Category: Book Club

big leapLately I have been trying to take 100% responsibility for my actions and what shows up in my life. This is just…silly-hard. I mean, you spend your life trying to figure out who and what is keeping you down…and then one day you realize that it’s yourself. If you truly believe that each individual on this earth is unique in their own way and has their own skill, vision, purpose, path, then you really need to think about what yours is and whether or not you are living up to your full potential. Whoa, tough.. I know. For some of you this may be very simple. Maybe you are a teacher and truly feel your purpose is to help children create their destiny. Maybe you’re a doctor and you are literally saving lives every day. Or, maybe you work in advertising selling processed cheese to the masses…. Maybe you have no idea what your purpose in this life is.

This, conveniently, brings me to my point. Are you living your best life? A full-filled life? A 100% conscious life that you have created? Maybe you are ‘good’ at your job, or you ‘like’ your job, but do you feel like it is your life’s purpose? You might be working in an area of competence or even excellence for yourself, but is it your area of ‘genius’? If not…. why?

This is not a very easy question to answer, and one that I am currently struggling with myself. I have a great job! I like my job! I help people feel better and take away their pain every day! But, I still feel a lacking. Why am I holding back?

This, conveniently, brings me to my next point. Am I self-sabotaging? Are you self-sabotaging?

A very enlightened fellow with an unfortunate name- Gay Hendricks- wrote a book called The Big Leap. (Very Roughly) It is about how we all have an upper limit of happiness and when we approach it we self-sabotage. For example, maybe you are trying to eat really healthy. You do great all week and then Saturday night you go out and have nachos, fried bacon and 8 beers. Or, maybe you have been trying to commit to a fitness plan and since you ate so bad on Saturday night and drank 8 beers, you aren’t feeling so hot on Sunday morning and skip the run. (Shut up! You don’t know me!)

The theory is that we all have a different comfort level with happiness and success, and when we get to that upper limit- if we don’t have the consciousness/awareness- we will f*ck it up. I know, for a fact, that I do this. Some times it looks like picking a fight with your husband about dishes when you know, damn-well, it’s not about the dishes.

I recommend the actual book because I am certainly not doing it justice. But, if nothing else, I can encourage you to at least consider the fact that you self-sabotage. Pay attention, you might surprise yourself. All of these things I keep talking about are all based on the same goal: trying to expand my own consciousness and create the life that I was meant to have. We can all do that! You have 100% control of your happiness and circumstance and peace of mind, you just need to realize it. I know that I am working on this very truth every damn day.

(I also recommend Life Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith, which is what I am currently reading, but will discuss another day.)

I’m turning into a crazy person. I see it happening, I recognize the signs, I know that people are going to get sick of me, and yet I can’t help it. I can’t stop talking about food! I am reading another book about food and it is re-enforcing everything I have been saying. The book is called, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: how the food giants hooked us” by Michael Moss. I definitely recommend it! I’m only about 15% of the way thru it but I can see where it is going.

Basically, what I have been trying to get across to everyone is that processed food is bad. (I know, I’m like the first person to say this!) Well, at least 98% of it is bad for us. The problem is people know donuts are bad and oreos are bad and fritos are bad, but we give a pass to other foods. It doesn’t matter if it says “heart healthy” or a “good source of fiber”, etc. It’s bad! When is the last time you looked at the ingredient list on that ‘healthy whole grain’ bread you buy? Go ahead….I’ll wait. The bread has literally been engineered to have the exact amount of sugar to stimulate your appetite and the precise amount of salt and fat to give it the right ‘mouth feel’. This ain’t your grandma’s bread. Her bread used to go bad after 2 days. Her bread didn’t have high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient. I know I pick on bread an awful lot. Are there worse things in the world than whole wheat bread? Of course! But, whole wheat bread disguises itself as a health food. (don’t even get me started on soy!)

But let’s back up a little. There was a need: The American people were getting busier and the food companies had the solution. We wanted fast, convenient food that tasted great. Food companies had the solution. They are a business. Businesses need to make money. The more we ate and the cheaper they made the food, the bigger the profit. Simple right? So, they use the cheapest ingredients that they can: chemicals, salt, sugar, and fat.

So, the American public started eating a LOT of this food. “Real food is too expensive and it takes too long”. Well not only do these foods not meet our nutritional needs but they change our relationship with food all together. Now we expect sweet, salty, and perfect texture- often from the same product. We actually crave more food and eat more calories as a result.

Okay, so now we are all fat and someone has to do something about this! God forbid we stop eating the crap, so we put pressure on the food companies. To appease the public they come out with low-fat cookies, and 9-grain bread, and lower sodium soups, etc. This takes super chemists because they also need the food to taste good. So more chemicals. On top of that, no one is getting enough fiber and vitamins. Simple, everyone needs a multi-vitamin and Fiber One Brownies! They are now meeting our new needs that their foods created!


All the blame does not fall with ‘big food’. We keep buying the crap. Sure, is there a little evil empire thing going on, but we cannot be surprised that they care more about profit than the health or your kid. Every single day we vote with our dollars. You can buy Fiber One Brownies (that’s the picture shown) or you can have one of the other things with 5 gr. of fiber. Like: 1/2 cup of berries, 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup brussel’s sprouts, 1 large apple, 1/2 cup kale or spinach, or 1/2 an avocado. You’ll be pooping like a pro in no-time!

Here are some things that you and/or your kids might eat that are not as healthy as you may think: wheat bread (all bread), granola bars, low-fat cookies, go-gurt, lunchables, Subway, Panera, margarine, cheerios, raisin bran, low-fat cheese, oatmeal, whole grain bagels, diet soda (all soda), etc. I could go on and on. Read labels. And not just fat and calories! Ingredients!

I will help anyone that wants it. I can tell you what to buy or how to cook or what to throw in the trash. All you have to do is ask. I promise you will be healthier, and happier, with less digestive problems, and lose weight. No gimicks. Just eating real food. Who else has changed their lives by making the switch?

I’m back and I can’t tell you how good it feels! We have had internet and then computer problems for weeks. I think this is the longest I have gone without blogging since I started last year. I have so much to talk about but I have to start with my new obsession! But, first a little background…

Like many of you, I have struggled with my weight since high school. I don’t mean to imply that I have a weight problem, but maintaining a healthy weight has always been ‘effort-full’. I am almost constantly ‘trying’ to lose a few pounds. Every year I am gaining and losing the same 5-10 pounds (see 5 pounds from february for a laugh). The crazy thing is that I could never figure out why. I am relatively smart, work in the health care field, read all the time, and ate a pretty healthy diet. You know: very few sweets, real food, healthy whole grains, etc. But still remained puffy in the tummy and would gain weight at the drop of a hat. It was obviously better when I exercised, but I never got rid of my stomach fat.

Recently someone asked me, “Have you read the book Wheat Belly? What do you think about wheat/gluten?” Honestly, I had done so little research on the topic because I have always thought that as long as I ate 100% whole wheat, I was choosing a health food. I would say things like: Grains are the base of our diet, and we need that extra fiber, and it’s good for our hearts. I take it back! All of it! I would consider Wheat Belly a must read! It changed everything I thought I knew about grains, wheat, and gluten.


Did you know a slice of whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar more than sugar?

One thing that I never took the time to research is what wheat does to our blood sugar. Right after you eat, you blood sugar goes up (a lot) and then 2 hours later it goes back down (a lot). Hence- being hungry 2 hours after eating breakfast and wanting to take a nap every day at 2pm. Maybe that was just me, but I suspect I am not alone here. I am not going to get into all of the details. Some people will take issue with this concept and that is fine. You can read the book and then decide for yourself what is right for you and your family. But I will tell you about my experience.

Within 1 week of cutting out wheat, I lost 2 pounds and 1 inch off my tummy. 2 pounds…meh… That’s not anything to write home about but the inch off my waist?! That was exciting. That puffiness that I accepted as my reality was disappearing. I am now 3+ weeks in and I am down 6 pounds and 1.75 inches from my waist. I have also been increasing the exercise a little. You can not take away from the combination of the two- no doubt, but I have never seen this kind of result before. I will say I am finally accepting the truth that ‘you can’t out-train a bad diet’.

But, the weight and inches is a small part of the bigger picture. I feel amazing! I was never a bigger snacker (like cookies, crackers, etc.) but I did always get hungry mid-morning. I had breakfast #2 foods at work for 9:30-10:00am. I would justify this by saying, “I have a very physical job, I need extra calories.” Again, this was after a ‘healthy’ breakfast. Ever since I cut out wheat and replaced it with a higher protein, grain-free breakfast, I am not hungry in the morning. In fact I’m never hungry! I know that seems impossible, but it’s true. I eat when it is time to eat, and I eat until I feel satisfied. I have not been hungry OR stuffed since I went wheat free. This is not a will power thing, I used to eat until I felt ill regularly–like every day. It was because of that weird wheat relationship of feeling ravenous and then stuffed. This is the thing that I want to shout from the roof tops! (My poor family and co-workers are going to get so sick of me. Sorry guys!) I also don’t feel like I need to nap after lunch anymore. It’s glorious.

So what does wheat free mean?

No bread, no flour, no pasta, no cake, no cookies, no crackers, no cereal, nothing breaded, and almost nothing boxed/packaged. I know, it’s terrifying at first. And let me be clear. No one loves bread like I love bread! I used to make my husband take bread at weddings even if he didn’t want it. This way I wouldn’t be embarrassed going for a second roll. The other night when we were out to dinner, I had to have the waiter take the bread off the table before I rubbed it all over my face…I love bread. BUT, I love the way I feel right now more.

I eat lean meat, eggs, seafood, LOTS of vegetables, more fruit, healthy fats, nuts, and some dairy.

Let me be clear, because I know this will come up, this is NOT Atkins. The problem with Atkins or the people doing the Atkins diet is that it cut out ALL carbs and people were replacing bread with bacon and cheese. That is not what I am doing. If you are going to cut out wheat, you are going to need to replace it with healthy food. You are going to need to get your fiber from fruits and vegetables which is not hard to do. Fruits and Veggies are loaded with vitamins and fiber! In fact, I bet I am getting more fiber since switching. This is not about just switching to burgers with no buns!

I have actually been doing a lot of reading besides Wheat Belly. Right now I am reading The Paleo Solution and will probably lean into a paleo or hunter/gatherer type diet (more to come on this later). It’s an exciting concept though and it makes a lot of sense to me.

Now, I am not a doctor so don’t listen to me because I read something that one guy said in a book. Read the book(s) yourself and see what you think. He links wheat consumption to:



Weight gain


Skin Rashes


Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia


Hormonal Imbalances

and Many more chronic inflammatory diseases.

I have no idea if cutting wheat will help you at all, but I certainly think it is worth a 30 day trial and see how you feel. Especially if you suffer from anything on that list.

And, I know this is a long post but this is the final thing! This is NOT a diet! This isn’t something that can help you drop weight and then go back to your old carby ways. This is a life style change. You will gain weight when you load up on wheat whether it’s now or a month from now. Just remember, there are plenty of amazing real foods out there that are not made from wheat. It is not about depriving yourself.

I’ll update you as things go and I promise I’ll admit it if it doesn’t work out for me. I will be posting updates and meal ideas on Candysbrain blog facebook page. ‘Like’ me if you would like to see them regularly. There is a button on the right for your convenience! 😉

I’d also love to hear what you guys think. Feel free to leave comments.

****This is an addition to my original post, sorry, I forgot.

Buying Gluten-free products is not the answer though. Maybe a gluten free beer, or a gluten free fish sauce is a good idea- but gluten free bread? We just, flat-out, don’t need bread. We don’t need crackers. We didn’t evolve to have snacks while we are bored watching TV. Want a food with a little crunch? Eat a carrot. This way of eating should be replacing food that we don’t need with food that helps us thrive!

Book club fail

A while ago I decided I was going to start my very first book club. I was so excited. I had been on a real tear lately with my reading and jumped right in with both feet. I posted a blog about it, put it on my facebook page, bought the book. Everything was going well! That is, until I started reading the book.

I couldn’t get into it. I have read about 20% and I have no desire to finish. I’m genuinely surprised because I love the author, but I just can’t get into this story. Now what? I had to make a choice. I could either 1. power thru, or 2. quit.

Even the thought of quitting something gives me anxiety. I am not the kind of person to throw in the towel. But, the more I thought about it, I realized that I said it was a ‘NO OBLIGATION’ book club. Shouldn’t that apply to me too? Why should I feel guilted into finishing?




So, I quit. I am moving on.

If anyone cares or is interested, I am going to read ‘A Marriage Plot’ next. If anyone has suggestions for the next book, I am listening….

I kind of want to read “Blood, Bones, and Butter. The Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef”

I’ve always wanted to be a part of a book club, but could never organize enough people to read the types of books that I want to read. So, I started my own. I will pick the first book and then be open to suggestions for future books. There is no obligation because obligations are not fun and I want this to be fun. The only thing that we will miss by doing it via my blog is that we can’t get together and drink wine to discuss. But, I guess we can all drink alone at home in front of the computer (for a lot of us this is nothing new).

I am VERY excited to announce the first book in Candysbrain No Obligation Book Club. I chose the book ‘Strong Motion’ by Jonathan Franzen. Here is a quick description of the book: Louis Holland arrives in Boston to find that a minor earthquake in Ipswich has killed his eccentric grandmother, triggering a struggle between him, his sister Eileen, and his mother Melanie over the disposition of a $22 million inheritance. During a visit to the beach, Louis meets Dr. Reneé Seitchek, a Harvard seismologist who believes she has discovered the cause of subsequent earthquakes in Peabody. Louis, Reneé, and the Hollands’ affairs become entangled with the petrochemical and weapons company Sweeting-Aldren, as well as a pro-life activist commune called the Church of Action in Christ, headed by Reverend Philip Stites.

I chose the book because I LOVE Jonathan Franzen’s writing. He may be the best writer that is writing right now! No one can write a dysfunctional family like this man can. He just has a way of describing things that make you feel like you are there. His writing is a big fluffy towel wrapped around you after a day at the beach. And, it’s not that his writing is ‘light’ or ‘comfortable’- it’s not! It is just so beautiful it makes your heart hurt. I have read ‘The Corrections’ and ‘Freedom’ by the same author and LOVED them.

A line from Strong Motion: “She gave careful attention to her ankles, fingering the round protruding bones, pinching the tendons in back and rocking a little. Her face was already losing prettiness. Time and sun and business school had made her color more shallow, a conceivable middle-aged Eileen suddingly beginning to show thruough like old wallpaper beneath a coat of new paint.”

I am starting this book today and do not have a due date. It’s a Franzen book so it’s probably pretty long. I have a Kindle so it’s hard to tell how fat this book is. I will post occasionally under the category of book club and please feel free to comment as you are reading. Since this is the first book in the club, there is a pretty good chance that I will be reading this alone and that’s okay. Thanks for joining me!