Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tis the season to use lots of sunscreen! In the past I've really struggled with the issue of using sunscreen because of the many harmful ingredients in most of them. Everybody acts like it's a no-brainer to use sunscreen to protect from future skin cancer....but what kind of protection is it to use toxic chemicals that can cause cancer? Yikes.

I was really pleased to see this list explaining about the carcinogens and toxins that are commonly used in sunscreens at the Good Guide. You can read all about it here. (Be sure to read about the dangers of Triclosan--you can barely find soap products in stores that don't have this in them. I've even seen baby products, high chairs, toys, and kitchen equipment infused with this dangerous chemical. I avoid it every chance I get.)

I am extremely happy to have a truly safe, effective, organic sun screen available in the store. We have been using it and finding that it works well. A little goes a long way, so one tube seems to be lasting us pretty well. Although it goes on white, thanks to the zinc oxide, it rubs in pretty well.

There is an entire product line of safe, organic body care products available from Miessence. We are loving everything we use from them, and see that it goes a long way. You can get safe foaming hand soap, some lovely skin care products, and lots more.

Farmer's Market

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farmer's Market

Last Saturday was the opening day of our local Farmer's Market. This small town of ours hasn't had a Farmer's Market for about four years, so I was very thrilled to see it make a comeback. There were a lot of vendors, and I did my best to buy something from almost everybody. :) A bunch of beets for a dollar, new potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, and organic meats were widely available. (and to think that I was worried that there wouldn't be very much available at this point in the season!)

I was thrilled to hear that several of the farmers left early because they had sold out!

I think that it is a win-win-win deal to do my shopping at the Farmer's Market as much as possible:

-I help support local businesses and build relationships in my community

-the market is closer than any store that I could go to

-everything is super fresh and therefore tastes better and is healthier

-I can find out specifics about how the items are grown and whether or not they are organic, etc. (did you know that many items are grown organically but are not labeled as such because the certification process is so costly for the farmer?)

-I get to see lots of my friends there!

-a lot of the time the Farmer's have other things available that they just didn't bring. By talking to them and getting to know about their operation you can often find resources for items that you would like to buy

-very often the prices are cheaper, and the quality is better!

-and if your car battery dies while your kids have the doors open for awhile as you shop and talk, you can even get a free battery-jump with purchase! (ask me how I know....)

10 pounds gone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I just had to share my excitement in hitting the 10 pound weight loss mark today, since getting off of sugar in March and increasing my raw foods since then. One could say that I am rather excited! (I also lost 5 pounds from November to March, so that makes it even funnER!)

One thing I thought to myself this morning when I weighed in was that I am so glad that I am always just thinking about losing 1 pound. Rather than being disappointed or reserving my glee, I have gotten to be very happy every time I see that one more pound has gone away.

Losing just one pound at a time is my all-time favorite perspective on weight loss. I highly recommend it! :)


The other day when my husband and I were outside we noticed our 89 year old neighbor was also out working in his garden, so we stopped by to say hello and visit with him. He gave us a little tour of what's growing, shared some of his vast gardening wisdom that he has gained from being a gardener for most of his life.

He showed us his l-o-n-g row of onions, and pulled a bunch, handing them off to us a few at a time, until my husband was holding quite a large bouquet of green-stemmed beauties. :) Tonite I washed them all and chopped them up in the food processor and put them in the freezer for later use. They smelled SO great! And it was fun to have our very first put-away-in-the-freezer produce of the season!

A Better Recipe for Root Beer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I love root beer. In the past it has been one of my favorite cheat treats. You know--pick up a 4-pack of root beer at the grocery store to stash for rough nights after getting the kids to bed? :) Well, I've tried making a root beer substitute with fizzy water and root beer stevia, and while it was ok, it never got to feel *quite right* to me. But now I have perfected the art of a root beer, and I am a happy girl!

In one cup of club soda add 5 drops of root beer flavored liquid stevia + about 2-3 teaspoons of raw agave nectar. Stir well and adjust flavors as needed. Yum! The agave gives it that syrup-y quality that seems to make it work really well.

Now, agave nectar has about 60 calories per tablespoon, so it's not like you can go around drinking this all day without some adverse consequences eventually. But if you like to have a root beer experience every once in awhile, this can really hit the spot. :)

New Un-cook Books!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I just got two new raw food books that I am SO excited about! Both of these books are beautifully photographed and have just the type of recipes I like: pretty easy! I am learning about lots of new ingredients to try, so that is exciting too! Stay tuned for new ideas and yummies as I continue to learn more about raw foods. :)

Pay Offs: More is caught than taught

Monday, June 15, 2009

So as you know, I stopped eating sugar in March, and since then, as I've become comfortable with that I've also been ramping up the amount of raw foods I'm eating, which is naturally replacing lots of other stuff. This time around has felt easier and more natural, I think just because I'm so used to what I now know that it flows really easily all the time. There is no more angst, no more lists and flow charts of what to soak, sprout, dehydrate, and create for the week. :) I've not harped on any of the family members about their eating (not that I ever did), but this time the kids seem truly enthusiastic and embracing of eating healthier. I've had several wonderful moments with the kids where they have spontaneously showed me how much they are getting it about eating healthier, and boy has that been cool!

#1. The other day my 16 year old son thanked me for making smoothies every day and told me how much he enjoys that. He went on to share that one of his friends had told him that they she was having headaches daily and having trouble sleeping. He told me that what he told her was that the way she is eating is making her sick! He said, "I haven't had a headache in, like, 7 or 8 years or more." I asked him what he attributes that to, and he said, "They food we eat. I mean, really mom--what do we even have in this whole house that has sugar in it? Other than actual sugar in a container?" Interestingly, all I could come up with is that there is some baking chocolate somewhere in the back of the pantry. Seriously. Later on I asked my 13 year old daughter what we have in the house that has sugar in it, and she couldn't think of anything else either. Which was interesting. Because I hadn't realized we had come that far. It hasn't felt like a big effort. It was gradual, and I have been able to have enough fun treats, yummy snacks, and good meals around that they don't miss anything, and love what they are eating!

This is what I'm talking about when I say Baby Steps and taking the time to establish healthy habits that become a no-brainer for you. This makes it so. much. easier. and more successful.

#2. This morning my 6 year old crawled into bed with me to chat before we got up for the day. He was excited for me to get up and make the smoothies. Once I got up, other kids came along to express their enthusiasm and give their ingredient recommendations:

Can we have a kiwi in there?
Can we have an orange too?

As I was adding the spinach I was telling the boys, "do you realize that most kids probably don't have a single piece of green leafy stuff in an entire week? And you're so lucky, you get to have it every day, so you get to be so big and strong and healthy!"

They like that. :)

#3. We made our "rainbow smoothies" as they called them, and they were so happy to slurp it all down. :) My ten year old said that he just loves smoothies because they are a healthy energy drink. He declared, "What I'd like to do for a job when I grow up is to go to a country that thinks that soda and kool aid are the best stuff to drink, and tell them that the best thing they could drink for their health and energy is smoothies!" I guess he doesn't realize that he is already in that country.... :)

He said that once people could understand that message, fast food places "would go down the drain" and businesses like mine "would go UP the drain!" :) Don't you love that?!

#4. My 16 year old is a very cool kid. He plays electric guitar in a band with his friends. They are cool too. ;) And when his friends come over and they want something to eat he never holds back from recommending the healthy stuff we've got around here. I often here him explaining to a guest, "Yeah, my mom makes all this really healthy food and it's really awesome. You should try this, man. It's really good. I eat this every day." They usually do try the stuff, and normally they even like it and ask for more, which is one of my most favorite testing grounds. :) When his friends are here for dinner they are big on the compliments and say things like, "Wow! This is healthy?! That's *awesome*!" and "This is, like, the healthiest and best meal I've ever eaten!" which actually makes me feel a little bit sad for them, because they seem to appreciate it so much. I love to get to feed those kids. :)

Help This Family

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I just learned about Carol and her family today. A year ago, after giving birth to her second child, Carol had multiple health complications that resulted in both of her legs and one arm being amputated, in addition to losing her sight. Unimaginably difficult.

As you can probably guess, their medical bills and the continuing costs related to Carol's rehabilitation are huge. There is a fabulous silent auction set up right now that ends soon. There are tons of gorgeous items there that you can big on. Most bids start at $15-20. PLEASE go check it out, and spread the word. This is an easy way to be a blessing to others.

Papaya Creamsicle Pudding

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My husband loves papaya and bought one at the grocery store a week or so ago. It was getting ripe quickly and we didn't have time to do anything with it right away, so I peeled it and froze it in chunks for future use.

Last night I created this treat for him and he really liked it.

In the food processor:
1 ripe banana
1-2 cups of papaya chunks

Mix until smooth.
Taste and see if you feel like it needs any sweetener. If so, agave nectar would be perfect.

Very easy, and of course this could work with lots of different fruits. Mango, pineapple, oranges, and peaches would all come out with that creamsicle look that is so lovely. (and you could always make popsicles out of these as well!)

Exercise--Making It Happen

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I'm not one to go out of my way to exercise. I'm a person that likes naps, chats, snuggling, books, movies, and too much computer time. But I know I need it. And I've been thinking about making it happen.

I was thinking that if any of my business ventures ever started producing oodles and oodles of dollars, that maybe I would hire a personal trainer to come right to my house to make me get up and do something to get fit.

In the meantime, while waiting for my bank account to swell, I thought about what I really need.

I have finally found some exercise I like to do. Leslie Sansone walk at home DVDs are fun for me. I just lack the internal motivation to get it done most of the time.

So I got an idea. What if I found an exercise buddy that would come to my house and do the Leslie walks with me??

I thought of my friend Kim. Last summer she organized some walking in our town, but I found it tough to get out of the house most evenings, plus I'm a wimp when it gets really hot. So I asked her if she wanted to come walk with me in my family room. And she said yes!

Monday was our first night walking. The joke was on us--

I had a Leslie DVD here from Netflix (been sitting here for a week without me touching it) that I thought would have the 1 and 2 mile walks on it. Nope. Just a 3 mile walk! (and Kim had already walked about 5 miles that day!!)

I had never done a 3 mile walk with Leslie, and don't think I've even done a 3 mile walk on a treadmill, and certainly not in real life. (are you kidding me?!) I wasn't so sure I could do it, but figured if ever I could, it would be with my buddy Kim by my side.

As it turned out, we did just fine with the 3 mile walk, and even got to chat some as we did so. Having someone to talk to sure does help me forget my aching muscles! ;)

I am excited that I have an exercise buddy, and that I have learned that I am strong enough to do a 3 mile walk workout. :) I get to do 2 more 3 mile walks this week, before I go to a music festival with my teenagers and our youth group and who knows how many miles I will walk while there. (probably more than 3 per day!)

Father's Day is Coming Soon!

Monday, June 08, 2009

I have had a fun weekend, which included me going with my older kids and some of our church youth group to a work day to earn tickets to the Ichthus Christian music festival which is later this week. A few weeks ago I alertly volunteered to be the girl's chaperone Thursday-Friday since nobody else was available for those days, so then got roped into an 8-4 day of manual labor, plus water fights with teenage boys (Which I am proud to say I eventually WON!). Now I will be home for 3 days this week, and then will be sleeping in a tent with 30,000 teenagers on Thursday night, and listening to music for two days. Call it re-living my youth, I guess. :)

(I have been looking forward to doing things like this with my kids for years and years....I love stuff it!)

This morning I finally added the Father's Day special that I have been thinking up. My husband, Super Dad, inspired the collection because he looooves these products and uses them (or eats them) all the time. Dads need to be strong and healthy, too! Don't they? (What would we do without them?)

Sweet Bread/Crackers in the Dehydrator!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The other day I really wanted some peanut butter on bread. But we didn't have any of our yummy Great Harvest bread, and I didn't want to eat the store bread that we had. I then got the idea to make a sweet version of the savory bread I made the other day when I also made crackers. That night I started soaking buckwheat so that I could get the project underway. Here's what I did:

Soak 2-3 cups of buckwheat for several hours or overnight.
Drain in a colander and rinse well. Then leave in the colander to sprout. (rinse morning and evening, keep colander covered lightly with a towel)
After about 2 days the buckwheat has sprouted and has little tails. Now you can use it!

In the food processor:
2 apples
2 bananas
about 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey
about a tablespoon of cinnamon
a teaspoon of vanilla
and all of the sprouted, damp buckwheat
about a half cup of flax seeds (you can grind them up in a coffee grinder, or leave whole)

Mix it all up well. If it does not seem to stick together well enough, you might want to add another banana. Taste a bit and see if it needs more agave or cinnamon. Adjust according to your preferences.

Spread onto teflex sheets for your dehydrator. Mine filled two 12"x12" trays to a nice thickness.

Dehydrate for several hours and then see it is is firm enough to cut with a pizza cutter. You don't want to put a lot of pressure on it. Just score the lines where you want your slices to be. (I do 16 slices on the 12"x12" tray--1 cut down the center, then into quarters, then turn and do the same on the other side to make bread slice-sized squares.)

When the top is dry enough, flip onto a mesh screen to finish drying. Will probably take around 24 hours to fully dry. Store in the fridge. Great for peanut butter, all-fruit jams, and other sweet treats!

As it turned out, I was gone for most of the second day when these were in the dehydrator, so they turned out crispier than I planned for them to. The good news is that this was a delicious development! This yummy stuff tastes like a cinnamon graham cracker. My boys and hubby loved it (me too) and I enjoyed it very much with some natural peanut butter on it tonite. Mmmmm mmmm good! My husband is so enthusiastic about how good it is that he mentioned being willing to eat the entire batch on his own in one sitting. I asked him not to. :)

I really love how these turned out and will definitely make it again. If I want it to be bread-i-er then I will spread it thicker next time. For now, the graham cracker-i-ness of it really appeals, and it help up great to the peanut butter spreading, which was the whole point in the first place. :)

Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Friday, June 05, 2009

I just sampled my newest raw food creation, fresh and warm from the dehydrator, and it is goooood! :)

Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Soak 2 cups of oat groats in water for several hours or overnight, then drain and rinse.

In food processor chop up at least 1 cup of fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries. Then set aside.

In food processor combine the oat groats plus:
unsweetened shredded coconut
agave nectar (start with 3 tablespoons and then adjust as seems right to you)
cinnamon (start with 1 tablespoon and adjust as you like)
a teaspoon of vanilla
a banana

In a bowl combine the chopped cranberries with the oat groat mixture. Then drop by spoonfuls onto your dehydrator trays. (depending on how runny your batter is, you may want to start these out on teflex sheets and transfer to mesh later on)

Dehydrate at 100 degrees or less for 12-15 hours or until they are cookie-ish and easy to hold and eat. If you started your cookies out on the teflex sheets, at some point in the middle of the process move them to mesh screens so that both sides dry nicely.

Obviously, there are plenty of possible variations for this. Blueberries or other berries instead of the cranberries. You could play with the spices. You could use honey instead of the agave nectar. You could add nuts. And of course more or less of any of the ingredients I listed here can be used. Basically, as long as you can lump it together on the dehydrator trays, it'll work. I find that without the banana it has a hard time holding together.

If you want pink cookies, just throw the cranberries in with the oat groats and everything else in the food processor. They turn out very cute that way too!

Another possibility for this is to make it into granola. Just spread the cookie dough out on teflex sheets and dehydrate just like that. Use a spatula to break it up every now and then as it dries. At the end when it is totally dry, run it through the food processor a bit to break up the big chunks. Store in the fridge in a ziploc bag or glass jar.

Dehydrator Snack Crackers Recipe

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I've had several people ask me about the things I make in my dehydrator, so today I'm sharing a recipe with you.

The thing about a lot of my raw crackers and treats is that it requires a little foresight. At first I found this really difficult because it was tricky to get the timing right. I mean, newbies aren't so good at planning 3 days in advance for some chip-type-things, you know?

Happily, by now I've gotten a good idea of what I like and what needs to happen, so I can keep things going without too much angst.

The first ingredient needed in this recipe is sprouted buckwheat. For that I take raw buckwheat hulls and soak them for most of a day. (in a bowl with lots of extra water) Then I drain them, rinse them well, and let them live in a couple of colanders for 2 days. I rinse them in the morning and at night, and keep them covered with a towel through the day. (try to spread the buckwheat out thinly in the colander, not all lumped up and deep in the middle) I put a plate under the colander to catch the drips.

Since sprouted buckwheat is a pretty common item in a lot of my raw recipes, I do this pretty regularly even if I don't know what I'm going to do with it. By the time the sprouts have grown for two days, I have usually gotten it figured out. If not, the drained sprouts can go into a ziploc bag in the fridge for several days, or they can be dehydrated and used for one of our favorite cookie bar treats: Buckwheatie Bars. (I'll tell you about those some other time)

For this recipe you need:

5 cups of sprouted buckwheat

3 cups of fresh veggies (I used 3 tomatoes this time, but you can use zucchini or anything else you've got around)

2 cups of soaked sunflower seeds (cover the seeds in water for a day, then drain. yet another thinking ahead step, but it's easy. If I'm not using them right away I freeze them.) You could use pine nuts or other nuts/seeds if they are more convenient for you.

1 cup of flax meal (raw flax seeds ground up in a coffee grinder)

2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

juice of 2 limes

2 pinches cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

half cup pumpkin seeds (it's good to soak these ahead of time too)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

The nice thing about this recipe is that it's not going to fly or fail based on exact measurements or if you have every single thing. You can really "cook from the hip" with this one, adding or deleting items to your liking.

You just whiz all of this up on your food processor (probably in batches since it's more than most food processors can handle), then mix it all up in a big bowl.

Spread it thinly onto teflex sheets on dehydrator trays. I do it thick enough to not have bare spaces. It thins out some once it's dehydrated too.

This recipe fills over 3 of my dehydrator trays. (they are each 1 foot square)

Once I get the batter spread onto the trays I take my pizza cutter and cut through it to score it. I go straight across for the first series of cuts, then diagonal for the second. That makes the chips turn out diamond-shaped which seems right for the flavorful flair that these chips have. :)

Dehydrate for several hours until it holds together well enough to flip it onto a dehydrator tray without the teflex sheet. (The teflex sheets keep liquid on the tray, but what you really want is for the majority of the drying time to be on the mesh dehydrator trays) It takes about 24 hours of drying for these to be done.

I save them in a large Tupperware container and this batch lasts us a few weeks, so it's worth it to me to bother to make it.

Other than the planning ahead, these are really easy to make. It probably took me 20 minutes to throw this together today, and now I'll be set with snack chips for the rest of the month, at least.

You can use these chips for dipping, although sometimes mine come out a little too thin to sustain much weight. I normally eat them instead of popcorn or some other salty or crunchy snack, plus I take them in the car if I know I'm going to be hungry and won't want to eat something junky instead.

This recipe comes from my favorite raw food recipe book by Serene Allison. it is called Rejuvenate Your Life and you can purchase the book from the resources at Above Rubies. We have many successful favorite healthy foods in our family thanks to her recipes, and things I have adapted from them.

A variation on this recipe is Garlic Naan bread. Basically I use this same recipe, except throw in some extra garlic, and spread it a little thicker on the teflex sheets. Then I use my pizza cutter to cut this into squares, approximately the size of a smallish slice of bread. Do the same thing with the drying process--let it get crisp on the one side, then flip over and let the other side get done. I sometimes have a piece or two of this garlic naan bread with raw guacamole spread on it. You can also slice up some cucumbers, tomatoes, or other veggies to add to the top. Very yummy, and surprisingly filling!

**A tip on flipping: The simplest way to flip foods from the teflex sheet to the regular mesh is to just place the mesh screen and tray on top of the food that is on the teflex sheet. Just hold them together like a big book, and turn it over. Now the crispy side is resting on the mesh tray. Lift the top tray off, and gently peel the teflex sheet away from the food. Done! :)

There you go! Let me know if you try it!

Raw Yummy-ness with my Kids!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How fun!

Today I had the spontaneous and fun experience of creating a new recipe with my kids!

Since working on eating more raw foods lately, what I've learned over the years seems to have gelled in my brain in a way that has helped it be much easier and more natural for me. I've created new recipes every couple of days, and now I see that my kids have even gotten a flair for raw recipe creation.

It all started with the gRAWnola that I made. I needed to chop it up in the food processor to break up the chunks a bit. Kids started coming by to sample the new cereal, and each of them was enthusiastic about the taste. My 10 year old said that he thought it would be a great lunch if I would mix it up in the food processor with a banana and an apple. We whipped that up and --oooh!-- Wow! It smelled so good! He was delighted. His 9 and 6 year old brothers gladly lined up with their bowls to get some too.

Next came by 16 year old who opted for the granola with a banana, some homemade plain yogurt, and some raw agave nectar. He loved it!

The ten year old came back around for another variation. It included gRAWnola, 1 kiwi, and 1 banana. Another yummy success. :)

I will admit that I had planned kind of a junky lunch for them today, but as it turned out, this was what they ate and they enjoyed it thoroughly. We found that this was very filling, so none of them was able to finish their entire bowl of goodness. No worries! We popped the leftovers into the dehydrator on teflex sheets, so it'll all just be more granola tomorrow. :)

gRAWnola Recipe!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

For years I've made granola in the oven, but I've been curious about raw versions of granola as well. After seeing some crazy high prices for raw granola in the health food store, I decided to experiment with making it myself. The other day I made a mistake when trying to make some raw cookies, and ended up developing a gRAWnola recipe instead! :) Here is how it goes:

Soaked 3 cups of steel cut oat groats overnight, along with some raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, and some flax seeds. (Just throw it all in a bowl and cover it with water. It'll expand, so be sure to have a big enough bowl and plenty of water.)

In the morning drain off the water. In the food processor throw in a banana or two, a couple cored apples, some cinnamon and nutmeg, some agave nectar or raw honey, and the oats and nuts. Process it all until smooth. Spread onto teflex sheets in the dehydrator. Dehydrate at 105 degrees or less for the whole day. (once you get to 110 degrees or so you are cooking the food and destroying the enzymes, so it's best to go for the lower temp and keep the good stuff in your food)

Throughout the day check on the progress. Use a spatula to break up the granola, flip it to expose the damp sides, etc. At the end of the day it will probably be dry enough to call it done. I then toss it back into the food processor to chunk it up better. I store it in the fridge in a ziploc bag.

Obviously, you could add more/less/different nuts, fruits, coconut, spices, etc. depending on what you're looking for. Very versatile, easy, and can be fairly inexpensive.

Getting Off Sugar Q&A

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hi Erica,

What process did you follow for getting off sugar? And do you allow yourself to have some type of sugar (sucanat) or substitute (stevia)? Or do you just use fruits to satisfy the sweet tooth. I would really like to get away from sugar, but could use some ideas for how to do it.



Hi Kathy,

Thanks for writing! What I did for getting off of sugar was to exclude all obvious sugar from my diet (cookies, candy, etc.), plus tried to avoid sugar even as a trace ingredient in other foods, though at times that is not workable for me. (usually if I do not plan ahead and am out someplace) I did (and do) use stevia, honey, and agave nectar for sweeteners, in addition to fruit. As time has gone on I use fewer of these and find that my taste buds have changed to the point where I need and want less sweet stuff most of the time.

An interesting experience happened to me yesterday. I have been eating Jocalat bars (fruit and nuts, mostly raw) as a treat since getting off sugar. I allow myself one per day if I really want a treat. However, I ran out several weeks ago, so have only had fruit, smoothies, and my healthy ice cream type stuff for treats for probably 2 weeks or so. Yesterday I was able to purchase some Jocalat bars and decided to have one on the way home. I was surprised to discover that my favorite flavor seemed almost *too sweet* to me, and the entire bar felt like it would be too much to eat in one sitting. That had never happened to me before! It was really interesting to see how much my taste buds had adjusted to not having sweet treats like that every day.

This was probably my third time in 10 years to get off of sugar, and this time felt easier than ever before. I didn't really have withdrawal symptoms, which may be because I was a little more gradual on the trace ingredient sugar than I have been in the past. Now that I have been eating no sugar for 2.5 months, it feels fairly effortless. (this has been the case in the past as well) I do not feel deprived, and it does not bother me to not have any cake at a birthday party or desserts at a pot luck.

In addition to not eating sugar I have been avoiding white flour as much as possible, and have been increasing the amount of raw fruits, veggies, and nuts that I'm eating. I have lost about a pound a week since getting off sugar, and that is very encouraging as well.

I hope this helps!