Saturday, January 02, 2016

Day 2/31: NO ADDED SUGAR month

I was very proud of my accomplishment yesterday of eating no added sugars (no white sugar, no cane sugar, no honey, no maple syrup) so that gave me the motivation to do it again today. It sounds like an easy thing to do - removing added sugar from your diet but it is harder than it sounds. I am a huge baker so it has the added complication of not doing something I love to do. 

Today I had a parfait of chia seeds and oatmeal soaked in almond milk (prepared ahead of time last night). The seeds and oatmeal soaked up quite a bit of the almond milk and had a nice creamy consistency. 

I used half of the mixture and layered it with my homemade kefir and frozen blueberries which I thawed. It almost looks like something in a food magazine. I just had to take a picture. 

From what I have read, if you are cutting added sugar from your diet in a sudden kind of way, you'll often get headaches because your body is craving it. So far, I have not had any cravings or headaches but I've also been cutting back drastically since Christmas Eve.  

With no lunchtime craving and needing to eat something before my 1:00 pm massage appointment, I had a tuna melt with the rest of the tuna I had from last night. I had a very relaxing massage and came home to a nice hot cup of green tea and a slice of Balderson's Old Cheddar. I love Bothwell Cheddar as well but I wanted something different. Bothwell Cheese is truly Manitoban and one of the best cheeses you can eat. It is rich and creamy and tastes like a piece of heaven. 

Since I've been off for the Christmas break, I am finding every little occasion to cook. Today it was bora (long beans) with potatoes, tomatoes and coconut milk. Then it was eggplant with salted cod, shrimp and tomatoes. I had a feast at dinner with roti and some left over spinach I cooked a couple days ago. 

Oh yes, I also made some turkey divan with turkey breast I froze from Christmas dinner. I will have that for lunch or dinner tomorrow. I love the tart taste of the cheese sauce which was made with my homemade chicken stock and my homemade kefir which I thickened to Greek yogourt consistency by straining through a coffee filter. The original recipe from 30+ years ago calls for yogourt but since I make my own kefir, it made sense to use it. Besides, it's taking over my home because I have so much. 

It's now 8:00 PM and I made it through Day 2 with no sugar craving AND NO ADDED SUGAR! 
Off for another 3000 steps on the trampoline before calling it a night. I am treating myself to 23 minutes of a PVRd segment of America's Test Kitchen which should complete my additional steps. 

Friday, January 01, 2016

Day 1/31: NO ADDED SUGAR for me

First of all, Happy New Year to you! 

Now, here is my plan for the next 31 days. Why 31? Welllll, it's exactly 31 days till my birthday on February 1. So that gives me a real goal to work toward. And if I can do it, it'll only be another 29 till the end of the leap year month. And if I can do that, it'll only by 31 days till my baby Subhadra's birthday on March 31. 

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks but the important thing that gave me a kick in the rear was my doctor calling me to discuss the results of my annual blood work. She gave me the good news first - my bad cholesterol is low (a good thing); my good cholesterol is high (a great thing); my cholesterol ratio is excellent; my hemoglobin and all the other markers are excellent. So far, so good. Then the not-so-good news: my A1C levels are creeping up - that is, my blood sugar is going up and with a genetic disposition from both parents and almost every extended family, she suggested that I should consider starting metformin. That was a definite NO! as in NO WAY. I told her that I was not as faithful to my diet and exercise routine over the last few months so I pledged to clean up my act. 

This was the day before Christmas Eve which was timely because it meant that I either indulged in Christmas baking and start watching my sugar intake starting today or start on December 23 and work my way into a full-fledged "No Sugar Added" month. So here I am on New Year's day, and I am now at the end of a successful Day 1. 

Now, can I tell you what a challenge it was? I started the year off at midnight with a plate of good at the New Year's Eve party we went to. There were two salads, peas and rice, chicken, Guyanese fruit cake and Guyanese sponge cake. I took a small amount of salad, a piece of chicken and some rice. That was it. I drank water with a piece of lime all evening. I felt I could indulge because I was dancing during the night. No fruit cake. No sponge cake. 

When I woke up, I had a serving of almond milk which I made yesterday (no reason for that except that I heard it was good but I did not love the first glass). I mixed a tablespoon of chia seeds and let it sit for 30 minutes. I added a splash of vanilla and some ground cinnamon and had that at 10:30am It was better today but I am getting used to it. It's great in coffee though. The picture below is actually my concoction for tomorrow's breakfast with some oatmeal added. It still has to swell so I'll see what it looks and tastes like tomorrow. 

Then it was off to Government House for the Annual New Year's Levee. There were a variety of finger sandwiches including salmon, eggs, meat and veggie. There was also shortbread and fruitcake. I had a couple of sandwiches which was less than a regular whole sandwich but I had no shortbread nor cake. There was fruit punch, coffee, tea, and wine but I had some Perrier water with a twist of lime. Everyone around me was saying how good the cake and shortbread was but I don't like fruitcake and the shortbread was dipped in chocolate (don't like that either) so it was rather easy not to eat it.

Not feeling like a regular dinner tonight, I had some hummus and plantain chips, and an open-faced tuna melt on a half of a ciabatta bun with grilled mozzarella cheese on top. A nice cup of matcha tea was all I needed later. 

Day 1 was successful. There's only another 30 days and I now have a buddy - Beatrice - accompanying me on this journey. 

I told my doctor I will be back to see her in exactly three months by which time my A1C levels will be within an acceptable range. If it is not, it WILL NOT be because I did not do all I could with my diet. It will be the part I cannot control - my genetics. 

A little more about A1C. You can have normal fasting blood glucose levels when you wake up but that doesn't mean that your blood glucose is normal. The A1C test gives you the blood glucose readings over the last 2-3 months and it does not depend on fasting blood glucose but throughout the day. So I may be doing fine in the mornings but not doing so well during the day. If I am not exercising as much as I normally do and if I don't pay attention to my diet, then the levels will rise. Now that I am super vigilant, I am finding that there are many healthy things that are high sugar - like some fruits. I eat an apple a day and often grapes too but they are highest in fructose which is the bad kind of sugar as are cherries which I love to eat in the summer. Fortunately, I like berries and they are the best fruits to eat that are lower in fructose. Ah man! Here I thought I was eating pretty healthy with lots of fruits, veggies, fish and low to no red meats but this no-sugar-added month is making me work hard at figuring things out. 

Join me on Day 2 and I am sure the journey will be easier.  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Guyana's 50th anniversary celebrations starting in Januray

As the Honorary Consul of Guyana to Manitoba, I am chairing a committee that is planning a series of events to celebrate Guyana's Golden Jubilee of its independence. We have at least one event planned for each month of 2016 and they include this Interfaith Service and these others: 
  • Reception, 
  • Valentine's Dance (Feb.) 
  • Cultural potluck (Feb.), 
  • Senior's information session (Feb.), 
  • Health forum (March), 
  • Spring Tea (April), 
  • Gala banquet (May), 
  • Golf tournament (June)
  • Picnic (July),  
  • Fishing trip (August), 
  • Bus trip (August)
  • Youth forum (Sept)
  • Children's Christmas party (Dec.) 
  • Adult Christmas party (Dec.)
  • Old Year's Night/New Year's Eve dinner/dance (Dec.). 

If you are in Winnipeg on January 17, we would love to see you. If you cannot be here but know any Guyanese who live in Winnipeg who may like to attend, please forward this information to them. 

Check back here for more information to future events.