Monthly Archives: January 2013

Zero Sugar Day Recap!



Today was my Zero Sugar Day and it went well! I can’t wait to take you guys through everything!

The hardest part of my day to figure out was my early morning pre-workout snack. I had a difficult time thinking of anything without sugar. Granola balls? Nope. Frozen quick bread? Sorry. Even the oatmeal bread has a tiny bit, even though it doesn’t taste sweet. I decided to soak some oats in milk overnight. Here’s the thing. Cold, plain oats. Ugh. I had to add a little nut butter to make them at all edible, and I was only eating a few bites anyway! I guess I could have made banana oatmeal the night before, but I guess I was just being lazy. Truthfully, I can’t wait to get back to my granola balls tomorrow.

My morning workout was really good. I’m working on trying to use my legs when I row, and my legs were feeling tired at the end, which is fantastic. I opted for spinning over running as the last part of my workout, and that was a good decision. I hadn’t spun in a while, so it felt good! During my erg and spin, I listened to a radio show featured Dr. Lustig. Awesome, as always!

My workouts always take longer than expected. I cut my spin a couple of minutes short because I was worried about missing breakfast! See, here’s the thing about coming late to breakfast…the smoothie ingredients are pretty picked over. I put pretty much everything there in my smoothie, and it was an odd mix, but it tasted fantastic!

Frozen blueberries, grapes, milk, and an orange (peeled). Plus a hardboiled egg!Image

So what could I not have due to the challenge? Pancakes and waffles obviously. No cereal. None of the dining hall peanut butter; that stuff definitely has sugar (my own does not). No yogurt that wasn’t plain. Fruity yogurt is loaded with sugar! No bread. This may surprise some people. It’s nearly impossible to find bread without added sugars. The only place I’ve really seen it is Trader Joe’s, and maybe some loaves at Whole Foods. Needless to say it’s a rarity! 

I spent the morning studying for tomorrow’s Organic Chemistry midterm! Then lunch before class:Image

Greens topped with salsa and corn, grilled chicken, and brown rice. Plus a few berries. It’s possible that the chicken had some added sugar, but fairly unlikely, as I couldn’t detect any sweetness. I have seen pre-cooked chicken breast at the grocery before with added sugars though. 

So what didn’t I have? No salad dressing. Almost every salad dressing has sugar. I was planning on just mixing up oil and vinegar, but then I saw the salsa. No ketchup with my chicken. No bread (again). No tomato sauce. I challenge you to find any tomato sauce without sugar. I’ve found like one…ever. No sauces in general. Many have added sugar. No soup, I really have no way of knowing what is in it, and many recipes nowadays call for sugar. Obviously no dessert. 

After class, I ate a quick snack before practice. I was planning on an orange, but I had been thinking about that new almond butter all day. So, due to my indecision, I went with both. Image

This stuff is unbelievably smooth!Image

Check it out!


It looks just like peanut butter, but it’s not! Craziness! I also realized that I haven’t really eaten a banana at my favorite ripeness for eating straight banana lately. This guy was perfect. Not too sweet, just at the point where there is not more green. Yum! Of course, for oatmeal or smoothie purposes, I’m fine with riper bananas. the riper the better for oatmeal! For sandwiches, I prefer them just a tad riper than this one is. Perfectly yellow!


And there’s my orange! I cut them a little strangely (small pieces), but they’re way less messy to eat this way! I also had a small handful of pistachios.

So what did I not have? No granola bars. No sugary nut butter. No dried fruit with added sugar. No chocolate cake. Speaking of which, when I came down to my dorm’s lounge, there it was, staring at me. The very cake that broke my sugar challenge. I laughed in its face and kept walking. No sugar for this gal today!

Practice was good today. I was in a double again, which is my second time. Even though the water was a bit rough, I still had a great row. I improved so much since the first time I was in a double!

Dinner today was from my room. So far, this is my favorite dinner I’ve made in my room, and I’ve made it once before.

Step 1: Steal cheese and spinach from the dining hall!

Step 2: Wash a bowl that really should have been cleaned a while ago….Image

This is what I came up with! It’s basically an egg scramble. I LOVE having liquid egg whites in my fridge. they can add protein to any meal, and they last forever! So here we have liquid egg whites, mozzarella, spinach, pesto and avocado. Yum!Image

While I prepared this, I snacked on some of this trail mix:Image

You better believe it has no added sugar! Which is awesome for trail mix! I also enjoyed half of a banana with peanut butter.Image

After a meeting, I returned to my room, only to realize that my cocoa powder somehow managed to dump itself into my clothes drawer. Now, I absolutely love cocoa powder (it’s my new obsession), but it gets EVERYWHERE. The problem with living in a dorm, is I don’t have a kitchen in my room. My desk is my kitchen. Cocoa powder is everywhere. Why do I bring up this incident? The smell as I was cleaning it up brought on a major craving for this:Image

Which, naturally, I took care of. Hey, I had an extra half banana lying around, right? 

So, today I proved that you can enjoy a day of great eating with ZERO added sugar! I actually enjoyed today’s eats more than a lot I’ve had lately! (That avocado-pesto scramble…mmmm.) Sugar is lurking in places you wouldn’t think of. Almost every processed food item has added sugar. Crackers, cereal, sauces. It’s everywhere! Dr. Robert Lustig argues that the addition of sugar into so many foods today is one of the reasons behind the obesity epidemic. So what happened? The problem is two-fold. Around the 1970s, the government’s health division began denouncing fat, saying it was the cause of the weight problem, as well as heart disease. As a result, they launched an effort to remove fat from the American diet. The problem? When fat was removed from processed food, it tasted like cardboard. So what did the food industry do? It added sugar instead! Yogurt is a great example. Non-fat, fruity yogurt has tons of sugar, without the fat. For those of you that cannot tolerate the taste of plain yogurt (I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan), have you tasted full-fat yogurt? It is way more tolerable. This is just one example. Tons of fat-free items hit the markets and sold like crazy under the veil of “health foods.” What else happened around this same time? High fructose corn syrup hit America. It was first developed in Japan, and soon after we got it here. So why was HFCS so appealing to food manufacturers? It was SO CHEAP. Much cheaper than sugar. As a result, they added it to EVERYTHING. Salad dressing, bread, pasta sauce. And it only increased their sales! For the record, HFCS and regular sugar are metabolized the same by your body, so one is not necessarily worse than the other. HFCS was simply cheaper, so manufacturers added so much of it in everything.

Sooo, we took the fat out of food, and replaced it with sugar. So, if fat is the cause of obesity/weight problems, and we reduced our consumption of fat, then why do we have more health problems now than ever? Hmmm…(Also, just a side note, the concept of saturated versus unsaturated fat was not well understood this initiative began.) Think about that for a moment.

On that note, I want to drive home the idea that it is possible to eat a sugar-free diet and still enjoy delicious food! Personally, I really wish the food industry didn’t add sugar to everything. I don’t need my bread sweet! Many Americans have simply grown so accustomed to the sweetness in everything, that we don’t even notice it. My friend from England was talking to me the other day, and remarking how sweet everything is here. Would you call bread sweet? You might if you had never had bread with added sugar before! I wish there were more options in terms of things without added sugar. While I hope to continue to limit sugar intake, I’m not going to continue zero sugar days. My pre-workout snack today? Blech. I’ll take my granola balls any day of the week! In fact, I can’t wait for one tomorrow morning!

What do you think about added sugar in food products?

Tomorrow is Zero Sugar Day!

Today flew by! I have a pretty busy week ahead of me with school, so as I said before, I made a meal plan for the week so I have one less thing to think about, and it worked out great today! I feel way better with a day of healthy eating under my belt!

Before weights, I ate a piece of oatmeal bread. Apparently, we’re not doing endurance weights anymore, which means each exercise has a more normal amount of reps. No more 4x50s! The only problem is that I don’t feel like I got a great workout in. I definitely need to go heavier in some of the exercises. I’ve done a lot of squatting, and I think this is one area where I’m actually better than most of my team. I stuck with their weights, and my reps were super easy. I was a little scared to go up too much weight on the first day of these exercises, and I don’t want to mess up with the conversion from kilograms to pounds again…And I really don’t want to drop a bar. As much as I hate failing a lift, it was never as bad when I was with my trainer the last few years. Whenever I’m lifting on my own, I never go as heavy because I don’t want to drop the bar. It’s so embarrassing! It’s super loud and of course EVERYONE looks. Next week I’ll definitely go heavier though! Although we don’t technically have to do a run afterwards anymore, I might add that in again next week. I didn’t today because this week I’m just in survival mode. After weights, I took a glorious half hour nap. 

And guess what? On the way back I saw a black and white cat! It always makes my day when I see him. 

For breakfast, I deviated from my plan a little bit. I had planned on drinking my Chocolate Post Workout Recovery Drink, but I wasn’t feeling it. What I really wanted was a smoothie! I think I’m still having fruit and vegetable withdraws from last weekend! Image

Into the blender went frozen strawberries, 3/4 of a huge banana, a piece of watermelon, plain yogurt, and soymilk. This was a good one! The taste reminded my of cotton candy, but in a good way! It was delicious! Putting watermelon in smoothies is awesome. You should all try it!

Class was uneventful. Lunch was good!Image

A pre-made salad with oil and vinegar dressing, plus a cold mixture of brussels sprouts and tomatoes, and a black bean burger with a little ketchup. The black bean burger was really good! I ended up ditching the ketchup and eating the burger as a topper for my salad. The black bean burgers are always available at the grill, and I don’t know why I never tried one before! It’s a great option if none of the other protein sources seem good/healthy. I also had some fruit. 

During my writing class today, I was struck with inspiration for what my research paper should be on: artificial versus natural sugar. I’m so pumped! I absolutely love learning about sugar. It’s a strange passion of mine…I’ll keep you updated on anything cool I discover! This brings me in to my next topic: I’m back on the no sugar challenge! ANy even better? Tomorrow is my absolutely zero added sugar day! I’ll post what I eat, and what I might normally eat that doesn’t qualify. The idea is to raise awareness for all the sugar added to the foods we eat, especially the foods you wouldn’t think about! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! 

Practice on the water today was rough. It was super windy, so the water was pretty wild. I hate days like this! I ended up being in a stable boat though, so it wasn’t terrible. All our practices on the water have had the same format lately: 4×15 minutes. Ok, one for crew tidbit for the day:

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the concept of lightweight rowing versus openweight rowing. Lightweight rowers are smaller, and they have their own team and race against other small rowers. There is a maximum weight limit for lightweight rowers. Openweight rowers are bigger, and can be any size. Many openweight rowers are tall; it is common to have rowers over 6 feet. Right now, I am openweight, but I’m a very small openweight. I’m the shortest person on my team (and I’m almost 5’7″ on a good day). The issue with this is that realistically speaking, I won’t exactly be able to pull as well as some of my bigger and taller teammates. I’m that awkward size: I would be on the taller side for lightweight, and small for openweight. After the fall, when the other walk-ons and I split in to weight classes, I considered dropping to lightweight, but my coach ultimately decided she didn’t want me to have to worry about that yet, because I’m still fairly new to rowing. I was talking to another teammate today about this. We’re similar sizes, although she’s about an inch taller. For this year, I will stay openweight, but next year, I won’t be able to race in a freshman boat, so my chances of getting boated aren’t great. It would make a ton of sense for my to try and drop next year, but I have a year to figure it out! Just thought I’d fill you guys in on the inside scoop of rowing and what may be going on with me in the next year!

Dinner today was…frustrating. The actual meal was fine, but I had to stand in a pretty long line for chicken. This wouldn’t be that bad; I can stand to wait for my food. The thing is, I’m waiting for other people to get burgers grilled up for them. The chicken breast is already cooked, just sitting in a bin…so close yet so far! Nonetheless, I enjoyed a nutritious meal. Image

I has some greens topped with a hot chickpea mixture, plus chicken breast (ok, and some ketchup), and some sauteed swiss chard. It’s so nice to get my veggies in again! 

Back in my room, it was time for something sweet.Image

I just opened this peanut butter. I know, I know, I had said I would wait to open peanut butter so I could give other nut butters some love, but, well…At least it’s a different kind! I haven’t had crunchy peanut butter in a while, and this is currently my favorite crunchy variety. And, as it turns out, it’s amazing on a banana!

Sorry this post was kind of all over! I need to start brainstorming some ways to keep my posts interesting, even on boring days! Tomorrow is zero sugar day! Anyone want to join me??

Have you ever had an embarrassing gym experience?

Ski Trip Recap

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted! I had an amazing weekend, but I ate terribly. So I’ll say it right out: yes, I did break my no sugar challenge. I had been walking the edge of the definition of “no sweets” the past few days, and I basically crossed the line by the middle of yesterday. The straw that broke the camel’s back? This little guy:Image

But more on that later. I’m going to describe the trip in more detail first! Friday we bussed out to Lake Tahoe. This ended up taking a really long time because we hit the worst rush hour traffic. We didn’t get in until around 8, and we left around 2. And the drive definitely shouldn’t take that long! After settling in to our rooms (we stayed in a group lodge), we started on dinner, which was make your own pizza.Image

I was smart and took a chunk out before it cooked so I could tell it was mine! The bottom was a little black though…we set the fire alarm off multiple times, and that seemed to be the signal that the pizzas were done. I don’t think the ovens there were very good! I also had some carrots and celery dipped in ranch. So the carb and saturated fat fest begins! That was basically all the food this weekend…plus sugar. And see the problem is, as I’ve talked about in my glucose post, too many carbs, especially white ones, make you crave even more carbs. So basically I ate a ton of carbs this weekend. I believe I had a piece on peanut butter on bread after dinner, as well as a granola bar.

I had a fun night hanging out with my dorm mates. There was a hot tub, which was nice. I planned on doing a sizable amount of work this trip, so I hadn’t planned on going in the hot tub and walked out there with my Ochem book. I ended up staying there and leaving my book in a pile of clothes…not a very good idea. My book is now rather wrinkled. Oops. 

Saturday morning, it was time to hit the slopes. Breakfast:Image

Plus, lucky charms. See, I was walking the line. With the blueberry muffin too! I think as my challenge progressed, I got more lax with what I considered a “sweet”.

Before I talk about skiing, let me first say that I’ve only skied once before in my life, 2 years ago. Luckily, I had some friends help me out. One of them hadn’t really skied before either, and the other 2 were decent skiers. After being re-taught how to put my skis on, we hit the bunny slope. It was a lot easier than I was expecting, certainly easier than the slope I went on last time. After 2 runs on that, we decided to try out some other slopes. 

We took the main lift up, and enjoyed an absolutely stunning view of the lake. ImageImage

These are not my pictures, they were shamelessly stolen from my friend’s facebook. But I was with him, so it counts, right?

We got to the top, which was the main skiing area, with a ton of different hill choices. We chose a green. Well, as it turns out, this one was a lot more difficult than the bunny slope. As it turns out, my biggest problem when skiing is slowing down. And stopping. I have a very hard time not going down the mountain like a bat out of hell. Combine that with the fact that there were a ton of obstacles other skiers on the mountain, and I didn’t particularly want to plow down any small children, and we’ve got a bit of a problem. I had very little room to manipulate, or go down the mountain side to side. Sooo I wiped out. I’ve never really wiped out on a real slope before so it was interesting. Luckily my friends helped me figure out how to get up…I was so happy I had my helmet on though, or it could have been really bad, because my first fall I landed right on my head. I fell again. And then I fell on a reasonable slope, fairly badly. And by badly I mean, I wasn’t hurt buuut my poles went flying. And as it turns out, one went over the edge of the slope. So I had to climb down and get it. Now I’m not saying I scaled a cliff or anything, but it was interesting…especially because the snow wasn’t packed in at all, so coming back up the snow just compressed and I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. But I survived (not that I was ever in danger…) At that point, I decided that falling on my head again was not the best idea (I had a faint, very faint headache, but nothing more than what I’d feel from diving for a softball), so I just walked down the mountain, and took the lift back down. 

At that point, it was lunchtime! The ski place actually had quite a few options. I was tempted to get chowder in a bread bowl, but I figured I should probably have some type of nutrient, and I’m glad I did! I got a Mexican salad burrito bowl, with guacamole.Image

It was good! Someone else got a burrito, and it was actually the biggest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. It was crazy! The food there was super expensive though, but  guess that’s to be expected. I continued walking the line with a oatmeal raisin cliff bar and blueberry muffin #2.Image

Sorry for the terrible picture! Before lunch, I had returned my skis because I figured another bad fall could be dangerous, so I spent the time after lunch plotting how I could get back to the lodge sooner than the bus we took there, which wasn’t going to leave for 3 more hours. I had no work with me, and tons back at the lodge. After much debate and research, a few dorm mates and I took 2 buses, plus walked a mile, and made it back, saving ourselves about an hour and a half. The trip back took a while, but hey, we still saved time!

Back at the lodge, I ate a half a bagel with cream cheese, and yes, another blueberry muffin. Do you see the problem here? Lots of carbs! I worked until dinner, and right before dinner I had some hot chocolate. At this point I realized my sugar challenge was hot, especially since there was a big old chocolate cake staring at me. Image

Dinner was vegetable lasagna, plus LOTS of bread with butter (definitely had more than is shown here), plus a salad I scrounged up. Now, don’t let those greens fool you. They’re smothered in ranch! There was sooo much cheese and dairy here. Now I understand what my teammates were talking about! Ugh. After dinner was the cake. And believe me, don’t let that small piece fool you! Let’s just say that the cake was sitting out in the open for a while…Plus S’mores…ughhh. I vowed I would eat healthy today, but let’s be honest, that seriously didn’t happen. Saturday was another good night, I got some more work done and then caught up with my friends. 

By breakfast the next morning, there was absolutely no fruit left. I’m not even going to go in to my breakfast because it was downright embarrassing, but whatever you are imagining my  breakfast is, make it 1000x worse and you’ll have my morning meal. Needless to say I haven’t been feeling too great the last few days! Sooo many carbs! After packing up, we rushed out a little earlier than planned, because there was a big snowstorm coming. We got out around 12, and it was snowing all morning! So beautiful! I tried to get an “it’s snowing picture,” but you can’t see a lot. Image

During the bus ride back, we hit some pretty bad traffic right away, but I managed to snap a few pictures!ImageImage

After the bus ride, I’m pretty well rested! My neck is super sore though. It’s partly from sleeping strangely earlier this week as well as this weekend, but I think it’s a little sore from wiping out as well! I only have a few bruises though (on my shin). 

We arrived just in time for dinner!Image

Whole wheat pot stickers and dumplings, brown rice, and salad. Image

Garlic bread, plus a taste of salmon alfredo. And since today wasn’t going to be a no sugar day, I couldn’t resist trying the red velvet frozen yogurt. Image

Back in my room, I was still craving sweets, so I mixed up banana with cocoa powder. I think my sweet tooth is finally satisfied. I’m full, but at least none of my dinner sweets were too gross-feeling-inducing, apart from the quantity. Well, this is great, because tomorrow starts No-sugar challenge part 2! I still want to close this out on the same day. I lasted 2 weeks, which wasn’t bad, but I want to continue despite my hiccup to February 10. After a weekend of indulgent eating, I’m ready to get back on track tomorrow! I really want to avoid saturated fat, sugar, and white carbs this week, as I’ve had a bit of an overload this weekend, and I feel a little bit like death! Do you guys ever feel like this? I made myself a meal plan for this week, because I have a ton to get done, and I don’t want to have to worry about what I should eat! I simply check out the schedule, and I’m good to go! One less thing to think about certainly can’t help!

Despite all my complaining about the food, I had an awesome weekend! I’m really sorry I let you guys down on the challenge, but I’m going to pick right back up! And as planned, Tuesday will still be my Zero Sugar day to raise awareness to all the added sugars in foods! I hope you all had a good weekend as well!

Have you ever wiped out badly skiing? What happened?

Guys…I might break my challenge…

Sooo more on my ski trip later…but I’m concerned I’m going to cave on my sugar challenge…I’ve been walking the line all day…borderline sweets. And there is chocolate cake and s’mores….I think my resolve has been weakened by a complete carb overload! Too many carbs spark carb cravings! Plus a lack of overall nutrition this weekend…I’ll get back to you guys with a complete post later!

Ski Trip Today!

Hey everyone! I’m leaving for my ski trip today, so since it’s unlikely I’ll have internet, there probably won’t be a lot in the way of posting this weekend!

This morning before weights I ate a piece of oatmeal bread.


Weights today didn’t wipe me out as much as last week. I think it’s partly because it was a shorter week, and partly because I couldn’t go as hard on my longer ergs because I couldn’t breathe…ohh allergies. Breakfast after weights was a good one! To all of you out there who love oats in a jar (oatmeal poured into a nearly empty peanut butter/nut butter jar), boy do I have a gem for you.


Smoothie in a jar! I love topping my smoothies with peanut butter, so this worked out perfectly! Although I did feel a bit odd eating a smoothie out of a peanut butter jar at the dining hall…

My smoothie included a banana, milk, plain yogurt, and frozen blackberries, raspberries, and peaches. On the side?


Half a waffle, topped with butter and heated up frozen blueberries! Yum!

After breakfast, I actually had time to shower! I waited outside an empty shower for a good 5 minutes…whoops. I planned on packing this morning, but I just laid out a few things. I technically should be packing right now seeing as I leave in an hour. I have no idea how to fit all my snow clothes into my duffel bag so this should be interesting!

Lunch was very eh. I was expecting better. But I ate while keeping in mind that this may be my last vegetables in 3 days…Image

There was some yellow curry tofu that tasted like nothing…some greens, some black beans (which at least were good), some type of slaw, and peanuts and egg. Today was certainly lacking. Dessert was a bowl with granola, berries, milk, and peanut butter, plus a ThinkThin bar.Image

Have a great weekend everyone! Wish me luck in my quest for veggies!

Do you like skiing?<