Tuesday, January 30, 2018

One month Sugar-Free

Earlier on in the year I was checking my Instagram and saw that Lindsay from A Pinch of Yum was doing a month of No Sugar. I love it when her posts pop up because she makes delicious, easy and healthy food and honestly.. i find the recipe process videos SUPER addictive.

Here's one:
that feeling when the BEST cauliflower soup is also the easiest. 😍 just five ingredients and ultra creamy. all you need is an onion, cauliflower, butter, broth, and cheese. SO EASY. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ you'll need: 2-3 tablespoons butter 1 yellow onion 6 cups chicken broth 1 head cauliflower cut into florets 1 heaping cup cheese (your choice!) 1 tablespoon truffle oil if u fancy ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ heat the butter, add the onions, and saute until softened. add the broth and cauliflower and simmer until the cauliflower is fork tender. puree mixture until the soup reaches your desired consistency. add the cheese and stir until melted. add the truffle oil and stir to incorporate. we like top ours with croutons, kale pesto, and more cheese. 👌🏼 YUM! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #cauliflower #soup #cheese #eeeeeats #easyrecipes #recipe #video #recipevideo #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #bhgfood #feedfeed #instayum #onthetable #eatingfortheinsta
A post shared by Lindsay Ostrom (@pinchofyum) on

Fun, right? Happy stalking.

Anyways, reducing my sugar is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, especially since diabetes runs in the family. Not so much because of lack of exercise but more due to a sweet tooth and access to incredible baking (hello, Mom). Generally I eat quite healthily, but I do love my baked goods and always add something sweet to my coffee. This is the number one habit I wanted to kick this year. Although I've switched from cane sugar to honey in my coffee, I know the sugar content is basically the same. Add some desert everyday and a few chocolate cookies and there's quite a bit of unneeded sugar in my life.

So when January 1st rolled around I didn't add any sugar to my coffee. Only a splash of milk. It took about 2 weeks to get used to, but eventually I realized that a lot of my coffee cravings were cleverly disguised sugar cravings. Tricksy. I also cut sugar out from my breakfast. I was eating a sugary muesli with yoghurt (standard college food) and instead I have been making overnight oats with yoghurt only sweetened with fruit. This took some time to get used to! Thankfully, breakfast is a quick meal and eventually I downed the oats and started to enjoy the sweetness of the fruit (mostly a nice apple or banana). This morning I had avocado on toast. Yum. I don't feel like I'm suffering here people.. not unless you wave cheesecake in front of my nose (at which point I will probably cry a little inside and cave in for a a quick teeny bite).

As Lindsay outlined in her post about Sugar-Free January, the point of the challenge is not to be extreme, judgemental or divisive. It's simply to challenge yourself to eat better, without sugar as much as possible, within your limitations. For example, she chose to keep red wine in her diet for the weekends. I chose to keep some dark chocolate on hand for some snacks. I only have a few small nibbles and I'm happy.
Here are my new favourite snacks!

Top 5 Favourite Sugar Free Snacks

1. Crispy apple slices dipped in Crunchy Natural peanut butter. This one is da bomb .com I've devoured a heck lot of natural peanut butter in the last month. Try it!

2. Oh She glows homemade yolos! Recipe here. Or plain medjool dates. Dates are basically orbs of bliss.

3. Raisins, roasted almonds, salted peanuts,  and cashews. Added bonus, these little snacks are powerhouses full of protein and will get you through the hangry moments in class.

4. Stovetop Popcorn! I liberally salt mine. It's a much healthier than chips (whcih are my huge weakness) and with a drizzle of melted butter really seem like a luxurious treat. I'm quite liberal when it concerns butter.

5. Any and all fruit! Going sugar free has made me love eating fruit. I used to eat a piece of fruit maybe once a week.. to be completely honest. Not something I'm super proud of. Now I have at least one apple a day sometimes two. Yum.


I will continue on this challenge! I'm really enjoying the refined sugar free lifestyle and I hope to continue on as long as possible. I feel healthier and more energetic. Most days it's not actually that hard to say no to sugar and on the difficult days, I try to make sure i have a substitute on hand.  I may occassionally say yes to a spoonful of cake on a very special occasion but I hope even by reducing my portion sizes of the treats that I do allow myself to have I'll appreciate the delectable desserts of the world even more. Also, I have a greater love and appreciation for real food. Right now I'm already dreaming of my delicious avocado and toast I'm planning to eat tomorrow morning. Runny egg yolk.. maybe a small wedge of extra old cheddar cheese on the side.... MMmmmm mama.

Also, curious to learn more about sugar? Here's a great BBC documentary I found on Youtube. Enjoy!

Questions? Have you ever considered reducing your sugar?
Would love to hear from you,


Saturday, January 20, 2018

How can I grow a Social Media Following?


Thank you, Mari Andrew, for telling it like it is.
Thank you for expressing my feelings exactly. 
Thank you for telling the truth. 
Thank you for NOT GIVING A CRAP ABOUT INSTAGRAM!! It is a beautiful social media outlet that has been tainted by narcissism and greed. I'm inundated with messages about growing your following, emails about buying followers, captions about 'click on my Frank and Oak link' to get your own beautiful cashmere cardigan, look at my beautiful outfit and my perfect blog etc.

This resonates because, I, too, struggle with comparison. I, too, would love to make some money on the side. I, too, enjoy the attention received when I post a beautiful picture, and I, too, have seriously considered quitting Instagram completely because of the pressure to be perfect. The pressure to curate my feed, to delete old posts because they aren't perfect enough, to post endless pictures of latte art and hip cafes because that's what all the popular Instagrammers do. 

I, too, desire affirmation. 

Please Lord, help me not find it on Instagram but in you alone. 

*now going to close my computer and turn off the internet for awhile*

PS. I, too, struggle to know exactly where to place those tricky commas.. haha.
PPS. I, too, need to judge less and love more.

Friday, January 19, 2018

favourite photo of 2017

Soho, Hong Kong, May 2017.

Here I was sweating buckets in the Hong Kong humidity and thrilled to bits to finally see a real live Shepard Fairey mural! (Thank you to my friends for patiently searching the side alleys of Soho with me and taking my photo.) Now I'm  huddled up in bed, in the rainy windy Netherlands still disbelieving this photo was taken 8 months ago! Cray Cray. Life has been a full on sprint, with barely moments to catch my wind. I'm very thankful to be where I am right now, but I also want to remember where I was. 

This photo in Hong Kong is fun.. bright, colourful and very instagrammable. Life looks great for me right? Living the dream? The reality was that my trip to Hong Kong was not for fun. Quite the opposite. It was quite a stressful visit because it was necessary for my paperwork for my visa.. and it was quite stressful financially! I had changed jobs and was working through mounds of red tape and messy stuff with the company I had left and the new job I was transferring to (I'll spare you the details). Lots of stress and uncertainty, not to mention flights and bureaucracy. On the upside, I stayed with friends the whole time, which was a huge blessing, not only to hang out and catch up but also to ease up on finding a place to stay. I ate good food, was refreshed by Hong Kong's vibrant design scene and yummy restaurants and I read Jackie Pullinger's biography while whizzing through HK streets on the top level of the famous double-decker buses. 

2017 was a crazy year for me, filled with stress and decisions, and alot of adulting. Around New Year's Eve time I always sit and reflect on the past year, and the word "rebuilding" came to mind to describe 2017. I invested myself in a new career, I built up friends and community in a new city in a new part of the world, I pushed myself to be more environmentally conscious and zero waste in an foreign environment, and remember again and again the God is the one who is truly in control of my life. I was truly joyful in this photo, despite the ongoing stress and drama of my job. Who knows what 2018 will bring? I don't! And I'm looking forward to the adventures. :)

I'm thrilled to have this blog back up and running and I can't wait to share more about my Zero Waste discoveries and my most recent (secondhand) purchase of a delicious fountain pen. Terribly nerdy of me... but I won't apologize for it.
Goodnight, world. 


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