Week three and still going sugar-free!

I’m officially into week three of being sugar-free and I feel like I need to bust out this little number.

I feel nice….like sugar and spice! (minus the sugar)

Week one of this challenge I hardly had the energy to get up and dance to this little number, and that’s saying something because anyone who knows me knows I love to “get jiggy with it” when a good tune comes on! Now I’m struggling to contain myself from having this on repeat and busting a move while typing up this week’s sugar-free dedicated post.

I thought I would relate my sugar-free entry today to something that is crucial now that the weather is getting warmer and many people’s lifestyles are more active since summer tends to get people moving. Riding bikes, swimming, taking hikes, and even simply sitting outside on a warm day can leave you feeling parched and reaching for the first thing to quench your thirst.Unfortunately, at times the thing we’re reaching for may not be the best thing to help refuel our bodies and replenish lost electrolytes.

Why is it important to keep our bodies hydrate and replenish electrolytes?

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When we sweat, whether it’s exercise induced or from being in a warm environment, our perspiration is composed of water, sodium, chloride, and potassium. It’s important for our bodies to sweat because this is how our body maintains a comfortable temperature and cools us down when our body gets too warm. Therefore, it’s important to replenish these lost nutrients and water to keep our bodies healthy and able to function.

What’s the best thing to have to replenish lost h2o and electrolytes?Water

The obvious answer: water. But what if you’re someone who doesn’t like the taste of water and needs something to make it more satisfying? This is where sugar-free drinks can be a big no-no as they contain artificial sweeteners and chemicals that can do more bad than good for your health.

Say no to artificial sweeteners and sugar-free drinks

-While you may be saving calories, some artificial sweeteners actually increase your appetite leaving you feeling as if you need to consume more calories to feel satisfied. Some of these can even raise your blood sugar more than natural sugars.

– Avoid natural fruit juices as well. Sure, they may seem like a great way to get your nutrients and drink something tasty and healthy. But because you aren’t taking in the fiber from the fruit when the juice is squeezed, your body absorbs the fructose and increases your sugar levels.

-Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (found in Splenda), aspartame (found in Equal, NatraSweet, and other sweeteners), and other sugar substitutes can have negative side effects such as hallucinations, damage to the liver, dental erosion, headaches, brain tumors, and several other serious health concerns.

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Source: Driveway Divas

What to add to your water instead

If you do feel the need to add something to your water to help stay hydrated this summer, make your own flavored waters. This way you control what goes in it and you can even get creative!

-Try adding cucumbers for a fresh taste, a natural detox, and as a great way to sooth the skin.

-Citruses such as sliced lemons and oranges can help clear your skin, boost immune system, energize, and the taste leaves you feeling cleansed.

-Adding mint is refreshing and can soothe an upset stomach. Ginger can help with digestion as well and pairs nicely with cucumber, lemon, and honey.

-Coconut water has more potassium than sports drinks and is a great way to replenish lost electrolytes. Drink in moderation as the calories in these can add up quickly and be sure to get the kind that has no sugar added.

-If you want something sweet, reach for natural sweeteners such as honey, date sugar, stevia, and brown rice syrup. Still remember to use these in moderation and keep in min, a little goes a long way.

Show your body some love H2O

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It’s easy and requires hardly any work at all!
-sliced lemon
-frozen blueberries
-coconut water

You can also make this with regular water (I put it in my water bottle that I carry around all day and just refilled it). The nice thing about this water is not only does it taste good and is refreshing, but it reaps of many health benefits including

       -boosting your metabolism
-helping your digestive system
-brightening your skin
-replenishing electrolytes

Plus, it can help reduce those sugar cravings! Give it a try and play around with other ingredients as well. For all you still in the sugar-free challenge, keep it up! By now, hopefully you’re finding your cravings are diminishing and your body is feeling cleansed and energized!

blwaterHow do you get yourself to drink more water in the summer? Are there certain ingredients you like to put in your water to make it less bland?

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The moment it all clicks

Today was one of those days where everything just clicked. It could have been the events leading up during the week, or the fact that my day simply starts off better with a boost of energy from the half a banana and berries I like to add to my pro-meal in the morning. Amazing how little things like that can make a world of difference in your attitudes and behaviors.

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Nothing extraordinary really happened today. I didn’t win the lottery (though I did win two tickets to tonight’s showing of The Comedy of Errors as part of Shakespeare in the Park with Jesse Tyler Ferguson!). I didn’t land my dream job (though I can feel myself getting closer). I can even boast and say I had a great hair day. So how did everything click?

There’s a feeling of gratitude and a sense of acceptance of all things that comes when you feel as if you belong somewhere. I haven’t quite felt like I belong in New York until today. Which is kind of strange given the fact that nothing in my life is stable here yet. If anything, it feels more unstable than ever, though I think that’s all part of the experience. Every day feels like I’m challenged. Challenged to accept things as they are. Challenged to make the most of each situation. Challenged to simply be present in this moment. But just as I wanted to give up on everything clicking and blast Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” and sit back to see what happens, a day like today happens.

The day didn’t even start off rainbows and butterflies. I slept terrible on my new pillows I bought to replace my significantly flat old pillows that were in dire need of being thrown out. On top of my lack of sleep, I got absolutely drenched from the down pour of rain while I was out running errands. The bank closed early as well as the laundry mat and it continued to rain through the evening  which meant I couldn’t use my tickets that I had won earlier. But it was the other events that took place during the day that made me feel this is where I belong at this very moment. I feel like the instant you feel you have the strength from within and the support from those around you to pick yourself back up no matter what happens, that’s when you feel a sense of belonging. Along with that, these things happened today that made me feel like I just might make it here and walk out of this being able to call myself at least a temporary New Yorker.

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-Despite the fact that I got caught in a downpour of rain, I was prepared with an umbrella on hand. Even if I did still get my “happy” shoes soaking wet.

-I found my first thrift store screaming good deal. Anthropology must have emptied out some of their merchandise as I came across a fun top that was originally $58 for only $5. Tags and everything, and in my size!

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-Trader Joe’s is officially my pick me up. The people are pleasant and if I have good news to share with them, they get just as excited as my best friend would be if I was sharing it with them. Today proved once again that TJ’s can make me smile no matter what. I found this sticker on my bananas I purchased Smile 
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If TJ’s tells you to put a sticker on your forehead and smile, then I felt I had to put it on my forehead and bust out a cheese grinning smile. smilefore5

-The best part of my day was not just passing by a familiar face on a busy street, but actually being able to greet that person by name and hold a genuine conversation with them laughing at the crazy day we’d both been having.

-I did my laundry for the first time like a true New Yorker (or so I’ve heard this is how it’s done. Some people send their laundry to have it done, but I find it therapeutic to see here watching my clothes on the spin cycle and write this very blog.) I carried my huge basket of clothes down flights of stairs and down the block to a laundry mat where the lady doesn’t speak English, there’s no place for me to put my laptop, and I think I may walk out of here in a daze from all the soap fumes. But it’s comforting to exchange a warm smile with the woman who is doing people’s laundry that they just dropped off, even though I have no idea what she’s trying to tell me about drying my cothes. I think I just may have to make her my friend before the end of my lease this summer Smile

-On a health and fitness related note, I tried out an awesome new workout with one of our trainers at the gym with the viper which I will have to share once I can get the official terminology of the moves and the video of the exercise from him. It was a challenge to even walk out of the gym after my run followed by working out with him!

-And of course there’s a little something in it for all you readers. A recipe for your very own homemade sundried tomatoes and cilantro hummus!

Sundried Tomato and Cilantro Hummus

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(based off of ABeautifulMess.Com)

1/2 can of chickpeas
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and red pepper for taste

1. Rinse the chickpeas and remove the skin
2. Combine all of the ingredients except olive oil and salt/pepper/red pepper in your food processor or blender
Tip: You can slowly add a little of the vegetable oil if you need help with the consistency
3. Taste and season until it’s just the way you want it. You can also squeeze a little lemon over the top and garnish with cilantro for display. Enjoy with fresh cut veggies for a healthy snack, toasted pita bread or pita chips, or spread some on a wrap and make a sundried tomato, chicken, and cilantro wrap. YUM! Mine ended up more like a heavy topping pizza on a wrap, but it was absolutely scrumptious!

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Life is coming together. Some days are better than others, though that’s the case no matter where you live. But you just make it work. On days where I miss my dog like crazy, like today since yesterday was my boy’s birthday, I ask a stranger if I can pet their dog. I will probably never see them again so I don’t care if they think I’m crazy! Those days where I yearn for conversation on a lonely subway, I break the rules of keeping to yourself during the commute and I talk to the random stranger next to me. You never know what you’ll find out about them. When I need a moment of peace and a break from the chaos of the city, I go to my rock in Strawberry Fields and lay out with a good book. When I need to vent or need a push of support to help me make it through a moment of doubt or frustration, I go to the friends I have made here that I truly feel are sincere, genuine friends of whom I will continue to be in touch with for many years to come.

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Just when you feel as if nothing is coming together and you feel yourself hesitating which direction to go when you get to that fork in the road, at that moment it all just clicks and you know you’re right where you need to be at this moment in time.

Have you ever felt torn between multiple decisions? How did you decide what to do in the situation?

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