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Make A Change – 4 Steps How To

It’s never too late to start a positive change.

 

“The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

It’s easy to think that “you’re too far gone/old/overweight/addicted/stuck” to make a change for yourself and your life.

I know where you’re at right now. I really do.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know how I’ve struggled with making changes in the past…

Having spent a gross majority of my life (26 years), trying to make the right choices for me and my health and having learned lessons from each and every time, whilst not getting anything right.

Seeing different doctors, nutritionists, nurses and experts, even psychologists. And no one could tell me or even give me a clue of what I really needed to do.

I’ve basically ran on wild goose chases in terms of my health my whole life. Different medications, different diets, different motivators and different dream health care teams (of varying success).

This tires a person out, and can even wipe them out completely. What you’re left with is zero motivation, zero patience, zero happiness and 100% wanting to sleep through it all.

At this point I really started feeling like a pre-programmed robot, dreading the future and being sure I wouldn’t see past the age of 30. I was following all of the books, one at a time, and NONE of them made anything better. At all.

It was after that I started studying again, this time to become a nutritionist. And thank the Universe I did.

Somewhere, somehow I found the motivation of giving it (and myself) One. Last. Try. with all the stuff I was learning at school.

And that’s when the proverbial hammer hit the head of the nail – I managed to create something so much more beautiful that I had ever imagined for myself. More health, more freedom, more wealth, more pride, more self-esteem.

This, amongst many others of my stories, taught me a Big Lesson: It’s in the big hurdles that we gain the most insight into ourselves and the most experience in life.

 

“Nobody can go back and change a beginning. But anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson

 

Even if you’re 96 years old and realize that, hey, smoking doesn’t serve me like it once used to, it’s better to stop the nasty habit and move on. It doesn’t matter if your last day on earth is tomorrow or in, well, 96 years, there’s always, always, always space to make new positive beginnings.

This is especially true if it comes to improvements in your health and well-being. As we both know, there’s nothing left unless we have this very founding principle in place.

So, what can you do if you realize that there is a change (or even two) you would LOVE to make for yourself?

  1. Realize that you’re not stuck.

You never were, you never will be. I know it’s not easy to break free from old habits, after all our lizard brains make sure that it’s very comfortable right there. But: getting out of your comfort zone and sniffing a bit of fresh air is essential to making a change. How can you get a breath of fresh air today? How can you move out of that couch potato state of mind? It does take making a plan of action for yourself, and not let said plan be defined by your age or held back by your current situation.

  1. What are you afraid of?

What’s stopping you from making the ultimate commitment to invest in yourself, your health and your future? Spend some time identifying what might be holding you back. Then find a way to work through them, or get help from a coach or practitioner who knows exactly in what kind of deep ditch you’re currently sitting.

  1. Find your ultimate motivation.

And make sure this goal is for you and no one else. This is just as true for general goal setting as it is for a lasting life-style change. Why do you want this change? How will you feel once you’re there? What will others think of you?

  1. What’s the one baby leap you can make today to start it all off?

Take one little step a day, but make sure you take one every day. Help yourself to make an easier transition in the not-too-distant future. It definitely helps to set a deadline for yourself, and work toward that, step by step.

 

There’s always, always, always something to be grateful for. So why not make one of those things to be grateful for that you made a decision to invest in yourself and your health?

The bottom line is, you don’t need to wait for the “perfect moment” to make things happen. You can decide any time you want to that the time is right for YOU to make a change.

 

“It’s never too late. Don’t focus on what was taken away. Find something to replace it, and acknowledge the blessing you have.” Drew Barrymore

Diabetes Belief

Don’t stop believin’!

Dealing with any kind of health challenges is, well, challenging to day the least.

And, yes, it’s even more so when you know said challenge (say, diabetes) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

This is exactly the point at which it’s so important to keep believing.

I’m definitely not talking about a religious belief here. No Jesus, God, Allah or Buddha right here. I’m talking about a much deeper, more profound belief, the belief in yourself.

Believing that everything is going to be OK. Believing that you will wake up the next morning. Believing that your blood sugar won’t pull a 180 on you while driving. Believing that the hypo treatment will work in time, and that your body can take (yet another) beating in the form of a hyper high blood sugar.

Having said this, you can’t just leave it all up to chance either. Behind that strong belief lays tons of hard work, dedication, resilience and, yes, pain. There are tons of blood sugar checks, basal tests and some near death experiences behind it, too. As well as many crappy doctors appointments and opinions, bad medical team members and just sheer experience.

But having the trust in yourself that you have the knowledge and tools necessary to pull through this situation (too), is truly one of the most valuable things you can have. Believing that you can handle everything that life throws at you, and that you can do so with ease and grace (well, more or less, although we both know there’s nothing easy or graceful with waking up with a 3am low blood sugar…).

Trusting that everything is going to be OK, and that there will be a cure for this someday (even if it might be “5-10 years from now” 😉 ). Believing that there is a purpose to all this madness of poking yourself with various needles and staying off the regular coke, unless it’s a medical emergency. And believing that you won’t find yourself with missing limbs, vision loss and gastroparesis any time in the future.

This kind of belief system is vital for you to keep going, to wake up every morning and feel that you’ve got this. Knowledge and believing you can is truly powerful. Sometimes you have to dare to be wildly optimistic!

Just by showing up every day, you’re already doing an amazing job and have taken one giant leap towards starting to believe in yourself. Remember that there’s never been, and will never be another you, so it’s better to work with what you’ve got.

Being able to believe in yourself and your capabilities has a lot to do with self-love, self-appreciation and self-esteem. Basically you have to know who you are on the deepest of levels in order to know in your core that this is something you can handle.

Also, for me, attitude and being able to believe like this go hand in hand. So it might be that all you have to do is to dig a little deeper in your attitude closet – you’ve got this. I believe in you.

Ps. And for a little comic relief, here’s the awesome song that I know you’ve been singing in your head since you read the first sentence of this post (but in the much more awesome Glee version)

Fat Facts

Food fact: Fat, glorious fat!

Let’s set the record straight here once and for all: not all fats are bad!

Sure, the transfatty crappy vegetable oils (cottonseed, rapeseed and processed sunflower oils for example), margarine, the junk food you get at most fast food restaurants or chips/cakes/cookies/candy aren’t what we’re talking about today. (Which are all pretty sorry excuses for food, really.)

We’re talking about the good, healthy, happy, healing fats, like salmon, coconut, avocado, eggs, olive oil, butter, nuts and seeds, for example.

Eating more fat (and less carbohydrates) has amazing benefits on your health.

When you start adding more fat to your meals, your blood pressure is likely to go back to normal.

Fat also has very minimal, if any at all, effects on blood glucose levels (yay for us diabetics!), meaning less roller coaster and more stroll in the park action.

Chances are also that eating more fat will make you lose weight (I’ll explain this more later in this post).

It also keeps you full and satisfied for longer, meaning that snacking and unnecessary meals are less likely to sneak in to your eating plan.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, here are 7 more reasons you need to give your body fatty acids to work with:

  1. Fat = energy

Good fat contains more energy than carbs or protein. This is energy (calories) that the body can use and knows how to use, unlike processed carbs, for example.

  1. Healthy cells need fat

The walls of every cell in your body (the membrane) is made out of fat. If you don’t eat enough fat, you can’t build healthy, properly functioning cells. And that’s putting yourself in a pretty bad place; if you can’t build cells, your body can’t function like it should.

  1. Think fat!

The cells I just mentioned of course also include your brain cells. But fat is needed for more than that – it’s also needed to build myelin, which is insulation for the nerve endings in the brain and helps carrying messages across.

  1. Fatty vitamins

The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can’t be absorbed by the intestines without fat, meaning you are depriving your body of these vital vitamins unless you eat enough fat.

  1. Hormones are made of fat

Your body produces sex hormones with the help of fat, as well as many other hormones and hormone-like substances (like prostaglandins). Your hormones are vital to your body functioning properly, and any irregularity in hormone production can have some unpleasant or even devastating consequences.

  1. Your skin loves fat!

Your skin is one of the first things to react if you eat too little fat – it gets dry, flaky and feels too tight. The fat we have right underneath our skin also helps to insulate us in colder weathers.

  1. Fat protects your organs

Just as the whole body is insulated by fat, so are your organs on the inside. Especially the kidneys, heart and intestines rely on fat to keep them from harm and in their correct places (your kidneys can actually start “traveling” in your body if you don’t have enough fat to keep them in place.)

 

There are two common misunderstandings about fat that I regularly hear:

  1. “But isn’t eating more fat gonna make you fat?”

Let’s crush this myth once and for all: fat doesn’t make you fat! 

Of course you can overeat fat, but it will be difficult as it’s very satiating. Your body has a natural stop that prohibits you from overeating as easily as you can with, for example, carbs.

  1. “But isn’t fat free of nutrients? How do you get your vitamins?”

The richest sources of vitamins D, E and K2, and choline all come from food sources rich in fat (cod liver oil, red palm oil, grass-fed butter and egg yolks)

Fat also makes vitamins in the other food more available for the body to absorb.

 

So, where can you add more healthy fats in your day?

Eggs and bacon for breakfast? Avocado and walnuts added to your lunch? Fry the vegetables for dinner in coconut oil? Perhaps you can even have some glorious salmon for dinner?

 

Fat is healthy and desperately needed by your body, don’t deprive it of this great source of everything.

Lots of lardy love!

 

 

Diabetes & The Long Run

When you’re first diagnosed with Diabetes, it’s a major shock to the system.

The questions are endless. What do I eat? What medications do I have to take when? I have to inject myself several times a day?! What the what? I didn’t sign up for this!!

But what happens after living with diabetes for a long time? How does it feel? How does one cope? Why doesn’t one just give up?

Technically, this year marks a series of “jubilees” for me and Diabetes.

It’s been 30 years since my diagnosis this year. 26 of those I spent on a clueless treadmill/roller coaster without a mission and without a cause. The last 4 have been the best ones, so far, starting with me radically changing the way I ate. I’ve spent 28 years with around 10 injections a day, 2 years on the pump. 1 year with my BFF Dexter (my Dexcom CGMS).

Anyway, I want to focus on the first one of these – 30 years with diabetes.

Living with diabetes for 30 years is like living with the most loyal companion (or enemy, depending on the day) you’ve ever encountered. It never leaves your side, and you never get even a second to yourself.

It takes a lot to get used to living with it being a part of you. And, because it’s always evolving, dynamic and on the move, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with it. Oh, you don’t react well to gluten anymore? Ok, let’s change that. No dairy either? Ok, well, bye bye cheese. Caffeine makes you hyper react? Ok, decaf it is. And that’s just talking about a few food things, completely disregarding certain forms of exercise, timing of medications, or reactions to certain situations.

It’s a silent friend that never talks until it screams. And when it does, it screams loudly. Scary lows, annoying highs, and the possibility of losing a limb or your vision.

The awful feelings and the taste of glucose tablets (or orange juice when your life depends on it, for that matter). Lengthy doctors appointments and the endless needles. Hospitalizations. Advice you should have never followed, other advice you should have followed from day 1. To mention a few.

There are so many things that are so bad with this disease. Horrible, in fact. But there are also things I would have never learned if I hadn’t had this Constant Companion of mine.

It has taught me discipline, timing and humility. It has shown me that life is here to be lived, not to be wasted. Life is fragile, don’t take it for granted. It has taught me about the importance of self-love, no matter what happens. It has helped me see how strong I truly am, “this too shall pass.” I’ve realized that being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing; it can even help you sometimes.

So, what keeps you going throughout the years?

You simply have to. You have no choice but to buckle up and try to enjoy the ride as much as you possibly can. Until that cure comes “in 5 – 10 years”.

Nothing gets better by ignoring diabetes. Trust me, I know.

The mental part of living with diabetes is difficult from time to time. There’s no point trying to sugar coat (ha!) that.

In my teenage years, I didn’t want to have diabetes. I was angry, disappointed at life and everything felt like a huge burden without any light in any tunnel.

Crap endocrinologists, the wrong advice and general teenage turmoil made me ignore diabetes “for a while”.

This “while” made me loose almost everything; my parents, family, friends and myself. And it almost cost me my life.

“Nothing works, why bother?”, I remember thinking. But it didn’t make diabetes go away. Rather the opposite.

Time and again diabetes would show up, scream loudly at me for ignoring it and smack me straight in the face. I was in the hospital from passing out on the street, and other times because I was in a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), close to death. And everything in between.

Once I got my proverbial shit together, it still took me years to get back to the excellent care my parents had once given me. Many, many trials and errors, wrong paths and terrible turns followed. As soon as I finally thought I had a foot firmly on the ground, the carpet was pulled out under me once again.

Luckily, I managed to find a road leading towards my path.

Diabetes IS a part of you, whether you want it to be or not. And it’s up to you to find a way to work with it in a way that works for YOU. It has to become second nature to you to check blood sugars, (gu)es(s)timate carbohydrates in a meal, take your medications and to accept your (new) reality. Not to mention finding the small things that make you feel better.

For me it was a long-winded road, the batter part of 26 years, to get to the point where I am today. And I still regularly find out new things about my life with diabetes. It’s a disease that keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.

You cope because you have to. You don’t give up because it’s not an option. And just for being in this position, you deserve a huge medal! But along the way, you may just find a wonderful path through it all that is made just for you.

What are your biggest struggles and questions when it comes to diabetes? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Paleo Scones

Going grain free = going bread free.

In the very most cases, at least. The “bread” you do eat won’t be the factory produced, refined stuff you find at the super market.

Bread is usually one of the things I hear most often from my clients that they miss when they are getting healthier. Which nowadays really surprises me, actually, although it didn’t use to… I was just as much of a bread addict as I’m sure you are, or have been, too.

But I’m very proud of you that you’re willing to make this change for yourself; to go at least gluten-, if not grain free!

So, you know those mornings (or lunches, or evenings), where you just wish there was a simple, yet healthy, thing you could throw together and have fresh out of the oven?

These wonderfully nutritious and yummy paleo scones you can whip together in under 5 minutes. And they’re done in 10 in the oven.

Paleo Scones

You’ll need:

3 dl almond flour

0,5 dl chia seeds (can also be changed to sunflower seeds or linseeds, depending on your taste and preference)

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp psyllium seed husk

A pinch of salt

You can also put some seeds on top of the scones, making it more into a type of bun than scones. Variations are endless!

Do this:

  1. Put the oven on 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Mix all ingredients
  3. On an baking sheet covered with parchment paper, make 6 socnes/buns with a spoon
  4. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes
  5. Enjoy with butter, cheese (if you can handle it), vegetables, ham, or unsweetened jam, or almond butter.

Nutritional info (per scone):

Carbs 5g, 3g fibers
Calories (kcal): 198
Fat: 16g
Protein: 7.5g

I’ve based this recipe on the fantastic Annika Sjöö’s original recipe. She’s a truly inspiring swede who is fully into eating Paleo and training CrossFit, and won Swedish “Let’s Dance” (“Dancing with the Stars”) a couple of years ago. If your Swedish is any good, check out her inspirational blog here!

 

Let me know what you think of this recipe! Do you have another favorite (grain-free) bread recipe to share with me? Post it in the comments!

New Year – New Resolutions?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion”

So why stress yourself to a goal you think you need and want?

I don’t believe in new years resolutions.

They are very often a surefire way of setting yourself up for failure.

Why is this?

There are many more or less valid reasons to why you don’t stick with your own promise to yourself.

I want to run through five of them with you today.

 

  1. You set goals you don’t want yourself.

Why, or, rather, for whom do you want to lose that weight?

For your partner to find you more attractive? For your kids? To keep up with the Joneses?

It’s all a damn lie.

If you don’t want it for yourself, and yourself exclusively, you are very unlikely to actually stick with it.

Ask yourself if the promise you made yourself last week actually is for your own sake or for someone elses.

FIX: Chose a resolution for YOU.

 

  1. You say the same old resolutions you did last year. And the year before. And the one before that.

“I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that sound familiar? (Turns out that they are some of the most common new years resolutions, so technically, they should be familiar!)

Do they also happen to be the same ones you made last year?

Keeping up “appearances” in front of yourself is just a huge let down. Let’s face it; if you didn’t manage to make all of that happen last year, what says you’ll be able to do so this year?

Maybe something else is keeping you from creating your new life? More on that in the next point.

FIX: Ask yourself what you want NOW, for THIS year as the person you are TODAY and want to be in a year from now. What you wanted last year doesn’t matter. Anymore.

 

  1. You bite off more than you can chew.

Back to the example: “I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that even sound realistic at all?

I know a year might seem like a huge chunk of time for you to get everything done and dusted. But if we’re real here for a second, we both know that that’s not the case.

Every day life gets in between your high hopes and promises to yourself, and all you end up doing is to stress and be disappointed in your seeming inability to make “any changes”.

You’re simply not giving yourself a chance!

FIX: Set realistic goals. What can you achieve within the next year? What do you want to achieve in the next year? Pick your number 1 on that list and stick to it. (If you manage to do more of them, awesome job!!)

 

  1. Your resolution isn’t focused enough.

If you’ve ever done any kind of coaching, or are at all into that sort of thing, you’ll have heard of SMART goals.

Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely are more likely to be reached.

And although this is a fantastic starting point of goal setting, there is one thing that is more important than the others: SPECIFIC.

If your goal isn’t specific enough, such as “I want to lose weight”, you never know when you’ve reached your goal.

If your goal, on the other hand, is specific, such as “I want to lose 5 kg until the trip I’m going on 20th February”, it’s a completely different thing.

Your brain registers it as a goal with a deadline that you have to make continuous effort to reach.

Do you see the difference?

You need to set your goal in a way that leaves you knowing exactly what you need to do next as a first step toward a healthier, happier, and better you.

FIX: Make sure your resolution is specific.

 

  1. You’re should-ing all over yourself

As in, if you don’t really want to make this change for yourself (see point 1), but feel you S H O U L D do it.

I’m sorry, game over, better luck next time.

If you say that you “should lose weight” instead of that you “want (really badly) to lose weight”, there’s a huge difference in how you, your body, brain and energy interpret that message.

A resolution that comes from guilt with an added side of stress and unhappiness for dessert will never work. And you should never say never.

It’s similar to that ever long to do list you have made for yourself that you know, deep down inside, you will never finish. Or want to finish either. It just creates too much anxiety, too much stress and too little fun!

FIX: Eliminate “should” from your resolution vocabulary. Or, better yet, altogether.

 

Your goals and resolutions ultimately have to make you happy, make your soul bubble and your heart shine.

Reviewing said goals and resolutions definitely should happen more than once a year as well. This is my biggest pet peeve with new years resolutions – once a year, on a more or less alcohol induced evening, you “have to” make promises for the next year.

That’s just weird!

 

Help is right around the corner though. And especially so if you’re in the Zürich (Switzerland) area!

If your (true) resolution is in any way health or fitness related, I’ve teamed up with two beyond excellent coaches to give you the best possible start of the new, healthier, happier, fitter and more productive you. Check us out here!

And, if you are in or around Zürich on the 17th January you have the exclusive chance to try us out and take us out for a test run! More details and to book your seat, click here!

 

Remember; resolutions are out, fun is in.

Lonely Diabetes?

Plus one is the loneliest number.

And my constant companion Diabetes knows exactly which buttons to push to make me feel lonely, alone and isolated.

It’s the time of family gatherings, meeting friends and spending time with those you love.

But if your (involuntary and unwanted) BFF Diabetes doesn’t play along, it doesn’t matter who else is around you.

This post is NOT about diabetes making you different from other people or that you have to things that are usually associated with being a drug addict, like shooting up and (sometimes) being paranoid.

It’s about feeling lonely although you have your best supporters, your true fan club, around you.

The other night, Dexter (my Dexcom CGM system) woke me up from my hazy sleep.

He had just buzzed 3 times, and because I wasn’t quite with it, I couldn’t remember what 3 buzzes meant – was I high or low?

I had only gone to bed 2 hours prior to this (quite rude) wake up call with a great blood sugar level, so I wondered which way it had gone wrong? 

Dex said “LOW”, below 4.0 mmol/l (72 mg/l). I took out Doris (my OmniPod and trusted ally) and checked my blood sugar; 2.1 mmol/l (38 mg/l).

Nothing was making sense to me at this point; I was sweaty, my head fuzzy, I didn’t recognize where I was or what I had to do next.

I told myself I had a pretty low hypo for being me and that I needed to get to those glucose tabs faster than lightning, right after temporarily lowering the basal on my pump to -85%.

In my mind I gracefully climbed over my husband in the sofa bed we were sharing and jetted straight for my suitcase, where I had packed the glucose. (We were on a trip, staying with fantastic friends)

But in reality I was probably half-suffocating my husband, stumbling around like a local drunk and made more noise than I could ever realize.

Anyway. I sat down on the floor to eat some of the glucotabs. The slightly chalky texture and the acidy taste of them only intensified my symptoms.

During some of my lows I need something to chew on after the glucotabs, something that won’t help the hypo, as it otherwise overshoot. But just the feeling to keep chewing makes me feel safer in an unsafe situation.

I found, again in my mind very gracefully, a bar of 85% chocolate in my handbag, and started munching, instantly feeling a little bit better.

To I keep awake, I tried to play some simple games on my phone, none of which were making any sense to me. Playing cards, letters and colors were all a big mumbo jumbo, although it’s actually 3 separate games on my phone.

In this very moment I realized I was feeling really lonely. 

This was despite having my husband snoring right next to me, and some other people sleeping in the same room. And I knew I could wake any of them up to keep me company and make sure I survived yet another hypo.

But I didn’t. Just because I’m not allowed to sleep right now, doesn’t mean others aren’t either, I thought to myself.

So I kept to my incoherent gaming, but couldn’t shake the feeling of being the loneliest person in the world in that moment.

As soon as I saw the number on my dexcom starting to go up, I put down my phone and went back to a hypo-sweat-drenched-sleep.

A few hours later, waking up with the biggest hypo-hangover ever, it made me feel lonely again.

I quickly resorted to some victim mentality thinking with thoughts like “why me?” And “no one understands me or what I’m going through or what it all feels like”, aka Loser-ville thoughts.

While I might have been right after yet another time with diabetes trying to kick my ass, I can’t forget what it has thought me about life.

A few of the useful and positive examples are: Being alone. Maths. Thicker skin. Acceptation. Pain. Fending for my life. Handling disappointment. That life is precious and frail. That I’m not invincible. Gratitude. Appreciation. Friendship. Health. Healing. Happiness. And, above all, the importance of Love.

Saffron Coconut Macaroons

I know just how busy you are today.

So today’s post will be very short and to the point.

A few people have asked me about the recipe for the Saffron Coconut Macaroons that I shared in my Diabetes Advent Calendar.

And because I’m feeling the festive spirits (no, I don’t mean the rum), I want to share it with you here on the blog today!

(If you don’t like saffron (gasp!), they’re absolutely delicious if you leave it out, too)

 

Saffron Coconut Macaroons

Makes about 10

You’ll need:

25 g butter

1 egg

1.5 dl (0.6 cups) desiccated coconut

1 tbsp. stevia or agave (or honey, if you can take it)

1 pinch vanilla powder

1 packet saffron

Do this:

Put the oven on 175 degrees.

Melt the butter with the saffron.

Whisk together the egg and sweetener of your choice.

Add all the other ingredients to the mix.

Let the mix rest for a few minutes.

Make “peaks” on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Each peak has 4 grams of carbohydrate.

 

saffron coconut macaroons

Saffron Coconut Macaroons

 

These yummy treats are gluten-, grain-, treenut-, soy- and (almost) sugar free, so they suit most people.

Let me know how yours turned out in the comments below!

ENJOY!

Healthy Holidays in One Step

It’s that time of the year again!

Stores are filled with holiday cheers and people seem to start getting a little lighter mooded, most of them looking forward to the holidays.

And I heard this year’s first Christmas song yesterday!

As you may know, I’m not exactly a fan of how sugar coated the holidays are. Every year, your sugar consumption explodes toward the end of the year. Sugar destroys so much more than it gives, and this constant overload just isn’t worth it, in my opinion.

And the sugar you eat now, still has an impact weeks and even months from now (A1c tests, anyone?)

So, in the middle of this Sugar Avalanche, made out of chocolate, candy canes, Rudolph cookies and mince pies (and the sugar bomb that is mulled wine), what are your options? What is an easy step to take if you just wantto make your life a little healthier during the holidays?

If there’s ONE STEP you can take to make your December just one (or 24) bits healthier, it’s to swap out the usual chocolate advent calendar.

Packed with sugar and chemical stuff beyond belief, most advent calendar are a health hazard.

“But what’s wrong with just ONE piece of chocolate a day in December?” you’re asking?

Essentially, not much. But for me it’s about the inherent need for sweets this time of year, and not the fact that you actually want them.

As a few alternatives, I’ve compiled a list of healthier advent calendar ideas for you.

If you (or the one you want to surprise) are into taking care of your body and beauty, I have some great tips for you right here:

The Body Shop’s nearly iconic advent calendar seems to still be in stock (it usually sells out in no time): 

Or, I’d happily take ANY of these advent calendars on this wonderful list (hint, hint), from clothesandcamera.com:

Or why not try a tea one this year, where you get a different flavor every day? (An example right here)

While we’re on beverages, for your whiskey.loving partner, why not get a whisky calendar, where one kind is hiding behind each door?

Do you have a brainiac on your hands? A daily puzzle or Sudoku of some kind would keep them busy until Christmas.

 

For the kids, why not try one of the Lego or Playmobil calendars (available anywhere)?

Or, alternatively, why not make a Random Act of Kindness calendar for your kids? Get ideas on how: http://www.everydayroadtohealthy.com

For the classic holiday celebrator, try a “normal”, paper calendar. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has gorgeous ones: http://store.metmuseum.org/holiday/advent-calendars/icat/adventcalendars

There’s also the alternative of an advent candle, counting down the days while spreading blissful peace. (Why don’t you meditate while you’re watching the candle burn?)

 

Or make your own!

It can be filled with loving messages, vouchers, cinema tickets, experiences, happy thoughts, affirmations, home made healthy snacks, supplements, spices, magazine… suited to the receivers tastes and preferences, of course! For kids, this could include stickers, colouring pencils, small toys, or, like I mentioned above, Random Acts of Kindness!

For the framework, you can just use envelopes, small paper bags, matchboxes or individually wrap them. Be sure to have a look at Etsy to find quirky alternatives as well, here is a link: https://www.etsy.com/ch-en/search?q=advent%20calendar

 

There are also countless digital advent calendars around, just Google it and find your favorites. That way you can have (way) more than one! 😀

 

What is your favorite type of advent calendar? Let me know in the comments!

Breakfast, or Sugary Dessert?

Your alarm goes off.

You try to open your eyes, with varying levels of success, and try to shut that darn ringing off.

A yawn and a stretch later, you get up, go into the kitchen and…

(Please finish that sentence in the comments below, I’m dying to hear the end of this!)

Yes, what does happen next?

Do you go straight for the coffee machine, or do you make yourself some yummy breakfast?

If it’s the latter, what is that breakfast made of? Or, could it technically classify as dessert?!

Today, I’m going to have a merciless look at some of the usual breakfast suspects, and how much sugar they contain. I’ll also give you awesome alternatives for your healthier lifestyle.

Let’s start with something pretty “harmless” – cereal.

If you’ve been following me for some time, you already know what I think about it. As I’m only looking at the sugar content, my opinion of cereals otherwise, will be suspended for the following sentences.

In a recent blog post, Ann Fernholm, a Swedish scientific journalist, specializing in how nutrition affects the body, pointed out that Kellogg’s Coco Pops contain 35 g of sugar/100 g, whereas a brand of chocolate cookies contains 33 g of sugar/100 g.

The cereal is relatively sweeter (contains more sugar) than milk chocolate cookies. How disturbed is that?!

Many cereals have more sugar than desserts do. Here is a little list of comparison of how much sugar they contain per 40 g of product:

Kellogg’s Coco Pops – 14.8g
Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes – 13.6g
Scoop of vanilla ice cream – 10g
Nestle Cheerios – 8.6g
Jam doughnut – 8.6g

Even the “healthier” Weetabix doesn’t go under the radar here, even if 2 of them “only” have 2 grams of sugar in them. What you don’t see in that fact, is that 69% of the full weight of a Weetabix is carbohydrate, which will turn into sugar (glucose) as soon as you digest it

Carbohydrates are Sugar

Carbohydrates are Sugar

Ok, fine. But what about a sandwich? With some nutella (because it “just tastes better”)? So, 2 slices of white bread has 3 grams of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of nutella contains 21 grams of sugar. This is truly spreadable candy, with 23 g of sugar per serving!

Oh, and add a little fruit juice to that yummy breakfast, too? Add another 13 g of sugar to that, making it almost-worth-eating-cake-for-breakfast-worthy with 36 grams of sugar.

And what about yoghurt?

Actually, there’s a very broad spectrum when it comes to yoghurts. If it’s a plain, no-sugar-added, preferably full fat, version, please, go ahead. Enjoy that yoghurt!

But let’s have a look at another one, too.

For the average light (meaning low fat, meaning chemical sh*t-storm), strawberry flavored pot of yoghurt (ca 130 g), there will be 20 g of sugar.

 

And what about if you have to grab breakfast on the run? (The following 2 examples should scare you off from doing that…)

Let’s say you’re running late, and run into the Starbucks on your way to work or school. You’re super hungry by this point and need something quick.

You go for a much-loved breakfast combo that you can eat on your way to work; a caffe latte and a muffin!

Let’s crunch the sugar-numbers. A Starbucks Latte has 17 g sugar (and, if you go for the pumpkin spice latte, because, hey, it’s autumn (PSL is also poisonous, though) you have 49 g of sugar In. One. Cup! And your beloved blueberry muffin has another 29 g of sugar, making it a total of 46 (or 78!!) g of sugar. In one meal.

Or, my personal favorite to discuss is the Swiss power-breakfast-combo of an energy drink and a nussgipfel (which is a croissant with a nut filling). It almost pains me to write this, as I see So. Many. People. (and mostly teenagers, too) have this in the mornings.  That can of energy drink has 26 grams of sugar, and that nussgipfel has another 36 g of sugar, totaling 52 grams of sugar.

 

No wonder we’re getting fatter every day! Not to mention these poor people’s inability to concentrate throughout the day, if they’re only fuelled by sugar in different shapes and forms! (Which, in turn, leads on to the non-surprise that more and more children are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and other concentration-deficits. But that’s a topic for another blog post!)

A little disclaimer: we’re not even talking about carbohydrates here, we’re talking about real, pure sugar that is dumped into these usual breakfast items.

 

So, what options are left!? (That’s the question I get asked most frequently when I start explaining to my clients what sugar (and carbs) does to their body.)

The answer is MASSES. There are masses, loads and countless options out there instead of these breakfasts/desserts.

One of them is a lovely nut muesli, served with coconut milk. Nuts contain about 4 g of sugar/100 g (and here, you eat about 30-40g). There’s also 3.3 g sugar in 100 g coconut milk (and you eat maybe 50 g). This makes a total of 2.7 + 1.7 = (drumroll please…  ) 4.4 g of sugar per serving.

Or, take a weekend favorite of mine, Coconut pancakes. It contains: 3.3 g sugar from the coconut milk, 6 g sugar/100 g of shredded coconut, 1.1 g sugar in the egg. This makes a total of 10.4 g sugar for the whole batch, about 5.2 g sugar per serving.

(The recipes for these are available in my PDF that you get as a welcome present when you sign up for my VIP list just to the left of this text.)

Or an omelet with 2 eggs, bacon, tomatoes and cheese: 2.2 g sugar in the eggs, 2.6 g sugar in 100 g tomatoes, 2.3 g sugar in 100 g cheese. This gives you a total of 7.1 grams of sugar (if you actually use 100 g each of tomatoes and cheese…)

Now it’s your turn; what’s usually on your breakfast table? How do you go about choosing what you eat in the mornings? Let me know in the comments below!