Confessions of a Happy Foody

February 20, 2010 at 3:38 am 22 comments


It’s almost like a magical “raw alarm” goes off inside me when the temperature hits 70 degrees. This week the weather has been so beautiful and it’s been so much easier to eat more raw. And that’s good…because I’ve been a bit off track as of late.

We have kind of an unwritten rule in our family that December is our “free month”. We are with our families and there tends to be A LOT of delicious foods that we love…but don’t necessarily eat year round. After the holidays, we hit it hard again and get back on track.

This year, however, it seemed especially hard to cut out the junk after the holidays were over. And by junk, I mean breads and sugars. For those of you who think I am Happy Foody superwoman and that I never eat “bad” foods, think again. I eat a cleaner diet than most people, but I have a serious sweet tooth. Except when I’m raw…hence the reason I love raw! 🙂 It balances me. I also apparently have a problem listening to authority. So when my my body was saying…”ok, enough is enough”…by mind was saying “whatever…it’s fine…leave me alone!”.

So…here is my confession. Up until this last week I was still regularly treating myself to a cookie at Starbucks, some chocolate chip cookies at friend’s houses, Hershey kisses or delicious vegan treats. You get the picture. Of course, I was still drinking a huge green smoothie daily and eating wholesome vegetarian meals, but the sugar is what really throws me off course.

 I don’t think it’s bad to have treats once in awhile…in fact, I encourage it. But it got to where I felt like I needed some sugar after every meal…and that is not normal. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

So many of you have written to me and told me about your love for sugar and how hard it is to kick. I totally relate. But I was sick of feeling gross. Every time I would eat sugar or breads, I would feel bloated, get a headache, feel sick to my stomach, or just feel “spacey”. There are symptoms of excessive sugar consumption that just seem like part of normal life…but they aren’t! Cravings for one thing. And forgetfulness…general brain fog. Definitely sugar related for me. I’ve also struggled with yeast issues for a long time…and let’s just say the yeast LOVES it when I eat sugar!

The way I motivate myself to quit doing something is to find really convincing reasons why I should stop. Just do a little bit of research on what excess sugar does to your body, and you will want to swear off of it right now. One of the reasons at the top of my list is compromised immune system. This is an excerpt from “The Scary Truth About Sugar” by Carolyn Dean, M.D.:

“Sugar compromises immune function. Two cans of soda (which contain 24 teaspoons of sugar) reduce the efficiency of white blood cells by 92 percent-an effect that lasts up to five hours, according to Kenneth Bock, M.D., an expert in nutritional and environmental health. Since white blood cells are an integral part of your immune system, if you happen to meet a nasty virus or bacteria within five hours of drinking a few colas, your immune system may be unable to fight off the invader.”

Ever wonder why so many people get sick with the flu and colds right around Halloween? Well there you have it.

The past 3-4 days I’ve been raw all day again until supper and have cut out processed sugar and breads. And what an amazing difference it has made. Two things really got my attention.

•    Headache. On day 2, I went to bed with a horrible headache. I was really confused because I never get headaches. Ever. The next morning, I woke up with the same headache. It persisted all day.
•    Acne. All of a sudden, I had 6-7 zits. Seriously? They weren’t big, but I pretty much never get them anymore. What was going on here?

And then it dawned on me. I’m TOTALLY DETOXING! It’s been so long since I let myself eat so much junk that I hadn’t recognized these obvious detox symptoms. It’s so to get into bad habits…because there don’t seem to be any immediate adverse effects when you’re adding junk slowly. But taking it away is another story.

So I’m back on track…ready to rock and roll. I’ve been eating TONS of greens. We went to a great farmer’s market here in Las Vegas and I bought almost all of their dino kale. It’s so fresh and yummy. I try to eat greens with every meal…in my green smoothie, in my salad at lunch, green lemonade in the afternoon, and steamed greens with my supper. I’m a nursing mama…so those greens are helping to make lots of milk for Lucy!

I have learned that my “happy place” is as raw as I can be all day with a meat/dairy free meal at night (I still do goat cheese on occasion and I do eat eggs…so not totally vegan). When I get too strict with myself and make all of these rules inside my head about my eating habits, I tend to make myself insane. And that’s not the goal.

The goal is TOTAL HEALTH. And health is so much more than just eating. It’s getting enough sleep. Exercising. Breating clean, fresh air. Having healthy relationships and being full of love and joy! And sometimes joy makes me want some warm, crusty bread with my soup. And that’s ok. 🙂

The thing I am really looking forward to is watermelon season. It’s so close. I can feel it. I’ve been in watermelon withdrawal since last summer. Even when I can find it down south, it’s still not the same as summer watermelon! So…I’m counting the days!

I will hopefully update my food journal a few more times this month. Here is today’s entry.

Have a wonderful day…and eat your greens!

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Entry filed under: Healthy Eating, Raw, Sugar.

Mary’s Secret Garden – Ventura, CA Happy Janssens Blog!

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michele  |  February 20, 2010 at 4:00 am

    My mother and I spent over 10 years caring for my grandmother with Alzheimer’s and we both gained quite a bit of weight. Mom gained 85 pounds and I gained over 100. Being on call 24/7 took a great toll on our bodies and food became a comfort. I’m in the process of turning things around and so excited about it. Mom became very ill and we almost lost her, but after focusing on raw foods and herbs to help heal her body she’s lost 88 pounds and doing great!

    I’m at the point where you were – feeling gross and yucky and just ready to kick the junk. It’s a slow process, but coming! I’ve kicked the junk, but I do love raw treats. So glad I’m not the only one who has a challenge getting back on track and staying there (: Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reply
  • 2. Abigail  |  February 20, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Hi Sara,
    What a great post! 🙂

    I really needed to hear this..beings, I can relate to exactly where you stand and struggle with my sugar tooth as well! Hehe!
    I also battle when don’t eat, do eats- but you’re right..You need to find a happy place

    This was very encouraging!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  • 3. Laura Reaux  |  February 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Girl! I think you wrote this just for me. 😉 Really though… I have been consuming way too much sugar. I have totally been comfort snacking and I’m more exhausted than ever. Jeromy & I just bought more raw food than junk when we went grocery shopping a few days ago, so that was our first step at getting back to taking care of ourselves. We will be in our new home next week, so what a great way to start fresh, by eating fresh! SO… here is to resisting the Easter candy aisles!!

    Reply
  • 4. Mrs. Money  |  February 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I totally hear you on the sugar addiction! I am breaking mine and it is so hard! It is totally worth it though.

    Reply
  • 5. dustin  |  February 20, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Amen, Sara! I love your take on life and food. I’m getting there… slowly! And I definitely notice a connection between raw foods and sugar. When I eat more raw, I want less sugar. It’s really just that simple. 🙂

    Reply
  • 6. Tara  |  February 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

    With the blankets of snow covering us here, it’s easy to feel like we’re still hibernating, stuffing our cheek pockets with nuts (okay, cookies) like little squirrels. I just don’t feel like eating raw in the winter. I did make a couple of decisions last week, though, as I noticed my pants had gotten uncomfortably tight. 1) instead of salads, veggie soups! I’ll get back to salads when the weather warms up 2) no eating after 8 pm and 3) back to hot yoga! I did just sign up for our summer CSA and visions of kale salads are starting to dance in my head again. Love to all of you from all of us.

    Reply
  • 7. Meli  |  February 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Mmmm, watermelon, I’ve also been counting down the days!

    Reply
  • 8. Gypsy  |  February 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Love this post, it is inspiring. It is so important to know that even when we slip up, we can come back again … sometimes it feels like the world is waiting for us to slip up.

    Reply
  • 9. Amber D  |  February 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I’ve had a blog in holding for a few weeks now and I fianlly posted it today after reading your post last night. Thanks for always being an insperation and for being real, not perfect.

    Reply
  • 10. Rachel  |  February 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I am observing a liquid fast during Lent and celebrating feast days on Sundays. I ate all sorts of stuff the other day, pizza, cookie dough, a brownie, but the thing that looked the best at our church lunch? My mother-in-law’s leafy green salad. And then the last thing I ate that day? A crunchy carrot. My husband couldn’t believe that I didn’t want him to pick me up a half-gallon of Mint Moose Tracks on his way home that evening! 🙂

    Reply
  • 11. Cindy  |  February 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve never commented on a blog before but I had to say that this was written for me. This was an awesome post and so inspiring. Thank you! It was just what I needed to read.

    Reply
  • 12. sarah gharib  |  February 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    so excited to find your blogs!! very inspiring and always nice to find others with similar interests!! thanks

    Reply
  • 13. Stephanie  |  February 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Sara-
    I can totally relate to the sweet tooth. Once I am back on track with eating more raw foods again my cravings start to go away, but it is soooo hard! I don’t know how you do it with traveling, especually when traveling to see family I eat so horribly…well compared to what I eat at home. I have stopped eatting after 8:00 recently and drinking herbal tea or warm water with a splash of lemon. It helped me not feel so bloated at night and wake up refreshed. I totally agree with you it is about TOTAL HEALTH and not rules. I have been learning so much about finding my balance and what works for me. Thanks for posting this, I enjoy when you update here. 🙂

    Reply
  • 14. leslie  |  February 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Tell me about it!! I have been following Eat To Live with my own vegan flair since November. I lost about 25 pounds and have been slipping in more junky foods again on occasion. There is just nothing fun about the way I feel after a bunch of pasta or bread! I’m glad I fall off the health wagon every so often just so I can be reminded how much better it feels to eat healthy!

    Reply
  • 15. Nichole  |  February 25, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I sooo know what you’re talking about. You mentioned something that I have wondered about: Why do we crave sugar after meals (non-raw, vegan meals, of course)??? I have been wanting something sweet after every meal…why is that? I haven’t done the research and thought maybe you knew, since you mentioned it. I have to get back on track too! Thanks for being real!

    Reply
  • 16. whitney  |  February 25, 2010 at 2:47 am

    oh you don’t know how encouraging it is to read this! i have the worst sweet tooth ever (i type as i help myself to a handful of chocolate chips). my husband and i are trying to eat healthier. we have cut out most processed foods, making anything we can from scratch. but this sweet tooth is what is getting to me. i know it’s bad, but it is just so hard to say no.

    Reply
  • 17. Faith  |  February 27, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Hi there Sara!!!

    Nice confession. 🙂

    What do detoxes look like for you??? I have friends that do this occasionally but there are usually supplements or something that they’re taking along side that.

    I don’t have that option but I am back in the land of beautiful greens and plentiful fruits and veggies – so the ‘raw’ material I have to work with is AWESOME, but the detox thing has me curious.

    I guess I want you to write a tutorial. 🙂 Aren’t I sweet? I just gave you a new blogpost. hehehe

    Blessings!!!

    Reply
  • 18. Amy T.  |  February 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Sara, I don’t think I’ve commented here before, but I’ve been reading your blogs for a little while. I’m not into a raw food diet myself, but I think you are such an interesting person. I did try some green smoothies after you did your videos about them. Anyway, I think it’s great that you are sharing about your struggles with eating how you would like. One thing I’ve noticed about blogging is that we all put our best face forward on our blogs (of course). We like sharing about our accomplishments and what we are proud of. Because of that, it can seem like other moms have it “all together,” when really we’re just seeing a small picture of their lives. Thanks for blogging!

    Reply
  • 19. Sister Laura kabora  |  March 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    This is just what I needed to hear…I’ve been thinking I’ve needed to revamp my diet a bit, especially after watching Food Inc. Love you!

    Reply
  • 20. Cara  |  March 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Sara!

    Great post! And awesome for sharing the very real things that happen for many of us along the way with our diets. We do have to be gentle on ourselves and pick ourselves up after periods of less-than-ideal eating, and treat them as learning experiences. Like you, I struggle with somewhat of a sugar monster too, in the form of good chocolate – LOL! None of us are perfect – in fact, if we share what’s going on, that’s a position of strength, truly, and we can learn from each other and not feel alone in our quest for radiant health. But it is amazing how quickly raw will get us back on our feet and let our bodies do their healing work as they nearly always will if we just give them the chance to do so. Approaching it in a prayerful way is helpful too, to let God guide you in your choices – He is always there, and always loving too.
    And I love it that little Lucia is getting the best nutrition possible from you now getting all those greens back in – she’s getting a great start in life!

    Reply
  • 21. google  |  August 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.

    Reply
  • 22. healthy runners  |  January 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    He frequently blogs and writes articles focussing on running injuries and methods of rehabilitation. So
    do not even attempt speedwork unless you are well experienced.

    I continued focusing on eating mainly fresh fruits and
    vegetables, beans, nuts, lean meat and fish.

    Reply

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