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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Snacks or Treats? Is there a difference?

I attended a Weight Watchers meeting the other day and was intrigued by the question the leader posed-
" Is there a difference between a snack and a treat?" This question opened up quite a bit of discussion at the meeting and made me think about the quality of the snacks that I eat in addition to my meals.

The purpose of a snack is to provide us with additional nutrition, energy, and fuel. We do sometimes  need snacks to help fuel us ( especially kids ) . However, Many "treats" don't meet the criteria and are not really snacks.

 I'm not even talking about downright sugary, chemical laden treats like donuts, cookies, cake, ice cream. I'm talking about even high sugar fruit-  the 1/4 of a watermelon that we can polish off or the bag of cherries, or the sweet but healthier snacks we make at home, fruit flavored yogurt, cereal, or chocolate covered raisins. Yes, fruit is healthy , but it is also high in sugar and can trigger cravings and affect blood sugar.

I recently made a major change in my life. It's the first time ever and even I can't believe I've been doing this for 8 weeks. I gave up eating all sugar and other sweeteners( honey, stevia, maple syrup) AND I gave up eating FRUIT on a regular basis ( ok I eat a few berries) - I know it sounds crazy, but after reading Dr. Permutter's book Grain Brain I took the jump.

I snack on nuts 

Dr. Perlmutter suggests 40-50 carbs a day for optimal brain health. Truthfully, that was very hard to do if you include fruit in the diet. An apple can be over 25 carbs. Now, I've always been a fruit lover, so this was no easy decision. I thought I would try it and go off fruit for a week or two tops.

Well, I have to tell you. I felt so much better without all the carbs from the fruit. My blood sugar seemed more stable, I felt like I could think more clearly ( didn't feel that foggy feeling) and I realized that if I start eating fruit again , I will go back to dealing with all the fluctuations in blood sugar which also stimulates food cravings and weight gain.

Did I mention that over the past 8 weeks I have not been craving sweets, carbs, etc! That is almost unheard of for me.  It's true - it took me about 5 days to " kick the habit" and a few withdrawal symptoms, but then I was on my way!

I'm eating mostly protein, good fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts, and non starchy vegetables like string beans, lettuce, radishes, cucumber, tomato, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, collards, lettuce greens etc. . I include a substantial amount of good fat which is essential for stabilizing the blood sugar. I can't believe that I'm eating so much more fat and loosing weight. I've lost 7 pounds in 5 weeks  and have lots of energy and feel terrific ( I exercise on the treadmill for about 45 minutes 5 days week).

Before you jump all over me for the fruit ( I know fruit is healthy) I am eating a very small quantity of  berries on occasion( strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries) and I love cherry tomatoes!

So there you have it, I'm eating and snacking on real foods that are lower in carbs and I'm  feeling energetic , clear minded and happy. I do eat snacks everyday, but I cut out the daily treats!
I will probably start including more fruit in my diet, but right now my cravings are GONE and my moods are so stable and my blood sugar is not shooting up and down.

Did you ever eliminate fruit? 

What falls into a snack category?

List of Healthy Snacks that provide nutrients, energy, and fuel. 
1. Mozzarella cheese and tomatoes and cucumber 
2. vegetable sticks and humus
3. celery and almond butter
4. Plain Greek Yogurt-
5. Avocado , tomatoes, and cucumber
6. Celery and cream cheese
7. Some almonds 
8. Celery and guacamole 
9. Broccoli cheddar soup
10. Pistachios 
11. Hard boiled egg 

Good Reads: 

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Grain Brain- Dr. Perlmutter 

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  1. I have been thinking of doing exactly what you did...but haven't had the nerve to start. I am really bad with sugar. I drink nothing but sweet tea from the time I wake until I go to bed. I guess I am afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. But I have been feeling a bit "off" and have started having mild headaches and I suspect the sugar I eat to be the cause. You have inspired me to stop procrastinating and do what is best for my health. Thanks!!

    1. yes, the withdrawal can be wicked, but then afterwards its smooth energetic sailing! thanks for sharing and good luck

    2. Just wanted to let you know I stocked up on some of the snacks you listed to help me along. I also wanted to thank you for the post. It made me stop and think about the differences between snacks and treats. I think that is a good thing!

    3. Thanks for stopping back to update. Getting off the sweet treats can be difficult, because they are everywhere. Good luck..

  2. I haven't read Grain Brain yet, but Wheat Belly was kind of a life changer for me and my mom, who recommended it. I never really liked fruits, but I did have a terrible sugar addiction before I drastically changed my diet. I no longer eat white sugar at all, just a little honey occasionally and when I get a chocolate craving I go for a couple squares of organic, dark 70% cocoa chocolate. I have to say your pictures here have me craving something raw and fresh!

    1. I know it is tough going without sugar because it is everywhere, but I really do feel more energetic and no cravings without it.. What would I crave anyway? more real food? It's already filling..

  3. That tomato and mozzarella platter looks lovely! I found you through the Real Food round up. I've got a healthy zucchini cookie on my blog you might be interested in. Might still be more of a treat than a snack though...

  4. I just checked it out bc my husband loves dark chocolate.. thanks for sharing

  5. Love this!! I love tomatoes and mozzarella and fresh veggies. I do think there is a difference between a snack and a treat! Great post!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. The tomatoes and mozzarella is amazing this time of year with all the delicious seasonal tomatoes!

  6. I've never been much of a fruit eater. I like fruit, just not all the time. I LOVE veggies though:)
    Thanks for sharing at the Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party! Hope you can join us again tonight!

  7. Have always been a vegetable person--never big on fruit, except for berries. I'd much prefer nuts!
    Interesting to think about snacks vs. treats.


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