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Since starting to juice, my uncontrollable sugar addiction, has drastically changed.  There is zero pull toward sugar, where before I was so addicted I had to have it daily.  I couldn’t pass by something sugary and sweet without HAVING to have a bite.  Juicing changed all of that for me, Praise God!  I’ve been a sugar addict my whole life.  I remember eating strawberries on a hot summers day with my friend growing up, we would dip the strawberries in sugar.   Don’t forget the pounds and pounds of sugar that would be consumed by drinking kool-aid, my drink of choice as a kid.  Pretty much everything processed has some kind of sugar in it, I had my morning coffee with sugar in it, so I think it is safe to say that I had sugar for every meal.  In Hungry for Change they estimated that we (meaning Americans, or those eating an “American” diet) eat 26 teaspoons of sugar…get this… a day!

 

Français : Echantillons de différents sucres, ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In high school I started having some issues in the female department.  I will spare you the details, but the doctors one suggestion to me at the time was to stop eating sugar.  I was probably 16 at the time and thought that it was the most funny suggestion ever, I mean…WHO quits sugar!?  Not to mention, how does one quit something that is almost everything good?  I do have to wish I could go back to my 16-year-old shelf, shake her profusely and get cracking on quitting sugar.  Not only do I have PCOS, which causes hormonal imbalance as well as insulin resistance (um…pre diabetes anyone?) but a sugar addict on top of it? In Hungry for Change, Kris Carr (who got cancer at 31 and starred in the movie Crazy Sexy Cancer) talked about how she was so addicted to sugar that she would binge then throw her food away, then she would pick through the garbage and the only way for her to not eat the food she threw in the trash was to spray it with windex!  Talk about addictive!

So why is sugar SO bad for us?  Well I just found 146 reasons, you can view them here.  I picked out a few of my “favorites”

  • Sugar can suppress the immune system.
  • Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
  • Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  • Sugar can weaken eyesight.
  • Sugar can produce an acidic digestive tract.
  • Sugar can cause appendicitis. (this is a shock… and I had my appendix out in 2006!)
  • Sugar can cause varicose veins. (very-close-veins)
  • Sugar can increase cholesterol.
  • Sugar can make the tendons more brittle.
  • Sugar can cause depression.
  • Sugar feeds cancer

I have restricted my sugar intake since the juicing started.  I have attempted to quit sugar before, right after my 30th birthday actually.  Initially I had a whole bunch of addictive signs, craving, head aches etc.  I still craved it though.  A teeccino and stevia with milk did help me, but I still had cravings, until I started juicing.  Now any time I think I want something sweet, some pineapple and strawberries cut up in a bowl is perfect to satisfy.

60 minutes just did a segment, Is Sugar Toxic?  It’s nice to see mainstream media looking into real problems with our health, not be pushers for the drug companies.  I do disagree with some things in the segment, like evolution (I was created, I didn’t “evolve”), and the fact that high fructose corn syrup is “just as bad” as sugar.  I personally think it’s worse… like the said in Hungry for Change HFCS is from corn but it’s so concentrated it’s like running jet fuel, rather than gas, through your car.  Bottom line, cut the sugar out.  Stevia is an amazing alternative.  I used it just this weekend to bake some cookies, along with a banana they were sweet and wonderful.  I am also an advocate for raw local honey.  Sugar has it’s place in my kitchen, it feeds my kefir water.  I can honestly say I think that should be the end of the relationship with sugar.  We as a people should not be so addicted to it, it’s not right and not healthy.  Is sugar toxic? Uh…yeah.  Quit now while you’re ahead 🙂

 

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Hubby and I have been juicing since last week but really changed everything on Sunday.  Don’t get me wrong, we have been doing smoothies every morning and we eat fairly healthy as a whole, but Sunday was a turning point.  We started juicing as our main source of nutrition, have eaten very little else, and have been starting to feel the goods and bads along with it.  This will not be a glamorous list, but it’s true and if you decide to get into major juicing then these are some things you can expect.

First off let me give it to you straight as far as what is going into our mouths.  Every morning we start out with a smoothie, that used to be made with raw milk, now I’ve been using water.  I add a banana, kelp, spirulina, dulce, carob and wheat grass powders to it, with a little stevia and blend.  I drink this on my way to work and it fills me up.  We wake up and juice as well.  We juice what we have and right now we have abundance because we wanted to not feel “deprived.”  We juice most of these things together: kale, chard, celery, cilantro, parsley, broccoli, carrot, apple, ginger, beet, kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, jicama.   We don’t always add everything, the kiwi, pineapple and strawberries are eaten when we want something sweet.  Last night I cut up pineapple, kiwi and a banana and it was so good, plus it got rid of that sweet tooth.  We have had bone broth soup, I ate the last of some organic crackers I had at work, we’ve snacked on nuts, drank tea, even have peanut butter (all these are mainly organic too)… so we’re not going “crazy” but we are also not eating a whole lot other than juice.  We also just got an order of Teeccino in, oh my goodness this stuff is my favorite!  We are not drinking raw milk, we aren’t eating much meat in fact I haven’t had any since Saturday, we do plan on eating our eggs, and big huge salads!  I think the main thing here is staying off processed foods, processed meats and sugar and increasing juicing and fresh raw veggies and fruits.  Ok so that’s the lifestyle, I almost called it a “diet.”  It’s not…it’s a lifestyle.

Lets jump right into the positives, well positives so far that is.  First off I notice my body is actually wanting the juice.  You actually feel it energizing your cells and I think my body likes that. 🙂  When we juice I get a weird giddy energy, I want to drink the juice really badly.  Second, I notice higher energy levels.  That said, today I don’t feel that as much.  There is a certain detox period, that will be covered in the cons section.  The energy levels are super high after drinking the juice.  Hubby and I spent tons of time outside Saturday, came in and juiced and all of a sudden we were back up cleaning our house.  I also feel happier, I don’t know how to describe it, but I do feel a bit “lighter” in the head and heart.  My craving for sugar is reduced drastically.  I’m a sugar-aholic, Hi I’m Corri and I’m a sugar-aholic.  I actually remember a doctor telling me to try to stop eating sugar in high school, I laughed… oh if I would have listened!  Anyway, I notice that I am not tempted like I use to be or would be if I went on a “diet.”  A patient brought in some thank you caramels yesterday, they stare at me every time I walk in the break room, but I don’t have the urge to grab one like I used to.  I mean I can stop the whole positive section with this alone!  This is huge, especially for me.  I think this can prove that my body is getting all it’s nutrition and it doesn’t have to crave something, because it’s getting all it needs.  I am also having very regular bowel movements.  I consider this a plus.  I am satisfied, I’m not generally hungry, there are some occasions this is not the case but for the most part I’m full.

Now the cons.  I’m going to start with the most unpleasant, gas.  I don’t know what it is about eating raw food, but when I started looking around at people eating a new raw diet, the big complaint was gas.  Yesterday was worse than today, and I suspect it goes away, but maybe grab some lavender oil in some type of spray bottle if you work around others. 🙂  Diarrhea, really do I have to say much more?  It’s not horrible, and it didn’t start right away but there is generally a day or two where this might be a time you want to have a bathroom close by.  Headaches, I’m starting to get them more.  I think it’s from the sugar honestly, but it could be a number of things.  See when you go through something like this, there is most certainly a detox period.  In the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe says that he wanted to stay in bed the first two days of his juice fast.  You feel a disconnect from the world, but also you are going through some major body changes.  Especially if you ate pretty rotten up until the point of the fast.  Hubby and I ate pretty well, sure we still enjoyed a treat here and there… but we didn’t live on McDonald’s and Taco Bell before doing this, in fact I can’t remember the last time I’ve even had them (in my 20’s I lived on that junk).   If you do, you might want to take a couple of days off and allow your healing to begin, alone.    Today I’m hungry.  I don’t know what it is, but I am.  I am also pretty tired today, again this could be a detox thing as well.  So combined with a headache, hunger and the tired I’m a little grumpy.  I want to stress A LITTLE, I’m in no way shape or form the type of grumpy I used to be (which is a huge pro).  OOPS! I forgot to mention I have a bit of a foggy head by the end of the day, that happened to me yesterday too.  And I’m dealing with some body acne, again I’m sure this is detox, this stuff has to get out of my body some way.  I guess my skin is taking the brunt of it for now.

I think that getting the right nutrition packed into juice, my body is finally on a path of healing.  God‘s way of healing, not some voodoo or some pill.  God’s creation is allowing me to become healthy again and I am forever grateful for that.  Over all I feel absolutely amazing!  I’ve been telling my coworkers all about it, I want everyone to hear about this.  I feel renewed, I feel healthy and oddly enough I keep thinking the weight has already dropped off because I just feel lighter.  Can’t be a bad thing!

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About a year ago I got milk kefir grains from a nice person on craigslist.   I thought it would be a wonderful way to get probiotics into our bodies.  It worked, for a bit.  I just couldn’t get use to the very pungent tasting drink.  Even with fruit and sweetener I just couldn’t get over the tart taste.  But the stuff in the grocery store is SO good!!  I thought for sure I would enjoy it, turns out the amount of sugar that is added to the stuff you get at the grocery store would spike your blood sugar so high you’d be doing the Freddy on the front porch.  (or maybe that was when I had my first cup of coffee…)  Either way I couldn’t do it, hubby on the other hand enjoyed it, or so I thought.  Turns out he just liked the probiotics and the protein from the milk.  We were using raw cows milk but have since switched to raw goats milk, but I gave up the idea of milk kefir a long time ago.  By the way I pronounce it KEY-FUR.  So I found a yahoo group about Kefir and joined.  A few days later a wonderful woman who lives not far from where I work dropped off some water kefir grains.  Basically it’s the same probitoic goodness in the milk kefir but no milk, Yay!  It is supposed to taste like a soda of some sort.  This lady gave me directions, 1/2 cup of grains to 1/3 cup sugar, fruit and 4 cups water (well you start out with 5 cups water, but you simmer the water and fruit and it reduces).  She was using ginger and I’m sure it makes a wonderful ginger ale type drink, which I make in a lacto-fermented soda, I’ll post that later.  So I wanted to try fruit, we have an abundance of frozen blueberries that hubby harvested so I used blended blueberries, water, and the fruit then I made my first mistake, I added the grains.  There are two different ways to do kefir water, one says to put the grains in a small sack (burlap/cheese cloth type) then you can easily remove the grains, the other says just put it all together and then you can just wash the grains off when you’re straining it.  After 48 hours I strained and found that I couldn’t separate the fruit bits out of the grains!  Of course you have to rinse with cold water and after my fingers were numb I figured it was a lost cause.  I grabbed out as many big grains out that I could and fed the rest to the chickens.

With my first lesson over, we drank the “juice.”  It was sweet and yet had a fermented/wine type smell.  It didn’t taste fermented it tasted sweet.  The next batch I added frozen blueberries, in a large pot with 10 cups of water (I’m doubling the recipe) and simmered.  After that I strained off the blueberries, added my sugar and let the mixture cool.  After it was cool enough to the touch (what is cool enough? well it felt cool to the touch, not warm…) I poured it into two half-gallon jars and added the grains.  Let it sit 48 hours and again, success!  Sweet goodness.

My third attempt, again another lesson in this one.  But we do learn from the mistakes don’t we?  It’s hard to make the same mistakes twice.  This time I decide I want to try Elderberry.  Hubby and I LOVE Elderberry.  God made these perfect blue/purple berries that not only make one of the best wines I’ve ever tried, and some amazing muffins, but it also is an immune system booster.  Many cough and cold remedies have Elderberry in them.  So we generally harvest a lot of berries, last year our buckets were OVER FLOWING with these beautiful little berries.  The only “bad” thing is the seed, it is quite big for the little berry, and it’s got this crunch that you can’t really explain, you just have to try.  Too many seeds can be bad, only because there is just too much crunch.  Oh and I forgot to mention it makes an amazing jam too!  Ok… back to the subject at hand.  So when I’ve made Elderberry soda before (with the lacto-fermented version) it was VERY explosive, which leads me to believe that the sugars are eaten up pretty quickly, and ferments quickly.  I followed the same rules for the kefir water and left it for 48 hrs, but the end of that time there was obvious fizz on the top of the jar.  We strained it and this batch smelt VERY fermented, in fact I was a bit apprehensive to try it.  Hubby went first, bless his heart.  He likes it!  So I give it a go, when you don’t take a big inhale before you drink it’s really great, when you do you get that fermented smell first then you can’t help but taste it.  It seems to have settled down in the fridge, although that could just be my brain playing tricks on me.  But what I would do different, is probably add less grains, more sugar and maybe even ferment it less time, or a combination of these things.

Kefir water is a hit in our house.  Hubby is even considering retiring his milk grains for a bit.  They can keep in the freezer so can the water kefir grains actually.  This way if and when he’s ready for milk kefir again he can have them, and when our water grains multiply like crazy then we can save some, and give some away.  I think too many people don’t do “nice” things anymore, everyone seems to expect something and no one can truly get something for nothing.  I do think it’s important to share, I mean isn’t that one of the first things in life we learned?  So I plan on extending my water grains to some folks on craigslist, and maybe here if anyone is listening. 😉

Happy Kefiring (totally just made that up, I think)!

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