How I’ve Missed You

My friends!  Can I still call you my friends, even though we haven’t spoken in ages?  I think I can, because we are just that close.  We understand each other, and the distance doesn’t mean we are growing apart.  It’s just that we’ve been busy…

So let’s rehash what’s been happening and where the hell Sara Sweetless has been. 

First, the sad truth.  Sara Sweetless has not been so sweetless.  I’m only human and I want my blog to be honest.  Honest and dirty.  And the truth is that since we last spoke I had my sister’s (gorgeous) wedding, my 28th birthday (go me for being born!), my graduation from law school, mother’s day, and another (gorgeous) wedding.  What does all that mean!?  I don’t have to tell you: sugar.  Sugar and gluten.  ALL OF IT.  It was ugly my friends.  Ugly and delicious.  But worth it?  Definitely not.

My stomach has essentially had PTSD since the first wedding.  If gluten goes near it it shouts obscenities and retreats to a corner to shake and cry.  I’ve been too scared (or ashamed, maybe) to step on a scale.  With the state of my eating habits I’ve been extremely fatigued and napping a ton, which hasn’t lent itself to keeping on my workouts.  And my self-esteem and moodiness have been none too pleased.  

Sometimes, though, we need to test the waters of temptation to realize that the swim ain’t worth it.  

I remember reading a facebook status of an paleo community leader (maybe, who wrote that she sometimes yearned for the days of ignorance.  Which, of course, is where the saying, “Ignorance is bliss” comes from.  And damnit, it just might be true.  Ignorance is so much easier.  Not caring is, well, carefree!  But knowledge is addictive.  Once I started learning, I wanted needed to know more.  And there is no unlearning the truth about the foods we eat, and my personal allergies to them.

Does this mean I think the search for the truth isn’t worth it?  No.  But I do think it’s a personal journey that each person must evaluate for herself.  Not everyone wants to know about where their food comes from, how it interacts with our bodies, and what the long term effects are.  Quite frankly, I think that’s a okay!  But I do believe that the people supplying our food, particularly argibusinesses and the government, must be more transparent, so those of us who do care have the information available to make informed decisions.  

Woah.  Talk about side tracked.

That’s not the point of this blog post!  The point is to update you one WHY I’ve been M.I.A.  It’s not that I don’t love you.  I do.  You know I do!  But I’ve been insanely busy with all these fun, sugar-filled events, PLUS I just started studying for the bar exam.  So that’s happening.  Since planning a real foods menu takings time, effort, and planning, there is a solid chance I won’t be doing any of that until after the bar.  However, I’ve started working out again and plan to make healthy choices as much as possible while eating out or ordering in.  Bar studying is a dark abyss for the recent law school graduation, that many never fully recover from.  I intend on being as good to my body and mind as I can be, while taking all the stress out of it.  So heathy eating out is the name of the game.  And please, for the love of all that is holy and good, no more gluten.  My stomach simply will not have it.

Since I won’t be blogging about healthy eating, I did want to update you that I’ll be doing two fun experiments even while studying for the bar.  I will take pictures and update as possible, when I need a break from the arduous task of bar studies.  For this summer (what my husband hesitantly says we will call “that one summer” in the future), I will be attempting the “No Poo” Method and the Oil-Cleansing Method.  You can read all about both via the links, but to sum it up:

No Poo Method: Attempt to wash hair with WATER ONLY.  If hair doesn’t adjust to natural sebum production, try to clean with BAKING SODA diluted in water.  If the baking soda makes hair too dry, use APPLE CIDER VINEGAR solution to moisturize.  Sounds fun, right?  I know you’re jealous of my luxurious lifestyle.  Salad hair, here I come!

But for real, the theory is that all the chemicals and unnatural products in shampoo and conditioner strip our hair of the natural oils that would be produced and should be all we need to keep our hair clean and moisturized.  There WILL be an adjustment period of 5 days – 2 weeks.  You’ll enjoy those pictures, I’m sure.

Oil-Cleansing Method: Clean face with only oil.  That’s right, I said it.  ONLY OIL!  Sound counterintuitive?  Well, the theory is essentially the same as above.  All the chemicals and alcohol in beauty products strip our skin of its natural oil (sebum) which causes our faces to overproduce, which in turn causes acne.  I have dry and irritated skin, but the oil cleansing method is, supposedly, safe for my skin type.  With none of the harsh chemicals, my skin should be moisturized and dewy without the irritation.  Pictures to come.


SO, dear readers, I have missed you.  But I kept you out of the loop for good cause – it was a dark, hectic, sugar-filled, gluten heavy time in my life these last few weeks.  And quite frankly, I couldn’t bear to face you.  Now I enter a new dark time: bar studies.  But I’ll need your support here.  Keep reading, keep coming back, and laugh WITH me on this journey into “that one summer Sara became a weird hippy.”

Love you all. 

Heart. Not just an 80’s band.

A classmate this morning asked me how I managed to lose nearly 10 lbs.  I started explaining what I don’t eat (processed foods, including almost all grain and gluten, added sugar, limited dairy and fruit, etc.).  My friend then asked, like lots of other people, “So what do you eat?”  I explained my meals consist mostly of healthy meats and veggies.  I meant healthy, as in organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, or some combination of those attributes.  But he blurted out, assuming what I think most people assume, “So, lot’s of white meat.”

No – at least not more white meat than red meat.  I like chicken, turkey, and fish.  But I also like bacon, lamb, beef and bison.  I like dark meat chicken, butter, and I eat almost everything with the skin on.  I didn’t used to be like this.  I once convinced myself that I didn’t like cheese and butter, because I thought they were unhealthy.  They may not be ideal for trying to lose weight, but unhealthy?  I no longer believe so.

When I explain all of this to people, they naturally worry about my health.  Won’t I have elevated levels of cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease with all this animal fat and red meat???  My best-friend’s mom who follows my blog had a similar concern.  She is interested in the blog, and thus primal eating, but her friend who is vegan says that for someone who has heart concerns, vegan is the only way to go.

Well, I’m here to say I don’t think that I’m at an elevated risk of heart disease based on my love of bacon and butter.  And I preface this post with the concession that for every study and article I can show you supporting MY beliefs, there is probably one that supports the opposing theory.  The fact is, these are just theories.  In medical communities, it is the accepted theory (called the Lipid Theory in real food communities) that cholesterol, derived from animal fat and red meat (saturated fats), causes heart disease.  But once upon a time, the accepted theory in scientific communities was that the earth is flat and that Pluto is a planet.  It was totally crazy to imagine that people could create flying machines!  Theories are posited and studies are conducted.  Over time, some of these theories – no matter how accepted they once were – turn out to be wrong.  I believe, based on my research, that the Lipid Theory is wrong.   

I encourage YOU to do your own research.  Mostly, I say this because I’m not going to do your homework for you.  That’s too easy, and I don’t want to “sell” you anything.  If you’re really interested, look into it.  BUT, I will make the process easier for you.  Below, I’m going to post some of the more interesting things I’ve read and I’ll share a link to the source.  That way, you can read the rest of the article on your own, should you find it intriguing.  


For decades we have used diet and drugs to attempt to reach ever-lowering ‘cholesterol levels’ recommended by the American Heart Association.  

Tragically, statistics show that heart disease continues to be on the rise, claiming ever more lives.”

Avoiding saturated fat, using ‘healthy’ polyunsaturated oils, and building a diet on a base of carbohydrates (grains, breads, and starchy veggies) has been drummed into us by well-meaning authorities, including luminaries such as: the USDA, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association.

Yet, it is a basic physiological fact that all carbohydrates are metabolized to glucose. If glucose is not used for fuel, it is automatically converted to and stored as saturated fat (only a small part-about 100 grams – will actually ever be stored as glycogen). 

Telling people to avoid eating saturated fat – while simultaneously telling them to eat food that will be converted into saturated fat — fails a basic logic test. Fat, I will argue, is not the real problem.”

Mr. Ciell goes on to explain that while there is a correlation between plaque build-up and heart disease, this is very different than plaque build-up causing heart-disease.  He suggests, through his research and evidence, that the plaque build-up is our bodies reaction to a problem that already existed in our bodies, not the cause of it.  He introduces the Unified Theory, which suggests heart disease is caused by an issue with vitamin C.

It helps at this point to explain some genetic history. Only a few animals (the higher apes, the guinea pig, and a species of fruit bat) ever show coronary heart disease. Heart disease, however, appears only when these animals are fed a diet that is lacking in adequate amounts of vitamin C. 

Zookeepers learned the connection between vitamin C and heart health a long time ago. When their gorillas were fed a diet of early versions of processed “gorilla-chow,” instead of a diet rich in vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables, they got sick and developed heart disease. 

In contrast, bears — whose cholesterol levels can be three times as high as man’s and whose heart rates slow way down during hibernation – remarkably never show any atherosclerosis. 

So what’s going on in bears and other animals that is missing in humans, apes, guinea pigs and some fruit bats?”

After this is all gets very sciencey.  I encourage you to check it out.

“As I mentioned in my year-end review of 2010, attitudes towards saturated fats took a dramatic turn in 2010. The study that garnered the most media coverage was the one done at the Department of Atherosclerosis Research of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, CA, and that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The title of the study was “Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease.”

The researchers who conducted the study seemed to be concerned that the dietary guidelines proposing a reduction in saturated fats was resulting in a higher intake of carbohydrates, which negatively affects health. The study was significant because it was a review of several other studies covering a period of 5 to 23 years of follow-up on 347,747 subjects. Their conclusion: “A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” (ed. note: I added the bold type)

“Paula Owens, a nutritionist, fitness expert and weight loss coach with more than 20 years of experience, also published an article yesterday entitled “Three things you may not know about heart health.” This is what she had to say about saturated fat:

Saturated fat is actually healthy for your heart. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that women who regularly eat the highest amounts of saturated fats have the least amount of plaque buildup in their arteries, and had a healthier balance of HDL and LDL cholesterols. Healthy saturated fats not only decrease your risk of heart disease and improve your lipid profile; they prevent osteoporosis, kill Candida, boost immune health, are healthy for your brain and nervous system and help balance hormones. Excellent sources of “healthy” saturated fats include cage-free, organic poultry and eggs, coconut oil, grass-fed beef and buffalo, real butter, organic nuts, unpasteurized, raw milk and wild fish.

You can read her full article here.”

There are lots of other great links in that article, as well as good information in its own rite.  Check it out!

1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors

Though you may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper, online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a)—pronounced “lipoprotein little a” and abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Bet you didn’t hear that on the nightly news. Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.”

As the title suggests, he has 6 other great reasons!


I purposely used sources that are NOT a part of the Paleo community.  However, if you google “lipid theory,” “cholesterol theory,” or either of those with the word “paleo” in it, you’ll get tons of hits from a paleo/primal prospective.  I just wanted to offer you an outsider’s perspective that comports with my belief, as opposed to you brushing my research off as “paleo fantasies” or  “those-paleo-people-sure-all-drank-the-same-sugar-free-kool-aid.”

And remember that the people who go against the grain protein are the ones who effect change and growth.  We aren’t necessarily a bunch of off the beaten path hippies who just like to march to the beat of our own drummer.  It’s important to respectfully question what you’re being taught, as opposed to just accepting as true someone else’s beliefs and theories.  This is how scientific change and discovery happens and what makes people so unique from animals – our ability to evolve quickly.


Paleo–Week 1 Observations

Check out someone else’s experience with Paleo!


Here’s what I expected from my first week of the Paleo diet:

-I expected hunger

-I expected difficulty sticking with the diet

-I expected difficulty meal planning

-I expected to feel more energy

-I expected serious carb and sugar cravings

-I expected it to be worth it but hard

Here’s what happened in the first week:

-My hunger is more satisfied than it has been in months

-I actually WANT to stick to the diet

-Meal planning has been a dream (have meat, have veggies, use any combo of both and you have a meal)

-I absolutely DO have more energy

-I experienced no cravings. (Even walking by doughnuts, I had no desire to get one)

-It has been much easier than expected.

-Both my husband and I have lost weight. (I was surprised by the immediacy of this)

This first week has been so interesting.  I have to admit, as much…

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And then there were none….

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached stasis!

Day 0.  Or rather, back to life as I knew it.  Except not really.  Not really at all.

The 21 Day Sugar Detox has ended. 

To recap: it was 21 days of no sugar, including fruit, honey, agave, and especially no fake stuff like aspartame or truvia.  The program was created by a Paleo guru, of sorts, Diane Sanfilippo.  Therefore, there are three levels of the sugar detox with each level getting a little more restrictive and a little more Paleo.  For instance, level 1 allows a limited amount of grain and legumes, while level 2 and 3 don’t allow any. So in addition to not eating sugar, we weren’t eating grains or legumes.

Michael and I managed to stay between a level 2 and level 3.  We were already Paleo, so we weren’t going to backslide and do level 1.  The biggest difference between 2 and 3 is the allowance of dairy.  I say we were between a 2 and 3 because most days we didn’t have any dairy, but there were definitely a couple cheat days.  But it felt good to “cheat,” while still knowing that we were only backsliding to a level 2!  It wasn’t like we were eating ice cream.  But I cooked with butter some days.  And we had cheese in our omlettes on other days.  All those days were awesome.

Michael and I were both very pleased with our results!  Michael lost 3 lbs, although I think he may have lost more.  He weighed himself on a Monday morning after a weekend of traveling.  I don’t know about y’all, but I somehow manage to retain water after travel AND weekends.  I always wait till Tuesday or beyond to weigh myself – never on a Monday.  And especially not after traveling!  He says he is going to weigh himself again Thursday, so we’ll see the official results then. 

My weight loss was more striking – a full 8 lbs total!  I went from 132.4 to 124.4!  I haven’t gotten below 125 in, well, I don’t know how long its been.  Definitely over a year, possibly more like 3 or 4 years.  To put the weight loss in perspective, I lost 6% of my starting body weight

My weight loss wasn’t the overall goal.  My goal was a mixture of health objectives.  So let’s not harp too long on weight loss (did I tell you it was 8 lbs!?!) and let’s discuss ALL the benefits.

Michael and I BOTH reported the best sleep we’ve had in ages.  I don’t know what it is about not eating sugar, but I fell asleep easier and the sleep I got was that good, sweaty, dead-ass asleep kind of sleep.  Yum. 

I also had much more energy that in the past.  I’ve had a long issue with fatigue.  Anyone in my family will tell you: I get fatigued easily and early, I nap often and sleep late.  Thus, napping has become part of my routine.  But during the 21DSD I went for my afternoon naps and found that I just could not fall asleep!  Resting on the couch was nice and all, but I frequently ended up using that time to cook and prep meals, instead of the napping.  It is still my instinct to head to the couch for a couple hours in the middle of the day when I can – but I think as I get used to a new routine, that will change. 

My moods were pretty foul for the first couple weeks – not going to lie.  And Michael’s weren’t much better, if I do say so myself.  But this week has been delightful!  I’ve felt great and been pretty peppy, and so has Michael.  Even in the face of wedding drama (my sister gets married this Sunday), I’ve felt very happy and positive. 

Another positive benefit of the detox has been a marked improvement to my digestive health.  The year before starting Paleo, Michael and I both noticed that my digestive health seemed to be deteriorating.  Yes.  I’m talking about pooping and farting here.  It’s okay – you can laugh.  It’s funny.  And I’ll air my dirty, stinking laundry, at least to the few people who care enough to read this far in my blog.  I was stinking up our home and feeling very insecure about being newly married and newly stinky.  Not to mention, feeling like crap (pun intended) many, many evenings after dinner.  I originally thought I was lactose intolerant.  Not so.  As I cut out grain, but continued to eat dairy, I found my stomach completely improved.  In fact, the days I had stomach issues were usually days where I had eaten out.  I attribute this to accidentally ingesting gluten, either because I had a sauce I didn’t ask about or through cross-contamination in the kitchen.  There were also a few times I had stomach issues after eating tomatoes, which are the most abrasive of the nightshades family.  I plan on doing a little elimination diet test to see whether any or all nightshades upset my stomach.  It could have been a fluke after all.  Stay tuned for the results to that experiment later. 

With all that said about my “sick” days, I’d say there were only 3 or 4 total days when my stomach wasn’t functioning at 100%.  And I also noticed that when my stomach was acting up, I frequently had slight ear pain and a sore throat.  This suggests to me that my body is busy doing something other than keeping sickness out.  Is this sounding a little like leaky gut to anyone else?  If you don’t know what that is, stay tuned to the blog and maybe I’ll do an overview one day. 

My favorite part about the detox is how freeing it has been.  I deleted the calorie counting app on my phone and stopped even thinking to wear my heart rate monitor to track my calories on runs.  I didn’t make a choice not to wear it – I just kept forgetting it!  I used to spend so much of my day thinking about what I had eaten, what I would eat, and how many calories it all amounted to.  I didn’t want to think this way – but I kept gaining weight.  I felt I had to be aware or every thing I put in my body, or risk gaining even more weight. 

Now I see that by eating a totally different way – the way we were intended to eat – I can be free of the obsession.  Real food tells your body when you’ve had enough.  And it doesn’t need an app.  

Michael has experienced some freedom from the obsession, too.  However, I think he still struggles at times.  Instead of worrying about the calorie content of food, he mostly finds himself worrying about whether a certain food is “safe” for Paleo.  This is something a lot of new “cavemen” and “cavewomen” find themselves wondering.  If you google “Is it Paleo” all sorts of charts and explanations pop up.  And the answer isn’t always clear.  Like nightshades.  Or dairy.  Or white rice.  Or arrowroot starch.  So we’ve started to make our own rules and allowances based on our health and wellness.  Dairy doesn’t seem to upset either of us.  So why wouldn’t we eat it, so long as we find high quality options from real, ethical, sustainable food sources?  In fact, I will start calling my diet “Primal,” because as I understand it, the primal diet allows dairy, while Paleo technically does not. 

From time to time, I also find myself looking up whether some food is Primal or Paleo.  More importantly, though, if something is not paleo, I will look up why it’s not and then make my own decision based on my research.  Usually my research is in line with primal.  But sometimes, I decide otherwise.  For instance, I think it would be perfectly fine, based on my own personal research, for Michael to eat grain in some forms.  Some bread is made from sprouted grain, which greatly reduces the likelihood that our bodies will interact negatively to it.  And Michael does not appear to have a gluten allergy.  So for him, why not?

Okay, I have to wrap this up because work is over because I have to go do something else unrelated to leaving work because I would never, ever think of blogging at work and I’m at home right now.  But I hope you have enjoyed following my progress on the 21DSD.  I encourage everyone to try it one day, but definitely BUY THE BOOK AND DO THE RESEARCH FIRST.  You won’t see the results you want if you half-ass it.  And it will make the whole process much easier if you have a spirit guide, which is the book.  

I will probably keep finding things to babble on about, so check back and submit questions all you want!  This process of self-discovery has been so much more fun with your support, help, and interest. 






Have it YOUR way

I don’t like avocado.  I don’t like cauliflower.  I don’t like almond milk.  And I don’t like fennel, parsnips, or cumin.

Paleo recipe sights see a lot of these ingredients.  And every time I try to cook one of them and I really want to like it, it ends up feeling discouraging, because I just don’t like it!  But that’s what today’s brief post is about – customization!

We are a generation that wants choice.  I feel good about a restaurant like Farmburger or Yeah! Burger where I can say “I’m eating Paleo, so hold the bun, throw my bison burger on some lettuce, and load that thing up with grilled veggies.  Brussel sprouts on the side please!”  A burger and fries to one millenial could mean just that – burger and fries.  But to the very next millenlial it could mean a grass-fed bunless burger and brussel sprouts.

And that’s cool!  That’s encouraging.  Even though all the ads on TV for food generally aren’t directed to my persnickety butt, I at least know there are several real food grocery stores and markets that cater to MY needs.

While I’ve felt discouraged each time I attempt a new recipe that I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like, but I really really want to like, I’ve decided enough is enough.  Changing diets is pretty hard on its own – and this one really classifies as changing lifestyles!  There is enough added stress in that, without the stress I put on myself to change my preferences.  I want to like healthy food more than I actually like healthy food.  But that’s at least a start. 

When my sister went vegan, she said that her taste buds changed, she craved different foods and really started to enjoy the tempeh, soy, and veggies.  I was hoping that by doing a sugar detox, I would actually start to like more vegetables, start to like different vegetables, and enjoy them to a greater extent than I had in the past.  Sadly, it didn’t go quite like that for me.  I enjoy my staples a great deal.  Carrots couldn’t make me happier.  And Broccoli and brussel sprouts are pretty good.  But I didn’t magically fall in love with cauliflower.

I recently read, though, that my feelings of complacency, even boredom, when I’m eating healthy food is sort of expected.  It’s actually a scientifically normal response.  In referencing a study on soldier’s food preferences, the article states,

““They liked flavorful foods like turkey tetrazzini, but only at first; they quickly grew tired of them. On the other hand, mundane foods like white bread would never get them too excited, but they could eat lots and lots of it without feeling they’d had enough.”

This contradiction is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.”

Before reading this, I thought maybe I was failing at Paleo.  I liked the food I made, but after eating most of my meal, I grew tired of it.  I also didn’t want the leftovers the next day, feeling bored with that meal.  But now I know that this reaction is totally normal!  My taste buds may come around on some foods, and not others.  But either way, when eating real food, I’ll only ever want to eat so much of it.  Then my brain and body will work together to tell me it’s had enough nourishment.  That’s not the case with processed food products.  I wanted, and could, eat and eat and eat. 

Keeping an open mind is a good thing, though.  I just need to work on not feeling badly when I discover a “dislike.” 

And in keeping an open mind, I have discovered a lot of things I do like!  For instance, chard is awesome!  And rainbow chard is awesome + beautiful!  There is no greater joy to me than opening my fridge and seeing all the amazing color in it.  No more sea of brown and white.  I also learned that I like lamb, I like my own chicken soup, and I like all the squashes!  And, I think my hubby will back me up on this, but I make the best granola bars around! 

I’m also set to try Kombucha, want to learn to ferment, and am going to keep trying the things I don’t like in different ways, like this cauliflower “pizza” crust I’ve seen all over the paleo sites.

But what I’m done with is all the judging that I do to myself.  AND my partner in non-crime.  We both have our own likes, dislikes, loves, and indifferences – and the more I learn what they are for each of us, the better I can plan for meals we will BOTH think is delicious.




She’s so heavy! (Days 11-13)

First things first: Day 10’s date night was amazing!  We walked to dinner, had someone else cook for us (no dishes, phew) and played bocce ball outside on a beautiful evening near the Beltline with our decaf and whole cream.  It was the perfect way to start the weekend (weekends start Thursday night, right?) and reset our attitudes.   

BUT, now… **drumroll please** the moment you have been waiting for!!!  

“This is all fine and good, Sara, but is it working?  Have you lost weight?  Do you feel healthier?  But mostly, did you lose weight!?!?”  

Even though I’m doing this more for mental health, to get control of my sugar cravings, I know what everyone wants to know is have I lose weight.  We’re Americans, after all.  We want a quick, effective way to cheat the system.  We all know eating a balanced diet and working out is THE WAY to stay fit.  But, if we can find a way around that, all the better, right?  Hey man, I’m no different.  The only way I stick to a fitness routine is by continuously signing up for athletic events.  Who has two thumbs and is a completely lazy athlete?  This gal. 

But YES, hallelujah, I HAVE LOST WEIGHT!  

In the first week I was happy, but not surprised to lose my typical 4 lbs.  I am 5’3” and over the last year I generally fluctuate between 132 on the high end and 128 on the low end.  This is much higher than where I was when I met my husband, which I would say was probably somewhere around 128 on the high end and 124 on the low end.  I think my body, when healthy, probably wants to be somewhere between 120 and 125.  So, as you can see, I’ve been carrying a little extra weight lately.  

I want to preface this weight talk by saying that these numbers only apply to me.  By no means do I think all 5’3” ladies should be fitting in to these weight classes.  I consider myself a relatively thin 5’3”.  A fat, skinny girl – if you’ll recall my introductory post.  Because I know you’ve read them all, right, dear reader?  So don’t give me that “Only 130?? Stop complaining, that’s nothing” or “130 looks good on you!” or whatever!  We all know where our body would be happiest.  And then we have an ideal that’s probably 5 lbs less than we know our bodies would be happiest.  In my crazy head, I’d prefer to be below 120, but I know that’s not where my body wants to be.  My body, today, wants to be somewhere between 120-125.  So being 132 has been well over where my body wants to be.  I can feel it.  And I can see it.

So week 1 saw my typical fluctuation back down to the low end of where I’ve been hanging out for the past year.  While I was happy about this, I have yet to get below 128 lbs in the past year, marathon training and all, so I figured the detox was only good enough to get me to my lowest “high” weight.

But, we are almost to the end of week 2 and **sound the trumpets** I lost another 2 lbs!  When I weighed myself two days ago (so I could have lost a little more) I rang in at 126.  Holy shit.  After a year of trying, I finally broke through my plateau floor.  Although it’s just 2 lbs, it’s 2 that I couldn’t manage to do all year, even while training for a marathon.  So for me, it was a really big deal and very exciting.  It was also “proof” that this little detox is certainly doing something.

I want to be VERY clear: I am NOT dieting, restricting calories, counting calories, or working out (due to knee injuries after the marathon).  I am eating when I’m hungry, eating until I’m full, and that’s it.  So this weight loss is not because I’m eating 2 carrots and 5 slices of turkey a day.  Nope, our meals consist of some combination of the following:

Breakfast: bacon and eggs, pumpkin pancakes, or leftovers

Lunch: leftovers, nuts, boiled eggs, a banana or green apple, almond butter, carrots, etc.

Dinner: glazed or herb chicken, pork chops, steak; and spinach, roasted root vegetables, green beans, carrots, brussel sprouts, soup, etc.

As you can see, the word salad didn’t even make the list.  I can’t stand salad without dried fruit, so I haven’t even tried to go there much in the past two weeks.  This “diet” isn’t much of a diet.  I eat a lot.  I eat till I don’t want to eat anymore.  And then I eat more when I’m hungry.  And I’ve lost 6 lbs total in two weeks – that is nearly 5% of my starting weight.  So something IS happening and, I have to assume, working!  I’m very excited where the end of this week puts me.

Now, even though this is a 21 day detox, I figure I might as well keep it up till my sister’s wedding, which happens around Day 27.  So I may even lose more weight than I would have in 21 days.  But I’ll keep you updated on what happens at the end of week 3 and then week 4.

And, of course, the big question: can she keep it off?!  That’s always the tough part kiddos.  But I did start working out again yesterday, so my prolonged vacation from fitness is officially over.  I also ran in my new barefoot running shoes, and have no pain today!  Hopefully, that trend continues.

Only time will tell if this is a sustainable weight loss, or a momentary blip in time.  I’ll be blogging all along, so keep comin’ back!


Why was Day 6 afraid of Day 7??

BECAUSE DAYS 7 – 8 – 9 (and 10)!!

Michael and I went from…

a pretty good Day 7

to a trying, but empowering Day 8

to an excellent Day 9

to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Day 10!

As I mentioned, Day 7 – Monday – was the start of Passover. In my attempt to create an acceptable “dessert” to keep my mouth busy while everyone else enjoyed flourless chocolate cake and mazto meal carrot cake, I ended up wasting a lot of good ingredients. Though edible, one of my creations tasted good enough to eat. I tried carrot cake “cookies” and cinnamon coconut “cookies” – all of which ended up in the trash. Without a sweetener, it was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as they say. A bland, boring piece of edible coconut cardboard parading itself as a cookie.

BUT, though a little disappointing, it didn’t get me too down. We went to Passover, enjoyed our sweetener-free green apple charoset, and abstained from dessert. I thought the charoset was delicious, though my mother had none too good a thing to say about it. Jewish mothers. Always with the kvetching. Oy. We also drank the slightest, and I mean slightest, bit of sparkling grape juice to fulfill the miztvah of drinking 4 glasses of wine. I’d say we each had 3 or 4 sips of the sugar-laden juice. But I wasn’t worried too much about this little cheat, since it was in the name of God. People have done worse things in her name, anyways, right?

We also split a piece of spelt matzo. It was all I could find it my search for gluten-free, and let me tell you: it is not gluten free! My stomach did not enjoy my little foray into the world of gluten. It is astonishing to me that the transformation of not tolerating gluten happened so quickly. This topic will be a future post all its own, but to allude: in one year my stomach went from fine to not fine and as soon as I cut out gluten, my stomach – which could at least manage most days – decided it never wanted any gluten ever again and it would strongly voice this opinion to me should I disobey it. Needless to say, I disappeared to the bathroom for about 10 minutes while the kids were searching for the afikomen.

Day 7 empowered us! We were able to go to a holiday, abstain from dessert, and still survive. This was the first time I really realized that the 21DSD isn’t just about reducing cravings – it’s also about changing habits. Any smoker will tell you that the hardest part about quitting smoking isn’t the 2-3 day chemical dependency. It’s the mental, habitual dependency. Get in the car, have a smoke. Go to a bar, have a smoke. Finish a meal, have a smoke. Cravings are bad and all, but it’s harder to break the cycle of dependency – the mental processes that tell our body, habitually, that it’s time to do something. Finish dinner, time for dessert. Go to a party, time for desserts. Holidays – you guessed it – desserts! Going to a holiday and saying, “No thanks, I’m good with my cardboard cinnamon cookie,” is surprisingly empowering. Now I have confidence for next time that I can make a choice, as opposed to being run by habit.

Day 8 also brought an interesting challenge. A variety of personal challenges resulted in stress, anxiety, and depression for me. My first inclination in a state like that is to do whatever I need to feel different. The easiest, safest way to feel different is to enjoy sugar-infused goodies, creating the sensation, however brief, of feeling good! BUT – I didn’t turn to sugar. Another huge empowerment day! My hubby and I stayed the course and managed to make it through Day 8, as blue as I was, feeling good about the detox and our power of choice.

Day 9 was also a solid day. I struggled a little with headache and fatigue, which I assume is a side-effect of having ingested a little sugar in the form of grape juice at Passover. If you’ll recall, the worst day of my sugar detox was day 2. And Day 9 was 2 days from ingesting sugar at Passover, so I wasn’t all that surprised to feel the effects of a mini withdrawal. Michael also felt fatigued. In fact, he hasn’t quite had the right amount of energy to enjoy his work outs since we started the detox. This prompted me to make leftover roasted root vegetables and a plantain sweetener-free granola. Hopefully the extra starchiness of those treats will help him get his energy back. For the first time since the marathon, I felt the urge to work out on Day 9. I have to imagine that’s a good sign! But, still recovering from a very blue day on Tuesday (Day 8), I decided to nap, cook, relax, and decompress. I think it was a solid choice.

I classify Day 9 as a good day, despite the physical symptoms, because Michael and I were both in good spirits, despite a blue Day 8.

And then there was Day 10. Today. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Michael and I had our first fight since – and I honestly think this is the case – before we got married over a year ago. Sure, we have little disagreements from time to time, but I wouldn’t call them fights. We are very good communicators, so our spats, disagreements, bickering – whatever you want to call it – never amounts to real, true, feelings-hurt fights. There was no yelling. There was no name-calling. Like I said, we are good communicators. But for whatever reason, my feelings were genuinely hurt today.

The details are unimportant, except to say that what led me to feeling so hurt was that I felt un- or under- appreciated. I feel the need to share this personal information on my highly read, extremely public blog (thanks, you 20 readers!), because I think this may be an issue that many people, especially women, have to deal with when making a big familial change.

My husband is EXTREMELY helpful. We do not proscribe to traditional gender roles. The whole “male breadwinner, woman homemaker” is seriously challenged in our household. Instead, we do what we are good at, or what we have time for. In our house, that means my husband ends up cleaning the house, changing the sheets, and doing the laundry. I pay a lot of the bills, run household errands (like pick up/drop off dry-cleaning, etc.), and try to make household appointments (like exterminator, repairs, etc.). Occasionally I’ll even try to fix things, most of which winds up more broken and then I’ll make a repairs appointment!

I digress. The point is that in the past, my hubby was supposed to be responsible for the grocery shopping. I am in school and working every other day, so my schedule isn’t as flexible. But since all this crazy food stuff was my idea, I don’t expect my husband to create menus and shopping lists. Therefore, I now do the grocery shopping. For the same reason, I also do all of the cooking. And lately, this means I feel like almost all of my free time is going to creating menus, making grocery shopping lists, buying groceries, putting away groceries, prepping food, making food, and cleaning dishes.

So, when my husband made a passive aggressive comment amounting to no more serious an impact than “Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” I felt totally and utterly unappreciated. Of course, he was just responding to my passive aggressive comment about how he didn’t put away the dry-cleaning as I asked. But still. I was hurt. I felt like all my efforts recently have gone completely unnoticed. And, as I said, I bring this up in this super popular, public, highly trafficked arena of my blog (sarcasm intended), because I’m sure many people – especially women – feel this pressure of carrying the family in a new lifestyle change like this one.

Suddenly, there is added real responsibilities, like making menus and grocery shopping. But there is also added perceived responsibilities, which aren’t any less real to the person perceiving them, like keeping the family on track and keeping morale up. But all that pressure, although maybe self-inflicted, is bound to cause a break. And that’s what happened today.

I felt unappreciated, because of all the pressure I’m putting on myself and the expectations I have for how Michael should receive my efforts. That’s unfair, to him and to me! So, when Michael suggested I put off my grocery shopping that I planned to do tonight until later and that we go out and find something 21DSD approved for dinner – well, I think that sounds peachy.

We may not have groceries in the house for one more day, but I think tonight is a perfect time for us to take a break, have a date night, and hit reset on our priorities and expectations.

More than anything, I know I have nothing without my partner in non-crime. And being a few pounds skinnier isn’t worth it if I can’t brag about it with my best-friend.

So, dear reader, is there a moral in this story about the fight? I think it’s that during times of change, its especially important to keep your expectations and motivations in check (am I doing this out of the goodness of my heart, or do I expect love and admiration in return?), have open lines of communication with your partner, and make time to be good to yourself, and to the person taking this journey with you.


Check back in for news on days 11+… I’ll post my weight loss, which has already been substantial (for me) and I’m pretty sure at some point we’ll have to talk about poop.

Yup, poop.

Ascent from Purgatory (Day 4-7)

The title says it all, doesn’t it?

You may remember that I thought I had turned a corner last week around Day 4.  I was wrong.  It was merely the calm before the storm.  Day 4 and 5 of the Sugar Detox were by far the most awful.  Most notably, my husband and I were irritable and horribly fatigued.  No headaches or nausea, although I may have preferred physical illness to feeling like a crazy bitch.  And of course, I mean that in the most self-loving way.

At least I was not alone.  My husband was also moody, sensitive, and lethargic.  Of course, having two people in the same household in this state did not make for a fun weekend.  We took it very easy, which was all we could do to not kill each other or ourselves.

If I had to try this little experiment out again (which, God knows, I probably will again someday when I need a project), I would start the detox on a Thursday.  Days 2-5 were by far the worst.  And although 4 days doesn’t sound like a lot, when you’re tired, irritable, moody, lethargic, and thisclose to biting someone’s head off – work or school is no place to be hanging around.

So, while it may sound like days 2-5 were hell, and not purgatory, the reason I named this blog as such is because my husband and I had read enough to know that we were just in a shitty holding pattern, but that freedom awaited us around Day 7.  And it was true: I was feeling much better on Day 6, with my husband still struggling a little with lethargy.  But today, Day 7, seems great!

I am happy, getting my energy back, and did I mention the amazing, sugar-free sleep?  If you’ve never had sugar-free sleep, it is almost worth days 2-5.  Almost.  Not quite.  But it’s heavenly.  The past few nights I’ve awaken briefly and looked at my clock, thinking I’ll have to get up soon for class, but each time it’s only been around 1 a.m.  I love that feeling of knowing I still have 6 more hours of sleep.  We are also getting to bed nice and early, but that’s mostly due to being tired and cranky.  When all else fails, just go to bed.  Every day closer to day 7 and past is a day closer to feeling good again.

Day 7, while feeling good, will still be a challenge.  Why, you ask??  Because today is Passover!  My mother’s cooking is worth killing for – especially her carrot cake that I LOVE and she only makes once a year on Passover.  But you bet your sweet tukhus that it’s got sugar in it!  In fact, so does her amazing charoset and flourless chocolate cake.  So, what to do?  Well, I prepared, that’s what!  The best defense is a good offense, right?

This weekend I utilized my lazy, foggy, irritable stupor to cook up a storm.  I made sugar-free charoset from green apples – fully 21DSD approved!  I also whipped some coconut cream and make sugar-free cinnamon macaroon “cookies,” so my hubby and I could eat dessert with everyone and not feel too left out.  Okay, so maybe the cookies taste a little like coconut cardboard… we make concessions to follow through with our journey.  I also made some kale chips today so we’d have a little “nosh” around the house to make things easier.  This is in addition to the other leftovers we already have, and the homemade chicken soup that we are both loving!!

And lastly, I bought some spelt matzo, which isn’t gluten-free, as I had hoped to find, but it’s as stripped down as I could find.  The other matzos had lots of additives, like potato starch, fruit juice, etc.  This is just spelt flour and water, so at least my husband and I can fulfill the mitzvah of having and matzo on Passover, and then return to our gluten-free lifestyle.

So, all in all, it’s looking up!  Today will likely be the hardest day to stick to the plan, since it’s a special occasion.  I mean, imagine going to Thanksgiving and not having the sweet potato casserole, cranberries, or pumpkin pie.  That’s what today is for Paleo, 21DSD Jews.

But, we’re an enduring people, so I know we got this in the bag 😉