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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Personal Trainer Follow Up

Today I had my first training session C. Christian Beavers over at Ultimate Fitness on Prytania, near Upperline.  At first when I walked in and I was a little doubtful, was this really going to work.  It was all weight machines.  Is this for me?  Yeah, he kicked my ass, in a good way!  He had me on a machine in the first 5 minutes and my heartbeat was going and I was sweating - no treadmills or steppers, just working on weights and building me up!  It was great!  My 30 minutes flew by and I was pushed further than I thought I was going to go.  I would have quit when I started trembling, but he kept me going.  That's the importance of a trainer!  Working on getting some goodies for you guys too!

Personal Trainer Time!

Today is my first day with a personal trainer.  I am a little nervous, but really excited.  This was a luxury I didn't think I could afford, but thanks to (a type of group discount site) I was able to get 4 1/2hr personal training sessions for only $24.  It was a sign!  I will have to let you know how it goes.  So far, I am impressed.  I checked out his website and really liked what I saw.  Over the phone he asked a lot of great questions about my height, weight, age, goals and fitness level so he could get what I wanted to work on.   Here are some tips on choosing a personal trainer.
By , Guide
Updated October 19, 2010 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
If you want to lose weight, get healthy and/or build muscle, hiring a personal trainer can be a step in the right direction. A good trainer can help you set up a program that meets your goals and teach you the best way to exercise. Finding and choosing a trainer can be a little confusing and, for some, intimidating. It's not easy asking for help, but going in with more knowledge about how personal training works can make it a little easier.
What is a Personal Trainer?
A personal trainer should be, at the least, educated and certified through a reputable fitness organization (see below). This person's job is to assess your fitness level, figure out what your goals are (or help you set goals) set up a program and keep you motivated. He or she will push you past your comfort level--something difficult to do on your own. A trainer also provides:
  • Guidance on reaching your goals
  • Education about strength training, cardio and basic nutrition
  • A reason to show up at the gym each week
  • Accountability
  • Aays to help track your progress
What is a Session Like?
Each session usually lasts about an hour. The first meeting is devoted to assessing fitness level, body measurements, exercise and health history and goals. Be prepared to step on the scale, have your body fat tested and answer specific questions about your goals. After that, you'll spend each session doing cardio, weight training, flexibility or other activities depending on what your goals are. Your trainer will show you how to do the exercises, help you figure out how much weight to use and give you pointers for getting the most out of each exercise.
What to Look for In a Personal Trainer
  • Education: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable personal training organization. An exercise science or other related college degree isn't necessary, but the more education your trainer has, the better your workouts will be.
  • CPR: your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
  • Experience: Make sure your trainer has experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor.
  • A good listener: A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure he understands your goals.
  • Attention: A good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.
  • Tracking progress: A good trainer will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary.
Personality is important too since you'll be working very closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions.
How to Find a Personal Trainer
One place to look is your local gym. Most gyms have personal trainers on staff and offer attractive packages for personal training. You can also look in your yellow pages, use Personal Trainer Finder or IDEA Fitness Connect to find trainers in your area, or search for local personal training studios. The cost will vary depending on where you live and your trainer's experience and education. Typically, the cost will be anywhere from $30 to $100 a session.
At some clubs, you may get assigned a trainer. However, one of my readers sent me these tips for doing a bit of investigation before you take the plunge:
  • Get a referral from a friend who's had success in reaching their goals with a personal trainer
  • When you're at the gym, watch trainers with their clients and see how they interact. Make a note of trainers who get along with their clients and seem fully involved in their workouts...that may be a good one to choose.
  • If you do get assigned to a trainer, make sure you tell the manager if you'd prefer a male trainer over a female trainer or vice versa, or if there's anything special you'd like to work on (getting in shape before pregnancy, getting ready for a marathon, etc.) so you'll get a trainer with experience in that area.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stay Local = EAT Local!

I want to start off saying that I have not been sponsored or paid by ANY of the companies that I mention below.  I just really love local businesses!  I have always been a champion for supporting local business - not just because I AM one, but because it is the right thing to do!  Shopping locally puts more than 4 times the revenue back into our local economy and local pockets.  Shopping local doesn't mean that you have to make drastic changes.  You can start small and easy!

For instance, when I shop for groceries there are a LOT of options out there.  Most people choose what is convenient for their shopping choices.  I am lucky, out here in da Metrys we have a LOT of options:
  • Dorignac's
  • Zuppardo's
  • Rouses
  • Robert's Fresh Market
In New Orleans there are even more options with little neighborhood markets readily available.

And that is just grocery stores.  One of the awesome things about those grocery stores is that they support local growers and food manufacturers.  If you also want something local and can't find it - just ask.  They will be happy to order it for you!  

I realized how spoiled I had become when I we evacuated to Montgomery, AL for Gustav.  I was looking for fresh baked bread or a local bakery - nothing.  I was looking for local sandwich meats - nothing.  I was looking for local mil - nothing.  BOY!  Was I spoiled!  My friends could not believe that we have access to all of those things right here at our fingertips.  Don't take it for granted.  Make sure you take advantage of all the yummy local options that are available to us!  

For local meats I like to ride out to the German Coast Farmer's Market on Saturday morning out in Destrehan.  Cox's Meat Market has local, wonderful meat options for you.  They also have a permanent location out in Reserve that you can go to.  German Coast also offers a wide variety of vendors!  Also check out the Gretna Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.  I look forward to visiting with those wonderful local folks the second Saturday of the month and stocking up on fruits, veggies, tamales, wine, smoked meat and local honey. YUMMY!

Locally grown food just also TASTES better!  Who can argue with that?  A Creole tomato on Bunny Bread - make you slap your mama!  

The positives definitely outweigh the negatives.   Just pay a little more attention to where you shop and you'll find that local shopping is only baby steps.  Choose local bread instead of a national brand (Bunny, Leidenheimer, or store bakery).  Choose local sandwich meat (Chesesi, Manda).  Choose local Milk (Brown's, Barbe's, Klienpeter).   By no means is this a full list.  I would welcome you to share your favorites here too.  

As far as seafood goes, I cannot fathom how a Red Lobster or Long John Silver stays in business here.  Why choose frozen, processed fish from out of state when we have the fruit of the sea right here in town?  Visit your local seafood store year round to pick up the freshest items!  Most of the time the fish was caught that morning.  I asked Leanne Ely and she told me that our locally caught Catfish (avail as low as $.80/lb) can be used as a substitute in ANY fish recipe.  What else could you ask for? 


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just a TASTE!

Yesterday I was at a FundRaiser for CDP, a preschool in New Orleans.  It was a great opportunity to bring awareness to this cause and met some wonderful people.   Before I even went to the event I knew that Jacques Imo's Cafe, one of my favorite places of ALL TIME would have food there. During French Quarter Fest I can't wait to get their duck poboy.  I know I can get it any time I want from Crabby Jack's, but what can I say, I am a sucker for tradition.  Back to the point - I LOVE their Alligator Sausage Cheesecake.  That was what was on the menu yesterday.  Sarge made me promise to bring him some home, no matter WHAT it was.  I bought a little place and here's the important part.  I had a TASTE.  Just a little bit of it and it tasted soo wonderful.  Then I wrapped it in the foil I carried in my ice chest and toted it home for Sarge.  He loved it.  I was VERY proud of myself.  Two weeks ago I would have eaten the whole thing, so fast I would not have even tasted it.  That little taste satisfied my cravings.

For dinner last night we went to Short Stop Po Boys and picked up a couple of poboys for dinner.  My first instinct was to get a regular sized one, and a coke, and chips, and something fried.  But I got a small roast beef.  Not the healthiest, but I REALLY wanted it and it was REALLY good.  I ate well all week.  I didn't DESERVE it, but I really wanted it and I got a small one, not a regular or large, and not fried shrimp.  

Now, off to the Parade to make some groceries!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A conversation on healthy eating with the Dinner Diva!

While making groceries this week I started to ponder the whole question of healthy eating.  What constitutes healthy?  Is healthy eating more expensive?  Is there an easy way to do this?  I didn't have all the answers and when you start researching OMG, do you find answers!  I am trying to keep it simple - if it didn't come out the ground or doesn't have a mother - don't eat it.  Thanks, Jillian Michaels.  That's a way of eating I can do.  But I still had a lot of questions and some of my readers had questions so I had a conversation with the incredibly awesome Leanne Ely, of Saving Dinner. 

Just a little background, Leanne is a nutritionist that I became familiar with through Marla Cilley,  the Flylady.  I was a little starstruck when she would answer my tweets, and to email her directly, well, that had me giddy!  I have been a Saving Dinner fan for years.  I have subscribed to her incredibly awesome menu mailers for a long time and have tons of them on my computer.  She has a really great way to create family friendly menus for a whole week and give it to you complete with grocery list, to your inbox every single week.  I even purchased some that were for the freezer meals.  I cooked and created weeks worth of meals in a single day and had a freezer STOCKED with awesome, healthy meals. 

Well, onto the good stuff.  I am going to post the questions and then Leanne's answers right under them. 

So much of what I am hearing is that it is too expensive to eat healthy. In NOLA (I live 15 min from there) food is a way of life, but local resources are around and keep growing. 

It's not too expensive to eat healthy--it's just a CHOICE. You buy a bag of organic apples or you buy some crappy crackers that cost .99 instead. Which is cheaper for a snack? The crackers, yep. But which in the long run will ruin your health? The crappy crackers. (I can do this all day long...write these kind of examples out! LOL)

Besides pork, turkey and chicken, what are red meat options for healthy living?

BEEF! Make it grassfed and you're in business. Also bison...good healthy alternative.

Lunch options for people working in retail and more focus on young people who don't cook every night.

Take LEFTOVERS from dinner the night before, keep it in the fridge at work (or pack it in a little ice chest yourself) and warm it up. Leftovers are our friends--they make lunch a SNAP!

Grocery bills can seem to double when buying healthy. Why is this and what can we do to help more?  I know it is because you are spending the same amount but just all at one place instead of a little at each drive through.

I think that's a myth--my grocery bill goes DOWN when I'm buying raw food that requires preparation and cooking. Why would healthy be more expensive? If you look at the food pound per pound for what you're getting, you get WAY more value for you dollar with healthy food as opposed to junky stuff. The nutrients alone save the day in that department!

Picky kids - how do you get them to eat healthy and gluten free?

You don't give up--you keep offering them healthy foods, you make sure your offerings are gluten free and you stay pleasant about it. When you turn food into a battle, you ultimately lose the war on healthy eating.

One trap I fall into is that I go into the store with great intentions for the weeks and then life happens and I can't cook like I'd like to or leftovers wilt in the fridge. Any tips?

Yes, FREEZE anything freezeable. I am known for doing that. If I have leftover soups (like my lentil soup--only one serving left) I'll stick it in the freezer to keep it going bad. Any veggies? I'll do a quick stir fry or steam them up and THEN freeze for later (add to soup/stew, etc.)

With Easter around the corner what strategies can we use to not let those baskets full of candy get to our waistlines. Any better alternatives to have in the house instead of chocolates and other goodies.

Just get a FEW good quality organic chocolates. Keep them in the freezer, pull out an ounce a day and you're good to go. DARK chocolate though, not all those silly marshellowy eggs and chicks!

So, what I got from Leanne is that it is all about choices.  You may see your grocery bill go up, but if you total all you would have spent on eating out and drive through and add that to what you normally spend on groceries don't be surprised if your bill goes down.

I have decided to give up fast food for Lent too.  I don't enjoy it, it doesn't taste good and it is terrible for me.  I'll still keep Subway, can't get crazy! 

If you have any other questions I am sure she would answer them! 

Much Love and Healthy Living,

Finding my Motivation.

31 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

“80 percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.
How do you find motivation to exercise when you just don’t feel like getting off your butt? I ask myself this question every now and then, and I have the feeling I’m not the only one.
A few weeks ago, I wrote 4 Simple Steps to Start the Exercise Habit … and the fourth and final step was to add motivation as needed until the habit sticks. This post is to help you with that fourth step.
There are a million ways to motivate yourself to exercise, actually, but these are a few that have worked for me. And trust me, I’ve had days when I’ve struggled with exercise. Most recently, the things that have helped include finding a workout partner (one of the best motivators!), logging my exercise, reading magazines, books and websites, and rewarding myself.
  1. How you feel after a workout. I always feel great after a good workout. It’s a high. And I let that motivate me the next time: “You know how good you’re going to feel, Leo!”
  2. Time for you. While many people make time to take care of others (kids, spouse, other family, co-workers, boss), they don’t often make time to take care of themselves. Instead, make your “you” time a priority, and don’t miss that exercise appointment.
  3. Calories burned. If you count calories (and it’s really one of the most effective ways to lose weight), you know that the more you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the bigger your calorie deficit.
  4. Having fun. Exercise should be fun. If it isn’t, try a different kind of activity that you enjoy. As long as you’re moving, it’s good for you.
  5. How you’re going to look. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. Now let that visualization drive you.
  6. Magazines. It motivates me to read fitness magazines. Not sure why, but it works.
  7. Cover models. Sure, they’re genetically freaky, and probably Photoshopped to look perfect. But for some reason, looking at how good a cover model looks helps motivate me to work harder.
  8. Blogs. I enjoy reading blogs about people who are into running, or losing weight. It can show the ups and downs they go through, and you can learn from their experiences.
  9. Success stories. I find the success stories of others incredibly inspirational. If a fitness website has success stories, I’ll almost always read them.
  10. Forums. Do the monthly challenge on the Zen Habits forums, or join another forum full of like-minded or like-goaled peopled. Check in daily. It really helps.
  11. Rewards. If you exercise for a few days, give yourself a reward! A week? Another reward. Do it often in the beginning.
  12. Fitting into new clothes. Wanna look good in a smaller size? Work out!
  13. Being attractive. That’s always a good motivator, as I’m sure we all know. Edited to correct language.
  14. Adrenaline rush. I get a rush when I exercise. Ride that rush to complete the workout.
  15. Stress relief. Wound up after a long day at the office? Get out and work off that stress. It makes a world of difference.
  16. Time for contemplation. I love, love the quiet time of exercise for thinking about things. Most of this post was written in my head as I exercised.
  17. A workout partner. Best thing I’ve done.
  18. An exercise class. Sign up for a class, perhaps with a friend, and you’ll be motivated to get there and work out.
  19. A coach or trainer. Worth the money, just for the motivation.
  20. An exercise log/graph. For some reason, writing it down is extremely important. Really. Do it for a week and you’ll see what I mean.
  21. Your before picture. You often don’t realize how far you’ve come. Take pictures.
  22. A 5K race or triathlon. Just sign up for one, and you’ll be motivated to train.
  23. The dread of feeling “yuck” from not exercising. I hate how I feel after not exercising. So I remind myself of that when I feel tired.
  24. Living long enough to see your grandkids … and play with them.
  25. The scale. It’s not motivating to weigh yourself every day, as your weight fluctuates. But if you weigh yourself once a week, you’ll be motivated to have it keep going down, instead of up. Combine the scale with the measuring tape, and measure your waist.
  26. Reaching a goal. Set a goal for weight, or your waist measurement, or a number of days to work out, or a number of miles to run this week. Setting and tracking a goal helps motivate you to complete that goal. Make it easily achievable.
  27. Posting it on your blog. Tell people you’re going to lose weight or exercise daily, and report to them. You’ll make it happen.
  28. Motivational quotes. I like to print them out or put them on my computer desktop.
  29. Books. I just bought a strength-training book as a reward. It makes me want to hit the weights!
  30. Others commenting on how good you look. When someone notices the changes in your body, it feels good. And it makes you want to work out more.
  31. An upcoming day at the beach, or a reunion. Nuff said.
Now I have a the Crescent City Classic in April and then a trip to the mountains in June, not to mention the pool opens at the swim club soon - so I have a TON of motivational images and goal dates.  Its just about getting out of my own way I think. As for a workout partner - not so much.  I am not a fan of that.  I like to concentrate - maybe if I had a partner and not a workout friend.  I don't know.  What do you think?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daylight Savings - I'll Take it!

Daylight Savings time is one of my favorite times of the year.  It  means the end of cold weather and Spring is springing.  The downside is that my internal clock gets all messed up for about a week!  Here is what I found in researching how to adjust.

How to Cope with Daylight Savings Time

It’s that time of year again – Daylight Savings Time. You will set your clock forward one hour before you go to sleep, which means one less hour of sleep. Daylight savings time starts at 2 a.m. Sunday. Remember – you “spring forward” one hour.
For most workers, this time shift is rough and it causes weeks of sleep deprivation. You are probably going to be moodier than usual, and your productivity may suffer.
Daylight Savings Time, or DST for short, causes you to lose one hour of sleep, but at least it’s a sign that spring and summer are on its way. Winter is on its way out the door! The days are getting longer, which means we’ll have more sunlight at the end of the day. It’s always nice to drive home when it’s still sunny outside!
Still . . . Having to wake up an hour earlier is rough.
So how can you cope with Daylight Savings Time? Consider these helpful tips to help you survive the time change.
Changing Your Clocks Ahead of Time. Daylight savings time doesn’t officially start into the early hours of Sunday morning. You can prepare yourself for the time change by setting your clock forward one hour on Friday night. (Obviously, if you have plans on Saturday, you’ll want to remember that you changed your clocks early.)
After you set your clock forward, you’ll want to set your alarm clock for your regular waking time. Try to eat all your meals and go to bed at the time you normally do. By the time Monday morning rolls around, you might feel more adjusted. It won’t be as jarring and exhausting as it normally does.
Avoid Long Naps. If you love taking long naps later in the day, avoid it. Take a shorter, 20-minute catnap instead. Long naps can make it harder for you to sleep through the night. If you start to feel tired, why not take a short, brisk walk outside? Exercise releases the serotonin, a brain chemical that helps your body adjust to the time change.
Don’t Drink Alcohol. Say no to the nightcap. Alcohol interferes with regular sleep cycles, and it can hinder the quality of sleep.
No Eating Before Bed. Make sure that everything is well digested in your stomach before you to go bed. Don’t eat before you go to sleep. Have dinner earlier in the evening. A heavy meal in your stomach can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
Open the Blinds Before You Go to Sleep. Having more light in your bedroom may help your body better adjust to the new time change. Open the window blinds before you go to bed, and in the morning, you may be pleasantly awoken by bright rays of sunshine.
Go to Bed an Hour Earlier. This is common sense. Try to go to bed an hour earlier, so you can still get the same hours of sleep you normally do.
Don’t Drink Caffeine in the Afternoon. Everyone needs a cup of java to keep going in the morning, especially on Monday when you have to go back to work. But avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon, because it can make it harder for you to fall asleep that night.
Chances are, you will just have to cope. You will lose sleep, and you’ll be exhausted. You’ll deal and get used to it.
Of course, some of the strategies we'll have to look up for next time or in November,  and some are just CRAZY (i.e., the alcohol one) but I'll keep DST!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Follow UP!

I decided to try out the barefoot AND Zumba yesterday.  Good news was that Zumba was a hell of a workout.  Other news - I did Zumba barefoot and my foot has hardly hurt me today. 

So, there might be something to this barefoot thing. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are you for Zumba? Or, are you more of a BOOTCAMP Babe?

Tonight I am heading over to the dance school for some ZUMBA!  I love Zumba. 
When participants see a Zumba class in action, they can’t wait to give it a try. Zumba classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. Before participants know it, they’re getting fit and their energy levels are soaring! There’s no other fitness class like a Zumba Fitness-Party. It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating, often building a deep-rooted community among returning students.
I need to do something and tomorrow morning it will be P90x again.  I have sulked in my bad mood for long enough.  Time to suck it up and get my fat hiney in gear.   The ladies over at Dance Innovations are offering dance classes for only $10 a week or $30 a month. I'll be there tonight shaking it up! 

If you are more of a bootcamp lover you should check out Angel and Gina at Ultimate Change - at $60 for 4 weeks it is the best deal in bootcamp.  I did a session last Spring and loved it.  While I didn't LOVE getting up at 4.45 and doing the morning bootcamp I did LOVE that I was up and ready for the day early. 

Either way it is ALL about getting up and getting moving, right? 

Barefoot Babe

Barefoot Running intrigues me.  I have read articles on it.  I have watched documentaries on it and honestly, I am just desperate to stop hurting.  I have Plantars Fascitis in my left foot.  It always feels like I stepped on a rock with my heel.  It HURTS!  My foot has been in a state of trauma since I started Parade season.  Now I am a desperate woman.  I go barefoot whenever possible.  I kick off my shoes as I walk in the door every day and I wear flip flops year round until it is REALLY cold, so I will wear sneakers.  Here is some info I found on barefoot running. 

Barefoot running is running while barefoot—without wearing any shoes on the feet. Running in thin-soled, flexible shoes such as moccasins is biomechanically related, but differs significantly in that the sensory feedback from the plantar mechanoreceptors is still altered. Running in modern running shoes is quite different, and contrasted with barefoot running.[1]
In early human history, barefoot running was widespread, but this became increasingly less so following the growth of footwear usage. Barefoot running is relatively rare in modern-day populations of industrialised and wealthier countries, although it remains relatively common in many poorer nations. In terms of competitive running, virtually all modern athletes use running shoes. However, a small minority of runners have achieved success running barefoot, including Olympic champions and world record holders Abebe Bikila and Tegla Loroupe, as well as Zola Budd. (Although Bikila won the Rome Olympic marathon barefoot in 1960 in 2:15:16, at the Tokyo Olympic marathon in 1964 he wore shoes and set a world record in 2:12:11.)
The human mechanics of running are changed quite significantly when shoes are used – with natural, shoeless human running, the lateral edge of the forefoot are the part which strikes the ground with the most force. Running in padded shoes typically alters this as more emphasis is placed on the heel and the area towards the back of the foot.
Proponents, such as those identifying with the barefoot movement, argue that barefoot running is healthier for feet and reduces risk of chronic injuries, notablyrepetitive stress injuries due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes, in addition to other purported benefits. These health claims of barefoot running are supported by some research and advocated by some authorities, but very little research has yet been carried out, although initial results from limited studies seem to support the health claims of running barefoot.[2][3] Barefoot running is not generally advocated by mainstream medical or sports organizations, who, in the main, recommend that padded running shoes be worn, with particular consideration to foot type (type of pronation in heel strike gait).

I have a dear friend who is an advocate and an athlete.  I am sourcing some local shoes around here so I can go and try them out.  Who knows?  I could be onto something.  I just know I won't get the black ones because I don't want to look like I am doing my best Mr. Deeds impression.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can too little be too much?

Courtesy of
Calorie Counting seems to be my weakness.  Either I don't count at ALL and I can see clearly where that gets me (Not being able to see my belly button) or I count every morsel and wind up eating close to nothing.  I know where this road will lead.  I will wind up being exhausted because I run out of fuel.  See, I told you I've done this before.  I am trying to do research but so far everything is SOO contradictory.  I've read that I should be eating 1200 calories, then that 1200 is too low, to add 100 calories for every pound I weigh and expend 500 more than that. On the Biggest Loser they have to burn like 6000 calories a day. I want to lose weight BL style.  I'm a busy woman and don't have a lot of time.  Yeah, who wouldn't?  I know that 1200 is too little if I am going to work out at all.  If I am sitting on my ass all day then 1200 is probably perfect.  I do know that I am waiting too long to eat and should be doing that instead of sitting here, at the computer.  I am also NOT a snacker.  I have to remember to eat or I starve and eat EVERYTHING.  I set alarms to eat.  Yes, that's me - FREAK.  Yesterday I only ate 760.  That's NOT going to work.   Well, today's another day.  Let's see what damage I can do. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PSST! Wanna do some sugar? All your friends are doing it!

Sugar is my drug of choice. I am a sugar fanatic - followed shortly behind by bread - especially crusty, fresh, soft, french bread.  Sorry.  I lost myself.  Back to sugar.  I LOVE sugar and sweets.  It is my kryptonite.  For lent I am giving up refined sugar.  Lucky me.  Pray for my family!  Here is some research I found about sugar addiction. 

The theories surrounding the issue of sugar addiction are still being debated by scientists, but there is a growing pile of evidence convincing nutritionists and doctors that sugar addiction is real.
The most famous researcher in this field is probably Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of a number of bestselling books on the subject, including Potatoes Not Prozac, Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today, and Your Last Diet!: The Sugar Addict’s Weight-Loss Plan. Simply by reading the titles of her books, you can see that over-consumption of sugar can affect both your weight and your state of mind.
It was this last symptom of sugar addiction – it’s connection to chronic depression – that first alerted me to the dangers of sugar and other highly-refined carbohydrates. I think the first book I ever read on the subject was called Sugar Blues, by William Dufty.
Research continues to be done, and sugar has now been found to contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and some auto-immune diseases.
How can something as innocent-looking as sugar, something we’ve eaten since we were toddlers, do so much damage to the human body? And how can a common food substance become addictive?

A Short History of Sugar

Sugar has been around for a very long time, but it remained a luxury of the very rich for most of human history. Extracting the simple sugars from beets or other plants was a painstaking task, so only the nobility could afford it. Then, several events happened at around the same time – the Industrialization of Europe began, which required lots of cheap labor; explorers discovered islands in the Caribbean that were ideally suited for growing sugar cane, a form of tropical grass; and the slave trade made the growing of sugar cane cheap. In addition, machinery was invented that could take the syrup and refine it into the white powder we now all know as cane sugar.
This new substance packed a powerful punch of calories in a very small package, and it was soon discovered that men, women and children working in factories could be kept working at their machines if they were occasionally given bread and jam and heavily sweetened tea, which they could eat right at their work stations. The beginning of sugar addiction, and its accompanying health problems, began with the need for cheap labor in European factories.
Almost as soon as sugar became a cheap commodity in the eighteenth century, doctors started to notice its ill effects on the human body. Current research is simply reinforcing the opinions of doctors who warned against sugar 200 years ago.

Why Sugar is Addictive

Sugar is a highly refined substance that does not appear alone in nature. It looks a lot like cocaine, and sugar acts a lot like heroin when it hits the brain. Although the idea that sugar was addictive was controversial among scientists for years, they began to take note when the paper titled Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior was published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2009.
The study showed that sugar affects the brain chemistry and thus might be expected to cause addictive behavior. In the study, written by Nicole Avena and others, it was shown that sugar bingeing can cause withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The behavioral effects are similar to the  neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs.
One finding of that study is seldom discussed — both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in the brain, the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin and morphine.
The implications of this finding are that sugar substitutes, which have become a major industry in the United States and other nations, may not be the answer for people who want to lick their sugar addiction. Children who are given sweet candies and drinks made with sugar substitutes may still become sugar addicts when they grow up, and will find it just as difficult as the rest of us when it comes to giving up the sugar and other refined carbohydrates in their diet.
The bottom line – sugar is addictive, and it’s dangerous to one’s health. Because of its addictive qualities, it is very difficult to give up sugar, but the benefits in improved physical and emotional health make it worth the work.
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