CHRISTMAS POST SERIES:THE BEST BITS OF 2017

 

Image:Samir Hussein/WireImage

Very excited to be launching the 12 days of Christmas blog post series and excited to be starting with the bits and pieces that made 2017 truly special for me.

The year was full of surprises,heartbreaks,lessons,challenges overcome and above all miracles from unexpected places.Among the many things that happened over the course of the past 11 months I picked just a few that meant something to me and most seemed to have happened in the second half of the year .

Why the second half of the year had so many lessons in it for me may partly  wholly be due to the realization that I learned to open my eyes to the miracle that life is and to let it surprise me.

1.Royal Engagement

You all know Doria Radlan  ?

She is the kind of woman I would want to have a long talk  ,in a side walk  coffee bar , large mirrors antique furniture with movie posters framed on their walls,we would  watch people walk by  both be wondering where they were all hurrying to .

And we would go back to talking about tolerance for people who do not look like is,talk like us or believe in the same things we do and we would have a blast because she does look like that kind of woman.

That she sports dreadlocks gives  her instant street credentials  to her being very attuned to the very complicated nature of human beings.

Why am I talking about Doria,who up until last week was virtually unknown?

Because she is soon going to be the mother in law to Prince Harry.

Her daughter Meghan Markle, stars in the hit TV series Suits as Rachael Zane , a part time summer associate in a law firm  and is  one of my favourite characters on Suits.

The engagement of Meghan to Prince Harry was announced two days ago and the internet went wild.

Prince Harry as you well know is brother to second in line to the British throne Prince William and being a royal watcher I was elated that my favourite character in suits was engaged to this particular member of the House of Widnsor.

Growing up I admired   Princess Diana (Prince Harry’s mother)   especially for her charity work  and campaign against landmines in Africa especially in Angola where landmines had maimed and killed thousands.It was with shock and disbelief  that I still remember going to buy the paper for my father and seeing  the headline of the Sunday Nation on the morning of  August 31,1997 that she had  died in a car accident in Paris.

The engagement has to be one of my highlights for the year,I am among the millions looking forward to the  May wedding .

And why it is the highlight of the year is because this marriage  it will forever change how we view race especially In Europe and that is a good thing.s otherwise,the British press called the very idea of someone of color joining the royal family scandalous.Find out why.

Who would have thought this would happen when royalty purists made us believe  otherwise .

2.Challenges overcome

Finally I got over my fear of speaking before crowds.

I always wondered how anyone could stand before a crowd and speak,now I know how it feels like .

Yes,I am shy and would literally break into a sweat at the thought of standing up before crowds to say anything.

But the year started with meeting Joyce Mwangi,getting placed in the same group as we studied the book of John heard me mention that I blog,she wanted to start like yesterday and I told her just write.

And write she did,published a devotional based entirely on the Kenyan National Anthem and she launched it and she gave me the terrifying honor of reading a speech.

It was a really  humbling  moment for me was to speak at  book launch of the Kenya National Anthem Devotional,she writes at His Creation blog.She is doing some amazing work,head over to her blog and find out about what she has been doing and order the book from there,she will ship it to you wherever you are.

As a result of what I thought was a daunting challenge,I got to speak infront of a crowd,I did not stammer,sweat or faint.

3.Mentoring

Through my writing,and encouraging other women to tell their stories  I have given wings to 3 other writers who now have their own blogs.One of them,Joyce Mwangi of His Creation,Grace Muriuki of Godly Marriages are Beautiful   and Catherine Mbau of Ripples of Life .

It was not something I set out to do,it just happened and because I am always asking people  ,especially women to tell their stories as it is through stories that we learn and experience life,there are 3 more women sharing about some truly amazing things -God’s love and marriages a God intended it to be.

It is my hope to have a blogging workshop early in 2018 and incase you are interested please fill in your details HERE and I will be in touch.

4.Gratitude

In the fast paced world we are living in right now where when you wake up everyday,there is a newer version of everything and every few hours or so you are updating the applications on your phone,it easy to lose sight of the fact that convenience sometimes makes us self absorbed.

This convenience has made us a little impatient with people and things that do not move at lightning speed,we have come intolerant to faults,imperfections and with each other.Modern technology is giving us convenience but is robbing us of what we need most as human beings-relationship with each other.

After finishing the  Black and white photo challenge,that is when I learned that indeed I had taken so much for granted and had not really been taking time to see the beautiful things around me.Seems I have been living life at 120 km/hour and that I had not time to appreciate life as it is , makes me sad because it means that a lot of things were lost to me that I can never get back because I was busy.

You may want to try the  challenge and see what changes after 7 days,its worth it.

 

5.The value of family and friends

God put us in a family and gave us friends that stretch our limits  on love,patience,gratitude,kindness,peace,joy and a lot of other virtues.The relationships we have with our family and friends shape us,mold us,challenge us and make us better people(hopefully).

A family is the basic units from which all other social relationships are formed,it is the launching pad to all other relationships we will have in adult hood  and the skills we learn in our families determine the quality of  relationships we will have with friends and with our spouses eventually.

Can you imagine what a beautiful world we would have if we put families front and centro of government policies,development agendas locally  and the global agenda?we might just be able to solve 50% of the conflict we have in the world today.

This year I have known what having a loving family and a group of friends is all about.To my family,my kids,husband,sisters,parents a big thank you for a wonderful year.

Of special mention are the girls from my chama that made my year special:Wambui,Flo,Jackie,Belinda,Mwari,Myl,Njeri,Pat,Sue,Kagendo thank you for teaching me the true value of friendship.May we  live to celebrate many more years of friendship.

My friends from my Bible Study Fellowship who are like family to me now.

Kawi and Mukami for being sisters.

Maryanne Waweru Wanyama of Mummy Tales, you are always an inspiration keep telling the stories of the wonderful women you get to meet.

Looking forward to an amazing 2018.

 

What have been the highlights of your year so far,anything interesting happened to you that you would like to share,challenges overcome,goals achieved?

 

HELLO DECEMBER !

 

 

Black Friday kicks off the Christmas holiday season,time to spend more time with family and it is a time we spend more time shopping as well.In light of this  I have decided to  work on a 12 days of Christmas  blog post series.

Christmas get me excited,I have such fond memories of Christmas from my childhood i literally cant keep still once December kicks in-which  might explain my inability to wait till December,1st to post this!

I will do a post on picking gifts for  loved ones,a post on being thankful,one on planning  for the year ahead,okay..let me stop there before giving too much away.

The holiday season is an opportunity to reflect on the 11 months of the year that have passed and getting down to plan  for the new year.

It is time to take stock of lessons we have learned and how we have grown and changed over the past 11 months.

It is a time to let go of past hurts and embrace forgiveness.

I am very excited to be starting the series and I hope you are too because I would love to hear from you as well about how your year has been and what you are hoping to do or see more of in the new year,on the blog as well,what kind of stories,posts you would  like more of.

 

Keep checking to see when we kick off and cant wait to share what I have been working on.

 

 

 

 

HOW A PHOTO CHALLENGE TAUGHT ME TO BE MORE GRATEFUL

Photo courtesy:Santina Nyagah

If you have been on Facebook for the past 3 months,you might have stumbled on the black and white photo challenge.

The challenge involves posting for 7 days in a row,black and white photos that describe your life  with no faces or explanations to them .

My friend Mukami put me up to the challenge and i dived into it with gusto and a theme…no kidding.

Maybe because I love photography and hate how i look in pictures this became a really exciting challenge to do.

My approach to the challenge  was to post black and white photos of things or places I found interesting during the day  that would make people guess or point out where I was  at that particular time.

That is why my first photo on the day of the challenge was that of a door,today as we end the challenge my photo was taken at a cross road on one of the most beautiful university campuses we have in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

I was especially intrigued by the fact that I started out my taking a picture of a door,probably  asking people to take a walk with me through the door of my life.Out of the 7 photos, 2  were of nature,1 was taken at the reception of a luxury travel/destination  company,1 was of an art piece at a mall ,the other was at an office.

The photos may not have meant much to everyone else but in retrospect i can see how  I spent much of my week doing things that i really love and enjoy.And that for me might have been why the challenge was so fun,I got to see,appreciate and really think about the photos I was taking .

Something we seem to really be losing a grip on is that..appreciation,thankfulness or being grateful is something modern life has robbed us of.We are taking too much for granted and not pausing enough,enough to see that we live in such a beautiful country,part of an even more beautiful continent and part as well of the most amazing planet-earth.

As I end the challenge today I would like you to take  a walk with me ,down the path called gratefulness.

Have you taken part in the black and white photo challenge? why did you do it and what did you learn about yourself ?

WHY WOULD YOU NEED AN EVENT PLANNER ?

Photo courtesy of Event planner Sonal Shah

You know the holiday season is here when you start  receiving more than the usual  invitations for birthdays,weddings and  end of year parties and  maybe even invitations for  Christmas .

If you are hosting any of these celebrations and are planning on doing everything from scratch,you may wan to reduce your stress and anxiety levels by hiring a planner-an event planner.

Hiring an event planner might seem like a luxury but you may be surprised by how much they can reduce the anxiety that comes  with  event planning .

On this post we thought we might give you 5 great reasons why you might need an event planner this holiday season.

1.Saves you time

A good event planner is a pro at getting things done efficiently and on time.

They will save you the time spent on looking for vendors and suppliers because along with their experience they have with them a network of trusted suppliers and vendors that they have worked with,people they know can deliver on what you need for your event.

And just incase anything unexpected happens,then an event planner will always have plan A,B,C ad infinitum.

2.Saves you money

In my time planning events ,I have found out that there is always room for negotiations and what gives an event planner leeway as well as an edge is their ability  to negotiate,they can get you discounts on  rack rates and this is because of  the relationships they have developed over time with various suppliers and vendors.

It is easier to discuss discounts  with people you have had previous business dealing with than with total strangers,leverage on these relationships event planners have when thinking of holding an event.

3.You will get the right people doing the right job

Sometimes it is very difficult to gauge a vendors or suppliers ability to get the job done if you have no experience of having worked with them before.

An event planner due to their  diverse network as well as experience with vendors will point you in the right direction on whom you need on your team in order to pull of a successful event.

4.You will have a more successful event

Event planners thrive on details-the little details that everyone else overlooks is what planners get their adrenaline rushes from.Ensuring every little thing is in place and imagining all the possible things that could go wrong and ensuring contingency plans are in place is what makes for a successful event.

As the host of the event,you may not have all the time to worry about all the nitty gritty details of your event,let an event planner do the worrying  for you and ensure your event is successful.

5.You can enjoy the event

There is nothing like hosting a great event and you cannot enjoy it because you are busy ensuring that behind the scenes everything flows smoothly.You event forget to eat because you are busy handling all the event details by yourself you have no time to be a great host.

It would be great to have someone that thrives on adrenaline and the little details handle all the anxiety and stress for you,right?

That photo right there,we fell in love with it and it came courtesy of Sonal Shah an event/party planner.You can find her on Facebook.

 

WE WILL REMODEL YOUR OLD HOUSE

 

Are you the owner of an old colonial house and it is becoming harder to attract tenants because they are going for the shinier,gleaming houses coming up across town .

Every time you walk into that empty house,you wonder what you will ever do with it.

And you are thinking that well maybe it is time that you  pulled it down and put up a newer house-maybe ?

Then you think of all the headache and heart ache that comes with construction and with having to watch that beautiful house come down and you decide that you can wait just a little bit longer,the right client will come along.

It is now 3 years and the house has gathered dust,the grass is over grown and you can no longer bear seeing the TO LET sign that has weathered the Nairobi rains and dust over the years yet the house remains  empty.

At Maridadi Homes,we love old houses,we do not call them old,we call them houses with character because they have had feet that have called that house home for years and they have moved somewhere else when their season in life changed.

If you have a house with character that you know has been missing some love and little feet running around in it and think it could do with some makeover,please send us an email at renovations@maridadilife.com,we will set up an appointment and see what we can do-together.

Let us take give your house a whole new look !

WHERE TO FIND GREAT DECOR PIECES IN NAIROBI

Decorating your home is something that never really seems to get done and if you ever find yourself on Google , asking where to find great furniture and decor pieces in Nairobi,worry no more because I thought a list would make it very easy for you .

It is quite interesting to see that sometimes the piece you have been looking for is hiding right under your nose and  its my hope that this  home owners guide on where to get furniture  pieces in Nairobi will be of help.

Something about Nairobi ,like in most towns is that you have to know where to get quality items from trusted providers .You would rather spend more on quality than go cheap and have to keep replacing a furniture item like a couch,dining table or a bed.

You want to be sure that you are spending money on something that will not need fixing every so often.

1.H.Kahenya Interior Design

A great home decor project starts out with a consultation,preferably with an interior decorator and though there are many who claim to be decor experts,I must say you need to follow H. Kahenya Interior Design Firm .

I like their fresh and fun approach to home decor and you will to when you see the beautiful work they have been able to do on the projects they have done.

The Interior Design consulting firm is based at Westlands and  offers both consultation services and finished items ,decor supplies and  has a YouTube channel where they share decor ideas and advice,you may want  really do need to follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel as well.

2.Odds & Ends

If there is a place that has really great furniture pieces,it is Odds & Ends ,they have great furniture and their show rooms are a feast for the eyes.Check out their Jaipur range of furniture,I have a particular liking for the pieces in that particular range and most likely it’s because they have found a way to marry wood and iron give this range a rustic appeal that i find very enthralling.

3.Ngong Road

On your way to Karen using Ngong Road,you will find a lot of furniture shops with beautiful pieces displayed and it’s always a struggle for me   to keep my eyes on the road when they are so many beautiful pieces of furniture to look at.

You will find outdoor/ indoor rattan furniture as well as dining /living room pieces that you might not find anywhere else at very  affordable prices.In choosing some  someone to work with use an individual you have been referred to ,see the work they have done and get commitment in terms of  delivery time.

And just after the furniture shops ,when you think you have seen everything ,you will find beautiful clay outdoor furnaces,hanging baskets of  live flowers  and bright and colorful flower pots  that will look great in your garden  in addition to other landscaping supplies like red soil,manure and landscaping rocks.

4.Mr Price

The Mr Price outlets are in most upmarket malls in Nairobi and if you are looking for unique decor items like center pieces,cushions,throws,candle sticks and a wide range of smaller items that do not include furniture then this is the place for you.

Their range also has cutlery and crockery pieces that you will not find anywhere else,a few weeks ago I was able to find pancake batter dispensers at their outlet at Sarit Center in Westlands.

Their wall hangings and bathroom accessories are especially appealing as this South African brand is not afraid of color and if you are looking to add pops of color to your home,then this is a place you must visit.

5.Game Store

Last but not least is the Game Store at Garden City,they stock a variety of hard-to-find-anywhere-else kitchen utensils and decor pieces you will like .It may be worth the long drive to this side on town as Garden City has adopted pop up shops that have  a very stylish mix of items that you may consider for your home or next decor project.

You must have places you shop for home decor items that have not made it to this list,share them with us in the comments below and we will definitely pay them a visit .

NAIROBI’s BEST COFFEE HOUSES

 

You are a budding entrepreneur and have been looking for an exciting place to hold client meetings and you rather enjoy meeting people away from your office just maybe because you like coffee like i do,right?

I have been to most of the coffee houses in Nairobi and I would like to name just 3 of my favourite places to meet clients or friends over coffee.Good thing that these 3 restaurants I am featuring today also offer lunch and dinner options ad you get to enjoy a filling meal and of course the coffee to keep you going through out the day.

1.Urban Eatery

Urban Eatery sits on the ground floor of  PWC,Delta Towers  in Westlands and  one end of the restaurant has some plush seats  that is quiet on Saturday mornings and you can have your breakfast there as you work.This has to be my favourite place in the whole of Nairobi.

Try the Urban eatery slushies ….love them!

2.Art Caffe-Garden City

You have to love the detail with which the Artcaffe chain has put  into its decor,their modern design is what keeps customers walking through their doors to have what is hands down some of the  best coffee and pastries in Nairobi.

Living around Thika road especially,their Garden City cafe’ with its movie posters dotting the walls and you  feel character oozing from the walls.I could spend hours here and only the thought that I have to be working gets me out of this place.

A definite must try if you happen to be on this side of town and I would definitely recommend their pastries.

3.Khaldi’s

Located smack in the middle of Nairobi,Kaldi’s is along Kimathi Street and on Harambee Avenue as well.I was introduced to this place by my sister , in addition to their great coffee and generous servings I would recommend their smoothies,their blue berry smoothie has to be the best in the whole of the central business district of Nairobi

Having also had the pleasure to have lunch at their Harambee House restaurant I would definitely recommend them as well if your do happen to need a  place for lunch.

Maybe I have left out some of your favourite spots around Nairobi would love to hear about them.And if you live outside of Nairobi…share some of your favourite places where you catch up friends.

Thanks for visiting,let us know you passed by by leaving us a comment down  below…

 

YOUR BMI IS IMPORTANT AND MORE…

BMI POST

 

“…the leaner we are, the healthier we are. And of course, the more physically fit [we are], the better off we are when it comes to over all health.”

Dr David Lau,University of Calgary

A couple of days ago,to be specific on Tuesday I posted an article from the Independent on How Clean eating was having an effect on young women and had gone on to demonize certain food groups,you may want to read it,please do.

Thereafter followed a vibrant conversation from the people who read it and rearing its head very often were these 3 letters -BMI.

BMI or Body Mass Index as we know it has been  bandied around by health and medical professionals and we have scared people into thinking that it is the be all,end all and ultimate marker of good health.What scientist have found is that BMI scores vary among different groups and some like countries in South Asia have developed their own way of calculating BMI’s among their populations.

At its inception , the BMI was  a simple,easy tool to screen populations at a time when  Western populations were having to come to terms  with the increase in obesity in their populations that were becoming more prosperous and were seeing changes in dietary habits.

Health and medical professionals now  use the BMI  to determine “how much body fat ” you are carrying .Research however shows that the amount of body fat individuals carry varies across ethnic groups.

For most people in Kenya ,finding their BMI score is a scary thing , especially when they  find out that they score a higher  or lower than average score and fall on either of two extremes, severely underweight or morbidly obese.

As a guide a Body Mass Index  was developed thanks to a population of individuals who were all of European descent.Any  casual observer can l see  that as Africans our physiology is different from Europeans and since the BMI does not differentiate between body fat and muscles we will have different scores among different ethnic groups .

But what is the Body Mass Index really and how did it come about and is it really a good indicator of how healthy you are or of how much weight you should gain or lose?

To better understand what the Body Mass Index is,we have to go back in history ,more than 150 years ago to  the 1830’s  through to the 1850’S when the BMI was first developed by the Belgian Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet.

As a tool for studying population trends and giving a rough idea of the health status of groups to medical professionals it proved very useful .What it was not able to point out was the amount of visceral fat individuals carried with them.

Visceral fat you said…this is the fat that is around your abdomen and internal organs and is the dangerous kind of fat that will predispose you to conditions like diabetes Type 2,hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.

The amount of visceral fat we carry is more worrying  than the BMI score .

When you first get your BMI,remember it is the value got from the weight of an individual divided by their height squared and will give you kg/m squared. 

The resulting value is used to classify  individuals as underweight,normal weight,overweight or obese.As such when describing an individual’s BMI score,one often hears the description of the resulting value  being how far from the ideal  one’s weight is from what is desirable for their height.

Over the years there has been an increase in the concern of using a universal cut off point to determine the health of individuals and scientists have been calling for a more individualized approach to determine the health of individuals as Body Mass Index has been shown to differ among ethnic groups .

In a paper titled   Ethnicity and BMI ,that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition by Amy Luke a Professor from the University of Loyola’S Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology,she wrote:

“The WHO’s 2004 call for more research to be conducted in diverse populations seems quite important and necessary if the relationships between BMI,body fat and chronic disease are to be better defined.”

Individuals who are more athletic and have more muscle than fat may  also inadvertently find themselves in the overweight bracket and shorter people find themselves being classified as thinner than they really are.

As a result with the BMI ,  it does not differentiate between body fat and muscle and  people will sometimes find themselves in the wrong classification. Some scientists have argued that using a waist to height ratio would give a better and more specific evaluation of a person’s health .

Why a waist to height ratio ?

Because a waist to height ratio is a better indicator of abdominal fat  and abdominal fat has been shown to be a better predictor of  individuals predisposed to obesity related health conditions.

However,the jury is still out on this and the BMI remains king. .

To be clear, the Body Mass Index is a good tool for population studies but not for individualized health care.The World Health Organization has defined obesity as a condition in which excess body fat affects the health and well-being of an individual and it has used the Body Mass Index as a tool to classify individuals ,research however  has shown that Body Mass Index across ethnic ,cultural groups differs and genetics and environmental   factors also   affect  our well being.

When the BMI was developed humans were leaner and having mainly focused on Western societies where diets were different from lets say individuals in Africa and Asian countries,the Index was and is a guide and could be used with other more specific tests to determine the  health of  individuals .

In this paper published in the scientific journal  PLOS ONE ,scientist from Leeds Beckett University do say that Body Mass Index while  remaining a useful tool  for population screening is not able to identify individuals at risk of developing obesity related medical conditions.

Do we then get rid of the BMI and stop using it as a guide to screen individuals at risk of health complications ?

No,we should not, instead of chasing a number that determines how perfectly healthy we are,it will be more useful to adopt a healthier lifestyle by making healthier food choices and adopting  more active lifestyles .

Active lifestyles where we incorporate more exercise will ensure we burn more of the visceral fat we carry,making healthier food choices like cutting back on alcohol,cutting back on deep fried foods,eating more fiber rich foods are ways of ensuring that you can lose the abdominal fat you carry with you and reduce you waist to height body fat ratio.

My challenge to the great scientists and researchers in Africa  would be for us to adopt more multi pronged approaches to tackle the heath challenges of the continents population .Countries in South Asia have been able to do so.

We could  do more research on the increasing number of lifestyle conditions that are on the rise on the continent and share ideas of how we can help our populations adopt more healthy lifestyles.We should promote consumption of more indigenous foods,advocate for more active lifestyles and create policies that will advance healthier lifestyles.

For now do not just rely on your BMI,take a more active step towards living healthier by making more healthy food choices and becoming more active.

 

 

 

 

6 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR SUGAR CRAVINGS

 

Eath produces the food your body needs! (1)

The last post I did on why sugar is not good for your body  elicited a lot of interest and questions from people on whether there are ways to manage sugar cravings in a healthy manner.

Before I explore ways of how to manage sugar cravings I thought I should mention a hard and cold truth about sugar .

Sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever,yes it does sweeten some foods and drinks  the craving for sugar is derived from the pleasure it triggers through the release of dopamine into our brain.

Sugar has no proteins,vitamins or minerals that the human being would need in order to  be healthy .

The danger with the added sugar we take in  is that it plays havoc with our metabolism and it also contributes to a lot of the lifestyle diseases we see on the rise.Everything from obesity,heart disease,tooth decay are related to consuming more sugar than our body needs.

Sugar gives you nothing but empty calories and consuming foods high in sugar and fats leads to nutritional deficiencies  as well as it affects the consumption of other healthy foods.This deficiency on certain nutrients then leads to deficiencies that compromise our health and leave our immunity exposed.

The way to stave your sugar craving is to look for healthy alternatives to sugar that give you more than the sugar high and are high in nutritional value.

1.Take a fruit and leave out the sugar in your hot beverages.

Instead of having your tea with sugar,leave it out and instead have a fruit with your breakfast.Not a fruit smoothie because fruits have sugar in them in the form of fructose and over consumption of sugar in the form of fructose is unhealthy as all excess fructose will get turned by your body into fat.

2.Make your snack choices healthy ones.

To stave off the hunger pangs when you are feeling low on sugar at 3 pm Monday afternoon,take a fruit instead of the afternoon mug of tea.

Note:Intake of fruits should be limited to about 2-3 in a day.

Nuts and seeds also make very healthy snack choices nuts  provide essential vitamins from the B group,Vitamin E and minerals like potassium,calcium and magnesium and they will leave you fuller for longer as they slowly get broken down and sugar gets released into your body in amounts your body can use.

3.Take note of your calories

Take your calories from whole grains,starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes,grains,cereals and not from baked foods .When you make healthier choices about where you will get your calories from,these sources of carbohydrates as highlighted are also sources of other micro nutrients  that your body needs.

As you grow older your body needs less calories and what your body needed when you were 20 will change as you head towards your 30’s and 40’s when you become less active and your body’s metabolism slows down.

4.Take water

Sometimes the hunger pangs we think we have that force us to reach out for something sweet may actually be a sign from our body  that we a dehydrated.Pick up that glass of water instead of a doughnut ,a cookie or a fruit drink.

5.Make your  food choices healthy choices.

Instead of eating three large meals during the day,stagger your meals through out the day in small portions and make sure they are made up of foods from all  the major food groups,cereals/grains,milk and dairy,fruits and vegetables,nuts and seeds.By taking your foods from the natural sources you are ensuring your body is able to metabolize the food in such a manner that stabilizes your blood sugars through out the day rather than experiencing the highs and the dramatic falls that come with consumption of processed foods which are high in sugar and fat.

6.Get to exercise

If you are struggling with your sugar craving,getting physically active will help you mange those cravings as it forces you make more healthier food choices,take in more water and you will definitely have to take in more than sugar for  your muscles to get working and to be physically fit.

Exercising will force you to be more conscious of your food choices and it will lead you to healthier ones.

 

Managing your sugar cravings is not easy but it can be done if you know how sugar affects your body and brain you will make healthier food choices.To find out how your body and brain are affected you may want to read the previous post.

If you find this information useful or you would like me to address something you are interested in knowing more of,please let us know in the comments section.

 

 

 

WHAT SUGAR DOES TO THE HUMAN BODY

The truth is that sugar is a drug and you can addicted to it.

By now you know  that sugar is not good for you,yet every time you seem to try to go cold turkey and stay off it you keep coming back unable to let go off what can only be described as an addiction.You cannot have tea or coffee without it and you prefer calling your addiction a sweet tooth.

But do you have a sweet tooth or what exactly is it about sugar that makes life so much sweeter (pun intended) ?

Yet everywhere we look there is something sugary and sweet calling out to us and tea,coffee does not really taste the same without a teaspoon or two or maybe three of sugar.

We cannot tell exactly why tea in our sugar or tea hits such a sweet spot and many people swear that they cannot take tea without sugar .If you have a cup in the morning another at 10 am and another at 4 pm and with each cup you take about 2 teaspoons of sugar that equals to about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar,depending on how much you put in per cup/mug.

If you are a woman a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar daily  is recommended.

Now imagine you take a soda during the day,it is hot ,then you decide to take with you a fruit smoothie of about 4 different fruits as you drive to work,meet a friend for coffee after work and you each order for a slice of the moist carrot cake you were  told  is fresh from the oven,how many teaspoons of sugar do you think that will total to

It will equal to a  lot of teaspoons of sugar.

Sugar occurring naturally in food are  an energy source for the body’s cells .When we consume carbohydrates they get broken down by the enzyme carbohydrase which breaks down the starch in foods into sugars.

It is not just carbohydrates that contain sugar ,fruits  also contain sugar made up of two simple sugars sucrose and fructose.It is why making a habit of drinking fruit smoothies made up of 3-4 fruits daily is not a good idea while trying to mange your wait is not a good idea as in the final end it will get converted to sugar and any extra sugar you do not use your body stores it in the form of fat.

“It is better to eat your fruit rather than drink it.”

When sugars are added to food it is because they play an important role ,they add texture taste and color to baked food products .Sugar is added to yoghurt,to tomato paste and sauce for added as well to  balance flavor, and to o dried fruits as a preservative,to bread  act as an energy source for yeast as well as in tea coffee to add taste to these drinks.

Naturally occurring sugars are beneficial to your body,it is the added sugars that pose are not good.The American Heart Association recommends that you get your sugars from complex carbohydrates starchy  vegetables,whole grain breads, and other cereals because these foods take longer to digest and the release of sugar into your blood gives steadier sugar levels as they take longer to digest.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends not more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and not more than 9 teaspoons for men daily.That is about 100 calories and 150 calories respectively for women and men respectively.

Sugar does play a role  in a healthy diet ,it is the the source of sugar and the over consumption of sugars from other sources that pose a problem to your health.When you over  consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks  your body experiences rapid spikes and falls in blood sugar levels.The rapid rises and falls of your blood sugars drives your pancreas crazy!

Blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin which is released from your pancreas.Insulin is a hormone that prompts your body cells to absorb sugar that the cells need to use  for their cell functions and the excess then gets stored as fat.When your blood sugar falls the pancreas prompts the release of the hormone glucagon that has the liver releasing the stored sugar for use by the body cells.

We live at a time when there has been an increase in the number of people living with Type 2 Diabetes and the onset of diabetes in Type 2 keeps going lower.A major cause of these could be the foods we are taking in,especially  foods high in  added sugars.Type 2 develops over a period of time  when the body is unable to use the  insulin it producees in the correct way.The body then becomes unable to respond to the insulin it produces and this prompts the pancreas to release more  insulin.This over production of insulin wears the insulin producing cells out and eventually the body stops responding to the insulin it produces and that is when Type 2 Diabetes is diagonised.

Type 2 diabetes at the outset can be managed with a healthy diet and physical activity but with time one will need to take tablets and maybe have insulin injections as well.

The reason why the over  consumption of sugary foods is discouraged is mainly because sugar plays havoc with your body’s metabolism. Occasional indulgence in a cookie or a slice of cake is okay but it should not become a daily habit.Management of your weight is  important as excess weight makes your body unresponsive to insulin which will lead to over production of insulin and eventually your pancreas will lose  its insulin producing cells which will lead to pre diabetes,then diabetes type 2 as your body loses the capacity to be able to produce and respond to insulin which is needed to regulate your blood sugar levels.

While it is very easy to avoid soda,cake,cookies,ice cream and other foods where it is obvious sugar has been added,there are other places where we have hidden sugars.

A good habit to start practicing is reading food labels ,as sugar gets hidden in commercially produced foods and the names used may confuse most people .Sugar in the food you buy from the store will be hiding with names like corn syrup,fructose,dextrose,maple syrup,fruit concentrate,caramel,molasses and many other titles.

Having struggled with kicking off sugar in my teens,I finally did so in my early twenties and I know how hard it can be to keep off sugar . Sugar is actually a “drug” and its consumption from other sources other than the naturally occurring ones releases the feel good hormone dopamine into your brain making you cry out more,more ,more.It is why it is so hard to give up sugar because we have already created neural pathways for this  pleasure habit and the reason why it becomes hard to give up. Just like learning a new skill is hard,we have to  create new neural pathways in place of the old ones by replacing our cravings for sugar with healthy ones like eating more fruits,nuts,drinking more water and taking pleasure from these healthier habits.

It can be done,and you can take your tea without sugar and enjoy it,have your coffee without sugar and thoroughly enjoy it and yes even your cereals do not need the sugar as well and the plain yoghurt actually tastes better when you add  fruits real fruits to it.

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