Our input counts!

*I saw these "Juice Treats" at the store, and they are sold right in between different flavors of baby food. I checked the ingredients label and the first two ingredients are corn syrup and sugar.
I can't imagine what that generation of children will be like.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: No Sugar For Me!

No sugar for me this year, either!!!

I chose to not rent out that donut shop after all...

Last night I celebrated the incoming new year on the roof of my cousin's apartment building, in the rain, overlooking the city of Portland. There were fireworks all evening long.

My cousin made her special homemade pizza...we each had our own pizza with a dozen different topping choices. She is a natural cook and the pizzas were incredible. To top it all off, she had made brown rice flour molasses cookies for me, that are to die for. I ate three this morning for breakfast.

Sometime yesterday I decided that there were not enough convincing reasons to eat sugar again. Why be its slave? I realized that I may have control over sugar ONLY because I am not eating it; therefore I would not tempt the limits of my willpower by trying to eat just one sugary item. By now you are tired of hearing this, but I have to reiterate once more, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS JUST ONE OREO!!

Because of quitting sugar last year, I am facing 2009 with a new perspective on nutrition, my willpower, others' willpower, and the overall power that sugar has on people. Around the time I quit eating sugar last year, I thought about sugar on a much lighter note. Now that I have experienced going without it and the struggles it involves (can you say CRAVINGS and that IT IS IN EVERYTHING!?!) I do not take sugar lightly. It is a tiny, empty granule capable of so much.

If someone wanted to, a movie could be made about a tiny program inserted into each sugar granule that is used to control people......however, I did watch Tron this morning....