Friday, April 30, 2010

What Stephen Thought of Our "No Refined Sweeteners" Challenge

Rules: Absolutely no refined sweeteners.

Why did you decide to do this challenge?
Because I thought it would be interesting.
What did you enjoy most about the month?
We tried new food.
What was the most surprising thing about this month?
How much things had processed sweeteners in them.
How did people react if you told them?
they didn't, they already knew are family did stuff like this.
What was the thing you disliked the most?
That people said "Just eat it. How will your mom know?!"
Did you notice any changes in yourself? (Emotions, thoughts, school work, physical?)
Yes, in school, physically (ran faster) and mentally (increased grades).
Are there any changes that we made that you want to continue?
There are only a few things I would like to change from what we did: Being able to eat treats from school and have a candy night. I liked how we were eating healthy all the time.
Was this challenge hard?
Not really.
Would you be willing to do this again? For how long? (another month, a year?) Yes for a day or two.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Last Week Without Sugar

First of all. Let me just say that I am tired of cooking. Everything. 3 meals each day (or making bread for the following day's lunch) and I am tired of it.

Pepperoni: Dextrose

French Fries: Dextrose

Bacon: Some form of sugar (though not all brands, they're are a couple that don't. I heard Albertson's brand doesn't have any sugar)

Hot dogs: Um, yeah.

We will be quitting a day early- April 29th will be our last refined sweetener free day. April 30 is a "Breakfast with Buddies" at school and they typically serve Costco muffins and the boys really enjoy going. They have already missed out on Dairy Queen's buy 1 blizzard get the 2nd one for $.25 and then on Wednesday night I heard that Baskin Robins is having their $.31 per scoop deal. Yeah, the boys are seriously bummed about that. Now, in case you're wondering... we don't typically go out for treats like that or even watch for sales, but the boy have their own money and if they ask me in advance and choose to spend their money that way, sometimes we do. We had some friends that went out for Blizzards and thought of inviting us but then changed their mind when they remembered our "no sugar" deal. So... that's a bummer. We went out to eat 2 this month (Brian and I). We went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I figured as long as we stick with protein (eggs, sausage) we should be ok. I actually haven't looked up ingredients of sausage. It wouldn't surprise me if there was sugar... it does seem to be in everything.
Biscuits don't typically have sugar in them.
We went out to a Mexican place for a date. We had Nachos- I think that was safe.

Being tired of cooking, I was grocery shopping today and decided to get something easy: Hot dogs and Mac & Cheese. Yeah, real healthy. I didn't even bother looking at Kraft or generic Mac & Cheese and went straight for Annie's. No sweeteners. Hot dogs: Hebrew National is the only one that doesn't have sugar of some sort.
So... my "cheap" dinner:

2 boxes mac & cheese: $1.42 ea
1 pk. hot dogs: $3.98
Total: $6.82
That fed 6 of us, we were still hungry and it wasn't even that great. Maybe I'm being cleansed of junk food so it doesn't taste good anymore...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Etsy Shop

(Visit our Etsy Store here)
I've been on a creative kick lately... maybe since I'm staying away from refined sweeteners I'm so oragnized that I have time to be creative. LOL Or, it could be that my husband has been out of work so I have more time to play around while he chases after Titus (who gets into everything!) I don't know. But I've been having fun! (BTW, he has found a job and I may fill my time with this type of stuff instead of those darn facebook games... and continue my creative kick!)

So I wanted to make a photo collage for this post, but our MAC is so old it doesn't run Picasa. Sad, I know. So I searched online for a collage maker and found one, but it made it too big and chopped half of it off when I published it on Blogger. I can't win. So I just uploaded some photos and here's my "sampling:"

So, please stop in and see the cute little aprons and baby things I have for sale!

Illusarts Quality Handcrafts

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh these days of no refined sweeteners...

So, Saturday Luke worked for a guy at church, doing outside stuff. He sent Luke home with a Jennie-O turkey. I was just going to make it for Sunday dinner and Brian started reading on it... they put a solution in it to make it "juicier" and the solution has sugar in it!! So... we couldn't eat the turkey. How crazy is that?!
And it's not only flour tortillas that have sugar- corn tortillas have Dextose in them. I did find one sour dough loaf of bread that did not have sugar- I think it comes out of Seattle. It was $4. for the loaf.

Snacks without sugar:
Fruits (Apples, bananas, oranges, etc)
Homemade bread (honey)
Tortilla chips (the ones I normally buy at Costco)
Hard boiled eggs

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Difficult Sundays

That's right- Sundays are difficult. Nursery: Graham crackers. Kids Sunday School: Oreos or "fruit" snacks. Birthday surprise for Naomi: Airheads. Leaving church: Pastor's candy bucket (UGG!) Sunday Lunch: Invited to dinner. BBQ... um, hamburger buns have sugar in them. Ok, Spaghetti then... um, most spaghetti sauces have sugar in them. Meatballs. *Ding ding ding ding* we have a winner! Ok... but then my dear friend (Love you Laura!!) seasoned the meatballs with seasoned breadcrumbs. And yes, if you've guessed sugar, you've guessed correctly. High Fructose Corn Syrup to be exact. We ate it and were thankful. (The meat balls were just seasoned and fried served with a fruit salad (Fruit, lemon juice and honey) and steamed broccoli.)

Another couple shockers for this week: Flour tortillas. Sugar. AND Mayonnaise (I actually have the one made with Olive Oil in my fridge). SUGAR.

My sugar cravings... I don't have any. Hm, that's nice!

I did want something sweet earlier this week, so I made a piece of toast (whole wheat bread) with butter and raw honey.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

No Refined Sugar Easter

This was a little harder. Not harder than I anticipated, I think it was a little easier than I anticipated, but still, hard to say no. We have a breakfast at church on Easter, so I signed up to bring a bread/pastry. Now, I can make some killer cinnamon rolls and I probably would have if we hadn't been doing this challenge.
I made a coffee cake with whole wheat and honey instead of sugar and put some mixed berries on top. Thankfully we made it through the line in time to get some of it, because it disappeared fast. I giggled to myself. They had no idea they were eating something so good for them! Quiche, sausage and fruit was also served, so we just had to pass by the pastries. You know, we avoided alot more than just sugar doing that. We avoided alot of trans fat and white flour as well.
We did not eat ham for Easter dinner- Do they make ham without corn syrup? We ended up eating a roast. I made a fruit dip with maple syrup, vanilla and cream cheese for dessert.
Grandma came over... it was as I feared. "Sugar-free" candy. Which contained maltose and aspartame. I don't blame her- she really did try. I should have given her ideas- fruit leathers from the health food store, etc. When you don't know the names of refined sugars it's hard to tell. My cousin was diagnosed with diabetes when he was little and I learned then that anything ending with "ose" was a sugar. Later when I learned more about the dangers of sugar substitutes I learned the different names of them as well.

I found this information in the article Refined Sugar - The Sweetest poison of All...: (Thanks Cara!)
"Many of our principal foods are converted into glucose in our bodies. Glucose is always present in our bloodstream, and it is often called "blood sugar". Dextrose, also called "corn sugar", is derived synthetically from starch. Fructose is fruit sugar. Maltose is malt sugar. Lactose is milk sugar. Sucrose is refined sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beet. Glucose has always been an essential element in the human bloodstream. Sucrose addiction is something new in the history of the human animal."

It hasn't even been a week yet and I have noticed how many things contain sugar. It's amazing. Why? Why is sugar in everything?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Red Eggs for Greek Easter

Each year we dye our Easter eggs red- and only red. I explain why in my Easter post in 2008. I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to dye my eggs red and my friend Christina mentioned onion peels. I was curious and I found this site.
One problem- (this was last year) I only had 1 day till Easter and it called for the dry skins of 15 onions. I had 2 little onions. So, I peeled as much dry "paper" off them as I could, put them in a 4 1/2 qt. stainless steel pan with 2 TB white vinegar. I boiled it for 30 minutes, with a lid on. Let that cool- decided not to really strain the water, because after all, I only had the skins of 2 onions!
After the water cooled, I place in my eggs and then turned the burner back on to hard boil them- as they cooked they turned a beautiful crimson color.
These photos aren't edited- this is the real color of the eggs! I will never go back to food coloring again- God's natural colors are so much more vibrant!!
Another bonus- the color didn't come off on our hands when we held them and cracked them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 1

Are you with me?

So far, so good... except we're spending a couple days up at my parent's. My mom does cook fairly healthy, but they have 5 kids still at home, and with our 5 and then my brother and his 4 will be there- so, with 20 people (14 being hungry kids), it's not always easy to make everything from scratch and sandwiches with store bought bread is much easier.

Next hard day: Easter Sunday breakfast at church... all those cinnamon rolls. Sorry kids. But hey, you get to write a blog post- remember how exciting that is?!


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