Friday, April 22, 2011

Give Me A Little Sugar

Ok, No joke.... I DID NOT realize that I have a sweet tooth!!!  I'm 10 days into this 17 Day Diet and the "sugar cleanse" phase of it and I'd poke my own eyes out for some sugar.  REALLY???  Me, the person who does the Master Cleanse twice a year, the one who can always pass on cake and ice cream???  I've always known that I have very little will power when it comes to foods like pasta, cheese and bread, but sugar???  I cut processed sugar from my diet years ago.  We don't even have traditional granulated sugar in our house... and right now all I can think of is eating the stuff by the spoonful... YUCK!!!  Yep, I clearly had a problem with sugar and not directly from the sugar jar.

Luckily, because I DO do the Master Cleanse twice a year, I can pinpoint this UNBELIEVABLE craving for what it is.... it means the 17 Day Diet is working.  Our bodies ALWAYS crave whatever poison is being removed from our systems.  Our bodies have a nasty characteristic of not wanting change (whether it be healthy or unhealthy) so when we add or remove anything, our bodies are quick to react.  Well, right now, I'm craving sugar.

God Bless Truvia!!!  So the 17 Day Diet recommends Truvia as a sweetener because it is made of Stevia.  The body processes Stevia as if you just ate a green bean or a piece of broccoli making it a wonderful sugar substitute.  But I've tried Stevia in the past and was never quite happy with the taste.  While Stevia was sweet, it wasn't sweet like sugar and never really did it for me as a sugar replacement.  And quite frankly, Stevia in my coffee was just gross.  But this Truvia is different!  When I first opened the box and smelled it, it smelled like sweet vanilla... YUM!  I read the box and discovered that one packet of Truvia was the sweetness of 2 tsp. of sugar so I opened one of the packets, licked my pinkie finger and dipped it into the packet for a taste.  YEP.... WINNER!!!!!  I ended up licking my pinkie and dipping until the packet was gone.  That's all I needed; the craving disappeared.  I don't think I've EVER craved an apple or a green bean like that... where I needed a "fix" at any cost!  I'm lucky I still have eyes right now!!!  It's funny how we never crave the stuff that's good for us. Luckily I was able to "TRICK" myself with this one thanks to Truvia... LOVE IT!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blessings

So... it has been a TERRIBLE month!!!  With the passing of our lab and now my husband having a stroke, I gotta say, I'm exhausted.  After all, this IS about ME, right?!?  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I'm really only making a joke here because I'm on overload with every other emotion.  The reality is, my husband had a real scare and it left me with real feelings of guilt because I've allowed (and in most cases, led the coup) us to fall off our path of healthy living that we worked so hard on over the past two years.  We backslid into unhealthy eating and missing workouts.  Welp, we just had a wake-up call in one of the biggest ways imaginable.  There are only two things more important than our health, God and the health of our spouse.  And it's a funny thing that happens when we put our priorities in check, we actually DO take care of ourselves in the process.  Enter the 17 Day Diet.... and we are now on day 6.

Health and diet books were at the top of my list for reading material while I hung out with my husband at the hospital and a battery of tests were performed.... good thing my Kindle was in my purse.  Sooooo many books to choose from and I picked a winner!  The 17 Day Diet was featured on The Dr. Phil Show and The Doctors and a quick review on You Tube from my smart phone (a nurse at the nursing station told me that it was a myth that our cell phones interfered with the medical equipment.  I don't know if that's true, but I thought I would share) confirmed my perfect purchase. I was reading my new book in less than minutes.... MAN!  I do love my Kindle.  Now the 17 Day Diet is actually four 17 day diets rolled into one with each 17 day diet serving a purpose... to get your health back on track the quickest way possible and keeping you on track while living a life of least resistance.  TOTALLY makes sense to me!!!  The beauty of all of this is it also got me back on track with living organically and enjoying raw food again.  Every day for the past 5 days we've enjoyed tons of fresh fruit and vegetables with our eggs, chicken and fish (P.S. I don't eat eggs, chicken and fish raw...hahahahaha).  Just yesterday I served up grilled chicken with buffalo sauce and celery for lunch... SOOOOO GOOD!!!!  I'm thinking that breaking down a lifestyle change into 17 day increments is pretty brilliant.  Just 11 more days to complete the sugar flush and then I can bring in complex carbohydrates for the second 17 day increment.... NICE!  Brown rice and rice noodles never sounded so good!!!  Today I'm whipping up a batch of my FAVORITE raw dressing, click HERE for deets.

A couple of tips for anyone thinking of giving this one a try.... I cooked up a ton of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and used my Food Saver to freeze it.  I then cut up a ton of celery and carrots for snacking and made an ENORMOUS salad with Organic Spring Greens, cabbage, bell peppers, cucumbers and radishes.  Learn to love salad.  They will make your life so much easier.  Finally I boiled a dozen eggs to store in the fridge so there is PLENTY of good food on-hand.  It's just so much easier on us to not have to spend so much time in the kitchen right now.  Things are just there for the grabbing and preparation times are down to almost nothing.  Finally, I used to LOVE the Sommer Size sauces.  They were all natural, sugar free and SOOOOO convenient.  I'm working on getting my hands on some for next week's meals.... why are they suddenly so hard to find????

Alright, that's it.  I was blessed with real motivation to make real changes.  I was also blessed with my husband and am so grateful that we even get the chance to "get back on the wagon" so to speak.  No more backsliding into unhealthy eating habits, no more taking our health for granted.  Sometimes blessings hurt but I'm learning to see them more clearly through the pain.  Years ago, I don't think I would have considered a stroke a blessing.  Here's to your blessings... may they be a lot less painful.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Goodbye and Hello

It has been a LONG time since I've suffered a loss that has shattered my heart to pieces, but I recently had to say goodbye to my 13 year old black lab baby.  His name was Sunny and he really was the light of my life.  We got him at the pound the day AFTER the pound neutered him at 5 weeks old!!!  Needless to say, 2 days after we brought him home, the vet bill was already a whopping $900.  Turns out that the surgery was quite difficult for him for two reasons:  1) he was way too young for it in the first place and 2) he had contracted valley fever from whatever environment he had come from.  These two variables culminated to him breathing vomit during his surgery and developing asphyxiated pneumonia.  The little cough that I noted while spending time with him at the pound developed into a VIOLENT cough over the next 48 hours.  After two weeks of treatments from the vet, dropping him off at the vet each morning and then taking him home each night with his IV left in his arm and taped up, we finally got past the worst of it.  Then we just had to treat the valley fever with medications that topped at $450/month for the first six months of his life with us.  Luckily, the cost of the medications he had to take plummeted a short time later and our monthly costs were WAY more tolerable at about $80/month.  Our final vet bill was pretty high, but luckily the vet was so moved by our story and so connected to Sunny, having spent so much time with him to get him through the worst of it, she gladly took payments to finally square away our bill.  Long story short, for Sunny's whole life we lovingly called him our 6 million dollar baby.  Honestly, we did tally up how much we spent on him at some point over the years and had reached (at that time) about $8000 for the $75 pound puppy.  That tally would go up though, 8 short years later when the onset of hip dysplacia began. We never concerned ourselves with how much we spent to keep Sunny with us as long as we could.  From the moment we met him, he was part of us.  At the very beginning, I remember hearing the vet tell us how lucky we were to have such a wonderful boy and that he was pulling through...he was strong.  Then, about a year later we found out that the vet didn't think he was going to make it back then.  Each day when she'd hand him over to us to care for him through the night she'd say he had a good day and was doing well, that was 100% her hopes (and I suspect), her prayers.  We always felt Sunny was worth EVERY penny we ever spent on him and that if we only got him for a couple of days or a couple of years, we would be better for it.  We could not have asked for a kinder, sweeter, more gentle addition to our family and I am grateful that God let us borrow him for the 13 years we got him.  Losing him has been an unbelievable loss that I'm not getting over easily.  But with my "Good-bye", now comes a "Hello" since my husband brought home an A.K.A. certified, purebred 6 week old monster.  We've had him going on 3 weeks, and while he is in NO WAY replacing our Sunny, he is DEFINITELY an adorable distraction.  Everyone.... meet Kodiak, lovingly called Hey (mainly because at the moment I need to correct him, my brain blocks and I can't remember his name, so "hey" is what always comes out.  Now the poor little guy comes to "hey")!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm Terribly Late.... I Know.

Yes, Yes... I'm terribly late... I know!  I was supposed to announce on April 1st that I'm having ANOTHER Favorite Things Birthday Give Away.  Well, here I am.... 7 days late, I'm here with the announcement.  BUT FIRST:  Let's check out some of the prize goodies!!!


So pictured above is nail treatments from my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE nail treatment company... Nail Aid.  I LOVE their products, I LOVE their company and I LOVE their service.  And this year they GENEROUSLY donated another HAUL of their new products available at Walmart (check your local store for availability as I'm finding that not all of them carry it... which is NUTS!).  They are just so generous... THAT'S FIVE PRODUCTS!!!  Now I've never tried these products... being that they are new, but I personally use MANY of their products and I love them.  So be sure to check out their website by clicking the link above.  And just so you know which ones are my favorites, I use:  Ultra Rapid Growth as a base, Pink Natural Growth Therapy as a rehab after nail biting (I'll go into that more tomorrow), Brush On Wrap/Instant Wrap when I don't have anything else on my nails, Clear Liquid Bandage which is the most FANTASTIC product for anyone growing natural nails (it freakin works!), Cuticle Cure that I try to use daily (failing terribly as of late, but again, I'll go into that more tomorrow) and finally, Peeling Nail Therapy saved me when I removed my fake nails.  Did I mention how much I LOVE this company and their products???

And speaking of companies and products I love..... OC Nail Art ALSO graciously donated my FAVORITE Konad Reusable Nail Art Set.... CORALINE!!!  I just LOVE the wonderful Halloween images in this set.... and you ALL know how much I love Halloween.  I'm thrilled to be able to give this away again in my Favorite Things Birthday Giveaway.

Now there are also more polishes and nail treatments to add, and I'll get them up as soon as I take pics, but I also want to add that I get to also give some crafty goodness in this give away as well. First off, I am giving away a Halloween Cricut cartridge as well as a Martha Stewart Scoreboard (even though she tried to kill me, I still love her stuff and am excited to be able to give it away).  I'm hoping that more crafty sponsors step up to participate as I have A LOT of crafty favorites.... as you all know.  Ok, that's it for the goodies you can win (so far), now it's time to find out HOW to win it. 

All you have to do to enter to win this prize haul is SHARE THE GOOD NEWS!!!  Utilizing all your social networks, share a link back to today's post and leave a comment here sharing a link where I can find your shout out along with your name and an email address where I can contact you if you win. There will only be one winner and YOU MUST BE A FOLLOWER through Blogger or Friend Connect to be eligible to win.  Be sure to leave your comments on THIS POST every time your share this giveaway with others.  The more you share, the greater your chances are to win.  This giveaway is open to ALL my followers and will run from today, April 7th to midnight on May 7th, MST.  I will announce the winner in the days to follow once the actual winner has been contacted. 

Good luck everyone!!!  Be sure to check back often as I will be posting more prize haul pics as sponsors donate.  I'm shooting for this giveaway to blow last year's out of the water!!!