Gina is a God-loving, gluten-free, sugar-free, runner, CrossFitter, wedding photographer, mentor, and Making Things Happen alum - she was a speaker at the Making Things Happen intensive I attended back in 2011. Gina's blog is one of my very favorite sources of inspiration online, and I'm not talking about scroll-through, not-read-anything inspiration -- I'm talking hit-you-in-the-gut with life's truths kind of inspiration! Gina's passion for God is truly contagious, as is her strive for a healthful, happy life. I'm honored to add Gina to our Industry Fit list!
What made you decide to give up sugar?
For me it was eating Gluten and Dairy Free for 4 years and still feeling inflammation and bloating continuously in my body. Sugar was the last thing to take a peek at why I still wasn't feeling well. Or good for how hard I worked on eating clean. (HA! Little did I know)
What was the first step?
This is the hard question. Because I had eaten so clean in the past it was hard to say an exact point. Purchasing one of Maria's books was probably my biggest eye opener. I bought this recipe book from Maria and it had so many good nuggets that started to open my eyes that sugar is everywhere!! Then the next big step was attending Maria's Webinar Class Videos (she is local so I went in person) so you watch one right now! Maria just does a great job of breaking all this sugar stuff down into lay peoples terms. I am definitely a bit more lienient now and don't follow all of her things, but she is just a good source of explaining when you feel lost.
How did you prepare?
After the webinar, I just came home and started to tackle a couple of recipes. It definitely wasn't an all or nothing thing for me. It took time!!!
What were the first few days like?
Sugar and your blood sugar will take time to adjust. Fighting through those first weeks of sugar cravings are always interesting. Yet the BEST thing about the way I eat is that I STILL EAT COOKIES! I still have sweets. I just bake them differently. So really it's just PREPARING time and ordering the foods that you need (some are online and harder to get).
Are you surprised to find sugar in some foods?
I just had no idea that carbs added up to SUGAR in my blood stream. 4g effective carbs equals 1 tsp of sugar in the blood. Do you know what a normal blood sugar level is? 1 cup? 2 cups? NO, 1 TEASPOON of sugar is a normal blood sugar! For adults, children, teens and babies. Blood sugar increases insulin and insulin is TOXIC to our bodies and cells. I still eat carbs (sweet potato, veggies, etc. but just choose them on occasion and really note how my body reacts to them) Popcorn was the biggest SMACK in the face to me. Here is a great article on this :: http://mariamindbodyhealth.
Do you still foods with naturally occurring sugar, like fruit?
I have added back some fruit and starch vegetables and just really take it as it comes. You have to clear out your body first to see what it can handle, is my thought process.
How do you feel now that you've given up sugar?
Honestly giving up sugar has been the BIGGEST blessing in my life. MY ENTIRE LIFE I have been addicted to food, never able to walk past treats and sugary goodness. Taking sugar out of my diet has COMPLETELY freed me from this. I am so utterly grateful. Again, everyone's body make up is different but so often we get down on ourselves and fall into eating disorders because we aren't aware of what our BODIES REALLY NEED. We need to EAT FAT! And watch other things to balance out our diet.
It's been such a blessing because I thought my eating was ALL my mental weakness, but I fully believe we are truly ADDICTED to certain chemicals in our food. Now I recognize them so simply if I have something accidentally. I feel that crazy I NEED FOOD NOW reactor going off that I haven't experienced in months.
Do you still crave sweets?
Depends on the day. Closer to my "monthly friend" definitely still do, but definitely not as much AT all. Like I said, I am free!
Do friends and family know you've given up sugar? How do they react?
It definitely makes socializing hard at times. So many people think it's my next diet craze, since I have tried so many things. Yet, over time they have really seen the benefits in my appearance and stress level too. It's been so much easier to stick to my guns because I DON'T WANT TO feel icky. It's not a weight-based thing for me. I just don't want to feel bloated and yucky!!
Has your husband given up sugar, too?
Matt definitely has been on this journey with me, yet he still eats other stuff as well. It's just his personal prerogative and his body isn't as sensitive.
How do you plan to survive the holidays? Do you make allowances?
Moderation with REAL food like fruit and starchy veggies, yet staying away from processed food! Yes, I want to live my life but being graceful with myself, which is a really hard line. Alot of my eating is connected to my spiritual walk also. SO I am continuing to follow the Lord and my faith.
What are some of your favorite healthy food resources? Certain magazines or blogs?
What advice would you give others who want to give up sugar?
It's a process. Yes, going cold turkey is effective, but sometimes not mentality the best for you. So don't get overwhelmed SLOWLY try see what your body can tolerate. That does require bringing it to bare bones, but you can do it! Inform yourself. Watch Fat Head on Netflix. Totally explains sugar. Also, shop online for some products! I love Netrition, Nuts.com and Vitacost!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Gina and to help those of us in the sugar struggle!
Friends, do you have a sugar addiction?
Have you given up sugar, even for a short period of time? What was your experience?