Obsessed but for Good Reason

We eat organic foods for the most part and I make a lot of our meals, so we eat healthy… that is, I thought… until I started this no added sugar challenge.  I assumed when I started this, the only supporting articles out there would be from “nutty” blogs or granola types, but the facts are there in rock solid research from big names like Harvard, Mayo Clinic, etc…

“The American Heart Association has even more-specific guidelines for added sugar — no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar for most women and no more than 150 calories a day for most men. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 for men. ” – Mayo Clinic

Whether you are new to this subject or not, you realize that this is a tiny amount of calories for our given intake, and the second you start to examine your foods, you will start to unravel how our average (I am sure there are those out there who grow their own veggies, hunt their own meat and eat off the land only, but for the rest of us…) daily diet is loaded with added sugar.  100 calories is nothing… 4 calories for every single gram of added sugar.  That means 25 grams of sugar and you are done for your daily intake for added sugars.  Let’s look at 100 calories in terms of various products that contain added sugar:

Typical “diet” lunch:

2 slices of Oroweat Health-Full 10 Grain bread = 2gx2 = 4 grams of sugar = 16 calories

Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil – 1 gram = 4 calories

For argument’s sake say you chose a “fat free” cheese – 2 grams of sugar = 8 calories

Sliced ham – this is a range but typically cured in sugar – 1-2 grams = 4-8 calories

Baked BBQ Lays = 3 grams of sugar = 12 calories

Baked BBQ Lays

100 calorie pack of Oreos (pick any of the 100 calorie “treats” and you will get about the same result) – 9 grams of sugar, yes, 9.  – 36 calories

100 calorie pack oreo

Diet soda – jury is still out but countless studies (hey I still have a Diet Dr. Pepper a day… so no judgment here!) say our bodies treat it the same as sugar.  0 grams

Lunch Total – 80-84 calories just from added sugar

Let’s say you brought a yogurt and apple for a snack later in the day:

Apple – 0 grams of added sugar

Yoplait Whips (because the original has EVEN MORE sugar – see image below for a side by side comparison) – 21 EFFING grams – 84 calories from sugar… that was your lunch!  Light does drop down to 10 grams of sugar so only 40 calories of sugar, but still.. that’s a lot of sugar.

Yoplait Comparison

I thought I was adept at spotting calorie bombs, fiber and trans fats, but I am obviously a newbie at this added sugar challenge.  Those little yogurt cups are a dessert… and really, really bad for us, that’s what I learned from looking for the images for this post!



Time for Lunch

Ten days, I have kept our family from eating “no added sugar” breakfasts. Granted, I have no say so over ladybug’s breakfast at my aunt’s house but I ensured the man and I ate within the challenge thus far, every single day. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a couple of days where I almost grabbed instant oatmeal packs that are still in our cupboard (organic ones still have added sugar!!). At least on one occasion I wanted to make the frozen, again organic and chocked full of added sugar, blueberry waffles in the freezer, but alas, I did not and made breakfast that stuck to the challenge.

This week I might branch out and try to make a steel cut oats recipe like I used to but try to figure out some alternatives to keep from dousing it in agave or honey. Which I now know, your body processes exactly the same as high fructose corn syrup. Read this Article that covers sugar as a topic.

So this morning, i recalled an old recipe I had learned about in college when the South Beach diet was all the rage amongst my roommates. It creates a “crepe” using one egg and a tablespoon of cottage cheese. You blend the two and then lightly oil the pan, pour and cover. Wait for the top to bubble like a pancake then (this takes practice!), flip. Cook just long enough to lightly brown the other side. Fill with whatever you want. I used the Niman ham steak (thinly sliced) and cheddar. As our sides we had sliced mango and grapes.

I have managed to mostly stick to coffee only unsweetened almond milk but and this really is a big but, I’ve had to use Splenda a couple of times on the work coffee. It’s like drinking dirt! I’ll keep trying to cut the Splenda back until I don’t need it anymore.

So… Now we tackle lunch.

Pigs in A Blanket, No Sugar Added Breakfast Style

I never said I wanted to give up grains, I just want to give up the added sugars.  Unfortunately, nearly every processed grain product out there has added sugar of some sort.  I had been scouring all over the interwebs looking for a recipe that was inspiring for breakfast this week.  There was a paleo-ish recipe for wannabe pigs in a blanket, but they required effort I didn’t have time to exert.  Then, I found Martha Stewart’s kind of pigs in a blanket breakfast dish that used puff pastry.  I googled and it seemed like puff pastry potentially could be no sugar added.  I decided to go this route in my intentions as we hit the market on Sunday.

Well, that puff pastry inadvertently ended up being organic phyllo dough!  I should have googled the difference at the store, haha, but it all turned out great in the end, so no regrets here.  No added sugar in the ingredients, so I scooped it up.  I bought organic chicken & apple breakfast sausage links that had no added sugar.

When I got home, I used a combination of recipes to come up with this:

(these aren’t low calorie so to speak, but they were filling and had no added sugar)

This will make 2 servings of 2 piggies each

Preheat the oven to 375

  1. 1 Large Egg
  2. 4 defrosted Phyllo dough sheets
  3. 4 small sausage links
  4. 4 small, thinly sliced cheddar cheese pieces (I broke them in half to make 2 per piggy)
  5. raw spinach – optional
  6. 2 tablespoons of butter, or a butter substitute that has no added sugar

You will need to melt the butter by your preferred method and then combine it with the egg in a bowl.  Whisk together.

With all 4 Phyllo sheets layered together, section off 4 rectangles that will allow enough space to cover the sausage and insides, as well as allowing for you to roll it into a little “blanket” around the insides once complete.  I ended up with 4 rectangles and two extra half sized chunks at the top.  I threw out the extra, but you could make another 2 mini piggies.

Put foil on your baking sheet and very lightly oil/spray oil onto it to ensure there is no sticking.

(I did this all on the baking sheet to ensure no massive breaking accidents)  For your first piggy, take one rectangle of a phyllo sheet and glaze it with the butter and egg mix.  Keep in mind you have to do this 16 times, so it doesn’t take much per sheet.  Lay the next phyllo sheet of that rectangle atop the sheet you just glazed, repeat the glaze process.  Do this for all four sheets in your rectangle.

If you are using spinach, put the spinach into a small line toward the left most side of your rectangle, layer the cheese atop the spinach, then place a sausage link on the cheese.  Now, gently roll the piggy into a blanket (I really don’t know how else to explain this, but if you have made pigs in a blanket or google a video on it, I am sure someone else can explain it much better than I am!).

Repeat for the remaining piggies.

I had enough of the egg/butter mix to apply a little on the top of my piggies.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until Phyllo dough turns a little golden brown on top.  This is a personal preference, but they came out perfectly and held their form for our breakfast the next day!

I reheated in a toaster oven at work instead of a microwave to keep the piggies from becoming too soggy.


Breakfast Sugar Fest

Since I’m working all week long, Sundays are our market day for groceries for the week. Since this “no added sugar” challenge started midweek, I wasn’t prepared for weekend breakfasts. I used the last of the eggs and whatnot yesterday, so this morning I scrounged around in our freezer and fridge.

Improvisation was the name of the game for breakfast today! I found three frozen organic burritos that were already very low to no in added sugar, but after heating them for 20 seconds, I peeled off the tortillas and used the innards in a pan. Then, I had found organic sweet potatoes in our fridge, so I thinly sliced it (after a major failed attempt to use a spice grater to shred sweet potatoes, why don’t I have a shredder?!?) and pan fried them in avocado oil. As a side, I sliced up organic, ripe pears.

All in all, this is going well and forcing me to pay attention to what we eat as a family. If this next week is successful for breakfast with no sugar added, then I will tackle the lunch plan the following week. Now, to come up with 6-7 no sugar added, work week friendly breakfast meal ideas!? Suggestions?

Added Sugar

I’ve seen it in various documentaries and studies in recent years, but I didn’t feel inspired until recently to attempt to reduce added sugar from our lives. Before getting pregnant with Lana, I was able to lose weight fairly easily with cutting back and moving a bit more.

After having Lana, I initially dropped the ubiquitous 20 pounds that most women do, but then I stalled while breast feeding and found myself gaining weight back! I was losing motivation as I was yo-yoing in the same ten pounds. Then something came across an article and inspired me to challenge myself and ask my husband to try it too. Cut back added sugar from our lifestyle and see what impact it has on our health.

Instead of going berserk and trying to tackle our entire daily intake, I’m going meal by meal. Giving us ample time to change a meal and be solid with the routine before moving onto the next step. Breakfast is on the chopping block right now. Today is day two of paying attention, but is the first weekend day. So far, it’s been eye opening to say the least. Even our organic, uncured bacon has added sugar!?!

I’m trying to gulp down my coffee with unsweetened almond milk and no sweetener ( which my husband says is like adding ketchup to a steak, but whatever). We are mostly getting sugars from our whole fruits, but wow this is crazy that there are 57 aliases for sugar, including the ones in organic foods. Which, I’ve since learned your body processes agave and organic raw cane sugar exactly the same as the “evil” high fructose corn syrup. Maybe I’m the naive one, but I seriously didn’t realize that whatsoever! It all goes directly to the liver to process.

So, today in attempting to find a no sugar pancake recipe, I found this Almond meal flour one (for some reason I have a bag of that in my cupboard?! Super random!). So far, it’s a disaster but they are in the pan and I had to add a little butter to keep them from looking like banana scrambled eggs. The first batch is a messy puke (autocorrect typo but it stays) in the sink. Here’s hoping this second batch turns out alright!