Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Day 27

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Today marks Day 27 of my 37 Day Challenge. I can’t believe there are only 10 more days left. They say it takes about 21 days for a new routine or task to become habit. While I’m not sure if my decreased intake of sugar, especially chocolate, can be called a habit yet, I do find myself making better choices and not denying myself something sweet if I want it.

The big difference is I’m not going for the cookies immediately after lunch. If I feel full after my meal, I stop there and may grab a small snack later in the afternoon. We still have cookies in the house. I don’t believe in a complete ban on them. I just bought two varieties: ginger snaps and chocolate striped. I loved those chocolate striped cookies as a kid.  They’re especially tasty if you keep them in the refrigerator.

I did have a piece of Dove dark chocolate the other day after lunch. It was the first piece of dark chocolate candy I’ve had since starting this challenge. The little voice in my head said, “oh go ahead, one piece will be okay; just make sure it is only one piece.” And it was okay. I didn’t turn into a pillar of sugar and fall apart. Probably the strongest craving I’ve in recent days was for a Dairy Queen ice cream cone. It was chilly and rainy the day this craving hit and certainly not conducive to eating ice cream.  Mother Nature was on my side that day!

With the emergence of spring and warmer weather, I look forward to eating more veggies and fruit. I spied some aspargus shoots in our veggie garden today. Our bodies seem to crave warmer, heavier foods in the winter which, while comforting, tend to reveal themselves on the scale in the morning. Have you ever tried to follow a diet based on foods of the season?

Patti recently posted links to several participants in the 37 Day Challenge. You’ll find the post here. People are challenging themselves to make a variety of small changes from decluttering to walking to engaging in some form of exercise each day to writing each day. It is intriguing to learn what a person chooses as their challenge, why, and how they are progressing and perhaps even changing along the way.

What small change will you make?


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A Perfect 10…Not

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Well here I am at Day 10 of the 37 day challenge. I want to thank everyone who sent words of encouragement to my post on Monday (Day 8). I appreciate your support. And here on Day 10 I can say that my commitment so far has been less than perfect; however, I’m not getting discouraged. I’ve made it this far and have upheld my end of the challenge on most days.

I should explain more about why I chose chocolate in particular because it does sometimes feel like deprivation. And there is a reason for this.

A year ago in March, 2008, I was diagnosed with silent reflux. That meant I was having problems with gastroesophageal reflux and was not showing the typical symptom of heartburn.  In my case my throat was sore.  It felt like I had a lump in my throat. Swallowing was sometimes uncomfortable. What baffled me was that these symptoms fluctuated.

They actually began in the fall of 2006 and “disappeared” in the winter of 2007. Come fall of 2007 the symptoms appeared again. However, they did not “disappear” by the winter of 2008. I remember my dentist, during an annual check-up, commenting on how red my throat looked and the hygenist telling me it looked like I had a canker sore in my throat.  I couldn’t see anything myself but could feel something.

I’ve always had an odd digestive system. In the past, certain smells have triggered nausea. I haven’t always eaten a healthy diet. I’m not a big eater of fruit though I love vegetables. And I’ve always loved chocolate.

And chocolate is a trigger for reflux.

Back to March, 2008. The diagnosis came after a visit to an ENT who confirmed my symptoms on visual examination. He promptly prescribed Prilosec, Tums at night, elevating the head of the bed, and not eating 3 hours before bedtime. And all these recommendations appeared to do the trick. I felt better. I slept better.

And then the ringing in my ears started.  Did you know a little known side-effect of Prilosec is tinnitus; ringing in the ears? About 1% of people taking prescription Prilosec develop tinnitus. Lucky me; I was one of the 1%.

This happened 8 months after starting the Prilosec which I promptly stopped taking. Fortunately the major symptoms of the reflux had mostly diminished by the time the ear ringing became annoying. Zantac was recommended in place of the Prilosec. The ringing in my ears has slowly diminished as well though it hasn’t cleared completely.

I tried to monitor particular foods for triggers of heartburn symptoms throughout this period. And I can say that chocolate, if taken in moderate quantities, seemed to have a negative effect. Hence my decision to focus on sugary food, especially chocolate during this 37 day challenge.

I know that completely eliminating sugar  is not a realistic goal for me. Sugar permeates too many food products.  Sugar subsitutes give me a headache so that isn’t an option at this time. Moderation and increased awareness are key.


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Day 8 of 37

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Today is day 8 of my 37 day challenge. A week ago today I decided to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. This has mainly focused on sweet treats and candy that I love to eat as a snack or for dessert, especially chocolate.

The first few days went well though I wondered if, in my quest to decrease the amount of sugar, I was instead replacing sweets with salty treats. When I last wrote about this challenge I’d recently stuck my nose in the candy jar and inhaled the chocolate smell from the candies. That alone was enough to satisfy my craving at the time.

My dedication to this challenge over the weekend faltered. It started on Saturday when I had an organic chocolate toaster pastry for breakfast. Granted it had “organic sugar” and not the usual corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup content. But my decision had been made and I ate it. About an hour or so later I felt exhausted. Is it possible to start eliminating sugar only to re-introduce it and have it fatigue you? I mean only 6 days had passed. Was this my body reacting to the chocolate toaster pastry?

Or was it the fact that we’d been to see Tower of Power on Friday night and didn’t get to bed till after midnight on Saturday morning? Perhaps it was a combination of both.

Later in the day my dance with chocolate and sugar continued when we had a cup of hot chocolate after returning from errands. Again, this was an organic chocolate and sugar mix. But chocolate is chocolate and sugar is sugar (this was not stevia or anything like that.)

It really tasted good but an hour or so later my body had another reaction. Hmm….

I knew Saturday would continue to be a challenge as we were attending the 60th birthday party for our friend Bruce. I knew there would be a birthday cake. Sure enough, the batter was half chocolate, half white. And oh the white frosting and frosting balloons. Yes, this too tasted good.

Sunday I again felt exhausted and had to take a nap in the afternoon. Another late night on Saturday plus a bit more sugar than I’d had in recent days.  Coincidence? Who knows.

What I do know is that there are certain days of the month when being without sugary sweets is much more challenging than other days of the month.

So Sunday, day 7, was my day to regroup and get back on with the plan. Today I faltered slightly with a chocolate chip coconut cookie (blast those Keebler Elves!)

Is it bad to say that I’m not feeling terribly guilty as I know these days will happen? These are choices I’m making so the only person I’m cheating on is myself and my commitment to the challenge. As someone once said you simply “dust yourself off and start all over again.”