Say No To Sugar

by HEAB on July 2, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

Edited to Add: After re-reading this post, I thought it came off as a bit harsh, but I’m not changing a word.  Just being my honest self.  Please know that I love you guys, and I only want what’s best for ya! -HEAB

After my weight loss post, several of you emailed me with questions regarding sugar.  Guess what?  You don’t need it in your life.  You don’t!

Our bodies convert ALL carbs into glucose for fuel, but in excess amounts, the carbs are stored as fat.  Now, I’m not going to get into my feelings on eating low carb, but in my opinion, our bodies do not need that much.  The USDA recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of our daily food intake…I’m sorry, but I think that’s a load of crap.  Look around my friends…why do you think we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic?  You think it’s almond butter and avocados causing all those cases of Type 2 diabetes? No, it’s sugar. Quit eating it.

Now, I won’t lie.  I eat my carbs, and I love them.  However, I try and keep them as minimally processed as possible, and I make sure to get in plenty of protein and fat as well.  Since I quit running, my carb intake has gone way down, but not on purpose.  I’m just not craving them as much anymore. Besides my daily dose (or two) of oat bran, I don’t eat a lot of other grains, and my other sources of carbs are mainly vegetables and maybe one serving of fruit a day.  Otherwise, I fill my meals with protein and fat…the latter being my favorite. :)

So, how did I kick my sugar habit?  Well, I gave up sugar, but not dessert.  Once you stop sweetening your food, I promise your body will get used to it, and the cravings will go away. To me, dessert means a plain baked sweet potato or some carrots smothered in almond butter.  How about a few squares of dark chocolate or some raw chocolate pudding (blended avocado, dark cocoa powder, and a few soaked dates)?  Need a protein boost? Then make yourself a Dryer Lint Smoothie with some protein powder.  Just because you’re not eating sugar doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little treat after meals.  You simply have to modify your dessert perspective a bit.

Please keep in mind that I am in no way licensed to give out any sort of nutritional advice, and just because I have figured out what works for me doesn’t mean that I’ll know what works for you. That being said, I do KNOW that nobody needs sugar. So, keep that in mind the next time you reach for that healthy vegan cookie. After all, brown rice syrup is still sugar my friends, and whole wheat flour is still flour.

On that note, I’ll leave you with my blogger inspired lunch from yesterday:

A Polly Salad

A Polly Salad

Inspired by Polly, I had tuna salad made with mashed avocado, dill pickles, and salt and pepper served atop a bed of spinach and grape tomatoes.

Check out my dessert:

Cherry Bliss

Cherry Bliss

After seeing this combo on Living Free, I could not wait to try it.  Frozen cherries + coconut milk + dark chocolate flakes = Wow. A new favorite for sure!

My simple advice to you?  Eat your veggies, and lots of them.  Eat your protein & eat your fat.  Eat your oats & fruit if you want some, but skip the sugar.

{ 131 comments }

Trilby Drew July 2, 2009 at 9:20 am

I could not agree more with you on the sugar and protein front, Heather. I swear, I think our digestive tracks were separated at birth!

Trilby Drew July 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

Ooops! That should say “tract.” This is what happens when I’m typing too fast. :)

Trilby Drew July 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

And sooooo glad you’re diggin’ my Dryer Lint Smoothies! I’ve been eating them with vanilla prot powder mixed in after seeing your interpretation. Why did I never think of that?!

Ok, I’ll stop commenting now. This is becoming a bad habit. hehehe

VeggieGirl July 2, 2009 at 9:34 am

It’s funny – since I’ve been eating even MORE raw than usual (since it’s summer and all), I definitely eat more savory foods (vegetables, nuts, etc.) than fruits and such. Your advice is sound!!

Rose July 2, 2009 at 9:35 am

Thanks for writing about this topic. Sugar has been so controversial over the years. I trust your opinion – and I like when you just come right out and say it :)

you must tell me what is in that dessert!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Rose,
My dessert was nothing but frozen cherries, dark chocolate, and coconut milk. The coconut milk kind of stuck to the cherries, and it tasted like cherry ice-cream. So yummy – you must try! :)

Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write July 2, 2009 at 9:35 am

I love your frozen cherries dessert. I’ve never used coconut milk for anything other than rice. I guess I should branch out.

I don’t completely agree with you on all the points, but your best point is basically that we all have to take a better look at what we really “need” versus what we want or even what society has told us we “should” want. In fact, it realllly sounds like you should be reading Clean Eating Magazine lol.

Great post. :)

VeggieGirl July 2, 2009 at 9:37 am

P.S. – before people start attacking you, dear Heather, I hope they realize that THIS IS WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!! NOT EVERYONE!!! Even though you already stated that in your well-written, insightful post :-D Hugs!!

Maria July 2, 2009 at 9:39 am

Mmmm tuna avocado sounds so yummy. Oh my goodness, that cherry bliss stuff looks so good! I love cherries, coconut, and chocolate, so I would totally dig this stuff, obviously ;) .

Thanks for the advice, Heather! I’ll try changing up my desserts–I think my daily sweets just have me craving for more sugar. That coconut stuff is first on my list, hehe.

mariposagirl July 2, 2009 at 9:42 am

AMEN SISTER!

SHEW…. SUGER is such a drug too! Man we crave it all day after just one BITE of anything.

when you really pay attention to what’s driving your food choices… suger just seems to want to TAKE over

THANKS for your thoughts!
and I am makin’ Oatgurt this weekend! can’t wait!!
AND Dryer lint is a staple in my LIFE! Thanks for posting it and THANKS TRILBY for creating it!

such creativity..
Happy Thursday

Whit July 2, 2009 at 9:49 am

I will be the first to admit I probably consume WAY too much sugar. I eat a lot of fruit, yogurt and fro-yo. :(

kaneil July 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

Amen, sister friend! After reading your post the other day, I started a little experiment. I’ve upped my fat and protein and tremendously cut back on sugar. (going on day 4 now) I can NOT tell you how much BETTER I am feeling. Sure, I am still getting used to the thought of not eating 3 apples a day, but if I’ve been doing that for 10 years and never felt this good…it must not be that bad. I seriously feel like I have given up on a drug or something. Crazy!

Thanks for being so insightful and straight forward. :) keep me posted on your plans to visit CO. You can not enter the state without seeing me before you leave! :)

Kaneil, balanceisbest…p.s..I’m secretly happy you’re not moving here b/c I think Andrew and I will return to Nashville sooner than we thought. I miss it!!!

lilearthmuffin July 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

well said heather! i love how you always have something posative to say, plus you make learning about nutrition so much fun. hehe (: You are 100% right about sugar, and I agree. You can have it just make sure its the right kind. Its funny for me a sugary treat used to be a little debbie cake or cookie but now its fresh fruit with cinnamon or a sprinkle of vanilla.

Michal (lilearthmuffin)

glidingcalm July 2, 2009 at 10:02 am

amen amen. I think I eat too much protein and not enough fat! That’s why I am trying to encorporate more avocado’s…and cheeeeeeeese. hmmmmm

Love your polly lunch! Tuna is underrated! Cheap too! :)

that dessert sounds niceeeee, though I’m not a big dark choc person.

I love your idea of not very sweet desserts. I’ve been doing carrots with PB for my after dinner treat for over a year!! It’s way more yummy to me than chocolate cake!!!

love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. but you know that! :)

Jennifer July 2, 2009 at 10:03 am

HEAB, I completely agree with your philosophy that sugar is an addictive luxury that we do not need. It’s a vicious cycle-the more sugar I eat, the more I crave, but the good news is that if I eat less, I want less. yay! Though I do have a killer sweet tooth, I try to eat desserts in moderation. Sometimes it’s hard, but in the end it is worth it. Great post!

Oh, I have to ask that since you have been doing the no/low sugar thing, have you noticed a decrease in cellulite (fi you had it before)? That may be too personal, but I have to wonder since cellulite is caused by fat storage. Maybe I should experiment on myself!

homecookedem July 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

I’ve never thought about having carrots and almond butter for dessert… I may have to try it out sometime!! ;)

justine July 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

Tru dat!!! haha! That tuna salad looks good! So do those cherries. Question, how many carbs do you think you take in a day?

~Justine

Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) July 2, 2009 at 10:07 am

I hear ya! I’m realizing more and more that we need less and less carbs like breads and such to keep us fueled. Makes so much sense!

Heather, I just love you! How do you always know what’s on my mind… =) Your posts always come right when I need them!

Love you, H. Oh, and I just finished another bowl of Creamy Dreamy Salad, or what I like to call the “You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover” Salad! YUMMM it’s a new fave! Now I have to figure out how to transport the recipe to dorm life without getting akward stares as I “massage” my, err, stress out veggies!

jesstyler July 2, 2009 at 10:19 am

I agree with you … I’m trying really hard to cut back on the amount of sugar I eat. I’ve cut nearly ALL processed sugar and have been eating more fruits. I do love fruit :) Hopefully in the future I can cut back some more on natural sugars too.

P.S. I’m glad to see you still eat bananas – they are a favorite of mine! :)

Patty July 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

Hi Heather! I don’t think this came off as harsh at all.. it is just the truth! Thank you for responding to my emails.. the banana about an hour before bikram class (with Almnd butter, of course) really helps with lightheadness.. Also I’ve been meaning to reply, I am trying to go about 5 days a week, if my body does feel like it can handle it then I just take a day off and walk for exercise.. Alright Have a wonderful day!

Patty July 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

can’t*** handle it

Graze With Me July 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

This post really got me thinking. I eat a lot of sugar. Mostly in fruit form but for some reason savory foods just don’t sound good to me. I don’t eat processed foods very often. I should try a week without my normal 4-5 servings of fruit per day and try to replace them with veggies or protein. It may help solve some of my digestive issues….

I don’t think I’ve really found what works for me yet. I maintain a healthy weight but experience bloating (for no real reason) and other issues. This sugar deal may help…

jacobc July 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

Well said!
Agreed, sugar is def the root of the country’s diabetes problem..with candy, soft drinks, and vending machines everywhere you look.- COMBINED with a sedentary lifestyle..

I know i don’t need sugar, but i want it!! haha
I do try to eat my powerbars, hotchocolate, and ice cream (3 worst vices ;-p) around the time i run or workout.. These legs don’t like to run on protein alone! Now if i wasn’t active there would be a problem…

Now where did you find dark chocolate flakes?? Can you buy those or did you have to make those flakes?

Cheers, J ;o)

the dainty pig July 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

oh heather. you and I are definitely on the same page.
good for you for coming right out and saying it!
I definitely love my whole grains (oats, oatbran, brown rice, and quinoa) as a source of good carbs, and I know I definitely don’t do so well with sugar and refined/processed grains.

I can’t remember which macrobiotic book I read it in, but somewhere I heard that you shouldn’t need to have sugar in your diet, instead “find sweetness in your life” :) That always brings a smile to my face.

Have a wonderful day lovely lady!!

polly July 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

Amen, hallelujah, high fives, woop woops and a smack on the butt like the football players do.

Bascially…. POL LOVES YA HEABS and this post pretty much ROCKS.

I am so happy to have a friend that understands that a peach with almnond butter is WAY more yummy than chocolate cake any ol’ day. Seriously.

oh and woop woop for tuna avocado! Today I made more wrappys. This time I browned some 99% yum ground turkey and stuffed romaine leaves with a WHOLE avocado and that turkey and some sea salt. Oh my, heavens little taco shells. ;)

How come it took me so long to see that eating a whole avocado is perfectly acceptable behavior for a healthy hotty mommma? hehehe Okay, hotty-ISH momma. hehehehehe ;)

we went to TARGET! I’ll post latah what we got. :D

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Polly,
Used a whole avocado in my salmon salad today – so creamy and amazing. Love you…with a smack on the butt. :)

Evan Thomas July 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

I definitely love my carbs, but the kind that I turn to in tough times is usually the complex carbs found in baked potatoes or whole wheat bread. Recently I cut fake sugar out of my diet for the most part; things like diet soda and artificially sweetened yogurt are out. And as a result I’m finding it’s made natural sugars that much sweeter and enjoyable. I never would have thought that a piece of fruit would be a sweet dessert and yet now a peach is like candy. So I think getting excess sugars out of our diets is a smart thing.

Becca July 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hey Heather! This is Becca (we’ve been chatting via email) and I just have to say that I LOVE THIS POST. You said everything perfectly. I’m going to use this advice and run with it. Say no to SUGAR! Have a great day!

elise July 2, 2009 at 11:05 am

i love hearing about what works for other people. i hope you dont get beat up and the emails you recieved werent hate letters from anonymous peeps. i love you and i love your honesty. i got my first negative comment today and i think its a sign i truly “made it” in the blog world, haha. i am leaving it up because, frankly, i think its a little funny that someone would rather take the time to comment, rather than just close the page…because my random musings are just oh-so offensive! whatever. anyways. that cherry dark chocolate coconut milk thing looks so so so good. when you freeze cherries, do you de-pit them first? do you buy them frozen?
have you ever tried frozen grapes? they are SOOOO good, like little natural sorbet balls. mmm.

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Elise,
So sorry about your negative comment. What’s up with the haters?

I bought my cherries already frozen, but next time I’m going to de-pit my own and freeze them as I’m sure it would be much cheaper. LOVE frozen grapes – perfect for summer snacking.

Maggie July 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

Totally agree. And I never would have believed you about not wanting sugar anymore, but it’s true. I don’t even want fruit anymore. All I want is starchy kabocha! JK, sort of. I find that since I cut out sugar I don’t get weird cravings and I can eat more… I wonder if cutting out sugar had anything to do with no more bingeing – I wish I had a better record of when I really stopped eating sugar. Hm.

amy (veganissexy) July 2, 2009 at 11:10 am

Hmmm…not sure what I think. I love me some fruit. Are you counting fruit as “sugar?” I personally can live off buttloads of fresh fruit and feel pretty darn good. I can’t imagine swearing off natural fruit sugars…..but I understand what you are saying about processed carbs. I DO NOT feel good after eating sugary desserts, but I’ll take some dark chocolate and strawberries anyday. You are right…..your diet is not for everyone, but I’m glad you found what works for you. Can you clarify what you are meaning by carbs…??? Are we talking fruit, brown rice, quinoa, bananas, potatoes, etc??? I think all those things are delicious!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Amy,
Yes, fruit = sugar in my opinion, but it also contains tons of vitamins, unlike cane sugar. So, if you feel good when you eat it, then I say go for it. As far as carbs go, they are ALL broken down into sugar in the body, but honestly I don’t understand the science behind it all. I know I seem to do okay with complex carbs but not simple sugars. So, yes, I eat my quinoa and kabocha squash, but I try to avoid all simple sugars.

brandi July 2, 2009 at 11:17 am

i totally agree. I won’t give up desserts, but I don’t need sugar/sweetener in my tea, coffee, etc. Once I stopped using it, I could actually TASTE stuff for what it was.

i love the dessert ;)

Hilary July 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

I really like the idea of lots of protein and fats! This post made me realize that I probably take in a whole lotta sugar from fruit, which isn’t bad imo, but I probably eat 5 servings of fruit a day! but I also get it from my yogurt, cereals, occasionally ice cream…ahhh ok. Do you have suggestions for good sources of protein other than meat? I already have the healthy fats down with nut butters and avocados! I think with less sugar/carbs and more protein/fats my body may look less squishy and more toned (experiment time!) Thanks for this insightful post, I think that I will definitely be more aware of my sugar intake and maybe switch up the diet a little cause I’m feeling bored with it currently!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Hey Hilary,
Honestly, I don’t eat a lot of meat myself, and when I do it’s mostly fish. My other sources of protein include nut butter, chia sees, and brown rice protein powder (usually 2 to 3 scoops a day of either the Jay Robb or Sun Warrior brands). Eggs are another good source, and I’m a firm believer in eating the whole egg, not just the whites. Greek yogurt was my go-to protein source back in my dairy eating days. 1 cup contains anywhere from 15 to 20 grams of protein. Since you eat dairy, whey protein powder is another source you could try. Hope this helps as it’s no fun to be bored with our foods!
:)

Katharina July 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

Heyy Heather! So I thought about you as I was having my breakfast this morning.

You had mentioned earlier that you don’t really eat a lot of fruits and I thought about incorporating a veggie into my breakfast! I made oats with the leftover pulp (mostly carrots then some beet, ginger, apple, and kale bits) from my dad’s juicer. You should really try it! I’m not sure if you’re into spices, but try adding some cardamom or cinnamon (do you like raisins?) and coconut oil. OH MY GOSH HOW COULD I FORGET!!?!? I also had it with a spoonful of almond butter. I too love carrots and almond butter (and PB TOO!!)

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Katharina,
Your breakfast sounds heavenly, and yes, I’m totally into spices…and the occasional raisin. :) I don’t own a juicer anymore, but next time, I’m at Whole Foods, maybe they would be some leftover veggie pulp…or I could just blend some veggies in my Vita-Mix and strain off the juice. Thanks for the idea!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hey Katharina,
Your breakfast sounds heavenly, and yes, I’m totally into spices…and the occasional raisin. :) I no longer own a juicer, but I’ll blend some veggies in my Vita-Mix and strain off the juice. I bet that would work, and I definitely won’t forget the almond butter! Thanks for the idea.

Lara July 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

I totally agree about the carbs. Unless someone is doing major endurance activities (like marathon training, 1+ hour intense cardio workouts, etc) most people really don’t need 55-65% of their intake from carbs. I also limiit “non produce” carbs to 1 serving a day (2 at the most) and they are as minimally processed as possible. Sure sometimes I indulge in a fresh baked bagel or lovely artisnal bread from the bakery but it is a treat not a habit. And added sugar is never needed once you train your taste buds not to expect that sweet taste.

I also agree about the downside of the so called “healthy” baked goods. They are still sugar and flour, no matter how “natural” the ingerdients may be. I do choose to indulge in a yummy fresh baked cookie or brownie now and then when truly worth it and don’t find that it kicks up cravings but I never sweeten anything with sugar or fake sugars. To me it is a waste of calories :)

joelygolightly July 2, 2009 at 11:37 am

Ooh that cherry/chocolate combo certainly DOES look like bliss!I will be trying that one, for sure!

I appreciated this post, because lately I have been wondering if my lactose intolerance was misdiagnosed, and that any tummy probs and bloating is actually caused by the excessive amount of fruit I eat on a daily basis.. I love my fruit, but have been realizing lately perhaps a bit too much. I also have to say that you are absolutely right about our body realizing we don’t need that much sugar- that it just has to get used to that fact.. I know at least for me that sugar can be addicting, and as long as I’m not eating those cookies, I don’t even think about them– too busy thinking about my sweet potato cooking. :) Have a great day!

Hannah July 2, 2009 at 11:43 am

I’m sure that you are still saying that carbs are important-just not the really sweet ones (i.e. grains and veggies over refined carbs) because 25% of the glucose in carbs goes to our brains and helps us with memory. When I lost too much weight from an eating disorder-I was very forgetful and had poor memory because I wasn’t getting enough sugar. I think that’s an important thing to remember.

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Hey Hannah,
I’m of the no-sugar school, not the no-carb school. However, I do think our bodies less than what is generally recommended, and I try to get mine from the most unrefined sources. Life without butternut squash, oat bran, or dark chocolate? No thanks. :)

Kristin July 2, 2009 at 11:43 am

This may be off topic, but I was watching Paula Deen last night (hey y’all!) and she was making July 4th beach picnic foods. Obviously none of them were healthy…but what was funny was that at the send off she said, “Now make sure you bring lots of sweet sodas and juice to the beach so the kids don’t get dehydrated!”

I about died.

I completely agree with you on the sugar/carb issue. I typically am more of a chips and salsa girl vs. ice cream and chocolate, but I do love my fruits. I think moderation is key with everything and each person has to find their own healthy balance.

To me anything that is from the earth is pretty a-ok in my book, but you just have to figure out which “from the earth” foods and in what combo works best for your body.

I find that my stomach doesn’t like too many lentils and beans or raw veggies at once (BLOAT) and too many fruits leaves me feeling bloated too. Have to find that balance!

BTW you have the craziest food combos EVER. I come back to read just to see what you’ve concocted today. :)

Shelby July 2, 2009 at 11:47 am

I need help giving up the sugar…its so hard for me to do! I always find myself craving sugary foods like graham crackers or flavored PB. Arg, so difficult! And I know its crap for my system. I break out more when I have too much.

OK…I am making that dessert! HOLY YUM!

Susan July 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm

I don’t find this harsh at all! What would a blog be if you couldn’t use it to express your opinion sometimes? :P I know I still eat more sugar than I should, but it is something I’m consciously working on. I’m only putting two drops of stevia in my yogurt now and drink my coffee black. However, I still eat a crapload of fruits. I loooove fruit. I’m still on the fence if its sugar content should outweigh it’s health benefits and ease of eating (ie, so easy to throw an apple in my purse when I’m on the go).

I really wish my tummy could handle high fat foods, because I do find them really satiating. But things like avocado, olive oil, and even excessive amounts of nut butter will have me doubled over in pain :(

RunToFinish July 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm

i think if I could just get through the first few days I’d be fine…but I want my cookie right now.

Ellen (Peace in Motion) July 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm

love love love frozen cherries!

janetha July 2, 2009 at 12:33 pm

i agree with your post 100%, i just wish i could find the will power to give up the sugar habit completely. i don’t eat much of it, but i am still guilty of indulging in desserts now and again. but you are right, i have found that a bowl of greek yogurt+a peach and some cinnamon is waaaay tasty, just as tasty as ben & jerry’s peach cobbler ice cream in fact. that dessert at the end looks amazing!

JB July 2, 2009 at 12:33 pm

i don’t think this post sounds harsh. i eat a lot of fruit (dried fruit too, which is basically pure sugar) but i never use refined sugar in anything. when i’m in the mood for a sweeter bowl of oatmeal, or if i’m making a green monster, i’ll use stevia. but other than that, i usually don’t feel the need (or want) to sweeten anything. i enjoy the occasional vegan treat, but that cherry bliss looks way more amazing than a vegan cookie, in my opinion. when it comes to sugar in my life, weight gain is not a concern at all, it’s mostly how i feel. maybe it’s mental, but i just don’t think i feel my greatest after eating something sugary (even if it’s sweetened with agave or maple.) anyway, i always love reading your posts and your nutritional advice (even though you’re not “qualified.”) so keep saying what you want to say, heab! like you always say, we’ve got to eat what personally works for us. just because you’re sharing with us YOUR way of eating, it doesn’t make you sound like you have a superiority complex or are trying to make people feel bad for eating sugar. all in all, i’m glad you didn’t change a word. :)

have a good thursday!

-JB
http://cardiovegsular.wordpress.com

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) July 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Bah, I don’t think this was harsh at all. Psh. Try again, HEAB! It’ll take more than that to offend me.

I happen to think you’re right, though I don’t practice what you preach. My sweet tooth is a work in progress, and while I absolutely recognize that the more sweets I eat, the more I want, it’ll take time to kick it. :)

ttfn300 July 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

dessert looks amazing :) i’d be down with that!! i know with myself, that having some sugar leads to craving more sugar… so i agree about trying to keep it to a minimum. i’m a fruit whore, but sometimes, i just gotta give in to temptation (read: the cake i made for my friend’s bday… posting today)

JENNA July 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

:) this post made me smile!! :) I’m in the midst of IBS h*ll right now and I feel like everything I eat and read is so confusing! I’m loving your thoughts on food. I also think its great that you point out this is just worked for YOU.

Faith July 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

You probably already clarified this but I can’t find it – sorry. When you say no-sugar, do you mean no refined sugar? Because carrots, fruit, squash etc have natural sugars…I totally agree with you that we don’t need all the refined carbs/sugar in our life and sorry if this is a stupid question and you already talked about this!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Faith,
No worries – I am not a fan of refined sugar. However, I think complex carbs, including squash, carrots, oats, etc. are fine IN moderation.

Ariel July 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Thank you thank you thank you for this post. About a year and a half ago I read Good Calories, Bad Calories and discovered Mark’s Daily Apple (which I’ve seen you comment about occasionally and I know that primal didn’t work for you) and I pretty much gave up grains on the spot and upped my fat intake dramatically. Now I eat mostly meat, veggies, full-fat yogurt, eggs, fruit (working on cutting back), nuts and dark chocolate for dessert and I feel great! I always have had a sweet tooth and I never thought I would be that girl who could go to a lunch meeting with pizza + cookies and turn them down without thinking about it, but now that I’ve cut way back on grains + sugar I really don’t crave them in the same way anymore. I love your blog and I love seeing a blogger who is not afraid to blog eating a lower-carb lifestyle. Keep up the great work!

The Fit Collegiate July 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I needed to hear this post…I have such a sweet tooth…the only veggie I truly like raw is carrots, which are more fruit-like in nature than other vegetables. I suppose my addiction to Diet Coke is to blame???

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Fit Collegiate,
I will say this – when I gave up my Coke Zero habit, my sweet tooth took a nose dive. It was a hard (VERY HARD) habit to break, but I really feel so much better without diet soda in my life. Honestly, they don’t even taste good anymore.

rawdiculous July 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Hey Heather,
Long time lurker here, finally coming out of the shadows ;)
I love your advice about finding what works for you. I’m totally with you on avoiding cane sugar as much as possible. That stuff does the body NO good. Over the years though, I’ve found that my body handles fruit in a much different way. Too much definitely gives me that high, bouncing-off-the-wall feeling. But it all seems to depend on what else I’ve eaten that day… Fickle, fickle body…
ANYWAY, here’s where I make my actual point. A lot of how sugar is processed in the body has to do with insulin resistance, which in turn has to do with our cell walls & proper ratios of omega 3/omega 6 fats in the phospolipid layer of the cell walls. I won’t get into too much detail, but basically, eating an excess of omega 6 fats (found in most common fat sources like corn oil, canola oil, avocadoes, meats, dairy, margarine, etc) and not enough omega 3s (found in flax, chia, fresh fruits and veggies, etc) can affect your body’s ability to use glucose correctly. A straight shot of glucose (in the form of processed sugar or fruit), thus causes a wiggy insulin reation in the body causing all sorts of crappy symptoms, like weight gain. For a lot of people, correcting their omega6:3 ratio (it should be between 4:1 and 1:2) is a huuuge factor in how their body can deal with sugar.
Phew. That was more long-winded than I thought it was going to be. Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents. I’m definitely not a fat-hater, but in the larger scheme of things, there are soooo many factors determining how we process certain foods- I’d hate to see someone giving up fruit needlessly!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Rawdiculous,
You make a very good point. I wish people would focus on getting more Omega 3′s in their diet. Personally, I think I get plenty (salmon once or twice a week, fish oil supplements, and chia seeds everyday), but I’m not sure what my exact Omega 6:3 ratio is.

peaceandpeanutbutter July 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm

give me a jar of pb and ab, and I can LIVE HAPPILY. Don’t even need a spoon…I stick my finger in the jar w/ no shame ;-)

Anna July 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I’ve definitely become a lot more aware of my sugar consumption in the past few months. Now I know for certain that too much of it is bad bad bad- for my skin, my stomach, my mood, my energy levels. You’re so right- we really don’t need it at all! carbs, yes. Sugar, no.

That being said, I was born with a sweet tooth the size of the moooooon! So my approach is to minimize but not eliminate sugar in my diet. I just love it too much to give it up. Kudos for finding what’s right for you and not apologizing for it! I feel like people sometimes spend way too much time apologizing for/justifying their dietary choices to others, and I wish it wasn’t that way. Do what makes you happy, people!

livingfreeforever July 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Hi Heather,
I agree with you 150%!!!! I find that sugar of any kind makes me feel awful and too many carbs(in any form) doesn’t do me any favors either. I used to be a carb addict when I was vegetarian. Boy, what a difference from then and the way I eat now. Oatgurt is my faithful standby for any grains I get. I used to think I could NOT live without bread and although I have had some good sprouted gluten free bread this week–I don’t heavily depend on it.

Have a GREAT day!!
XOXO

siren223 July 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm

My 2 cents (probably more like 99 cents)…Sugar, and well nutrition in general is such a touchy subject. People don’t want to be told that what they are eating isn’t healthy. Mainly because they don’t want to give it up. They want to believe their “gluten free” muffin is healthy even though it is still made with processed grains and sugar. People want to think that honey is “healthy” because it is minimally processed. What I have found is that there are certain things that are true (whether or not people want to believe them) and there are certain things that “work well for some but not for others”.
Sugar is bad news, most people agree on this. Some choose to use cane syrup as opposed to HFCS because it is less damaging (which isn’t necessarily true…it just does a different kind of damage). I think some people know the information, and just choose something because that is how they want to live their life. Take me for instance, I eat fruit, and a lot of it. Do I *need* the sugar and carbs? No. I get plenty of carbs from veggies. However I look at the nutrients in fruit and I decided that for me…they work. However I don’t eat grains. For me the nutrient density is not high enough to merit habitual consumption.

I don’t personally think fresh fruit is harmful. Unless you are diabetic or have a medical issue relating to the sugar content, most people won’t be able to consume enough fresh fruit to do any kind of damage. You will get a stomach ache way before anything else. But I in no way say you should eat MORE fruit than vegetables. I also know that eating fruit may not be the choice for some, like you for instance. You do minimally processed grains and not fruit. We just choose different carb types :-)

My boyfriend eats sugar, people could easily say that because he is thin and has very little fat that sugar “works for him” this is just not the case. It still does stuff to your body, it still causes damage. One could also say that for some people smoking works for them assuming they never get lung cancer.

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Siren223/Marissa,
Well put my friend!

Marissa July 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm

(Siren223 is also me! but I was signed into my WP account!)

Adi (oatonomy.com) July 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

You. Are. So. Right.
Another bang-on post! Thanks for the reminder… because I needed it. Again. ;)

Mary July 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm

WOW! This is an awesome post. I have been working on finding what works for me for the past 6 months and have found the less sugar and processed foods the better I feel. Included in that has been cutting my fruit intake to bananas and berries. I feel so much better with the addition of healthy fats (pb, ab and avocados) then I ever have in the past eating lots of fruit.

I love your strange food combos! Keep up the great posts, I truly enjoy checking in with you:)

Juanita July 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Awesome post Heather!

Last year after being diagnosed with hypoglycemia (and being a stack overweight) I have struggled to reduce the cravings associated with sugar (sugar and any simple carb). While my eating certainly got better I would always slip. Over the last couple of weeks I have moved to a vegan diet (something I think I was ready for) and the difference has been amazing! I have not had any cravings for sugar and I have incorporated raw eating at every meal plus beans/legumes. I have completely cut coffee and I have to say it was only today that I wanted one.

It has been the inspiration of your blog and others that have helped alter my mind set and choose a better way for ME. Keep writing your honest posts – we need to hear what you have to say!

ksgoodeats July 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

I don’t think this sounds harsh at all!! In fact, AMEN!! I’m hypoglycemic so sugar is a touchy thing for my system – I struggle sometimes to find a balance primarily because I don’t crave sugar at all. For people who have a sugar issue and just HAVE to have it – I wish they would try to slowly cut it out (not all or nothing) and see how their preferences change over time.

Honestly, I used to easily plow through bags of M&Ms when I was still an athlete. We were training so much that I could burn it off in a snap. I was left dumbfounded though when I would get dizzy/have headaches/not be able to perform well. Once I cut the crap out of my diet I felt SO much better! My skin, hair, and nails are better than ever and I’m also satisfied with a small dessert if I choose to have it. Sorry for the novel length comment but once I get started I don’t stop ;)

Breaking Free July 2, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Hey Heather, I’ve been an anonymous lurker for a while and I finally decided to just drop by and say hi!
So I have to tell you that honestly, as a recovering anorexic this post is very triggering and confusing for me. I find it so hard to stick with a good meal plan and eat the foods that I know I need to eat when there is so much conflicting news from the media, society, magazines, etc. that tell me that what I am eating is unhealthy. Now, don’t get me wrong or anything, I’m not calling you out or hating on you or anything. I’m just simply stating that it’s confusing to suddenly hear that a lot of fruits and grains are bad for me, because it really makes me begin to question my food again. It makes me feel like what I am doing is too much. It’s also hard to hear that some people can just get by on eating 2-3 servings of carbs a day and be fine when I have to eat like 10-11 servings. Yes, 10-to-freakin-11. And on top of that I have to eat like 7-8 servings of fruit. I hate it!!

But apparently my body needs all of this food because I know from experience that when I do cut back on my fruit and carb intake drastically I lose weight very rapidly. Plus, even at the carb and fruit intake I’m currenly at, I’m still underweight and not “medically” healthy yet.

So, I don’t know. It’s just very confusing for me to hear this stuff. I just thought I’d let you know. I’ll bet your eyes bulged out of your head when I told you how much carbs I eat :)

On another note, I COMPLETELY agree with you about limiting simple sugar intake found in things other than fruits. I feel so much better and so much more energized when I eat less added sugar (even if it is natural).

Whew, long post. Hope I didn’t come off as harsh. Love your creative eats and I am so dying to try kombacha one of these days!

Love and hugs!

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Breaking Free,
I am sorry you are confused, and no, you did not come off as harsh. My friend, only YOU know what YOUR body needs. Do not be confused by everything you hear or read. If you need to eat 10 to 11 servings of carbs, then do it…none of this losing weight drastically stuff, okay? Also, if I could eat 7-8 pieces of fruit a day, then I would. Every single person out there is different, and all our bodies react differently to various foods. Again, do what works for you. :)

rawdiculous July 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm

HEAB,
I noticed you always make a point to get in Omega 3s ;) I’ve recreated your broccoli-chia oats many times.

Mandy A July 2, 2009 at 4:41 pm

This is awesome, Heather! You are so right!!! Now, if only I can get myself away from the sugar!!! Evil stuff, I tell ya!!! That’s what’s keeping me from losing this extra weight I’ve put on… and what’s packing more on!

ps – Kaneil, I’m “secretly” happy that Heather’s not moving, too! I have found a great new friend!!! :)

Samantha July 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I think I just found my lunch plans for today in your post!

That, in my opinion, didn’t come across harsh at all. You always disclaim that’s what works FOR YOU. I am trying to kick my craving for “sweet things” but have made great strides in doing more dark chocolate squares or sweet/spicy nuts over “baked goods.” And I agree that the USDA rec on carbs is a bit high. I used to work in animal nutrition and did some comparative nutrition research between equine athletes and human athletes and learned similarly through that.

When I can find protein powder again I want to try the dryer lint smoothie! Our NEX discontinued it. Might just break down and pay the outlandish shipping to get some Jay Robb here…thats all I used stateside.

Erica July 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I think sometimes people need to hear the absolute truth- no sugar on top! My favorite part of this post- “You think it’s almond butter and avocados causing all those cases of Type II diabetes?” Amen

crossbordercravings July 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm

This is such an interesting discussion. I totally agree that it’s so important to figure out what works for YOU and YOU alone. Everyone is so different, and there’s no cookie cutter diet that can fit everyone’s needs. Just learning to LISTEN to your body is so liberating I think!

Dori July 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I agree we don’t need sugar! I lost a lot of weight when I practically stopped eating it altogether and I felt great. But I could never give it up permanently, I love my chocolate treats :)

burpexcuzme July 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I agree that we should limit our sugar, Heather, and stay close to minimally processed carbs. But once in a while, an indulgence ain’t that bad! Though, it’s probably best to stay away because from personal experience, eating lots of sugar kills my appetite…and I crave more sugary stuff!

Jenn July 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

HEAB~ Thanks for your take on sugar and eating. I’m so far from the good eater that you are, but I do try. My husband even got some advice from his doctor today about changing his diet. I’ve told him forever that a big, huge bagel every morning is doing him NO GOOD! I do believe you get out what you eat. Thanks for your honesty! Keep it comin’!
Jenn from Fort Wayne

Heather (be well & take care) July 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I don’t think this sounds harsh or preachy. You’ve found something that works for you and it’s also worked for many people. A year ago, I would have argued with you. That was mostly my denial about sugar. I gave up refined white sugar and traded it for agave or sucanat (I still use a bit of agave in tea because I like it better than stevia) and I was still baking A LOT. Still feeling crappy, tired, lethargic and often woozy. It wasn’t until TODAY that I had some weird sugar crash from eating a ton of pineapple & an Italian ice at work today. I got really lightheaded during my workout and just crashed & burned. I’m still overcoming my addiction and it’s hard, but sugar does not like me, even if I like it. A lot. I love and appreciate your honesty, Heather!

laceyhearty July 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm

wow such a good read and so many good comments to think about as well. i am in the middle of figuring out whats best for me. i eat mostly grains, fruits, and veggies, and am working on limiting my soy intake as well as my treat intake. i enjoy baking vegan treats but am realizing that just because i love it, doesn’t mean i need to do it often.

i’m beginning to limit my sweets, fruit, and dried fruit intake and up my veggies. i struggle with bloating often and i am not exactly sure the culprit [greens have this effect on me often]… in exercise and in my eating lifestyle i struggle with impatience but i am slowly trying to take it a day at a time. thanks for sharing your story, heather!

Jules July 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Hi! First-time commenter. I’m Maggie’s sister :)
I kind of agree with you, but I don’t really have a problem with fruit. Sugar is pretty bad, but I think it’s alright to eat it in moderation as long as you don’t get hooked. It’s pretty hard not to though. Still, I would much rather have a delicious piece of fruit with peanut (or almond) butter than a decadent sugary dessert. Anyway, I think your blog is awesome :)
Peace,
Jules

Ashley July 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I don’t think you sounded harsh Heather, I think what you say is 100% true. It’s just not something everyone necessarily wants to hear!

Carolyn July 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Well, thank goodness for you Heather…someone finally took a stand and said it…

i was the chubby girl, comforted by a warm chocolate chip cookie for 40+ years until i finally said… no more..

Sorry Mom, R.I.P. but those frosted pop tarts, extruded white rice cheeze whiz casseroles, and grapes really weren’t helping…

keep up the good work Heather…great subject.. sugar…and all those carbs, in general

roseyrebecca July 2, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I used to add sugar to everything. My favorite drink was unsweetened iced tea but I’d pour loads of sugar in every glass. I’ve stopped doing that. I don’t think I could ever give up fruit though! I admire you for doing so!

Kristen July 2, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I wonder what it would look like if we got away from the labels “good eater” and “bad eater.”

I echo the “to each her own” sentiments, and the food I find appealing is that which contributes to longevity and enjoyment. If either of those are not satisfied, neither am I! :-)

Loving the discussion, everyone.

psychoj1 July 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm

This post is so interesting to me! I don’t think you came off as harsh at all! Like Ashley said, not everyone wants to hear this. I agree with you for the most part– I don’t think I’ll ever fully give up sugar, but I don’t eat an awful lot of it. Most of my “sugar intake” comes from fruit, which I really do need to cut down a bit on. It’s causing stomach/digestive issues, which isn’t cool. I do need to up my protein intake and get a more variety of healthy fats. I get plenty of it from PB/AB and the like, but avocado needs to become a bigger part in my diet. IT’S SO YUMMY!

I also tried sweet potato with almond butter tonight. Oh my goodness, absolutely delicious.

Thanks for this post, Heather!!

<3 jess
xoxo

Marissa July 2, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I have to add a little something else too (because that is what I do). There are SO many different points of view when it comes to nutrition. While there are some universal truths (no one *needs* white sugar or HFCS, Fried chicken isn’t a health food, etc.) there are so many things that are huge hot button items when it comes to nutrition. I personally lost 150 lbs all on my own without the aid of nutritionist or weight loss surgery. I did this by doing my research (and I mean in depth research), trial and error, and some rational thinking. I read an amazing book which helped a lot, but I ended up adding to it and changing things because it made more sense and worked for my body. I have my own personal beliefs about certain things, and if anyone asked for my opinion I would definitely give it. But I try not to come out and attack someone for their choices. I like putting my P.O.V. out there, but you know what they say about opinions ;-)

There are some who think seriously low carb is the way to go, there are others who think high carb and low fat is the answer. I preferred to look at the person giving me the information, see what their overall health was…and then see if what they said made any sense.

Trial and error! Bodies are different, and if something isn’t working for you, then it needs looking into. But if it is, and you feel great, wonderful!

I think one of the best things I did for myself was to take charge and do my own research. I don’t believe what anyone says outright. Doctors don’t have the answers, and neither do certified nutritionists. I know what makes my body feel good and I listen to it. Heck, some things don’t make my body feel good but sometimes I have some as a treat and I have had to learn not to beat myself up over it. I just learned not to make those foods a habit.

Danielle July 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Amen.

DouglasH July 2, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Hey its me the one Male Follower.

This topic has significant meaning for me as a pre diabetic, and for that matter High Blood pressure and a heart condition.

one comment stated that to low of sugar will cause memory issues, and that is true, now the comment specifically linked to sucrose (which is just one of many many different types of sugar) I will counter that the body will change most sugar to glycogen which is the primary energy sourced used in the body. and All carbs are changed to sugar in the system it is just a matter of how well they are converted and how quickly they affect the body, the Glycemic index is a good table to understand that process. be forewarned though the GI only takes into the account of the actual food tested.

While I don’t recommend it. but if you take a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of olive oil, and consume them at the same time you have drastically changed the GI of the sugar consumed.

A point I would like to bring up is, that refined flours are just as bad as refined sugars, they have the same physical response when the body consumes them.

Now this may be a little controversial in a HEAB point of view. I reduce my sugar in a controlled way because I am pre-diabetic and have learned through research and empirical study (that and a couple of biochemistry classes 20+ years ago).

The body needs sugar to function. that said. All Carbohydrates are built from the simple sugars, So if you are getting most of your carbs from Vegetables/Fruits you are probably getting a sufficient amount of sugars for your body to function.

I would point out that Starches are almost pure glucose sugar. IE your potato’s and carrots but there are ways to prepare them to counteract the insulin response that can occur eating them. Or times when using that insulin response to help drive nutrients into the cells (after a intense work out, first meal of the day)

Oh and the comment on omega 6 omega 3 is spot on. Although I do want to point out that our meat sources didn’t use to contain so much omega 6, as a matter of fact the grain fed meat industry is one of the Largest cause of our ratio become so skewed. (typical american diet is 6:1 to 15:1 omega 6 to omega 3 ratio)
Now here is the kicker, at least for me, each gram of fat is 9 cal. and omega fatty acids are a fat. some recommend 3 to 4 grams of omega 3 a day so that would be 3 to 4 grams of omega 6 per day. to maintain a 1:1 ration. So on a 1600 cal diet it becomes a significant portion of the fat calories.

Sarah July 2, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Oh my gosh, its too late for me to engage in any meaningful to debate, except to say that I agree that by easing up on the sweet stuff, your taste buds DO adapt.

Case in point, me gnawing on a 2 year old chunk of baking chocolate because HEAB told me to. Yum.

MizFit July 3, 2009 at 4:27 am

for me it is just about finding what worked FOR ME.

I do eat sugar but just never alone.

NO TWIZZLERS….just TWIZZLERS and some protein and fat reallllllly soon after or it becomes a BIG BAG of twizzlers and not just a few.

for me eating plain ole sugar alone begets more I WANT SUGAR!!

I did cut it out for a short while and found, for me, my sweet tooth didnt abate.
so I eat it.
in moderation.
in a way that works for me.
in a way that I can do lifelong.

LOVE THESE POSTS, Heather.

fartygirl July 3, 2009 at 4:39 am

Douglas – I appreciate your comments so much. Diabetes runs in my family. I have always felt sensitive to sugar. I’ve found that when I cut foods and drinks that spike my blood sugar, I feel so much better. While we may not all be diabetics, we can learn and benefit from your experience.

For me, the difficulty with cutting carbs happens at night. If I don’t have a carb with my dinner, I can’t sleep. It’s really weird. No matter how many carbs I have during the day, I have to eat either a sweet potato or brown rice at night.

It may take a long time to figure out what works for your body. It’s taken me nearly five years! And I’m still trying new ways of eating. But I think HEAB is on the right track! Sugar leads to SO many health problems anyway. And it makes you fart more. Who wants that? :)

e July 3, 2009 at 5:23 am

heather ~ check out another blog i read http://myyearwithout.blogspot.com/ The writer has gone a year w/o sugar and is now onto her second year. Pretty interesting. I agree your body definitely gets used to less and less sugar if you start cutting it out. Your posts are always great

Elina July 3, 2009 at 5:56 am

I love how you’ve changed your body and the things you crave. I’ve been trying to eliminate all refined white sugar and white flour from my diet and have had some success with it but I also really do crave chocolate. I think it’s almost more mental than physical, because I’ve been able to satisfy my sweet tooth with other sources, like dried fruit which tastes sweeter than ever to me now. I had a sweet potato the other day, and you’re right – it tastes like dessert! I don’t think I can cut out sugar like you did, but I do commend you for doing so. All your dessert ideas are fabulous as well! I need to copy some of them :)

Hanna M. July 3, 2009 at 7:24 am

I too believe that most people have way too much sugar and starch in their diets, especially if their lifestyle is sedate. It’s really hard to cut back on the sugar though.. and in weekends I just give in for some of the cravings (like chocolate or sweet dessert), and I think that’s okay if I feel like my body can handle it. But I do feel so much better if I stay away rest of the week! Thanks for the important reminder….!

carolinebee July 3, 2009 at 7:39 am

Hi Heather!! Great post :D I was chatting with VG on the phone about how I sometimes feel *bad* for not wanting/eating/liking how my body feels after eating fruit! I need to break free!!!

I do have a huge sweet tooth- so I feel like if i reach for the whole wheat, brown rice cookie or..ahem….frozen yogurt, cough…it’s a weeee better than the milkshake :) I’m slowly crossing over though, sometimes just a bowl of cereal and almond milk for dessert, amazing!

polly July 3, 2009 at 7:41 am

This is for Breaking Free (and of course HEABS my blog sis)

I was very underweight in college. I never like to say I was anorexic, but gosh I was darn close. I was at least 15 or more pounds less than I am now. yikes. As I slowly started to gain, it took a bit and I NEEDED carbs and lots of them. Please don’t think that 11 servings a day is bad, cause it is what your body is crying out for!! It is healing mode, and that is upmost importance.

Heabs has said many times that what she chooses is based on her very own individual life experience. She and I do eat very similarly, but not totally of course. I still eat my fruits (trrrryyy to stick to just 2 a day) and I eat much more meat that Heabs and she loves her hummus and eats grains that I don’t. It’s all good. She is Heather and I am Polly. God made us unique and that is awesome! Anyways, my point to Breaking Free is to NOT worry. You are lovely I am sure of it and allowing your body to heal is just a gift. God gave us these bodies to take care of and some of us need different fuel in order to do just that.

I think your body will even out… mine took a while and after years of learning all sorts of crazy food truths ;) I am getting CLOSE to what truly works for me today. You might find that you need less fruit or shoot…. maybe more? Just take it one day at a time, okay? Never EVER compare what you eat to someone else. I get myself into trouble that way. I also change my mind a lot, which is cool too. It’s all part of listening to our body and our heart.

Much love, sorry Heabs to use your blog to connect with a reader but I was sure you wouldn’t mind. ;) Love you, peachy. XOXO

Pols

polly July 3, 2009 at 7:42 am

p.s.

for the record we picked raspberries today and my bowl of oatmeal just had MORE berries than oats. Pol loves her some berries. :D

bobbygee July 3, 2009 at 8:35 am

The food looks great.My wife would love this stuff. me too. bobby Gee
http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

Trilby Drew July 3, 2009 at 9:00 am

After re-reading this post, I love it even more. And I could not agree with you more. And with over 100 comments, this is something that get’s people talking! And hopefully thinking, too.

I’m off to yoga. Hope you’re having a good day so far, HEAB.

Vicki July 3, 2009 at 9:04 am

Thanks, Heather, for the post!

Also, did you struggle with emotional eating? If so, what helped you get over that?

Also, do you try to get a certain amount of protein grams per meal? Just curious….

Erin July 3, 2009 at 9:56 am

I totally feel like I NEED this post. But the I wonder, am I just craving a healthy amount of sugar (in the form of some maple syrup and carrots)? How do you know when it’s appropriate?

cottchz July 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

haha, praise for the avocado everywhere, i just wrote aobut it too the other day, check it out:

http://cottchz.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/introducing-daft-and-the-amazing-avocado/

i hate it when work gets in the way of blogging…if only we were rich :p

DouglasH July 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm

For those that suffer with bloating have you tried eating more fermented based foods to aid with digestion?? I find that is helping me. although they must
be fresh unpasteurized to help.

Or even a probiotic with the meal??

douglas

leslie July 3, 2009 at 6:36 pm

heather, i really enjoyed reading this post. i don’t think it was harsh at all. what i love about reading your blog is how unabashed you are when it comes to your food choices. sure, the way i eat is different from yours. i’ve been in a place where i didn’t consume any grains other than oats in the morning, and it was not healthy for me. everyone is unique, and i think it is beyond wonderful that you have come to a place where you know exactly what works for you. i certainly enjoy reading your take on how you got to where you are and why you feel the way you do. thank you for sharing this!

chasingblue July 3, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for such a great post!

I’ve been to weight watchers like a million times it seems and I could always lose weight but I felt like I was cheating the system. If I stayed within my points I could still eat that candy bar and then it would just turn into a shame spiral from there. One candy bar didn’t satisfy but it created a sugar monster!

Weight is so personal and it takes a lot to take the time out and really learn what your body needs. Everyone knows that junk food (burgers, fries, and sugar!) will not make your healthy or thin. Healthy foods will. I think most people could truly benefit from cutting back on trigger foods like sugar.

Starting tomorrow I’m going to go back to cutting out the sugar in my diet. It adds up and ends up on my butt!

DouglasH July 4, 2009 at 12:34 am

Since I responded offline to Heather. I do want to put this out here for everyone.

The body needs sugar to function. And it is efficient enough if it doesn’t get it from a readily available source. Carbs for instance, that it can break down protein to make Glucose. This process is called Gluconeogenesis, it is also how lactate and fatty acids and amino acids are converted to glucose.

Now a question I have is how many structure their diets around protein consumption??

Protein is the only macro nutrient that the body doesn’t have an effective store for. The body has a store for fats (the fat cell and sugars, the liver and throughout)

the current consensus is that the body needs .7-.8 grams of protein per kg of lean body mass to maintain the lean body mass. less than that the body starts consuming protein from the muscles in the body. this is for an inactive person. 95% of the population would only consume about 1 gram per kg depending on activity levels. Elite athletes may consume up to 2 grams.

The body either eliminates the excess, or converts to fat, or if the body has a glucose shortage will convert to sugar. those with kidney issues have been shown to have issues with excess protein.

The reason I say current consensus, there are studies that are showing that higher protein consumption may aid in osteoporosis.

now back to the topic at hand. No Sugar.

The main way that the body store fats is through a reaction with Insulin. Since the primary American diet today keeps insulin at such a high level over extended period of time, and the excessive calories consumed we are becoming an obese nation. Now that said, it appears that a bigger culprit in the disease in America is from the proinflammatory diet and obesity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Counterintuitive I know, but I will point to the eskimos in Alaska and the Italians as examples of peoples which counter most of the medical claims.

Ok how does that tie to sugar. eskimos generally tie to the consumption of bad fats, and don’t relate. But Italians eat huge amounts of carbs, yet don’t have the diabetes, and heart conditions that are present in America. and we are talking carbs from pasta and the like. Generally Italians are also consuming large amounts of olive oil and eating the same time as the carbs, flattening out the insulin response from the consumption. Their diet also has a much more respectful ratio of omega 6 (proinflammatory) to omega 3 (anti inflammatory) usually around 4:3.

While it does get a little more complicated than this. Generally the goal is to consume simple sugars with a fat or a protein to moderate the insulin spike.

There are a couple times when the insulin response is useful though. after a nights rest when the body depletes energy reserves. Or after a workout when the body uses up its glycogen reserves, these are prime times to use how insulin works in our bodies to drive nutrients into the cells. These are the best times to eat a simple sugar or starch with a protein source. Hopefully a Very bioavailable protein source. along with your vitamins and minerals. after the workout without a fat source to maximize the effect.

So in summery, Protein is the foundation of any diet, it is a point that has a baseline in the ground to support the lean muscle or slightly more to increase muscle mass. from there the fats and carbs can be determined.

Since there is a min and max that can be established on protein when adding or removing calories imo should be chosen from the carb and fat groups.

in the Fats area we should strive to balance omega 6 and omega 3, and get the rest of our fats from non omega sources. Carbs should mainly be high GI or balanced with fat on low GI sources.

I personally try to get a fermented source with every meal. to aid in digestion and help with bloating.

I do try to limit my simple sugars but don’t eliminate fruit.
Every meal and snack has a protein, every meal has a fat and carb. snacks may have a carb or fat. if I have a fruit with a snack I always have a fat also.

Well that is my goals again since I am working again. unemployment through a huge curve ball in that area.

But this is what I like about discovering, you have to find what works for you. what works for me may not be what is best for you. The protein area is based in medical research though. And the inflammatory stuff is from hours and hours of research in diabetes and high blood pressure.

oh and how I found this blog was through searching for Chia Seeds. Wonderful little super food. So some of the stuff I saved for specific times. may change as I play with them.

Fartygirl, yes I agree, sometimes I find a sugar low in the evenings that affects my sleep. and sometimes eat a starch then. although I find the more I can stick to the 6 meals and snacks a day the less likely I have to worry about that. I do find excessive protein also cause the Tooting byproduct also:) so it is a balancing act. So far the diabetic side is still controlled by my diet. The high blood pressure is controlled by meds which make me feel worse than can be explained. lets just say when I am on them walking up a simple flight of stairs I feel like I ran 20 miles.

my goal is to be off them complete but at the very least to get down to 1 from the 6 I am currently on. When I say high blood pressure. uncontrolled my bp runs as high as 320/280, the kind where they put you in the emergency room and ask questions later.

Thanks for your blog Heather.

redeemedbyblood July 4, 2009 at 1:19 am

I’ve actually lately been incorporating more sugar into my diet. I’m a teenager and i’m sick of always having to eat perfect and not enjoy siometimes what i really want to eat. dunno, i’m just really tired of the SUGAR IS SATAN thing. I agree that alot isn’t good, but it is a consumable product that God put on the earth.

Gena (Choosing Raw) July 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

Heather!!!

Forgive me from joining the debate so late in the game!!

I loved this post and found it very honest and motivating. I can get away with a certain amount of fructose and sugar, but I see an overwhelming number of female clients who, quite simply, cannot: so many women in our modern environment are yeasted, and need to be vigilant of sugar. It’s important to call attention to this, all the while acknowledging — as you so sweetly do — that there is always a small place for moderate indulgence!

You are, as always, an inspiration :)

Gena

J. July 5, 2009 at 5:37 am

This is such bullshit, there is a huge difference between sugar and agave, maple, brown rice syrup, these are natural unrefined sweeteners that are mineral rich and fine in moderation, unlike refined sugar. And whole wheat flour isn’t just a flour, it’s a whole food that people have been eating for thousands of years and here you go and tell the world that it’s the same as processed white flour and that is harmful, because it’s a carb! People need carbs and whole natural carbs aren’t the blame for obesity.
And there is no such thing as eating a protein, it’s about eating a food that provides you with protein (and a plant based protein provides you with other nutrients as well! – including carbohydrates, eating protein, fat and carbs is a stupidity that was created by a low-carb diet. And I guess most food blog are now the inquisition of whole foods: don’t eat tofu, drink this new whey protein powder or hemp protein powder (i love hemp protein, but not because it’s the newest trend of eating), don’t eat that fruit, drink amaizing.
Fruit is fine if you know how to eat it (not after a meal as a desert – like you do, or in a sandwich instead of jam – choosingraw explains why but you should research it yourself.), but as a whole food 30 minutes before a meal. Now if you have candida it’s not the fruit that’s to blame, but your poor diet and stress.
Forgive me my bad grammar since I’m from a country where english isn’t spoken.

kailey July 5, 2009 at 8:27 am

I really enjoyed reading this post!! I admit that being a teenager is tough in the sugar department because it seems like I am constantly craving junk so I do try and limit my simple sugars. However, it seems like since I started training for my half marathon I have been eating tons of carbs (ww bread, brown rice, ww pasta) and have tons more energy and my body looks better. So while I think its so important to cut back on the simple sugars (cookies, cakes, chips, etc) I think whole grains are great for us and provide us with a good amount of fiber too :)

thanks for this post though – I will look at dessert different now, because carrots with peanut butter do sound delicious :)

cottchz July 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

hey heather!
you got me thinking and i’ve been researching :p anyway, i started a new series and was wondering if maybe you’d post it if you liked it and also give me your feedback!

http://cottchz.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/mantra-makeover-honoring-yourself-from-head-to-toe/

hope you had a great holiday!!

Heather July 6, 2009 at 6:23 am

THANK YOU!!! I could not agree more! Once you stop sweetening your food, you can actually taste it, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your taste buds adapt (and thank you). Fancy organic sugar is still sugar – right on!!!

susan July 6, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I didn’t respond to this post at first because I had a very negative reaction to it and wanted to ponder it. It made me feel very defensive and I didn’t want to react to that negativity and write something I’d regret.

As someone still recovering from disordered eating and exercise, I try not to make anything off limits. There are things I choose not to eat because I know they’ll make me feel icky. Sugar is one of those things that makes me feel bad, if I eat it in large quantities. I think it’s great that you feel wonderful not eating sugar and if it works for you, I don’t think you need to defend yourself for it.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to go without my ice cream in the summer, birthday cake at parties (if it’s good cake and not yucky lard-y frosting cake), and homemade cookies at Christmas. I decided that there’s no need for me to feel guilty about that just because other people choose not to eat those things!

Briana July 8, 2009 at 10:12 am

LOVED this post and absolutely 100% agree with everything Heather stated.

Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) July 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I love this post, thank you!

Rebecca August 12, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Heather,
I realize that it’s been over a month since anyone has commented on this post, but I love it so much that I’m reading it for somewhere between the fifth and the tenth time. Thank you for always encouraging whole foods and healthy things- not just popular “bars” and packaged foods, like most food blogs have. I have a real problem with my sugar cravings if I start eating sweet foods, but when I get in the habit of having veggies, meat and fats without sugar, there is so craving! (Plus I feel sooo much healthier and happier)
So I know exactly what you’re saying, and I wanted to say thanks for being a good healthy example. :) Becca

Steph December 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Hey I hadn’t read this post before – and it’s interesting, I’m trying to cut back my sugar intake as well…mostly in fruit form since I cut out most of the refined stuff.

Have you read Lick the Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton?

Great read if you haven’t! :)

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Steph, I haven’t read Lick The Sugar Habit, but I’ve heard about it. I need to put in a request for it at the library. Thanks for the recommendation!

Mish December 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm

This is SUCH an important post. I was diagnoised with Candida and it’s a result of a high sugar/high asparteme diet. Refined sugars are SO bad for your system. I think that many people probably have sugar addictions/dependcies which are hard to kick unless you get down to business and kick em’.

I have cheated my way through the past 9 months knowing this and it hit me last night after reading a girls blog about her incurable intestional problems. Mine is curable..and it’s done through diet. I really hope you continue to push this…it’s so dang important.

have you cooked/eaten xylitol? It’s what I use now.

Thanks Heather.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 22, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for your comment Mish. I got a lot of negative feedback from this post, and your words are very encouraging. I’ll keep pushing.

I mostly use stevia but do use xylitol on occasion. I like it for baking.

Serena April 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

This is so true. I’ve read so much scary stuff about various sweeteners and it all boils down to what you said – we do not NEED sugar.

I’ve also discovered the miracle of dates ;) they are too sweet for me on their own but I love mixing them with avocados, smearing them on toast, etc ;) so good!

Akemi April 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Hi,

I know this is an old post, but I just have to leave a comment of thank you.
I’ve struggled with my sugar addiction. Still do. Perhaps I’ll try your method of “no sugar but sweet is okay” with natural sweetness of fruits, dried fruits, and perhaps honey or stevia.

I also read you recently left your stevia habit, too. So you went from sugar > stevia > no sweets. That is so encouraging!

Btw I lived in Nashville area (Hendersonville) for 3 years until I moved myself to Oregon 2.5 years ago.

Akemi

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 12, 2010 at 6:43 am

Akemi, Glad this post helped you, and yes, not much stevia going on in my life. Feeling so much better! P.S. – I love Oregon. Portland is one of my most favorite cities. :)

kellyO April 13, 2010 at 6:54 am

Hi Heather! I just re-read this post and wanted to comment this time. I notice when I have too much sugar my skin reacts to it! It’s crazy, my face turns bright red and feels like it’s on fire. It makes me wonder…if that is what my body is doing on the outside, what is going on on the inside?! Scary.

This is such an encouraging post and I love your site. You are an inspiration! Have a great day…

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

KellyO, Glad you reread this post, and I hope it helps you. Sugar is notorious for causing inflammation throughout the body, and I think yours is trying to tell you something. I encourage you to listen. :)

R @ Learning As I Chop August 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

This plan sounds a lot like Paleo. I’ve done that diet but found it very hard to maintain. I eat out and on-the-go a lot (too much) and was always searching for stuff that would be OK.

Stephanie Howard January 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Hey Heather! I’m a new reader– just ran across your website a few days ago when I searched how to make my own nut butters. I can’t tolerate peanuts, and almond butter is crazy expensive! What I found on your website has been incredibly more refreshing than just a simple recipe. I really relate to your feelings about refined carbs and sugar being incompatible with my body and healthy fats being the key to my body feeling awesome. I’m just 3 weeks into finally kicking my sugar habit, and I just feel great… Then yesterday I ate a couple handfuls of corn chips and an ORANGE as a snack and fell asleep barely half an hour later— I just really can’t handle it anymore.

Anyways— all that rambling to say, I feel so less crazy after reading what you have to say about your diet and what it’s done for you long term. It gives me motivation to keep it up, and maybe even steer clear of wedding/birthday cakes! Thanks!

HEAB January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Hi Stephanie,
Welcome – glad you found my blog, and I hope you are now enjoying some homemade almond butter!

Also happy to hear you’re feeling good without sugar in your life. It’s amazing how if you go without it, sugar can totally make you crash once you start eating it again. Definitely sounds like your body doesn’t tolerate it too well. So, welcome to no-sugar crazy town. It’s a nice place to live.

P.S. Don’t be to hard on yourself. We all need a few corn chips every so often. :)

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