Support Systems

No matter how good the eating program may be sometimes it can be hard to implement the program if we are surrounded by people and foods that would undermine our resolve.

I’m very lucky to have a supportive spouse who works with me, and no kids in the house, but I have known many people who get push back from partners, spouses, children, and friends when they try to eliminate the old standard American/western diet (SAD) for lchf, lower calorie, or any of the low carb healthier plans. I also know when our grand-girls are here for a visit, I find my eating is much more of a struggle, and have been known to go off the tracks here and there.

For many people the value of programs like Weight Watchers (WW) and TOPs, lies in the support they receive for making the diet changes. While I disagree with the WW platform, I have known several people to be successful with weight loss on WW because of the support and encouragement.

A better program for many people who struggle with cravings, binges, and overeating in general, is Overeaters Anonymous (OA.org), which doesn’t advocate any particular diet, and focuses on abstinence from trigger foods (usually sugars and grain-based foods). They follow the model of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), using a 12-step approach that for many is very helpful; plus they have online and telephone meetings as well as face-to-face meetings so you can get support anywhere or anytime, especially if you get a sponsor. Many people have a true addictive response to sugars/grains, since those foods act on the same part of the brain as opioids and alcohol, so OA can be a great way to get support for people with addictive eating or eating disorders.

I read of a study (could have been this one I’ve linked) some years ago that found when people had a weight-loss buddy, sponsor, friend, they had much higher success. This makes sense, for it adds the element of accountability. When faced with the chocolate cake, we are more likely to ignore its call if we know we have someone who will ask how we are doing with our food.

During the holidays many of us feel the challenge of avoiding the old high-carb foods of the past as we meet with family and friends for the festive occasions. Additionally, especially during holidays, work places, and other meeting places, can be minefields for people working to get and stay low carb. Always being prepared is a great goal, but also requires good discipline to make sure we don’t give in to foods that can trigger eating in unhealthy ways. Few of us are always prepared. Having a support system in place can make the process of avoiding old trigger foods much easier.

One thing I know, and so do you, we are never happier for eating poorly, so doing whatever it takes to get the support needed to be healthy is a good way to go.

Hoping you have the support you need.

Yours,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Will Taxing Sugar Make a Difference?

Like the effort to control smoking with ever increasing tobacco taxes, those concerned with our obesity epidemic, and declining western health, are now moving to similar taxes on one of the major culprits which is sugary drinks like soda pop.  New York mayor Bloomberg was ridiculed when he attempted to make a difference on this front several years ago, but now Philadelphia, PA has such a tax with the funds directed to early childhood education.

Only time will tell how much this tax will change anything, but it is a step in the right direction for a country with over thirty percent of its population dangerously obese, and all related health problems like diabetes and heart disease increasing rapidly.

Getting Americans to recognize the dangers of smoking took half a century, and there are still people who smoke, but the totality of measures from taxing, education, warning labels, and removal of ads that encouraged smoking finally made a dent in what was a growing lung cancer crisis.  None of these changes happen quickly, but nothing will change without some effort toward addressing the problems associated with our western high sugar-starch foods that dominate in our super markets.

I saw some of the ads by purveyors aired during the run up to the election, and they were in my opinion shameful distortions, calling the measure a grocery or food tax: we all know that soda is not and never will be food.  But such is the greed factor that always seems to be as strong if not stronger than the human health factors.

Other places are moving this direction, so I expect it will be the norm before too long. One step for human health, and not before time.

Yours in health,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

PS: Update–Seems the tax may work: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-soda-tax-works-20160823-snap-story.html

A Useful Meal Planning Site

I came across this https://www.eatthismuch.com site  a few weeks ago and thought it was a great idea for people who don’t like cooking or thinking too much about planning meals. You enter the parameters of your way of eating and it will come up with various meals and recipes for the foods.

I know a lot of people who don’t have patience with meal planning and preparation which may cause such people to stop at the nearest pizza place, or other fast food sources–never a good way to go.  Meal planning and preparation is often key for success when starting a new diet or new way of eating, and need not be onerous.  While I happen to enjoy cooking and don’t find the preparation a challenge, I still don’t like to spend a lot of time every day cooking or thinking about what our next meals will be. I tend to cook a lot of meat or make a big casserole type dish once a week to have some always ready to go. But if you are one of the people who don’t want to do this, you may find this site a good option.

Yours in convenience,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Sugar is Killing People

My rant for 2016 is that sugar in all its forms is killing people. Look around, the number of morbidly obese people is astonishing. When I was first teaching at a large university in the 1980s, I would see a few heavier kids; by my last classes a few years ago, I was astonished by how much heavier some many of these young college kids had become. There used to be some heavy people, but nothing on the order we see every day in the 21st Century. The latest data says that about a third of children in U.S. are already obese, some already developing diabetes and fatty livers. This was absolutely rare until the seventies advent of high fructose corn syrup, micronized flours and sugars, artificial sweeteners which create even greater cravings for sweets and food generally. Remember grains (whole or otherwise), pushed for so long as healthy, turn into the triglycerides aka sugar once digested. If you crave sugars and starches, you are likely to become a victim of the sugar-pushing culture we now live in.

Our food has been dramatically altered over the last fifty plus years, with hybridization and genetic modifications making fruits, vegetables,and grains much higher in sugars and starches, and the processed food industry has learned how to pack the most calories into the smallest packages. Further, food is everywhere! You can’t even go through a clothing store without seeing candy and soda at strategic spots; usually the check out. Fast food, junk food is ubiquitous. You can’t watch a  movie, a television program, look at a magazine, or listen to the radio without ads for food and drinks regularly pushed forward. This is a big problem for our limbic brains which evolved to see, smell food and then issue a demand to eat. Yes, there is that tiny group of people who are not affected, but the evidence is clear all around us, that for the majority of people, the results are highly fattening.

The fattening eventually leads to one of several problems, mainly diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, dementia, allergies, and many believe cancer and heart disease are the result of a diet gone crazy.

The number of diabetics has quadrupled since the 1970s, and all the other related diseases have increased dramatically as well.

I have read continuously on this subject for the last seven plus years, and the evidence keeps mounting. I find it astonishing that if we have three cases of ebola, the CDC and the government go into a full-blown panic, but this epidemic of obesity still gets the same wrong information perpetrated since the 1960s, to eat, and exercise. Of course, the agribusiness, big pharma, hospitals and medical people have nothing to gain by telling people the simple truth that their way of eating is causing the problems.

People now expect to grow older and start popping a dozen different pills to keep going, for that is what they see in all around in their families, but what a terrible quality of life. This doesn’t have to be our future.

Success is found all over the world by people willing to give up the junk. Low carbohydrate and even ketogenic diets are now becoming popular among many older and younger people who want to reclaim their health, as well as control their weight. And it works! Go to any of the hundreds of blogs out there like MarksDailyApple, DietDr, AuthorityNutrition, and more, to see the successes people have by eating in a way that eliminates modern high sugar-starch foods, highly processed, chemical-filled cheap calories.

We can be healthy, enjoy great food, and age healthily and appropriately without the aid of expensive pharmaceuticals.  That’s my goal! I hope it is yours, too.

Yours in frustration,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

The Sugar-pushers Don’t Give Up!

Daily I see head lines, blog lines, suggesting low sugar, low carb, paleo ways of eating neglect carbs, that we need carbs. These are typical strawman arguments, for all these diets are about staying clear of processed faux-foods that are filled with cheap sugars like HFCS, and sticking to the healthiest carbs, those from nature: berries, vegetables, nuts.

The latest evidence of worry in the agri-biz world is that Coca-Cola is now buying scientists to try and tell us to just exercise more, and keep on drinking their totally empty calories. No reputable exercise physiologist agrees; while exercise is important for health, it does make you hungry. Further, no one need ever consume such junk!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/

The sugar-pushers don’t give up, and neither will we!

Yours in health,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Yuk! Everything is too sweet.

I’ve been off sugar and most starches, as well as any artificial sweeteners but a little stevia and erythritol, for years now, and it is true that with time you will lose most of your desire for sweets, especially for sugaraholics. I always had a sweet tooth, but the longer I’m away from sweets, the less I want them. The real surprise, though, is how much I dislike most of the sweet things I used like.

Today, on an impulse while grocery shopping at my favorite Wegman’s, I got a bottle of diet iced tea, a brand I used to often get, but I threw away most of it for it was so overpoweringly sweet tasting. I said “Yuk!” right out loud.  Another thing I used to love was Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but the last few times I had a taste, it was really unplalatable.

Same goes for bread. For years I made most of the bread we ate, I loved bread, but really don’t miss it anymore.  So, given time, many things that used to be triggers become much less desirable. But the catch is, if you start to eat those foods again with any regularity, the old habit pathways will open right back up. At this point I can’t imagine doing that with sweets since most of those sweet foods don’t taste good anymore, but I wouldn’t risk it with good whole grained breads.

So that’s the good news: be patient, and sugar becomes much less potent in your thoughts, and diet.

Yours in patience,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Great New Sugar Science Site

This is a wonderful site to check in with, and get notices from: http://www.sugarscience.org

This site is staffed by several doctors of one type or another, all interested in working to help get us off the dangerous drug that is Sugar.