lessons learned: no added sugar

Hey friends!

How was your February? Two weeks ago me and my friend, and fellow RD, Becky went one week without added sugar. Did you join us? If you missed the challenge, you can find the details here.

Today I am sharing some of the lessons learned during our brief seven days without added sugar. Don’t worry, I am back on the donuts, but it was a great, eye opening challenge.


lessons learned: added sugar

  1. Too much sugar can make you feel crappy and can aggravate IBS.

  2. Added sugar is in SO many foods. Truthfully, I tend to think my added sugar intake is fairly low day-to-day (unless I bake cookies or am PMSing) but, getting reacquainted with the food label on staple foods in my diet made me realize that I likely come very close to the ‘recommended’ added sugar limit of 25 g/d. Between sausage or bacon, a granola bar, bread, sauces, and so much more, sugar is literally everywhere, and often in places it really doesn’t need to be.

  3. Eating sweets can quickly become a habit. We found that nighttime snacks and post dinner treats weren’t really something that was needed or even really wanted.

  4. Sweets are often used to comfort when stressed, or occupy when bored. Yikes!!! I am all about mindful eating, I really try to think before I eat and this challenge helped me identify the moments when I normally would reach for some m&ms or chocolate in the cabinet. This challenge forced me to check-in. EVERY SINGLE TIME I had that urge it was due to looking for a distraction from something I didn’t want to do, or feeling stressed / overwhelmed and wanting a moment of comfort. I prefer intentional treat selection for enjoyment, but I am not immune to the comfort of my favorite chocolate to escape my stress. I definitely do this way more often than I realized and I am glad for my better awareness. Now I am more apt to stop and ask ‘what am I really feeling right now?’ It is challenging, but powerful.

  5. A savory breakfast can be just as satisfying as a sweet breakfast. PS Becky has some amazing recipes and breakfast shares on her IG so make sure you’re following her.

  6. Fruit makes a great dessert! We both really enjoyed adding more fruit to our day, either at breakfast, as a snack, or as dessert after a meal. Clementines and grapes are extra tasty this time of year and are certainly sweet!

  7. Carbohydrate intake didn’t decrease. This eye opening experience showed us that we do love carbs and can eat carbs and will eat carbs for fuel and satisfaction but perhaps the countless sources of added hidden sugars in our diet don’t all need to be there too. I rely on bread a lot more than I ever have (due to my schedule) and I recognized there were higher quality breads I could invest in for more nutrition and less / no added sugar.

  8. Not drinking alcohol is tough. We had an alcohol goal, I did not succeed. Some weeks I drink 3-4 days, some weeks 1 day, some weeks 2 days. I wasn’t going to give up on a social outing and seeing friends because of this challenge. If I am out and socializing I prefer to drink. If I didn’t want to drink I would stay home and read. Worth highlighting two big points here: 1) Your alcohol intake isn’t benign, I know about my relationship with it, what’s yours? and 2) Your diet choices should not limit your social life and enjoyment of life.

  9. And of course, as I always say, it is important to be able to enjoy a treat when you want it and when it is special. Sweets are for enjoyment, not just because you realized your taxes are almost due and your anxiety is thru the roof. My biggest take away, was to remind myself of this exact thing that I know and teach but can sometimes lose sight of. Choose the treats that matter, that are chosen for the sake of truly tasting and enjoying, not the treats that are used to numb.

Well guys, there you have it. We survived, we learned a lot, we have new ideas for snacks, and a greater appreciation for why we make certain choices. Are we both back to eating sugar? You bet, however I always appreciate a learning moment and ideas about how to be more mindful and I look forward to using these lessons moving forward.

no added sugar week

taking a break from sugar

Hi there friends!

Tomorrow, February 18 thru February 24 I am doing a no added sugar week. My kitchen is full of sugar too, rough.


But WHY?! You might be asking. And before you shun sugar as the devil, or get on your intuitive eating high horse, hear me out.

This came about via my usual text thread with my good friend and fellow dietitian Becky (follow her on IG here). We were both complaining about sugar. Some of our common complaints include: eating more sugar than feels comfortable; post-sugar intake digestive distress; feeling trapped in a sugar habit; finding comfort in sugar.

It seems like since the new year started it has been worse. We both have a lot going on personally and professionally, but just like turning to alcohol won’t solve your problems, neither will turning to sweets. Talk about a reality check. We both know these things. We are both active, we eat well, prep food for the week, and take care to get as much sleep as we can. We treat ourselves well, yet we were letting sugar run the show more often than we cared to admit. We decided we would hold each other accountable to a little break.


The intention of our added sugar break is this: to stop using sugar in ways it shouldn’t be used. When we’re upset or stressed, instead of reaching for that sweet, we will be literally forced to try another avenue. We will stop, think (this is huge), and make an intentional choice. Instead of reaching for whatever chocolate is in the cabinet, we will choose from more intentional, and honestly more helpful habits like calling a friend, going for a walk, meditating, doing a face mask, or taking a bath. We don’t think sugar is the devil. But, we prefer to have the ability to make the choice to eat sugar out of mindfulness and choice, not stress.



Once our followers expressed interest in joining us we knew we had to write a post in case more people wanted to join. If you feel like you turn to sweets for any reason other than pure enjoyment I hope you will join us this week. See our guidelines below.

  1. No added sugar for 7 days. We are doing Feb 18- Feb 24 but feel free to pick seven days that work better for you. No added sugar includes things like maple syrup and honey.

  2. Fruit is okay. Fruit has natural sugar, use it for dessert, post workout refuel, or a more natural way to settle a true sweet craving. Dates are an unsweetened fruit, so use these as you wish!

  3. Carbs are okay. Just need to remind everyone of this tidbit. We aren’t doing a Whole 30 or anything dramatic. Literally, just tuning in before we use sugary sweet treats to tune out. Basic components of a nourishing diet should stay put.

  4. Alcohol is okay - in moderation. We decided on no more than 2 drinks at a time and no more than 2 days this week. Cutting out alcohol didn’t make sense to us because we enjoy our social life and seeing friends. If you prefer to cut it out totally, you do you.

  5. Get a friend to join you, an accountability partner, and someone to call when you’re having a freakout stressful day, is super helpful.

  6. No artificial sweeteners. I won’t get into why I despise artificial sweeteners here. Just know that they are definitely out.

  7. Be mindful. Thats the point of this challenge after all. To think before you eat. See what comes up for you. Is your trip to the cookies after work truly a desire for cookies? Or maybe it has become a way to decompress after a hard day? Are the never ending sweets at work really impossible for you to say no to? Or do you use that as an excuse to eat things you don’t even really like that much?

If you are ready to join us on this challenge and take control of your cravings then comment below and share this post with your friends. Remember, enjoying sweets isn’t a bad thing, but most of us use sweets outside of pure enjoyment and instead to play some role or manage some emotion that could be better filled and managed elsewhere. Lets reconnect to what is really going on in our mind, and to what our body truly needs.

Can’t wait to see your journey!! You can tag us on social media @realfoodcourt @becka_rd on Instagram to share how your week is going.

why you should prioritize your health

Happy 2019, friends! Wow - 2018 flew by!

Every year I say the coming year is going to be even better, but 2018 is going to be hard to beat! I became an auntie to my twin sisters super cute little boy, I traveled (a real week-long vaca), I passed my personal training exam and started teaching group fitness, and I got engaged. 2018 was an amazing year, and while I don’t anticipate hitting quite so many milestones in 2019, I am looking forward to growth.

I know it is almost a week into the new year, but I am still working on setting some goals that will align with where my life is right now. I look forward to sharing more about that with you. In fact, I do plan to share a reflection of what goals I set and hit in 2018 and what I’ll be focusing on in 2019. I will say, I 100% believe that if you write it down, you start the trajectory toward what you want. So whatever your goals are, you need to write them down and find a away to hold yourself accountable.

While it is ultimately up to you where you focus in 2019, I hope that you are putting some focus on your health (as I sit here eating peanut m&m’s). Okay, but really, keep reading. Today’s post is all about why you should prioritize your health and where to start. I hope this post inspires you to want to do one thing new or differently.

why prioritize your health

I feel so strongly that everyone should be prioritizing their health. We can all (myself included) make changes that help us live a healthier life, but the motivation to put in the work that is required can be pretty low. I won’t try to scare you into action (though a tour thru a few ICU’s would do the trick), I do hope this post will help you think about your why a bit differently. PS I need to make note of the fact, that bad things can and do happen to people all of the time, regardless of how well they take care of themselves. Those things are out of our control and if they are going to happen, they are going to happen. What we can control is how we treat ourselves today in an effort to prevent lifestyle related diseases and conditions. Below are nine reasons to prioritize your mental and/or physical health.

  1. Improved self-worth. We feel good about ourselves when we take care of ourselves. When we treat our body well we feel positive, while treating ourselves in a way that we know isn’t ideal can lead to negative self-talk. While I never want guilt in the equation, just focus on how good you feel after a good workout, drinking plenty of water, or eating a nourishing meal.

  2. Longevity. Do I need to explain this one? We don’t always think about getting older, but we should. I desire to live my life free of disease for as long as I can - the choices I make right now impact that.

  3. Independence. Move your body within your limitations and aim to keep yourself at your current level of independence for as long as possible.

  4. Disease prevention. Even if conditions run in your family, there is no guarantee that you get those conditions. Instead of assuming you’re going to get x disease, let it motivate you to make changes toward prevention.

  5. Positive impact on others. If you start moving your body, exercising, working on cutting back on stress, it will rub off on loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Please don’t be one of those people that goes forcing your diet and workout routine on anyone who says hello to you. But, if you make changes, and it positively impacts your family, or you can share a great recipe with a coworker, you are planting seeds of change. (I repeat, don’t be a preacher, please).

  6. Opportunities to support local business. From local farmers markets, to local therapists, to independent gyms - your city will thank you.

  7. Increase energy. A no-brainer.

  8. Better sleep. Exercise will help you feel more fatigued and fall asleep easier. Also, balancing blood sugars through a balanced diet and managing your stress and anxiety will greatly improve your sleep.

  9. Improved digestion. Anxiety messes with digestion. Poor diet messes with digestion. Exercise can help digestion. Need I say more?

Where to start

It isn’t about energy in and energy out. The make up of what you eat matters. The frequency of when you move matters. Mental health is also insanely important. Do a little check in with yourself to figure out what area would most benefit from some changes. I have some blog posts to help you get started with small changes that have big impact. Check out my 3 steps to improved nutrition, fitness, and self-care (mental health). Getting healthy doesn’t need to mean an entire life overhaul. Start with one change. And if you are having trouble figuring out where to start. PLEASE reach out. I am here for you. I am also offering in person and virtual coaching at a variety of new times, so don’t hesitate!