Tulip Festivals & Fat Bombs

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival started this week and, lured by online photos of gorgeous rows of brilliantly coloured tulips, a friend and I journeyed out to the country to tour wineries and walk through rows of pretty tulips. When we finally arrived at our destination we were sad to find out that vineyard bistros are only open a few days a week this time of year. Then, when we got to the tulip festival, well, only one flower had braved the weeks of rain and actually managed to kind of bloom.

As my friend and I drove around searching for a place to have lunch I said to her “isn’t it crazy how different real life is from the perfect images we see online?”

The reality though, is that although real life isn’t perfect, in a lot of ways it’s way better. Ok, we didn’t get to hang out at a fancy winery but we did find an amazing little bistro with reasonable, delicious food and funny, friendly servers. We laughed a lot and swore a lot at our misadventures (dropping a bunch of f~bombs can be incredibly therapeutic) and, although we didn’t have any social media worthy photo~ops of rows and rows of breathtaking flowers, that one little pink tulip that was almost blooming looked incredibly beautiful in the endless green fields.

So, I guess that our trip to the tulip festival was a fun reminder that the imperfections and surprises in life are actually where all of the sweet moments live.

So don’t fight it when things aren’t quite what you expected. Go with the flow and enjoy every single moment. Everything is probably going to turn out way better than you could have imagined anyway.

And, after a fun, muddy day running around the raindrop filled fields of Abbottsford, I cocooned in my cozy, little apartment and made these:

Raw Cacao Fat Bombs

Combine:

  • one cup raw cashews
  • one cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 T raw cacao
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • a little bit of water and a teeny tiny drop of honey

Pulse everything in a food processor, roll into balls and refrigerate.

Not super sweet but very chocolatey and coconuty when you’re feeling like a snack. These balls are full of good fat so will fill you up and are also very low in carbs so won’t cause any nasty blood sugar spikes.

Enjoy.

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5 Amazing Reasons to Cut Down on Sugar

Sugar, in its many forms, is everywhere and letting it creep back into your diet can be an easy thing for even the staunchest anti-sugar peeps.

Also winter is around the corner and the change of season often means that we spend more time indoors and, as a result, are less active. And being less active can lead to, well, putting on our “winter coat”.

A great way to reduce the chance of this happening is by drastically reducing your sugar intake. Reducing refined sugar intake isn’t necessarily easy as it’s found in virtually all packaged foods, drinks and food at fast food restaurants are laden with it (a large Big Mac meal deal has 85 grams of sugar–236% of your daily allowance). Although it takes a little effort and planning to avoid sugar, it is very worth it in health and wellness rewards.

Here are 5 pretty amazing benefits of eating less sugar:

1. Improved sleep

Insulin levels are regulated when our blood sugar is balanced and one of the benefits of this is deep, restful sleep. Regulated insulin also has a balancing effect on the rest of our hormones as they all work together. This balance helps to improve our energy levels, brain function and, again, the quality of our sleep. A restful sleep gives us consistent and lasting energy throughout the day, increases our ability to focus and makes us less susceptible to sugary afternoon treats to get through the day, helping us to naturally cut down our sugar consumption.

2. Weight Loss 

Did you know that you can lose weight by cutting down on sugar without even reducing calories? This often happens because sugar spikes our blood sugar levels and insulin levels, as well as disrupting neurotransmitters in our brain. All of this increases fat storage. Eating more protein, fiber, fruit, and vegetables increases our metabolism, which then helps our bodies burn calories more efficiently. Losing or maintaining weight isn’t just about the daily calories consumed, but about the quality of foods we eat and the way our bodies process them.

3. Mental Clarity

Expect to feel more focused and clear-headed when giving up or cutting down on sugar. When our blood-sugar levels are consistent and healthy, our brain is more alert and we don’t feel as sleepy throughout the day. Also, too much fructose from foods containing high-fructose corn syrup (many processed, packaged foods) taxes our liver and pancreas. When this happens, these two organs have to work harder to manage all of the low quality sugar in our systems and remove it from our blood stream. While doing this, they exhaust energy reserves which otherwise should have been used for breaking down fat and converting it to usable energy. This can result in an unpleasant cocktail of moodiness, anxiety and even exhaustion.

4. Anti- Aging

Sugar is a primary contributor to the aging process, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a physician who has extensively researched sugar’s effect on the human body. He says fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is seven times more potent than the glucose portion of sugar. Fructose (ie. high fructose corn syrup) forms free radicals in our bodies, leading to higher rates of cell damage and death.

In a way, we “rust” as we age, he says. Oxidative stress turns our tissues brown. Overindulging in excess added sugar will speed up this browning process and speeds along the aging process in general.

5. Heart Health

It’s easy to imagine how having excess fat in our blood stream and arteries can lead to heart problems, but less people know about the role sugar plays in cardiac issues. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars (6 teaspoons) for women, and 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men for optimal heart health. Unfortunately people now consume 22 teaspoons per day, on average.

A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association has also shown that people who ate between 17 and 21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with people who consumed 8 percent or less of their calories from added sugar. So less sugar, along with moderate exercise equals a healthy, happy heart.

So, there you have it, some excellent reasons to think about dialing back your sugar habit.

Next post will have a delicious, sugar free dessert to help make living without refined sugar easy and delicious.