Four Reasons this Dietitian Isn’t Crazed About Sugar

It’s not that I don’t care about the amount of sugar in my own diet. It is that I rather trust my food choices and activity level to sort it out without obsessing about every seemingly “hidden” gram (it is hardly hidden – total grams is listed on the flip side of every package).  Sounds simple enough, but I get it can be kind of complex for the non-dietitian. I also get that we as a society like a to single out  dietary villains. It easier than looking at complex dietary interactions that vary uniquely among individuals.

While traveling for work I pulled out my sun butter and jelly sandwich only to be questioned about eating that much sugar  by my well-meaning non-dietitian co-worker (brave). I know very well jelly is sugar. That doesn’t mean I won’t eat it. In fact I love it especially in context of wheat bread and sun butter containing fiber, protein, whole grains and NO sugar. Jelly gives my sandwich and me good balance.

Here are four reasons sugar added to my food doesn’t concern me:

  1. I eat mostly fresh and unpackaged foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and local beef, poultry, and fish are the foundation of my diet. I eat them raw or cooked. I add oils and spices to make them super yum. I pepper my day with carefully selected packaged foods that meet both my nutritional and lifestyle needs.  When making nutritious choices on packaged foods I have little concern for total sugar and mostly look at the company the sugar is keeping like calories, total carb, fiber, protein, whole grains, vitamins, and healthy fat.
  2. My daily diet does not include sugar-sweetened drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major contributor of unconscious and empty calories that are easy to chug down if it is your daily choice of a thirst-quenching beverages. When I am thirsty I drink water, preferably the bubbly guzzle-able variety!
  3. Baked goods and dairy desserts don’t find their way in my menu daily. I love sweet breads, chocolate chip pancakes, and ice cream as much as the next person but they are far from an everyday occurrence. They are loaded with carbohydrate I can use when I am training for some crazy-long race and have higher carb needs but sadly as the mileage increase the appetite for these things decreases. Kind of like it did during pregnancy.
  4. I am active daily, if not athletic. Movement and activity are natural insulin for the body helping to clear sugar from the blood for use by the muscles. The more I move the greater my allowance for sugar is while still maintaining health. When you have a healthy amount of activity and eat within your calorie needs based on your activity sugar’s toll on your body becomes less of a concern than for someone who spends most the day sitting.

So there you have it. Drink water. Skip the bakery (most days). Eat fresh. Select lifestyle-fitting-packaged foods (for me they have to be nutritious). Move more. No sugar gram counting required.  Oh and plus… IS sweet we should embrace it.

You Gotta Have Guts

“Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?” Because he didn’t have any GUTS!”
My five year-old tells me this joke often. He puts emphasis on the word ” GUUUTSSS” in way that sticks so perfectly and sweetly in my mind when I am running. You have got to have GUUUTSSS to obtain many of the rewards life has to offer. Whether it is passing someone on the trail, attempting something like the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail , deciding to start family……you have got to have guts.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh I could never do that.” when you know very-well they could if they decided they could.
Mustering the guts to take a the chance and try that thing you have always wanted to do can lead you to some unexpected and wonderful places. The Bridger Ridge Run has been around since my Aunt Kathy dragged me through my first 5 k. It wasn’t until approaching forty-years old that I developed the guts to run it.

After making it through getting pregnant, Eric’s premature birth, getting pregnant again, and staying pregnant to full-term the second time around, I discovered I had guts to try things I wasn’t sure I could do. I discovered I was capable of doing more than I thought. I decided to throw my name into the lottery for the Bridger Ridge Run and see if I too could be one of the lucky three-hundred people who got to experience the Bridger Mountains and the culture that surrounds this run.

This run started with a small circle of friends who want to go have fun up in the mountains and it continues year after year thanks to people who give of themselves to make it happen. You stand at the starting line with strangers and you go through these mountains together and crossing the finish line with a whole new set of friends.

This run represents  all Montana  is, big, glorious,  quirky  and a little  “off”. You want a map?  A trail?  A guaranteed to the start at Fairy Lake up a dirty, winding, bumpy back road? This run isn’t for you. You want adventure, new friends, and to be part of something that invites everyone to get out there? Grab some guts and join in!

Last August, for the 30th time, a diverse group of runners tested themselves over 20 miles on the exposed spine of the Bridger Mountains outside of Bozeman, Montana. This beautiful short film follows ten of those runners and all the drama, misery, courage and heart that unfolds along the way. Film by Eric Bendick/Grizzly Creek Films: