28 Day Sugar Detox

Here is the plan that has worked for 14 years!

The Three Day Sugar Strike Shopping List

No Sugar, No Grains, No Processed Vegetable Oils = No Cravings!

1. In The Produce Aisle

Eat a variety of non-starchy vegetables 

Salad Greens (lettuce, spinach, cabbage)

Other Leafy Greens (Swiss chard or other chard, collard greens, kale, bok choy)

Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)

Other salad vegetables (radishes, sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes)

Other green vegetables (avocado, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, okra, also cauliflower)

Other non-starchy vegetables (peppers, green onions, eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms)

2.Meat, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Eggs

Do your best to stick to unprocessed organic meats that you prepare yourself.  Eggs are extremely nutritious, especially local free-range eggs.  

Beef: All cuts, especially grass fed.  The recent studies which have connected red meat with poor health outcomes have used conventionally raised beef which is fed grains and corn.  Grass fed organic ground beef has come way down in price, and other cuts can ordered from www.grasslandbeef.com.  It may be wise to limit your consumption of conventionally raised and processed beef and pork.

Pork

Poultry

Fish

Shellfish

I do use the wild salmon that comes in a can or a pouch to get in my omega 3 rich fish at a lower price.  I have definitely experienced sticker shock at the price of fresh wild caught fish.

3. Dairy Case

Cream, butter, full-fat cottage cheese , sour cream, cheeses, ricotta,  full fat yogurt with no sugar added, including Greek yogurt.  You can even make dessert on the Three Day Sugar Strike by mixing 1/2 cup of full fat yogurt with 1oz. chopped raw walnuts or almonds with a few drops of liquid stevia, and a sprinkle of pure cinnamon.  Once again, look for organic dairy.  Remember total dairy= i cup a day on the Sugar Strike due to the lactose content of dairy foods other than heavy cream.

4.Fats and Oils

Note that some of these are high in saturated fats (butter, coconut oil).  My experience and research shows that saturated fats are actually beneficial in the context of  a low carb diet. Avoid oils which are high in omega-6 fats (soy, corn, most safflower and sunflower). Partially hydrogenated oils should always be avoided. 

Butter  (From grass fed cows like Kerrygold Butter)

Coconut oil (Organic)

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I also recommend local olive oil if it is available.  Many times local oils won’t be certified organic because of the expense of certification.  I adore lemon infused olive oil for home-made salad dressing and mayonnaise.

When I cook chicken, steaks, or pork chops on the stove I use a mixture of butter and olive oil in the pan.

Other oils in small amounts as flavoring (sesame and nut oils)

Other high-fat foods: nuts, avocados, and cream.  

A note on nuts and avocado on the Sugar Strike- 1 to 2 oz of nuts today, and one avocado per day due to their higher carb content, and calorie density.

Frozen Foods

It’s a good idea to have frozen meats, fish, and vegetables on hand.  Don’t forget to thaw your meat in the refrigerator, or in a sink of cool water in time to cook it!

Canned Goods

Canned versions of the above vegetables, also olives.

Nuts and Seeds

Most nuts and seeds will return to your menu after the Three Day Sugar Strike.  As above 1-2 oz of raw organic almonds or walnuts per day are fine.

Condiments

Mustard, full-fat mayo (Not made with soybean oil!), salsa, pesto, dill pickle, sugar free relish, hot sauce. Braggs Organic vinegar, or any vinegar without added sugar.

Other:

Unsweetened almond or Coconut milk

Unsweetened coconut flakes

Unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder .

5.In the Spice Aisle:

Look for interesting organic spice mixes.  I use curries, ginger, cumin, iodized sea salt, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, etc. to add interest and variety.

Remember: No Sugar, No Grains, No Processed Vegetable Oils = No Cravings!

Drink plenty of water- with a squeeze of lemon or lime if you like.  Coffee with cream in moderation. 

Over the next 28 days, I will be sharing tips and strategies on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SugarFreedom

I would rather dance than eat sugar, corporate carbs, and factory fats. Here is the link to my TikTok feed: https://www.tiktok.com/@sugarfreefun

Is Insulin Sensitivity The Key To Happiness?

https://amzn.to/3tsmVYZ

In 2018, I read Edward Bullmore MD’s book on the connection between inflammation and depression. That was also the year when I learned how to reduce the carbohydrates in my diet to the point where I no longer experienced any hunger or cravings between my two meals a day.

Diet and Exercise Improve Insulin Sensitivity.

In 2019, I also re-designed my exercise regimen to specifically improve my insulin sensitivity. Here is a link to the study I used to create my workouts: https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/EP087435

This quote from the study describes the results:

“The present study has demonstrated that 6 weeks of resistance exercise, consisting of one set to volitional failure of nine exercises taking 15–20 min per session undertaken three times per week, resulted in a 16% improvement in insulin sensitivity in healthy overweight men. On top of this, increases in muscle strength, size and RTD50 and 100 were also observed. Previous work has shown that single-set resistance exercise to failure can increase muscle strength (Mitchell et al., 2012), but the present study is the first to demonstrate that such simple exercise, with a weekly time commitment of <1 h, can increase insulin sensitivity in overweight men and is also the first to demonstrate the time course of adaptations in muscle strength and size.”

My current workouts consist of nine exercises performed to muscle fatigue three times per week, plus my dance and flexibility practice.

How Do Diet And Exercise Lead To Happiness?

By reducing carbohydrates and following this exercise regimen, I was able to improve my insulin sensitivity to the point where I achieved excellent hormonal balance, good dopamine sensitivity, and better physical strength without injury. Too much insulin in the bloodstream disrupts the brain’s ability to respond to the feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that generate the physical expression of our emotional well being.

Have you ever experienced these blocks that keep you from the activities you enjoy?

  1. Fatigue
  2. Procrastination
  3. Irritability
  4. Fear of Judgement

In my experience, all of these feelings can be caused or at the very least made worse by the inflammation that results from insulin resistance. The elimination of corporate carbohydrates, the reduction of all other carbs, and the appropriate amount of resistance exercise caused a true transformation in my state of mind.

In the Past, I Relentlessly Pursued Weight Loss to Try to Improve My Low Self-Worth.

Once I read Doctor Bullmore’s book, and applied what I learned about exercise, my obsession over my appearance finally eased for the first time in decades. I believe that insulin sensitivity has allowed me to overcome my fear of judgement about the way I look to strangers. This has given me the freedom and the courage to pursue singing and dancing at a much higher level. The win/win of insulin sensitivity is physical health plus the emotional well-being to enjoy it.

I hope you are inspired to optimize your nutrition and training so that you can experience the happiness that insulin sensitivity promotes.

Time in Nature Improves Well Being Too!

How I Gained Weight, How I Lost it, and How I Keep It Off.

My unwanted weight gain started with two conditions, one genetic, and the other environmental.

Condition Number One: Dopamine Resistance.

I was born with a mutation of the A1 allele of the D2 dopamine receptor. This mutation can be found in hunter gatherer populations, and in the descendants of groups of people who experienced severe prolonged famine. This causes dopamine resistance which shows up as Reward Deficiency Syndrome. I hope you’ll read the article linked above, as it gives incredible insight into a possible causes of so many of the challenges we face as modern humans including, overeating, addiction, attention deficits, and even procrastination.

Condition Numer Two: Insulin Resistance.

Some of my earliest memories are of eczema, regular stomach pain, and nausea. Researchers have known about the connection between glucose intolerance and eczema since the 1920’s. The eczema was bad enough, but when my mother’s doctor told her to put her family on a low cholesterol, low fat diet my symptoms got worse. Instead of just pain and itching, I now had an appetite that was out of control. Worst of all, by age seven I was steadily gaining weight over what would be expected for normal growth.

Fast forward to pregnancy, severe glucose intolerance, and obesity.

When I was pregnant, I failed my glucose tolerance test, and I developed P.I.H.: Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. This resulted in high blood pressure, swelling from water retention, and rapid fat gain. Before I became pregnant, I had been able to maintain a normal weight with cigarettes and diet pils, but I had given those up in order to get ready for a healthy pregnancy. Happily, I had a healthy baby. My son Colin is a wonderful young man age 21. Unfortunately, I remained insulin resistant, glucose intolerant, and I began to experience carbohydrate triggered binge eating.

How I Lost Seventy Pounds.

It took seven years to find the solution to my overeating and overweight conditions, but I was able to do it by learning to manage my Reward Deficiency Syndrome and my insulin resistance/hyper-insulinemia.

Eating and Training.

The first step was to eliminate anything in a bag or box from my eating plan. I call these processed and packaged foods Corporate Carbohydrates. Corporate Carbohydrates are any plant foods that have been modified for profit. These profit modifications usually make them shelf stable, and hard to resist. Modification number one is the addition of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. By eliminating sugar and grains from my diet, and adding a sensible program of resistance and interval training, I was able to stabilize at a healthy weight of 125.

Weight Loss/Maintenance after Menopause.

After age 55, I eliminated more carbohydrates from my nutrition plan. By keeping carbs very low, I am able to keep my weight stable, and my motivation high. I have enormous amounts of energy, I am free of aches, pains, injury, and weakness. If I get down or depressed, I revitalize my faith, spend more time in nature, get more sun and use my light box, and make sure I am nurturing my relationships.

By acting, singing, dancing, drawing, gardening, raising chickens, making music, and volunteering I am able to get happiness from the things I do, instead of blocking sadness with the things I consume.

My complete diet can be found here: Three Day Sugar Detox.

I hope that you will discover the foods that nourish and satisfy you, and the activities that make you happy.

Catherine Gordon

The Life Changing Power of Fulfillment

When your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are fulfilled, the whole world benefits.

Think of the people who do good things in your community.

Right now, I’m picturing my friends who teach, practice health care, provide services to seniors, support arts and recreation, and help people who lack the basic necessities of life.

These people have the energy and enthusiasm for giving, and I believe that’s because they have the wisdom to take good care of themselves.

When I had my fitness studio, I was impressed by the fact that the people who came to train with me usually had time to volunteer, serve, and be generous in the community.

Ever since I quit sugar and stopped using exercise to burn calories, I gained the energy and emotional well being I needed in order to be of service. My mindset shifted from, “What can I buy today?” to “What good can I do today?”

Ten years ago, I was most concerned about the state of my students’ physical health. Now I’m most concerned with the emotional health of the community, and the state of the world we live in.

Concerns about inflation, climate change, and opportunities for young people have replaced my focus on body fat percentage. Now, I want to know how to tread as lightly on the planet as possible, while creating as much happiness as possible for my family, friends, neighbors, and the people who see my work as an artist.

A shift from an economy of extraction and consumption to a circular economy of physical, emotional, and creative fulfillment offers opportunities for all of us to thrive into the next century and beyond.

As I get ready to train and work today, I will keep my new goals and dreams in mind, and I hope you will too.

How To Feel Good Again

Good Food and Training Can Help You Enjoy The Simple Things Once More.

When I was a little girl, I rarely wanted to stop playing in order to eat. I would rather play outside in the sandbox or on the swings. On rainy days I didn’t want to leave my dolls or drawing in order to have lunch or dinner. Most of the time, eating was just something I did before learning, living, and playing.

I was a healthy and energetic child, but I do remember having terrible eczema in the Winter, and frequent stomach aches. At some point in my early childhood, my Mother’s doctor had convinced her to stop serving the family so many eggs, and replace them with cold cereal and a children’s vitamin.

I remember how hard it was to get full and satisfied on the new breakfast cereals like Quisp, Trix, and Capn’ Crunch. I used to want two or three bowls, and the Capn’ Crunch would scrape up the roof of my mouth, but I’d keep eating it.

By the time I was eight years old, I was getting more than chubby. In later years I started to have early dental issues, and I was regularly overeating. I just couldn’t seem to get satisfied the way other people could.

About a year ago, I came across an article from the late 1990’s that offered a possible explanation for what was driving my overeating. That article introduced me to Reward Deficiency Syndrome, its causes, and consequences.

This recent article has an excellent description of Reward Deficiency Syndrome:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00919/full

RDS is the consequence of a difference in the D2 Dopamine receptor. Dopamine controls our feelings of pleasure and reward, and when reward deficiency syndrome is present, the individual doesn’t respond to dopamine as readily. This means that the low does of dopamine that some from completing a simple task or eating a simple healthy meal might not register strongly enough in the brain to make those activities feel worthwhile.

The RDS brain needs a bigger stimulus to get motivated, and sugary starchy foods are especially problematic for people like me who have RDS. The sugar is tempting enough that I’m motivated to seek it out, and the rush I get from eating it makes it incredibly hard to stop. On top of that, the over stimulus of sugar and starchy carbs can de-sensitize the dopamine receptors. There is evidence that dopamine receptors can be harmed by just a two week period of indulgence in highly processed snacks and sweets.

Here is a link to an article for a closer look at sugar’s impact on brain chemistry.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327512

So how can you feel good without sugar or other stimulants like alcohol and nicotine? A simple, whole food, sugar free diet can bring relief from cravings, and a re-connection to non-food activities. A program of resistance training can help manage blood glucose, and reduce the insulin resistance that can also make it harder to respond to dopamine. As dopamine receptors recover, and insulin sensitivity improves, better physical and emotional well being starts a positive feedback cycle. Eating, exercise, and fun combine to create a win, win, win, situation.

You can use the Sugar Freedom Diet on this blog, or simply start to choose Whole Foods from the outside aisles of your grocery store. In addition, 20 minutes of resistance training three times a week, plus time for fun and hobbies like gardening, music, sports, art, or dance can expose you to regular doses of dopamine, and happiness.

Natasha earned her Rally Title. Obedience training is a fun activity for me and my dog.

Our world is full of expensive, time consuming distractions. I encourage you to think about activities that could make you feel like a kid again, and make a little time for them.

Be well, and eat for yourself,

Catherine

How I Went From Obese To Healthy

And How I Maintain That Weight Loss After Menopause.

Catherine holds a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar and A Lemon.

If I had to describe how I maintain my sixty pound weight loss in one sentence this would be it: I reduce the glucose in my nutrition to the point where my cravings disappear.

My former obesity was a visible symptom of my dis-regulated appetite. As a child of six, I began to experience terrible food cravings whenever I ate processed foods like cereal, canned soups, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

After excess glucose exposure, I am driven to consume excess sugar and starch to the point of exhaustion, physical pain, or until I can’t find any more carbohydrates to consume.

My cravings feel like insanity or a kind of possession, so when they stop, I get a sense of blessed relief. To be at peace with food is priceless.

I started reducing the amount of glucose I was getting from food at age 43. within one year I had reached my goal weight of 123, and I have maintained it for 14 years. I combined carbohydrate replacement with exercises that increase my insulin sensitivity, and my physical condition was healed.

As I’ve matured, I’ve continued to reduce my carbohydrate intake. My glucose tolerance decreased after menopause, but I’ve managed my well being by shifting to a very low carb diet. At age 58, I can easily maintain my weight on a close to carnivore diet of 1,260 calories a day. I am simply so satisfied that I don’t need more than two moderate meals a day.

The other key to being happy and fulfilled on less food than I used to eat, is having the energy to do the things I love more than eating sugar.

Being able to dance and sing as well as I ever have at age 58 makes eating for entertainment a non-issue. Piano, guitar, voice, and dance have taken the place of sugar, bread, wine, and pasta. Believe me, life is better without them!

You can listen to my latest podcast episode at the link below.

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/51648523

Can I Re-Start My Career at 58?

A Few Photos From My Musical Theatre Career

All I ever wanted to do was act, sing, and dance.

In 1986, I earned a BA in Theatre from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN. I headed to Los Angeles, and I was able to work for many of the musical theatre and Civic Light Opera companies there. I did quite a few commercials, a little bit of television, and student films.

There were even a few years where I was almost making a real living from my work as a performer. The last audition my agent sent me on led to a job in Sonora, CA. Even better, I met my future husband, had a son, and my life changed in wonderful ways.

Once my son was old enough to go to school, I switched my career form performing to Personal Training and fitness studio owner. Even before the disruption of Covid in 2020, I had given up my fitness business, and I was focusing on singing and dancing again.

My fitness business grew out of what I learned from healing my sugar addiction, but I’ve learned that in order to stay off of the sugar, I have to be doing what I love.

For more than a decade people have been asking me how to stay off of sugar, and my experience taught me that you have to eat something else, and get pleasure from what you do and create, instead of getting it from what you have and consume.

My Health Plan For My Comeback.

My personal sugar free diet has evolved to a very low carb ketogenic plan as I’ve matured, and my fitness training is changing as well.

In order to have time for my singing and dance practice, I’ve changed my resistance training and intervals to shorter daily sessions.

I do nine lifts to fatigue, a round of Tabata training, Hooping, and stretching. I’ll be sharing my techniques here on my blog.

My hope is that my readers and viewers will be inspired to apply their training to the the activities that they love too.

Here’s to discovering how to be happy and fulfilled over 50, or at any age.

All the best,

Catherine

What Are We Training For?

For fifty years, I have been training to fit in. That’s long enough.

Too big and too small at nine years old.

By the time I was eight years old, my peers were letting me know that I was too short and round to be an asset to any social group.

My intelligence, friendliness, and sense of humor weren’t going to be enough to make up for my appearance when it came to making friends, and being included.

For decades, I have been doing whatever I can with nutrition and training to achieve and then maintain an acceptable shape and size. Just today, I got my yearly survey from the National Weight Control Registry, which records how I continue to maintain a 65 pound weight loss.

Before and After 2014

I was accepted into the registry in 2014, and I’ve maintained my weight ever since. The key has been to keep sugar and carbs low enough to manage my sugar addiction, and maintaining enough muscle to to manage my insulin resistance.

Now that I’m 58, I care less about how my eating and training affect my appearance, and more about how they affect my energy and enthusiasm. At my age, I simply won’t risk under-nutrition and over training. If I under-eat, I experience cravings and poor mood. If I over train, I get injured.

No more. I’ve been focusing on dancing and singing more, and I realize that the training I do to stay agile and limber brings more joy to my life.

I still lift and do intervals, but my training sessions are just 30 minutes long. This gives me more time to dance, sing, and write.

As I get my Christmas show, and my tribute to Irish Soprano Catherine Hayes ready I am going to shift my focus to what makes me a better performer.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you, and I hope that you will think about what you are eating and trying for. May you seek and find what truly makes you happy!

Catherine Now.

How I Healed My Sugar Addiction

The First Step To Healing My Sugar Addiction was learning to handle my hunger.

My video on hunger, Apple Cider Vinegar, and the weight loss drug: Wegovy.
My recent video on Apple cider Vinegar
My First Video on Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss

Vinegar Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201600121

Article on the weight loss drug Wegovy: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/978805?src=WNL_infocu1_220917_MSCPEDIT&uac=321192AY&impID=4650542&faf=1