Kicking a sweet habit

sprinkles cupcakes

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a functioning sugar addict. I was living in a world dictated by cravings that controlled when, how often and what I ate. I was never satisfied or “full” until having something sweet, no matter how small, after every meal. I couldn’t say no to food junk that was anywhere within about a 25-foot radius or if I was alone, stop eating it until it was gone, I felt sick or both. I say “functioning” because despite this weak spot, no, weak crater, I still ate relatively healthy, well-balanced meals and have always been one those much-hated people who maintain a pretty thin figure with low to moderate exercise. I know…disgusting.

I even–this is embarrassing–resorted to eating cookies for breakfast…on more than one occasion. Thinking back on those times I can’t help but hear Kate Winslet in my head from The Holiday scene where she sniffs stove gas after learning douchy Jasper is engaged, “Low point…low point!”

I’ve read plenty before how damaging sugar and even “healthy” or “natural” sugar substitutes can be on our health. So, after some fear and quite a lot of skepticism of my own willpower, I made the commitment to give up sugar for three months. That’s right, I haven’t eaten added sugar, dessert or even food with over 5 grams of sugar (if I could help it) since January 4.

Of course, I’ve been dreaming for April 1 to come around, trying to decide which dessert will be my first back in the game, and let’s not kid ourselves, is there really any competition where Sprinkles cupcakes are concerned?

Meanwhile, I was still dealing with quite a lot of compounding chronic issues that were really starting to bring me down physically, emotionally and mentally. After countless hours of research and doctor visits, I finally landed on some au natural health solutions that have made a HUGE difference in how I look and feel every day. In addition to taking about 16 supplements and drinking 90+ ounces of water a day, making my own soap with baking soda and rinsing each load of laundry with vinegar, this treatment plan also includes a strict (and temporary, thank God) diet. Interestingly MIRACULOUSLY enough, after not eating processed food, wheat/yeast, dairy, sugar and so much more for only just one week, my issues have all but vanished along with literally all my cravings (which people claim disappear when you just give up sugar, but mine held stubbornly intact).

So ironically, today would have been the first day I could eat sugar again, and I actually don’t even want any. Ladies and gentleman, this is what real freedom looks like.

Another fun side effect of this new diet is the unavoidable need to get creative in the kitchen. So I’ll be having some of those tasty results coming your way soon. In the meantime if this sounds familiar, you want to jump on my health bandwagon or are just plain curious here are my two favorite resources: I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson (the e-book) and Allergies: Disease in Disguise by Carolee Bateson-Koch.

quote - she believed she could so she did

A clean home is a happy home (and a happy Lydia)

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I’m ordinarily a pretty neat person – with the exception of the clothing tornado that happens each and every morning I get dressed. I like to have a place for everything and consider organizing a great hobby. When my room is a mess, I feel like a mess.

Yet apparently when my roommate goes out of town for the weekend, I become a 13 year old boy with no care for seeing the floor of my room. So I spent the first half of the weekend making a huge mess for myself. That macaroni and cheese pot from Friday night that I regrettably finished all on my own? Feel free to soak till Saturday when I muster up the energy and courage to tackle you. The living room became both my closet and kitchen. Consequently the second half of the weekend I spent cleaning. I came home on Sunday morning [feeling a little rough from too much fun on Saturday night] and couldn’t believe the mess I had created. A few hours of elbow grease later, my apartment now has the oh so sweet aroma of bleach and Windex. Not that this did much to help my headache, but the clean smell is delicious nonetheless. My clothes are back on their hangers and sanity is back in my head.

It’s amazing what organized surroundings can do to change your attitude on well, everything. It energizes you, makes your hair less frizzy and I’m pretty sure I lost weight – okay, maybe that’s excessive. But it really does play so much into how I feel. This whole week has just felt kind of messy. As a result, my dog had shortened walks and my Finding Tiffanys blog posts were lacking. I feel that clean surroundings are part of my 2013 vow to live and eat healthier. Furthermore, when my the items in my life are in place and organized, it’s setting the stage for me to live. And not spend 30 minutes looking for my keys.

I would also like to add on a completely different note, that this weekend I found the jeans. The jeans I’ve been looking for since 1989. Skinny jeans that don’t make me look like a Jonas Brother,  fit around the waist, and are comfortable enough to sit criss cross at work. Thank you Urban Outfitters and your $39 BDG Jean sale, you made this jean seeker incredibly happy.

A Nickel For Your Thoughts

read quote cs lewis

The most magical thing about writing (and reading) is that moment of perfect synchronicity, when the reader goes “YES, me too!” I have this moment of understanding and connectivity with books and other bloggers (unbeknownst to them) often, and it is exactly that which has always motivated me to write as well. I can only hope that somebody stumbles across something I write and is encouraged, excited or if nothing else, left with a little more feeling of belonging than they had before. So it is with this hope that I broach a topic that has been weighing on me a lot lately.

I think I can speak on Lydia’s behalf when I say that healthiness is an important part in Finding Tiffany’s for us. When you feel 100% you’re better equipped to go out in the world and live life to the fullest. Whether through yoga, running, eating less sugar or finally making it to some doctor appointments, we’re always looking for ways to incorporate more of a healthy lifestyle.

health quote

So…what happens when everything you thought was eating healthily turns out to be actually slowly diminishing your immune system?

I found out this week I’m allergic to nickel, among other things. I’m afraid I’ve grown pretty boring since then, since all I’ve done ever since is research what this means and what I can do about it (Did you now 15% of the population have some sort of nickel allergy?? See, full of fun facts). You see, nickel is in basically everything. Keys, jewelry, zippers, buckles, metal buttons, pens, paper clips, cooking utensils and pans, door knobs, hangers…It’s also in food: wheat, ALL vegetables (including my favorites, spinach and mushrooms), nuts, soy, oatmeal, tuna and beans. And of course my favorites: wine (only red, thank God), chocolate and beer.

I can’t tell you how confusing it has been to retrain my brain these past couple of days. Everything I eat (and enjoy) on a daily basis that filled me with pride for taking care of my body (minus the chocolate and alcohol) was actually building up against my immune system the whole time. Huh.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I do firmly believe that having a healthy body is paramount to living a happy, fulfilled life. Because I believe that there ARE answers out there, no matter how many times you have to visit doctors who make you feel like a crazy hypochondriac. Because I want you to know that other people know whatever it is you’re going through, whether it’s people on our blog, another blog or a random message board. And hopefully, knowing that gives you some comfort. Helps you feel understood and accepted. Makes you feel at home, wherever you are, however you are.

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As my friend told me this week, after I kinda thought I was going to be murdered while using the sketchiest bathroom of my life in an otherwise fun, quirky place (Lee Harvey’s) only to look up and see someone else had already hit my feelings spot on with the words scrawled on the bathroom wall, “This bathroom is f****** creepy as s***”…..

….Life is all about the shared human experience.

Inspiration: All The Little Things

inspiration motivational quotes

On Finding Tiffany’s, we talk a lot about realizing goals and exploring life, but we’re only telling half the story if we don’t spend some time talking about all the things that help us get there. Inspiration is contagious and can come from anywhere. Starting this week we’ll be bringing you more about all the things that inspire us…pictures, quotes, links, random details from daily life.

This week has just been one of those weeks where inspiration has been a little harder to appreciate and hold on to…between not enough sleep and some pesky health issues, the below have been even more valuable for my sanity!

kitchen art
Italian kitchen art from Etsy that will be hanging in my kitchen: “If you want to live long, you have to eat, drink and sleep” and an Italian idiom that essentially means “At the table with friends and family, one does not grow old.”
The weather this week has been California-worthy. Driving with the windows down in the 65 degree weather instantly brightens my mood.
The weather this week has been California-worthy. Driving with the windows down in the 65 degree weather instantly brightens my mood.
Truth. If you've ever been sick (and it seems like everyone is these days) you know it, too. I've been inspired to take charge this week: revamping my diet (no sugar, lots of green tea, vegetables and protein) and finally meeting with some doctors.
Truth. If you’ve ever been sick (and it seems like everyone is these days) you know it, too. I’ve been inspired to take charge this week: revamping my diet (no sugar, lots of green tea, vegetables and protein) and finally meeting with some doctors.

Gaia Flow Yoga

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About two months ago I started yoga at Gaia Flow Yoga, a hot yoga studio in Addison. It’s been quite the amazing journey thus far. At Gaia, they practice with love. This means that we occasionally turn to our neighbors and say “I love you”..which really can feel a little ridiculous at times. But yoga is all about letting go, and letting go of feeling silly is certainly one of them. We are also taught to act with love and kindness, and to love ourselves. Love where you are today in your practice and love where it will take you tomorrow. When you walk into the room, you let everything go. To be distracted by work, friends or anything else is taking away from your practice. Each class is a gift you are giving yourself, and you should enjoy that gift. And it’s so unbelievably true. When I leave any of the five classes, I feel fantastic.

The overall point of practicing love is that the things you practice on your mat are to transcend into your day to day life. Every week there is something new for you to focus on during your practice and during your week, called Sadhanas (yamas or niyamas). For instance, one week was to not be greedy,  called Aparigraha. Each class I went to that week, the different instructor had a different interpretation as to how to practice it that week. It went beyond the typical money greed, and into bigger things. Perhaps to you it meant greedy with your time when you should be spending time cultivating your friendships and family relationships. Speaking of the instructors, they are all amazing and lovely people to be around. Really, everyone who attends the classes are in general, happy and nice people. But I mean, I guess we are all yogis, so how unhappy could we possibly be?

We are also a sweaty bunch. And I mean sweat – y. Oh my lanta. You leave completely drenched and your body begging for a nap. As I begin dipping my toe into more difficult classes, I am learning how weak I actually am. I’ve always had what I oh so affectionally refer to as “man arms” but despite the proud biceps and triceps definition I have gained from doing weights all year, those suckers aren’t getting me into a handstand. It’s all new muscles being worked, toned and pushed to their sweaty physical limit.

Practicing yoga has also had other affects on me outside the Gaia Flow room. I am even more interested than before in learning about other religions. Often when the yoga instructors mention a God they say “your god or my god.” I find this fascinating as it pulls religion into your practice without constricting your beliefs. I also find myself taking deep breathes when I get stressed, overwhelmed or upset. Taking a few breathes, remembering my practice, have taken helped ease stress in my day-to-day life. Another take away from Gaia Flow is they always say when we start warming up to notice the slight pains, any tightness or anything else out of the ordinary. Notice it and accept it. And then breathe into it. To not get frustrated with things you cannot change is huge for me. To not get frustrated but continue striving for more. I have also improved my diet since kicking up my yoga practice. You develop a natural desire to treat your body better (and being around super yogis twisting in all directions is definitely encouragement).

I suppose yoga isn’t for everyone, but I bet you’d be an easy convert. An activity that is physically challenging, emotionally enlightening and full of awesome people? No elliptical can quite give you that satisfaction in your workout and in your life. Well, now I must be off to my weekend warrior class to be impressed by those pretzels around me and to hopefully finally get into a headstand!

The divine light in me sees the divine light in you. All my love, namaste.

(see? I’m practically a natural.. okay so maybe I’m still mastering that downward facing dog..but no matter)

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