Monday, October 27, 2008

It's everywhere - WHY?

While in an airport recently, I treated myself to a bag of plain potato chips (Baked Lay's) without reading the label first. They tasted a bit odd, and sure enough, the label said that in the 32 g of chips, there were 2 grams of sugar. I threw the rest of the bag away.

There is usually sugar in barbeque and "all dressed" chips -- read the labels! -- but what on earth could be the motivation for adding sugar to plain potato chips? It just baffles me. To increase the addictive qualities of the chips is the only reason I can think of.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catching up

Hello, my apologies for not having posted for such a long time. The sugar-free-year stil continues and is going well!

Things have been hectic in my personal life, though -- my Mum had a stroke on September 8 and I have been travelling a lot to see her (1600-km round trip each time), hence the lack of regular posts.

It was a large hemorrhagic stroke due to an aneurysm, which in turn was probably due to high blood pressure -- will research the effects of sugar on blood pressure and get back to you. My aunt died of a cerebral aneurysm, so perhaps this is a familial tendency I can head off with careful diet.

Meanwhile, I know all my friends will be sending encouragement and sympathy on behalf of Mum -- thank you in advance! She is still in hospital and will shortly move to an extended care home.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sugar-free year continues!

Still continuing sugar-free -- the only drawback (as I mentioned in the previous post), is that because my appetite is dampened compared to what it used to be, in stressful situations it tends to almost disappear.

My wonderful boss recently announced he's leaving, and the resulting uncertainty at work has caused me to lose a few pounds -- I actually have to force myself to eat. I'm hoping some vigorous exercise today coupled with a delicious dinner tonight with friends will reverse this trend!

It's interesting -- I always used to wonder when reading Dickens, Austen, etc. how the characters could lose their appetites when stressed. Modern North Americans seem to do the reverse ("comfort eating"). Now I understand, as this is exactly what happens to me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Japanese attitudes to sugar

We're currently hosting a Japanese high-school student, Takuya Kozai, for three weeks. He and his classmates, who are staying with other host families in our city, frequently (though very politely, of course) comment on the large portions and the sweetness of Western food.

For example, we took Takuya out for Chinese food, and he found the Lemon Chicken much too sweet. He and his friend Yasuhiro also laughed incredulously when I served them THREE scoops of ice cream -- this struck them as totally excessive and sent them off on a discussion of the general largeness of North American life, including enormous shopping centres, cars, etc. (Our local shopping centre is actually quite small compared to those in Vancouver!) As well, Takuya has told me a couple of times that the packed lunches I send for him are too large. . . I'm slowly learning!

A couple of times during the visit I've eaten sugar by mistake (e.g., setting hospitable example and eating Japanese dumplings with (sugary) dipping sauce, eating at a restaurant) -- the resulting increase in sugar cravings and general appetite is surprising.

On the other hand, I've discovered a pitfall -- in times of stress, my appetite tends to diminish anyway, and this effect is even more pronounced now that I'm sugar-free. Last week I was so busy and tired that without realizing it, I didn't eat enough, and almost fainted at work (to the alarm the colleague with whom I was meeting at the time).

Perhaps due to aforesaid stress/busy-ness, weight is now 136.5 lb - inching closer to high-school weight of 128. Having said that, though, I feel very strongly that body composition is much more important than weight -- better to be heavier and leaner than thin and flabby, as I am now. But I can fix that!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Want to avoid cancer? Be "as lean as possible," study advises

This site sumarizes a report released in October 2007 by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The report describes the results of five years of study, during which nine teams of scientists reviewed 7,000 studies on diet, exercise, weight and cancer.

They concluded that cancer isn't something that "just happens" -- rather, it's the long-term result of dietary influences and other factors.

Their #1 recommendation for preventing cancer? "Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight."

This means having a body mass index of between 21 and 23.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Licorice temptations

weeping-willow Flickr Photo (CC)

My recent visit to my mother was a challenge:
  • I forgot to mention about the sugar-free year, so she'd scattered bowls of licorice allsorts and jelly beans around to welcome me (so kind!)
  • She's quite forgetful and kept offering and re-offering the candy, even after I'd explained. After the tenth time, I just said, "Not right now, thanks!"
  • I was hungry from travelling!
But, I was able to resist!

Continued weight loss

poppalina Flickr Photo (CC)

Two days ago (while travelling) I weighed in at 137.5 pounds (62.4 kilos), the lowest in more than 10 years. This is exciting!

I wasn't trying to lose weight, as my starting weight of 143 pounds was fairly healthy at my height of 5'8" (1.72 m). However, I'm happy with the loss, as I have a small frame and feel it suits me.

According to this chart, which references frame size, I'm now solidly in the "weight with lowest mortality rate" slot -- but before the SFY started, I was slightly above.

Hmmm, maybe my starting weight wasn't so healthy after all.