Reviewed – Year of No Sugar: A Memoir

It’s almost January 1 (the official beginning of Diet Season) so I thought it was a good time to review the Year of No Sugar. This entertaining and educational memoir tells the story of the author’s family (husband and two daughters) during their year without sugar. It wasn’t totally “without” sugar, as they were allowed a monthly cheat meal, a personal cheat (the author’s choice was wine), and the children were free to choose sugary treats at school. Nonetheless, it was an eye-opening year and the book contains a lot of interesting information on sugar.

I had two feelings about the book. First of all, the author is a wonderful writer. The information is presented well and it is highly entertaining. I also learned a few things about sugar.

However the book also made me angry. First of all, the author was a total novice about reading an ingredients label, which is hard for me to comprehend. I look at my family – myself, my husband and my two children – who have spent 15 years avoiding gluten due to celiac disease. So it was hard to feel sympathetic when she was undertaking the experiment for a year-long project (with cheating allowed) and describing how isolating it is not to eat a common food. Those of us with real food issues don’t have that luxury. I’m guessing that other readers with dietary restrictions would feel the same way.

If you want to eat healthier and are curious about how a sugar-free diet would work, this is a very good book. Their journey started on January 1, so it’s also very timely for anyone with a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier.

Happy Make Up Your Mind Day!

Make Up Your Mind Day is celebrated on December 31. Although it is widely cited online, I can’t find the origin of the day. I do believe that December 31 is a day when we reflect on the past year and consider changes we’d like to make in the New Year. Most of these changes come under the broad categories of health, money, relationships, environment and time. (Source)

How to write about Make Up Your Mind Day:

  • Describe your decision making process. Do you find it easy to make up your mind?
  • Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?
  • Share the changes you want to make in 2017. Are they related to health (lose weight, exercise more), money (earn more, spend less), relationships (fall in love, spend more time with family), environment (clear clutter, weatherproof your house), or time (spend more marketing, spend less commuting).
  • Have you been successful in making changes in the past? What worked for you?

Help! I’m in overwhelm!

I’ve done well in 2016 and what I need to do better. While this process is wonderful and necessary, the “want to know everything” part of me is inclined to jump into research mode. There’s so much I want to learn! So many new programs and products. Such opportunities for conferences, trade shows and networking. So many online programs, podcasts and webinars. It’s overwhelming.

That’s the space I was in last week — totally frustrated and overwhelmed. Feeling like a drop of water staring into an ocean of choices.

Then I talked to a friend. (We all need friends like this.) We talked about making choices that were in alignment with our goals. And we talked about how uncomfortable it is to be in that icky place of frustration and overwhelm. It’s a place few of us admit to being, because – after all – we’re the experts and are supposed to know everything.

What I realized was that this place of discomfort is actually a place of growth. Working through the angst is part of planning. Change is uncomfortable (which is why we resist it). I emerged from my period of frustration with clearer goals and a better system for managing my time.

Today, write about a time when you were stuck in overwhelm. How did you get out of it? Did you turn to someone for help?

Reviewed: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

It’s the holidays and time to curl up with a great novel. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite novelists and Small Great Things is one of her best stories yet. The book follows Ruth Jefferson, an African-American labor & delivery nurse. When a white supremacist couple forbid her from touching their baby, Ruth fails to begin CPR and the baby dies. As a result, she is charged with murder and assigned a white public defender named Kennedy McQuarrie.

Interwoven with the trial is the story of the white supremacists’ hatred, Ruth’s realization that her skin color is more significant than she’s admitted, and the lawyer questioning if avoiding the race issue is truly helping her client. The book is sad, horrifying, gripping, and beautifully written. It also provides an interesting perspective about racial relations in the United States. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both for the complexity of the story and for its insight into the role of race in society.