Tag Archives: Sugar

Lent has begun…

I don’t know if you know, but Lent has begun.


In Christianity, Lent is the 40 days before Easter and tradition has it that you should make a sacrifice during this time as a reflection of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all on Good Friday.  Thankfully, nothing as major as getting crucified is required, but I do try and do something challenging over Lent.  It seems only right to do that, given what He did for us.  Giving up chocolate doesn’t seem appropriate when I can take or leave it generally and rarely eat it anyway.

In years past I have given up caffeine.  That was really, really hard; not just on me but on anyone within ear shot of me.  I get really grumpy without caffeine.  So, in the spirit of being kind to my husband, I decided to give up sugar instead.

no sugar

Now, if I was being all medieval and hardass about it, I would give up all refined carbohydrates for Lent and just eat meat and fruit and vegetables.  However, having done the Atkins diet years ago, I know that style of eating is not as easy as it sounds.  I also learned that my body needs carbohydrates to work properly, and I do not want to go through the kind of pain my digestive tract put me through last time.

So, instead, I am giving up all the fake sugar and the added sugar that I seem rather adept at keeping in my diet, despite being careful about what I eat.  I am not going to drink diet or “full fat” sodas.  I am not going treat myself to candy or sweets.  I am not going to have pudding, dessert or fake sugared anything.  I am allowing myself to continue to eat fruit and vegetables though, so I won’t come down with scurvy or kill my nearest and dearest when I am jonesing for sugar.  Who knows, maybe I will be able to re-educate myself into craving an Orange rather than Fizzy Cola Bottles or Jelly Beans.  Yeah… I am not going to hold my breath on that one either!


So why sugar?  Well, I know I am addicted to it.  As a pre-diabetic (and I have been for nearly 20 years, which is allegedly impossible according to the medical textbooks, but I have managed it…!) I should avoid sugar anyway.  It is also not great for the eating plan I am following and having success with at the moment, and also, I have often had issues with candida infestations, so starving it of sugar is a really, really good idea.

Lent is going to be tough this year, no question, but I am hoping to come out of it with better habits than I went into it.  What are you giving up for Lent?


Make your own Hand scrub for those Gardeners Hands

Gardening, gardening, gardening.  I love it.  It means I am never bored, and always have something to do.  But it also means that I have some very filthy hands at the end of a day weeding and planting in the borders.  So, here is a recipe for making some of your own.  It could not be easier.

gardening quote

So, take a jar of your choice and fill it up 3/4 full with sugar.  Then fill the next quarter of the jar with dish washing detergent of your choice.  You can use any sort for greasy dishes.   Stir it all up and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.  Any essential oil that is antibacterial and antiseptic would be good.  You could use lemon oil, tea tree oil or lavender oil.  There should be a thick paste, and it will be incredibly useful.


Actually, it would make a great gift for a gardener in your family.  That, and may be a liniment for their sore joints!

garden quote 2

Just a spoonful of sugar…

Well, it would be okay if it was JUST a spoonful of sugar, but according to today’s media, it isn’t.  In fact, a contributing factor in the rise of obesity is that sugar is hidden everywhere, in lots of the things we eat and drink, thinking they are healthy for us or they are an acceptable occasional treat.  Here is a link to one article, but to be fair, it is EVERYWHERE today.  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/09/obesity-campaign-cut-sugar-processed-foods  They are even saying it is as dangerous and as addictive tobacco.

from the Daily Mail

from the Daily Mail

There is a new group of high profile of scientists and doctors who have launched a group called Action on Sugar.  They are campaigning for the food companies to reduce the amount of sugar that is in everyday products, like the soup, like cereals, like soft drinks.  A similar group had great success with the campaign to reduce salt in food.  Apparently, if the food manufacturers reduce the sugar slowly, then people won’t notice.  Our taste buds will adapt themselves.

Sugar causes more problems than just extra calories, leading to excess weight.  We all know that sugar causes tooth decay, but eating a lot of sugar in childhood increases the risk of those children developing fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes later on in life.  In fact, some of the scare stories in the tabloids have stated that there are more children developing these before adolescence.  If you take in a lot of sugar, in any form, you can build insulin resistance and that means you are on the path to getting type 2 Diabetes, unless you change your diet.  It is sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X.  Insulin Resistance means losing weight is INCREDIBLY difficult, among other things.

from Ocado.com website

from Ocado.com website

I was horrified to learn that there is the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar in Heinz Tomato Soup.  Good grief.  When I make tomato soup from scratch, no sugar enters the mix.  No wonder my soup tastes different, despite my best efforts.  Needless to say, sugar will NOT feature in my recipe going forward.  I do not need to eat any more calories!

So sugar is scary, and addictive, and the fact there is so much sugar in manufactured foods means that they need to reduce the amount they use.  Okay.  I can understand that argument.  I have a slightly more radical suggestion though.  Why don’t we eat food which hasn’t been manufactured?

ggrandmother food

If you eat food which your Great Grandmother would have recognised as food, then chances are you will be eating well.  You will probably also be eating fewer calories. Fewer calories in (and more calories out when you are chopping stuff up and moving around the kitchen) means you will lose weight, or at least not put more weight on. Eating fresh fruit instead of milk chocolate, eating salads instead of chips/French fries, eating butter instead of margarines and other manufactured spreads  – it has got to be better for you.  I am not saying you can’t eat chips.  You can.  Just make them yourself and bake them in the oven.  Delicious!

I know, from personal experience, it is not as easy as that.  I have struggled for years with obesity, and at the moment, I am considered by the medical community to be morbidly obese.  That is down to my Body Mass Index calculation, and that is another argument for another blog post, but still, I know I am overweight and I need to lose a significant amount of it.  The way I am doing it, is to cook from fresh, reduce my portions, increase my exercise and count my calories.   It will be a long road, but the destination will be worth it.

What one change can you make to your diet to reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming?