My 40th birthday is rapidly approaching and I am so excited to reach this milestone. I have had the pleasure of spending 18 years with the love of my life, 17 years with children, and I have accomplished many of my life goals. As we move closer to having a empty nest, I look forward to seeing my children fulfill their life dreams, traveling with my spouse, and exploring goals that were difficult to explore with the responsibilities of raising children. The most exciting aspect of turning 40, is the fact that I am healthy and still full of many dreams and aspirations.
One of my most important goals is to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, although I have found this to be more challenging than it was in my early 30’s. My husband and I have been workout partners/cheerleaders for most of our marriage. As we continued to exercise and eat healthy, we noticed that over the last couple years, the ability to see results in our physical body as become increasingly difficult. My husband was so frustrated, that he made a doctor’s appointment, to seek answers to why and how to get results. Sure enough, our doctor confirmed that aging effects the ability to lose weight and gave him several solutions to lose weight and maintain it.
In the meantime, I began a little research and planning for the 2018 lifestyle change.. Every year, I try to make small lifestyle changes to move towards cleaner eating and green living. This year’s change was to drastically decrease the amount of sugar in my diet and possibly move towards a no sugar diet. Our doctor’s answer to my husband was to stop eating sugar and bread. We have glossed over the “no bread” comment and will revisit it later. 🙂 Although, my husband has drastically cut back the quantity of bread, I have only continued focusing on the quality and making sure I limit my carbohydrate intakes using my daily goals (MyFitnessPal). I must admit, living without sugar has not been bad at all. I have had to adjust recipes and I’ve become an expert nutrition label reader! The most surprising things about going sugar-free has been how much sugar creeps into our diets and sweet foods are when I chose to partake of sweet treats.
Now don’t get me wrong, eating a sugar-free diet for us, does not mean we do not use sweeteners at all. Our choice has been to choose natural sweeteners over cane sugar, seeing that we do not have any health issues that restrict sugar in our diet. Here are some of our favorite natural sweeteners and a few that we are looking to try soon (*).
- Stevia or stevia blended with Reb A.
- Maple Syrup
- Monk Fruit
- Coconut Sugar
- Raw Honey
- Brown Rice Syrup *
- Date Sugar*
Even with using natural sweeteners, we try to stick mostly to Stevia and we still have occasional cheat meals and/or treats. We are still finding ways to replace our favorite desserts, snacks, and breakfast on the go. At times, we will stick to some of favorite treats, limiting the sugar intake to 10g or less. Example: Skinny Cow treats or Halo Top Ice Cream.
The most important step in this process has been to alter my dessert recipes and continuing to make homemade meals and desserts most of the time. Over the next several weeks, I will share some of my favorite summer recipes altered to fit my new lifestyle.
Please keep in mind, I am only sharing my lifestyle and I am not a doctor. Please consult your physician before making changes to your diet and only make changes that are deemed appropriate for your health.