Sunday, July 20, 2014

Guest Blogger: Baby Budgeting: Tips on Newborn Prep without Breaking the Bank

 Yup, more kids' clothes

Baby Budgeting: Tips on Newborn Prep without Breaking the Bank
My babies are moving into middle school and high school now, but I can remember like it was yesterday, all the excitement circling around meeting their needs and the anxiousness of making sure I did not exceed the "baby budget". As an experienced parent I share with newbies one key to peace of mind: do all you can to prepare and meet your baby's needs, just make sure you take wisdom along for the ride.

The job of a parent is one of the most rewarding responsibilities you’ll ever have in your life. Ensuring that you have everything that you’ll need to prepare for your little one will take a lot of thought, careful planning and budgeting. The following are important baby preparation tips that won’t break the bank.

Implement a Budget
Implementing a budget can help you determine the amount of money that you have to spend on infant clothing, furniture, and the other essentials. You can make a list of the important must-haves first. If you have money left over, you can then add a few luxuries to your baby’s wardrobe or toy chest. If you’re having difficulties saving money, you can take a look at your previous spending habits. Instead of daily meals out, you can cut back to once a week and put the money saved into your baby savings account.

Multi-Purpose Equipment
Baby equipment that serves multiple purposes will save you both space and money. You’ll find specific pieces that are equipped to handle a number of duties. One particular item includes a combo, play yard, bassinet, changing table and storage station. Look for equipment that is washing machine safe, so you don’t have to worry about germs and bacteria getting your infant sick.

Baby Shower
A baby shower is also a memorable way for people to gather together in preparation of the new arrival. It can also be a great occasion for those who are already parents to pass down wisdom and advice. If a family member, co-worker or friend is throwing you a baby shower, you’ll want to fill out a store registry on the items that you need most. This can include clothing, baby bouncers, infant joggers, breast pumps, cribs and sheets. As the party guests purchase the items, the products are taken off the registry to avoid duplicate items from being bought.

Hand-Me-Downs
While you want to ensure that the products you provide for your infant are safe and reliable, you can still take advantage of hand-me-down baby items. Whether a family member is done having children or they’re taking a break in between births, sharing furniture, baby rockers, swings, strollers and cribs can be a cost-effective approach to child rearing. Since an infant quickly grows and develops, this is especially worthwhile when it comes to infant shoes and clothing.

Save and Reuse
Planning for the first baby can be extra costly because you’re setting up the nursery for the first time. However, if you’re planning on having additional children, you can store the baby equipment, furniture and clothing in a safe place until you are ready to have your next child.

There is a lot of thought, money and preparation that goes into preparing for a new baby. However, the above cost-efficient approach can allow you the resources to spend wisely and concentrate the rest of your attention on ensuring your infant’s growth and development.

Journalist Nicole Bailey-Covin is no stranger to balancing a budget, work and family. A proud parent of a teen and preteen, she is sometimes the neighborhood Mom with a house full of young visitors. In searching out money saving tips worth mentioning for new parents, Nicole came across one practical item called the Sahara burst playard with dream centre by Ingenuity sold at Target. She also suggests checking out the shopper's guides and store website for sales on those much needed items. Also remember many major chains often mark down the last of an item in stock.

Nicole Bailey-Covin can be reached at Google+ Profile, LinkedIn Profile, and Twitter .

 *Please note The Single Mommy does not endorse products or services and received no compensation for the product or store mentioned.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Guest Blogger: How to Keep Your Family Safe If a Dog Attacks by Holly Chavez

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Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How to Keep Your Family Safe If a Dog Attacks
I can recall a beach trip from my childhood when my younger sister, then a toddler, was bitten by our family's black Labrador. Even today, a faint scar is visible above her upper lip where she had several stitches. The lab wasn't a bad dog, just rambunctious, but nonetheless he was given away and replaced by a pair of cockapoos.
I was reminded of this incident while watching the recent video that went viral―of the 4-year-old in Bakersfield, California, who was attacked by a neighbor's dog and saved by the family cat. It was amazing to me that the pup, an 8-month-old Lab-Chow mix, wasn't even provoked. Thank goodness for the cat, named Tara, who chased the dog away, or the situation could have been far worse.
Unpredictable Behavior
Dogs can be man's best friend―until they aren't. A sweet-looking puppy can suddenly turn vicious if they become afraid or feel threatened. Canines are wired to respond instantaneously to what they perceive as danger, even if it's only a small child pulling on their tail. Of course, it's up to parents to teach children how to act around dogs. Kids shouldn't be encouraged to be fearful, especially since they usually love to play with animals. But the potential for a dog attack must be taken seriously. Dog bites are commonplace and can cause severe injuries, or even death.
According to the American Humane Association, there are more than 4.5 million dog bite victims each year in the United States, and more than half of them are children. In 2013, 33 people were killed as a result of a dog bite or attack, including 18 children. Recently, in Pontiac, Michigan, a 3-year old boy playing with his pit bull in the backyard, was mauled and suffered severe injuries. He had multiple surgeries and may lose his left eye. In this case, the dog was a family member, but if the attacking animal belonged to someone else, the owner could be held responsible for compensating the victim and their family for medical bills and other expenses.
Why Dogs Bite
It's vital to understand why a dog will lash out, so that you can prepare and defend you family from snaps and potential aggression. Here are a few of the most common reasons they do:
  • Possessiveness - A dog will bite to protect what they consider their property. Their property to them is more than toys, food, and their home. A dog may also bite to protect its human, which they may consider as property, as well. Mama dogs around their pups can also be very protective and possessive of their young.
  • Fear - Fear biting dogs can inflict a nasty bite. The dog may be fearful of new situations and strangers, and this may cause the dog to act out of character and bite.
  • Pain - Dogs that are in pain can often be snippy. Little children should be instructed on how to be gentle and to watch and listen for signs that the dog has had enough or is getting agitated. Small children should be taught to be gentle with the dog and to listen and watch for signs that it is getting agitated.
Obey Leash Laws
Dog bites can be prevented by more responsible owners, and according to one legal authority on dog bites in Detroit, Michigan, A dog bite is quite often the fault of a negligent owner. A strong case against a negligent owner can be proven if the evidence shows the owner was negligent. This can involve eyewitness testimonies of the canine attack, previous knowledge of bites or aggression, and even the dog’s vaccination records can be used as evidence in prosecuting the owner regarding the dog bite.
The dog bite laws in the state of Michigan may vary from the ones in your state, so be sure to discuss it with a lawyer familiar with your local laws if this situation happens to you or your family. Dog owners should always keep their pups contained or on a leash, for both the animal's protection and the safety of others.
In the recent dog bite incident with the heroic cat, the boy's parents ended up choosing not to sue the dog owner, although the puppy will be euthanized. But given the surveillance camera footage, which was shown on national news and viewed by millions, surely they could have easily won a lawsuit since the child was injured by no fault of his own. The dog was reported to have accidentally slipped through an open door as the owners were leaving their house.
Preventing Injuries
There are key ways parents can help to prevent their children from being bitten. It's important that kids avoid provoking a dog and playing rough games, especially with breeds known to have aggressive tendencies. Dogs often give warning signs when they're distressed, such as ears laying back, growling and not responding to their name. Parents should teach small children to be gentle with dogs and to back off when they seem agitated. If a dog is injured or in physical pain, a young child should stay away. And kids should never be allowed to walk up to a strange dog and begin petting or playing with the animal without first asking the owner.
Even a calm-looking dog on a leash can suddenly turn vicious. I was recently out walking our dogs and came upon a man with a beautiful greyhound at his heel. I let one of my dogs nose up to him, and boy was I sorry. That greyhound went into attack mode in a split second. Luckily no harm was done, and my sweet dog took the incident in stride.
My sister who was bitten as a child got over it, and is today a dog lover. However, many children suffer far worse injuries from dog bites, such as the Michigan toddler, from which they may never recover. And not everyone has a super-hero cat like Tara, waiting nearby to race in and save the day.
Holly Chavez is a multidisciplinary writer who often contributes to writing forums and blogs. She has two large rescue dogs and one of them is a fear biter. The biggest risk for rescue dogs from what she has seen is if they have been abused--or while they are transitioning from one home to another. Keeping them on leashes when walking them and always keeping them in the backyard and house securely has prevented injuries and potential legal issues for her family.

Musical Mondays: Summer Songs

 

School is out for the summer and summer always puts me in the mood for some special songs. Here are some of my favorite songs for summertime:

Schools Out by Alice Cooper


Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams
  

Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

 All Summer Long by Kid Rock


Dreams by The Cranberries (I know this song isn't specifically about summer but for some reason when I was younger it was my favorite song to listen to while sunbathing.)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Daughter Graduated Today!


I am one proud mommy! My daughter Jaylee graduated from high school today!

It seems crazy but I am the mother of two "adult" children. My oldest son, Zachary, is 20 and Jaylee is 18. Where have the years gone? 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Musical Mondays: The Fed Up Challenge Final Check-in and Songs About Sugar

 

I never gave my final check-in for The Fed Up Challenge days 8, 9, and 10. Well at this point I don't remember exactly what I ate just that it did involve some donuts and some vanilla creamer and whole milk in my coffee.

What's really the most interesting is what happened after the challenge was over and I went back to eating like I did before the challenge. My daughter's 10th birthday was the day after the challenge ended and I pigged out on ice cream cake. The next day I ate a number of Rice Crispie treats. Today I had cookies. I've started drinking pop on occasion again.

And I feel like crap. Like not a little like crap. Like total crap. My energy levels are all over the place. I have the weird flu-like symptoms again. Once I start eating sugary stuff I can't seem to stop. I want to feel like I did during the challenge! I want it back! So I'm going to resume eating mostly sugar free like I did during The Fed Up Challenge.

Here are some songs celebrating sugar:

 Sugar, Sugar by The Archies



I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow



 California Gurls by Katy Perry (While the song lyrics aren't about candy the whole video is.)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

25+ Random Things About Me

 
A long time ago I came across a fun blog meme that I accident;y left in the draft section of my posts. The meme is 25+ Random Things About Me and is hosted by My Unwritten Life. It's been awhile since I have posted anything "fun" (especially because I keep missing Musical Mondays) so I will do my best to keep my "random things" upbeat.

1. My oldest son is 20 years old and got his first apartment last week. Now that he lives alone he calls me when he's bored. (Yeah, you know I love it!)

2. It's gotten so I can only go on the laptop when my 16 month old is sleeping because she constantly wants to play with the keyboard. Her favorite thing to do is push the power button on and off. Whenever I correct her (even in the nicest way possible) she cries like I'm the meanest mommy in the whole world.

3. I'm pretty sure my 16 month old daughter likes her 10 year old sister more than me.

4. I expected to be a widow for awhile but it's going on 8 years now and I still have no prospective husband. I feel like Charlotte in Sex and the City when she's asking "Where is he?"

5. I found out I was pregnant with my youngest a week after my oldest son graduated from high school and left for college.

6. After coloring my hair since the age of 15, I have finally settled with my natural color at the age of 38. The ironic thing is I still dye it to cover my grays.

7. I swear like a drunken sailor who just stubbed his toe.

8. When asked which is worse, being divorced or a widow, I always say being divorced because there he chose to leave you.

9. My late husband and I only lived in this house 2 months before he died.

Sorry, I'm becoming a downer. I must get back to more upbeat, fun facts!

10. I'm a pretty bad cook...except for cheesecake. I make a really good cheesecake.

11. I'm a worse gardener. Everything I try to grow dies. My 10 year old keeps bugging me to make a garden. I keep making excuses that the dog will dig it up but the truth is I'm terrified I won't be able to grow anything and she'll be disappointed.

12. My favorite TV show of all time is still Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

13. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 22 years old.

14. I got engaged and pregnant at the age of 17, but I am happy to say I was engaged first.

15. Sometimes I think my 16 month old is a miracle baby because I got pregnant after one time and the statistical chances of a 37 and 40 yr old couple getting pregnant after one try is slim to none.

16. Even though I was stupid and got pregnant at 37 the same way I got pregnant at 17 (complete and utter denial that it would happen to me) I wouldn't change a single thing. Our family isn't complete without her.

17. My 18 year old daughter gradates from high school on June 7th! I'm so proud of her!

18. My 13 year old son has asthma and migraines. I blame oxygen deprivation at birth. He should have been born via c-section but instead was born vaginally with the cord wrapped around his neck twice. He was as blue as a smurf. Even the doctor looked scared. It took an entire team of medical personnel to get him to take his first breath.

19. The above experience is why I have always been too scared to have a home birth.

20. With my last birth I took this awful IV drug for pain that made me feel like I was completely drunk. The room was spinning and I felt completely out of control. It nearly ruined my birthing experience and I'm still sad and angry about it. The worst part is it did nothing for the pain.

21. My sister-in-law was in the delivery room with me and when I started to push she fainted just like in a comedy TV show or movie. It was hilarious!

22. Being pregnant at 37/38 yrs old was hard on my body but I received the best prenatal care out of all five of my pregnancies. Expectant mothers should receive that kind of care whether they are high risk or not.

23. I haven't had near the success with my Facebook page or my Twitter as I have with this blog and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

24. I am currently going through the longest dry spell both romantically and sexually of my entire life. (Was that TMI?)

25. I once went on a date with a guy from Plenty of Fish that had the word "antichrist" tattooed on his neck. He was really nice and did a lot for veteran's causes. He explained that he got the tattoo because he was an atheist. Everyone I tell that story to asks the same question, "Then why didn't he have the word atheist tattooed on his neck?" I know, right!?

26. Most of the guys I dated in the last several years I either met or reconnected with on MySpace (a few I went to high school with.) Once I switched over to Facebook I never got another date again from social media.

27. This blog has not lived up to vision I had in my head. I've always wanted to be funny and write cute anecdotal things about my kids that everyone reads and shares with their friends because it's so hilarious. Turns out I'm just not that funny. (Or maybe my kids just aren't that funny.)

28. Random Thing #24 was originally #27 but I moved it up because that is just a really awkward note to end this post on.

29. Speaking of awkward notes, I am a terrible singer but I know I'm terrible so I'm not self-conscious about it. My kids are plenty embarrassed for me.

30. I have a 6 year old miniature dachshund named Yogi and a varying number of cats.

I hope you have enjoyed these 25+ Random Things about Me...and my kids. Why is it we as parents find it impossible to talk about just ourselves? We always talk about our kids too. Maybe I'll create a blog meme titled 25+ Random Things About You and Not One Single Thing About Your Kids. No I Mean It! Not One Thing!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Widowed Wednesday: You Are a Widow If You've Lost a Partner


Before you proceed, I must warn you that there are season two Downton Abbey spoilers. So if you don't want to read the spoilers please stop reading now!

I've been watching the TV show Downton Abbey (which I am now sort of obsessed with) and in season two there is a storyline where a young kitchen maid named Daisy marries a soldier named William on his deathbed. After he dies Daisy protests over and over again that she should not be considered a widow and even refuses to accept the benefits for being a war widow because they were only married for 7 hours.



The greatest thing is that although Daisy feels she is not truly a widow, her friends, coworkers, and even William's father all feel differently. Eventually she settles into the role of William's widow.

Downtown Abbey takes place in England in the years around 1914-1920 (The first two seasons do anyway.). The TV series even opens with Mary following the English customs of mourning her fiance. I was struck by how much this contrasts with modern times. It's as if we've progressed backwards because widows are judged for being not married or not married long enough.

Yes, you read that right. I said "not married." I consider anyone who experiences the death of a partner, whether they are married or not, straight or gay, to be a widow. The words "widow" and "widower" have too many limitations and sometimes I wish there was a word that included those left behind in non-matrimonial relationships. And if you are married, it does not matter if you are gay or straight or have been married for 10 minutes or 50 years, you are still a widow or widower.

Now maybe you don't approve of gay marriage or of living together without being married. That doesn't matter. Because the person that has lost a partner is still grieving just the same. They deserve your compassion whether you approve of their relationship or not. A broken heart is a broken heart.

I suppose I've stepped up on my soapbox in this post, but I have seen far too many "widows" have to defend themselves from judgement by other people instead of receiving compassion when they need it most.

The Fed Up Challenge: Days Four, Five, Six, and Seven



Day Four
On Day Four I did absolutely wonderful. I had a pizza that had a bit of added sugar in it but that is all.

Day Five
Day Five did not go as well. I absentmindedly started sipping a the Dairy Queen peanut butter milkshake my daughter did not finish. I put it down once I realized what I was doing but returned to finish it because the coldness was just so good on an 84 degree day. It wasn't so much the sugar that I wanted but a cold refreshment.

Later that night, when I was very exhausted in the wee hours of the monring, I ate a Little Debbie Swiss Roll that one of my kids had left unfinished. 

Day Six
I got back on track and stuck with it. Well I'm pretty sure I did. I never did check the label on Stouffer's chicken and dumplings meal that I made.

I also had a few sips of a Diet Coke from McDonald's. I keep finding myself craving not the sweetness of pop or even the taste. But I love the carbonation and how cold it is. I probably should get some sparkling water to get the same sensation.

Day Seven
Today I was craving something sweet and the craving was relentless. Can I blame PMS? I ate a package of Little Debbie Swiss rolls. I enjoyed them but in the end I felt pretty unsatisfied.

I should also mention that all four days I've been drinking pink lemonade flavored water and sugar free vanilla creamer in my coffee. I know you aren't supposed to use articicial sweetners but I can't stand drinking plain water all the time or black coffee.

The Best News!
While I certainly have not done perfect during this challenge I am very happy to report that for the first time in months I have lost weight! Before no matter what I did the scale would not budge from 143 lbs. In only seven days I have lost 3 lbs! 

At first it all seemed really hard and even though I do slip up on occasion, the amount of sugar I am consuming is considerably less than what I was eating before this. I couldn't (or maybe wouldn't) go one day without eating some sort of cake, cookie, or candy.

While unfortunately I haven't seen much difference regarding my mood, I have noticed a huge difference in my energy level and overall wellbeing. Best if all (yes even better than those 3 lost pounds) is that my weird flu-like symptoms have disappeared. I no longer feel like I'm constantly on the verge of developing a full blown cold or flu.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Fed Up Challenge: Day Three In Defense of Moderation



I started off the day determined not to eat any grains. I ended the day defiantly eating a piece of cake and enjoying it.

In the morning, I decided to have just a little bit of creamer in my coffee. I had yet to go to the grocery store so I did some research on vegetarian and the Paleo diets. I wanted to get some ideas for things that I would enjoy eating that aren't grains and see what the Paleo diet was all about. To me it seemed like an updated version of the Atkins diet.

I wanted to eat before leaving so I had to use ingredients that I had on hand. I decided to have a cheese omelet for breakfast.

For lunch I had a salad with tuna, shredded cheese, and blue cheese dressing. It had less than a gram of sugar and I enjoyed it. As I ate, I thought I could eat things like this every day.

However, when I read about the Paleo diet and all it's suggestions to eat meat, I was a little put off. Because there's more to meat than whether or not it is grass fed. The idea behind the Paleo diet is to eat like our prehistoric ancestors. The problem I saw is that we aren't our prehistoric ancestors. I'm not taking care of the children while my husband is out trying to clobber some wild animal over the head. The most hunting I do is trying to find grass fed meat in my local grocery stores. The truth of the matter is the closest Whole Foods is hundreds of miles away. Where I live I just don't have access to the different choices. I can't help but feel The Paleo diet is not environmentally responsible. Or according to some even realistic. In the 21st century we aren't out hunting, but dealing with factory farms. Not to mention how much pollution is put into the air by the trucks bringing the meat to the store. Lastly, meat is expensive. Cavemen didn't have to worry about money!

Ultimately, after doing some research I have decided to stick with my personal goal to move towards a mostly plant based diet. I refer to myself as a flexitarian. I honestly don't ever see myself giving up meat entirely.

Even though I had planned on avoiding grains, the kids and I had a fire in the fire pit and I ended up eating a coney dog with cheese for dinner. No, the buns were not whole grain. I also decided to have some flavored water because I was getting bored of plain water. The temptation to make a smore by the fire was great but I resisted.

According to the anti-sugar theory, the reason I ended up eating a piece of chocolate cake at the end of the day started with the sugary creamer in my coffee. Then I further set off the addiction in my brain by eating a hot dog bun made with white flour and drinking water with artificial sweetner.

You see I've been buying into this whole sugar is addictive like cocaine, but I call bullshit. Yes you read that right. I said it's bullshit. At least for some people.

When I decided to have that piece of chocolate cake I didn't scarf it down unconsciously. It wasn't mindless eating like I was propelled by an addiction. I just simply thought "Chocolate cake tastes good. I want to enjoy this cake." If anything it was probably an emotional motivation. I had a rough stressful day and I knew eating the cake would temporarily make me feel better because I enjoyed the taste. Was I using food as a drug? Probably so. Or maybe I just wanted a piece of cake and that's all it was. Still, the problem wasn't the sugar in the cake. It was my emotional motivation.

In all this talk about sugar being addictive I never see anyone talk about emotional eating. If I used that cake the same way a person uses a glass of wine, you can't really blame the sugar now can you? People can get addicted to anything and use it as a "drug" to make themselves feel better.

After I enjoyed my cake, I felt satisfied. Not because of the sugar rush but because I finally relaxed. I stopped obsessing about not eating the "wrong"thing. I stopped obsessing with whether or not I was committing some diet sin by eating a sweet confection. I realized that not only did I not feel guilty, I felt less stressed because I wasn't still obsessing about every single morsel of food that went into my mouth.

I realized there is a difference between making healthy choices and obsessing over food. The Fed Up Challenge is an extreme challenge. While eating sugar free absolutely has it's benefits I can't help wondering if eliminating any one food group entirely isn't completely healthy for me.

The key words there is for me. Certainly some people are happier if they avoid all meat, all dairy, all guten, all grains, or all sugar. Yet I don't understand these people that act like if they have one cookie, the sky will fall. It's fine for them but don't want to live this way. I couldn't live this way if I wanted to. It's just not me. Trying to give up an entire food group is too stressful to me. And it impacted my family time. Instead of focusing on the quality time with my kids, I was debating the pros and cons of eating a smore.

And why should I feel guilty for wanting to have a moderate diet? I can't help but feel all of these anti-sugar, anti-gluten diets are shaming people for wanting to occasionally indulge. Emphasis on occasionally. Just because I had one piece of cake today, it does not mean that I am going to give myself permission to eat cake every day. Or cookies or candy. I am still well aware that I need to drastically reduce my sugar intake. I understand that not all calories are created equal. I understand that I need to eat foods lower on the glycemic index. I am still an advocate for getting sugar out of the 80% of foods that we eat.

Yet just as there are alcoholics out there who cannot have one drink, there are far more who can have a drink or two occasionally and it doesn't ruin their life. Surely there are people that can have a sweet on occasion without spiraling into a sugar induced food binger. What seems even unhealthier is making yourself feel guilt and fear over those occasional indulgences.

Take Dr. Michael Roizen who says. “For example, if you consume too much sugar it changes your protein structure for the entire life of that protein, which is 180 days -- so that means that the protein stops doing its job for 180 days.”

What he writes is probably scientifically true. However, which would really do more damage to my health? That piece of cake temporarily ruining that protein or the extreme stress, worry, guilt, and anxiety I feel because I slipped up and ate a piece of cake? I guarantee you all of those negative emotions are taking a far more unhealthy toll on my body. Doing so is also more likely to cause a vicious cycle. I eat because I'm stressed but now I am stressed over my eating so I'll likely just eat more.

Instead of causing myself extreme stress, worry, guilt, and anxiety over that piece of cake I'm going to get over it. I'm not going to beat myself up emotionally for committing this "diet sin." Instead I will learn from it and do better tomorrow. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Fed Up Challenge: Day Two Feeling Withdrawl


The good news is I did much better at avoiding sugar today. The bad news is I am having some pretty bad withdrawal symptoms because of it. As I write this I have a terrible headache. Ironically the withdrawal symptoms are almost similar to how eating too much sugar makes me feel!

I bought a sugar free vanilla syrup for my coffee today. I know anything with artificial sweeteners is cheating. In the end it doesn't matter anyway because once I tasted it I didn't want my coffee. The syrup was way too sweet and tasted like chemicals. I decided to add a little milk to help cut the sweetness. It made it slightly more palatable but still tasted pretty nasty. 

I did have a small amount of sugar in my food. I had chicken stir fry and rice which had 2 grams of sugar. I had another whole wheat pita sandwich which also had 2 grams of sugar. Even the Hamburger Helper I made had 2 grams of sugar. (Yes, I know. It's a boxed dinner. Bad, bad bad!) For snacks I had some sugar free rice cakes and I drank water all day. I'm still eating a lot of carbohydrates and many consider carbs to be no different than sugar so maybe I'm not doing as well as I think I am? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, "The best way to really detox is to give up ALL grains for 10 days, too."

Also, where are the veggies, right? I am so bad about not eating vegetables. I think I'm going to do some research on vegetarian meals and recipes. I'm not the greatest cook so all of it is pretty intimidating to me. But I can't keep eating all these bread products everyday. The truth is I dread the idea of giving up my bread far more than giving up the sweets.

Here's all the foods with sugar that I had:
a tiny amount of coffee with syrup and milk                                             1 gram of sugar
chicken stir fry with rice                                                                            2 grams of sugar
whole wheat pita bread with turkey and cheese                                       2 grams of sugar
Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger macaroni                                             2 grams of sugar

Total amount                                                                                            7 grams of sugar

Going from having 40 grams of sugar or more a day to only 7 grams of sugar has sent my body into withdrawal. My head is pounding and I have tinnitus. I feel generally unwell, like I'm coming down with a bad cold or the flu. I feel shaky and earlier today I was craving something sweet so badly I felt like crying. The urge to cry felt like PMS but it couldn't be PMS at this stage of my monthly cycle. (Sorry for the TMI.)

One thing that sort of irks me about this Fed Up Challenge is that is really seems to downplay the possible withdrawal symptoms and didn't list many of the symptoms one can actually have. The Fed Up Challenge website says this. "The withdrawal, which includes symptoms of crankiness and lethargy, is often the hardest part."

Unfortunately this only describes a small glimpse of what one might experience. Detoxing from sugar can be as intense as detoxing from a hard street drug.

"Nutritionists and scientists are discovering that when the body is accustomed to high levels of sugar consumption, it can respond to sugar deprivation with the same kinds of withdrawal symptoms experienced by a drug abuser. The symptoms of sugar withdrawal can, in fact, be very painful and debilitating." Wikihow

"When you remove it from your diet you can experience withdrawal symptoms as excruciating and serious as alcohol withdrawal...Some say it is as addictive as heroin and current studies indicate it is more addictive than cocaine." Holistic Help

Some websites such as Getting Started With Healthy Eating do not suggest going cold turkey but instead gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume so you do not become overwhelmed by withdrawal symptoms. So far I haven't experienced anything "excruciating" or debilitating." However, at Grow Youthful it says doing a gradual reduction will actually make the withdrawal period even longer.

Withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • lethargy 
  • confusion 
  • headaches 
  • intense cravings
  • mood swings
  • crankiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach cramps
  • feelings of false hunger
  • muscle pain or achiness
  • jitters
  • high blood pressure
  • increased heartbeat
  • chills
  • sweating
  • sleep disturbances
  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • dilated pupils
I sincerely hope my withdrawal symptoms don't get any worse because I feel like total crap. I wish I had started the challenge with everyone else because then I would at least know I'm not alone. Fortunately many people have blogged about their experience doing the challenge. They all said the withdrawal symptoms eventually subsided so I know I just need to hang in there and take a "this too shall pass" kind of attitude.

Some of you may also be wondering why I'm not doing this challenge as a family. I considered it but realized trying to get my own eating under control and battle my children about what they are allowed to eat just wasn't the best way for me to go about it. I can't imagine trying to deal with my children in the state that I am in. While I'm not doing the full challenge with my family, we all have discussed giving up pop and my kids are on board with that. 

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