Quitting Sugar - Extreme EditionThough I haven’t been doing regular weekly updates here, I’m still all about the benefits of quitting sugar. In fact, in just about every way, I’ve gone further than ever before on my own journey. In fact, I’ve gone extreme! But I’ll explain that in a minute.

When I first gave up sugar, I stopped eating any food that had “sugar” listed as an ingredient, even though it may have contained no carbohydrate. My goal has always been to find what’s going to work best for me, for my body and health, while also enjoying the pleasures of life. But that’s a tough thing to sort out because many “authorities” in various dietary camps tell a different story about the “perfect diet”. Well, it may turn out that the so-called perfect diet is a fairy tale.

Since October of 2011, my own understanding has changed many times. I’ve gotten mixed messages from far too many different sources. Each source seems like an authority and makes so much sense. Just when I think I’ve found a perfect source, something overturns the apple cart and I’m back to my normal diet confusion. Have you been there? What’s “good for you” one day, is “bad for you” another day. What you thought was a healthy diet turns out to be the very diet that’s making people unhealthy. It’s hard to stick to any kind of healthy lifestyle when you’re constantly confused by the different experts telling opposite stories. Then add in everybody else dumping their tw0-cents on you.

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How I'm Currently Eating - Quitting SugarIn a recent thread on my Quitting Sugar Facebook Page, I was asked a question about how I’m eating and specifically, if I avoid grains. So I decided to post an overview of how I’m eating lately. I’ve love to read your version of how you’re eating as well. I like to observe how other people eat. It gives me ideas, and that’s always great because it keeps things interesting.

When I first quit sugar, I was so strict that if the nutrition panel on a product listed zero carbohydrates but sugar was listed among the ingredients, I wouldn’t buy it. However, I’m always learning more and my knowledge and beliefs are evolving.

While I believe there isn’t one way to eat that’s right for everyone, staying relatively low in carbs is always a good idea. So that’s still my primary focus. Quitting sugar is a good move on all levels and has had a big impact on my life. So I’m going to break down how I typically eat on a daily basis. I’m not going to get super detailed. I mainly want to share an overview. So here’s an honest look at how I’m currently eating.

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P90X – Interrupted

No matter how good your intentions are, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And all you can do is get back on track as soon as possible. Last October, my wife and I decided to start the P90X exercise program. After almost a year since quitting sugar, we decided to get our exercise groove on and P90X, the extreme fitness program, was our method of choice.

We started and successfully completed the first month of P90X and, as expected, it was tough! But more than that, it seemed to consume most of our evenings, which is when we chose to workout, since our days were spent working. If we weren’t working out for about an hour and a half each evening, then we were chopping, mixing, and preparing foods, and cooking dinner. But this is what we signed up for when we decided to follow the diet program that comes with P90X. There’s no pre-packaged foods or a jumbo list of approved foods from popular restaurants. Whatever you put into your mouth was primarily real food. That meant a lot of time would be spent preparing each meal.

I’m planning to write about the complications we encountered as a result of following the P90X diet plan very soon. So watch for that one.

Time to Get Moving

During the first 30 days of P90X, my wife and I were also involved in something else that was equally, if not more, important than P90X. And that was, selling our house. So when we started P90X, we were also trying to coordinate contractors and various people who we needed to work on our house so we could begin showing it.

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Have you considered quitting sugar but don’t know if you have the discipline to pull it off?

Are you thinking about cutting back on carbs but you don’t want to eliminate some of your favorite foods?

As with most things in life, quitting sugar isn’t one-size-fits-all. It might just be possible that you should consider other options rather than quitting sugar cold-turkey. But what other options do you have? Let’s explore this.

Food for Thought

I sometimes like to go against the “whole” grain. Especially when it seems like people aren’t thinking for themselves. A lot of people learn something new, hear it repeated ad nauseam, make assumptions, and then stop questioning things. Bad move. That’s where I come in. I like to speak plainly and honestly so you might make a more informed choice. It’s not that I have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions, which leads to a great deal of critical reasoning, and that’s a good thing.

The truth is, some people shouldn’t give up sugar. Yes, yes, I know. In the nutritional-eating world, I’ve just committed a dozen sins. But somebody has to say what needs to be said.

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Quitting sugar was a turning point in my life. And as I continue to learn and explore about health and nutrition as well as conduct my own experiments, my perspective continually shifts. My goal is to understand nutrition and what works best for me. But nutrition is only one part of a healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal. If you want to have a healthy body that will allow you to live a long and active life, you’ll eventually need to add exercise to the mix. That’s why I’ve decided to go extreme by starting the P90X program. Plus, this give me another opportunity to conduct another experiment.

In this video, I’ll show you my basement before we transformed it into our P90X gym. Also, I’ll talk about starting P90X and why I’m using the diet program that comes with P90X, which means taking in more carbs than I presently do. This is going to be an exciting journey. Stay tuned so you can watch my transformation. And check out some of my “Before” pictures below.

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As we age, we tend to get bogged down with the things of life. We’re not as active as we were in our teens and twenties. The obligations and responsibilities of things like work, family, and owning a home distracts us from staying fit. Eating on-the-go, and trying to stay on top of things means we’re not always as careful with nutrition, and exercise gets put at the end of the To-Do list, and we never seem to reach the end.

Before I quit eating sugar, back in October 2011, I was feeling the effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. I was beginning to think that my body was wearing out because it’s suppose to as we age. Right? But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. I still felt young in many ways and it didn’t make sense that I should be feeling so run-down, tired, and weak. What happened to the edge I had just a few years earlier? No! I refused to believe that my body was aging so rapidly. Something was wrong, and I was starting to feel desperate….no, determined to figure out how to reverse the feeling that I was falling apart.

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I was shocked to learn just how damaging sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener is on the body. The book Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes, laid out all the scientific evidence and left a paper (or link) trail that anyone could follow if they want to verify the data for themselves. While the information is still a bit controversial, in spite of the validated research (which is open to individual interpretation), I applied my own critical reasoning and felt I could trust my own judgement. This is partly why I quit eating sugar. Anyone who joins the quitting sugar or low carbohydrate community will become familiar with the health consequences of over-consuming sugar. They also become familiar with the many experts who make certain claims about various foods and why they should be avoided. One such person is Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, who makes this claim:

“People are usually shocked when I tell them that whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose. Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”

I’ve come across this claim being referred to on many blogs, podcasts and word-of-mouth. It seems to be widely accepted as true. And [full-disclosure] I like Dr. William Davis and his message, therefore, I accepted his claim when I heard it, even though it seemed a little surprising. Of course, if everybody is saying it, then it must be true, right?

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