Fall 2012 30-Day Challenge: Week 1September 11, 2012
Throughout each Real Food 30 Day Challenge, we try to provide online and in-gym support to those who are new to this whole ‘cooking and eating real foods’ thing. This time around, I’ll be posting weekly blog posts in which each participant is encouraged to talk back and forth in the Comments section, swapping stories of evil cake-wielding co-workers, triumphs over alcohol cravings when out with friends, asking “can I eat this?” questions, and sharing recipes.
The blog posts will be slightly more fact-driven and maybe a little too science-y for some people. We have a record number of repeat-challengers, and we think that warrants some higher level info. You’ve earned the right to know what the heck is going on in your body when you slip from 100% Paleo back to 80% (or less) over the summer, and why it’s so hard to come back to 100%.
If you are brand new to this, and aren’t ready for the science behind everything, then just skip this post and spend your time on Paleo recipe websites! Just remember to come back here and post in the Comments section every day or few days, to keep the conversation going.
This week’s topic is SUGAR! Sweet, evil sugar.
Here is a VERY condensed, oversimplified version of what happens in your body when you consume too much sugar. (Remember that sugar is shoved into just about ALL processed foods. We aren’t talking about eating teaspoons of table sugar here). This info is adapted from a paragraph in the book It Starts With Food from the good people at Whole9. They say it more eloquently, and have tons of info to expand upon these concepts, so I highly recommend you go out and get their book after reading my Cliff Notes version.
Here’s the vicious cycle:
The “=” means “equals” and the “->” means, “which leads to”
Sugar over-consumption = excess sugar in the bloodstream -> Insulin Resistance. Your body is so overwhelmed with sugar that it no longer responds to it by sending in insulin to bring blood sugar levels back down. Blood sugar stays high.
Excess sugar in the bloodstream -> Triglyceride formation and Leptin Resistence. (Leptin is the hormone tells your brain that you are full and don’t need to eat anymore. When leptin stops working, you keep eating.)
Lots of triglycerides = fat accumulation in your cells -> excess body fat.
ANALOGY: You know when an old lady walks into the room and her perfume REEKS but she can’t seem to smell it at all? Her sense of smell has become resistant to the smell because it was so overwhelming when she first put it on. She doesn’t smell it anymore. Well, your body is that old lady, and sugar is the perfume. You’ve gotten into a horrible cycle of overeating it and your body has come to rely on it to function. It barely recognizes what “sweet” tastes like any more, and requires you to eat so much of it, in an effort to feel satisfied.
Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. Edible non-foods (anything in a package, with ingredients you can’t understand) are specifically engineered to cause this cycle. After all, companies want you to buy more of their foods, right? It’s just good (for them) business.
Now that you are enlightened, you can pick out the times over the course of the next 30 days when you are craving a sugary non-food treat, you can make a better choice, and you can get on with your day. You’ll also have several instances where fruit all of the sudden tastes sweeter than you remember. Heck, even some vegetables taste sweeter. Those are your taste buds coming back to life, after years of being dulled. Welcome to an awesome real-food existence. I have a feeling you’re going to like it!
Discussion topics: Here’s some things you can talk about in the comments section:
- What did you eat today for breakfast?
- What did you cook on Sunday? What is your favorite meal to cook?
- How do you plan on tackling your first weekend on the 30 day challenge? Do you have any plans that involved potentially non-approved food/drinks? Let us know and we can all help. We’ve been there, too.
- Has anyone at work asked you what you’re eating for lunch, or why you won’t go in on the pizza that everyone ordered? How did you answer?