Earlier this week I started a 21-day cleanse to remove all toxins from my body. I’m on a quest to find my “sweet spot” for clean and healthy eating, and hopefully shed a few of those pounds that keep catching up to me. I’ve gotten rid of them over the years and dang it if they don’t creep their way back into my life. Since I hit the big 5-0, I’ve noticed things are not quite the same in my digestive track. I’ve gone vegetarian about 6 years ago before for about 1.5 years and have done a handful of juice cleanses over the past few years. While I always feel great afterwards, I end up slowly letting old habits prevail and before I know it I’m back to gaining the pounds I shed, feeling bloated, foggy in the head and super frustrated.

So, I’ve decided to kick the sugar habit. For real. Sugar is evil. Read 11 Reasons Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad For You. It sneaks its way into many foods, some I’ll bet you’d be surprised to learn have processed sugar in them. For example, did you know that most peanut butters in the super market contain sugar? Even the ones marked “natural?” Going on a sugar-free diet means you have to become a super sleuth. You MUST read nutrition labels on everything you buy to be sure there is no added sugar. It does take effort.

I recently stumbled upon this amazing resource, Sugar Science, developed by a team of health scientists at University of California, San Francisco. It is full of helpful information. I encourage everyone to check it out. Did you know the recommended daily sugar intake for a 2,000 calorie diet is 25mg? That is the equivalent of only six teaspoons! With sugar hiding in just about everything we eat, it is difficult to stay within that range, unless you really pay attention. According to Sugar Science, 74% of packaged foods contain added sugar.

It is a bit overwhelming, but I decided to follow the 21-day cleanse from “Crazy Sexy Diet” a book by Kris Carr, cancer survivor, motivational speaker and wellness coach. My sister, who has been vegan for about 10 years, turned me on to her and her books. Kris makes it easy to follow, with recipes and many suggestions for variety. This first week, I’ve kept it simple. I’m juicing from morning until noon, then I eat mostly veggies and salad for lunch and the same for dinner, adding in some steamed or roasted veggies; gluten-free grains, sweet potato or whole-grain pasta. I am now hooked on Chipotle Hummus from Sprouts. It’s my go-to snack with carrots, cucumbers and other veggies.

For my visual friends, here is a graphic and article from Shape Magazine that breaks down the effects of sugar on your body visually.

Today is day 5 and I’m feeling great in my gut, have dropped 2.5 pounds and can already tell I have a lot more energy…with no added sugar, no coffee (I do love and miss my coffee), no alcohol, no meat and no gluten. I’m working hard to also add daily meditation, yoga and at least 35 minutes of exercise.

So, my friends, to kick off the weekend, I’m sharing with you a new favorite recipe. No bake vegan date brownies! Like I said in the header, I am addicted to sugar and I do find myself craving something sweet. I have 92% Madagascar cacao chocolate in the fridge that I’ve only eaten one square of once this week (it takes some getting used to). However, I found a recipe for no-bake vegan brownies made with dates, oats, almond butter and unsweetened cocoa. The photo in the header is my actual batch that I made. Now, they don’t taste like the kind we all know and love, but they are super satisfying and filling!

What does this have to do with workers’ compensation? Not much except that the negative impact of sugar on our society as a whole is worth considering. Should we be doing more public service announcements about healthy living choices and how they impact recovery and overall health? I would also like to see all my friends and colleagues in the industry live a long and healthy life. What are YOU doing to live a clean and healthy life? Please share.

#workersomp #healthyeating #cleaneating #sugarfree #fridayfeeling #fridaymotivation