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Fun Find ~ The Turban Squash

22 Nov

I know most posts include a recipe, but this one is going to be a little different.

On my way home the other day I found THIS.

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Yep, apparently it has a name. “Turban Squash”. Dying. of laughter.

I had to buy it. And then research it as to what I had just spent my money on.

I wish I had a cool story or really weird facts about it, but its basically like any of the other winter squashes :)

It’s great to bake, like butternut or buttercup squashes, or even pie pumpkins!

Maybe I’ll bake it to make puree like I did with my buttercup squash.

Maybe I’ll surprise you all with a yummy new recipe.

Or maybe both :)

For now I’ll leave you off with the nutrition benefits of this little (or big) goofy guy.

Turban Squash Benefits

1) Outstanding source of antioxidants: no other food provides the same content of carotenoids, and it is also rich in vitamin C and the mineral Manganese
2) Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that protects our body from free radical damage, strengthens the immune system, serves as an anti-cancer agent, and helps in prevention of neurodegenerative diseases
3) Manganese is highly essential for proper digestion and healthy bone structure. It also helps the body convert fat into energy, and is involved in blood sugar regulation
4) Carotenes clear out all the toxic pollutants infested in the blood stream, protect the lining of the arteries, and keep fats present in the blood away from radical oxidative damage
5) Carotenes offer protection from macular degeneration which can lead to vision loss
6) Omega 3 fatty acids that are in winter squash make is a fantastic anti-inflammatory agent. They also boost heart heart, help in conditions such as depressions and arthritis, and fight against cancer and cardiovascular diseases
7) Contains a lot of five B-complex vitamins: B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. These complexes is tied closely to blood sugar levels, and this squash offers a great source of them which prevents type 2 diabetes.

Versatile Blogger Award!

16 Nov

Thank you so much to Slender Grapefruit for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!! It made me so happy when Jessica let me know that she nominated me for this award! As a busy college student I don’t always have the time to browse for other blogs I would love to follow, and this is such a great way to be a part of the blogging fitfam out there!

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The Versatile Blogger Award is a great way for bloggers to show their support for other bloggers and build community. I am so thankful to be nominated. This award is for bloggers who write unique, interesting posts that aren’t run of the mill.

According to Jessica, these are the rules I found for this award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their blog.
  • Tell us 7 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who you feel deserve this award.
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them.
  • Upload the Versatile Blogger Award photo with your post.

So here are 7 random facts about me!

  1. I absolutely love anything pumpkin. There is no pumpkin season for Sarah Grace, as I am baking with it, cooking with it, ad simply eating it with a bit of agave and cinnamon all throughout the year! Of course, I love Fall because then I can actually find pumpkin drinks and goodies in stores :)
  2. I ran here at the Univ. of Florida as a d1 Cross Country athlete my freshman year, but decided to walk away from it when I realized I loved to run but did not want it to be my life. I found that making time for relationships and taking care of myself was much more important. I still do fun little runs a couple times a week though!
  3. I have a boyfriend that I will have been dating for THREE years on the 26th of this month. We met our senior year of high school (even though living in different cities) when we came up to visit this university and meet the running team and coach. We both ended up signing with this team (but both ended up walking away after our freshman years), and fell in love with each  other in the process of it all<3
  4. This summer I met a very dear friend, Amy, through “freshfitnhealthy” via instagram (yes, crazy!), and we now make/sell eBooks together and talk almost every day even though never meeting in person still to date (but I have plans to fly out to LA soon to meet her! yay!)
  5. I use to be the most UNHEALTHIEST eater. My mom would not be able to force one veggie in my mouth. My diet consisted of mac n cheese, Chinese food, and peanut butter and fluff sandwiches up until about freshman year of high school.
  6. I am in my third year of college as a Dietetics student, and have plans to go on to become an RD after graduation. I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know I want to do something I love each and every day and be used to my fullest potential. But for now, Fresh Fit N Heslthy is simply because healthy living is  passion of mine and I love to invest my time into it<3
  7. I love Jesus. I hate the word “Christian” as it means a million different things depending on the person you ask, but I am in a love relationship with my Savior and I have only reached the success I have reached in my past because of Him. I know He will open doors for me in my future that will lead me to something bigger and better than I could ever imagine.

And here are nominations for 15 blogs who bring joy to my online reading life!

  1. Carrots n Cake
  2. Fit Fun and Fantastic
  3. Kia’s Fit Fare
  4. Kaylea’s Open Book
  5. Ryan Drake
  6. Chocolate Covered Katie
  7. Dashing Dish
  8. Desserts with Benefits
  9. Happy Healthy Life
  10. Always Abigail
  11. Jeff Bethke
  12. WOA Student Bloggers
  13. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
  14. Barr & Table

Thank you again, Jessica! And congratulations all of my fellow nominees!

About Time Protein GIVEAWAY!!

8 Sep

I am excited to announce that….

I will be teaming up with About Time to do a giveaway for all my lovely readers and followers!!

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I never found a protein powder I loved AND was clean, until finding the company About Time. I am so excited for the opportunity to allow a lucky follower to win and be able to try my favorite protein powder!

From my blog and instagram, you have probably realized my love of making protein based recipes with this powder. It is so delicious. And for once, a powder that is natural, using only stevia as a sweetener!

This will be a giveaway via Facebook and Instagram :)

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How do you enter?! There are two ways you can enter (enter both ways for a better chance!):

  1. On Facebook:
    1. Go ‘like’ FreshFitnHealthy on Facebook
    2. Write on FreshFitnHealthy’s wall: I want to be entered into the giveaway!!  Or whatever nice thing you would like to write :)
    3. Also, share the giveaway photo above (or click the link) with your friends too!
  2. On Instagram
    1. Go Follow @Freshfitnhealthy on Instagram
    2. Share the giveaway photo above and tag @freshfitnhealthy and #FFFgiveaway

***As an extra bonus for a greater chance to win, if you buy my friend Amy and I’s  ebook (found here), and email me saying that you bought it, I will enter in your name two more times to the drawing!***

Pretty simple..huh?!

Sorry to all my worldwide friends, but this is only open to those in the US.

The giveaway will run from the 9th-15th, and the TWO winners will be announced on September 15th at midnight!

Why to Never Skip Breakfast + Carrot Cake Oatmeal

8 Aug

Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. So often the diet mentality is to put off eating as long as possible after waking. But that is far from the healthy route to take. Why?

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When your body is deprived of food for long periods of time, it goes into a semi-starvation mode and can create a lot of physical, intellectual and behavioral problems. According to WebMD, skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. After much research, it has been found that skipping meals, especially breakfast, very often leads to overeating later in the day or gorging out late at night. These infrequent large meals can lead to weight gain. Not only does it lead to weight gain, but also the accumulation of fat.

What is the solution? Break the last 8-12 hour fast you have currently been on throughout the night with a delicious, healthy breakfast. Great options include high fiber, high protein and low sugar meals. Fiber and protein will keep you satisfied until the next meal, and less sugar will help avoid any spike in blood sugar levels. Oatmeal, fruit and yogurt parfaits and eggs with toast are good healthy choice. Remember, homemade will always be healthier than take out, so strive to plan ahead, even if it means making it the night before! Here is a sinlessly sweet oatmeal recipe to help you get excited for breakfast.

I also created a different overnight oats version of this carrot cake oatmeal recently in an acorn squash, so take a look at this recipe as well for one made a little differently here! This was used the natural sweetness of carrot juice to create a delicious taste, and then I placed it in a cooked squash for a delectable breakfast!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Recipe

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other nondairy milk/water)
1/4 cup cooked carrots
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried coconut
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coconut extract (or vanilla extract)
A dash of sea salt
Add sweetener to taste (i.e. honey)

Directions: Place oats, milk, and carrots in bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and place into blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in other ingredients. Pour into bowl and top with any desired ingredients.

Tip: This can be made the night before and stored in the fridge until morning.

 

No-Sugar Raw Sweet Potato Cake Balls/ Soaked Almonds

14 Jun

Yet another one of my no added sugar desserts that I’ve made throughout my sugar detox. There will be many coming :)

Sweet potatoes are a great way to add sweetness without any extra sugar. Just like carrots, they are naturally sweet! Other sources of natural sugar that are great additions when wanting to stay away from the sugar–dried or fresh fruit! Figs, prunes, dates, and bananas are especially great for baking and cooking with no sugar.

With a couple girls putting on a sweet potato recipe contest, I knew I had to come up with something delicious and unique! And that is exactly what I did..and I won!

Have you ever hydrated your almonds? Yes, I just asked about keeping your almonds hydrated! When allowing your almonds to soak in water before eating them, they are much more digestible. You have to only soak as many as you will eat that day though, as they will go bad! This is what I mean by hydrated almonds..

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Those look mighty hydrated if you ask me! What are the benefits of doing this?

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?
1. To remove or reduce phytic acid (combines with vital nutrients in digestive tract and inhibits absorbtion).
2. To remove or reduce tannins.
3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

So I used soaked almonds in this sweet potato cake balls recipe!

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Sweet Potato Cake Balls
-1/2 cup dates, soaked overnight in water (in fridge)–Keep the water from these! It’ll be a sweet, syrup flavor that you can use instead of sweeteners for other things :)
-1/4 cup almonds, soaked overnight in water (in fridge)
-1/2 raw sweet potato
-1/2 zucchini, sliced
-2T ground flax-seed
-1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
-1 tsp vanilla extract and cinnamon
-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cloves, ginger, and nutmeg)
Directions: Remove dates and almonds from water after soaking. Puree all ingredients in food processor until sticky enough to form into balls. If too wet, add more flax-seed or a little bit of coconut flour. If too dry, add some of the “syrup” from date-soaked water. Form into balls. Roll in extra coconut. Enjoy!

Sugar Detox Comes to an End…Or Does It?!

11 Jun

Yesterday marked the end of my 21-day sugar detox! It was such a wonderful experience. Here I thought I would be counting down the days until I could have sugar again..but time went by so quickly, I almost forgot it was coming to an end!

In the beginning, I was having to give up so many foods that I normally ate, like stevia in my coffee, chewing gum throughout the day, protein powders, agave in my Greek yogurt, ketchup and honey mustard that I used all the time, and the list goes on. Oh, can’t forget my vitamins and probiotics that had FRUCTOSE in them! I couldn’t believe it. But, cutting sugar completely out of my diet, helped me feel just all around so much better! And I learned some important lessons:

1) Check your food label ingredients. Buy the kind with the least ingredients (and one that you know what they are!)
2)As much as I missed making all my yummy shakes with protein powder, after working out, the best fuel to give your body is real food. Not all these processed powders and bars. I found things like chicken and sweet potatoes or cottage cheese and fruit as such great refuel after workouts instead of my typical shakes.
3)SO many things have added sugar that you would never guess. Again, check your labels.
4) There are so many ways you can add natural sweetness without sugars, such as dried fruit like dates and figs, or even fresh fruit like strawberries, bananas, watermelon, and berries!

Here is an excellent example about checking your ingredients. Most cottage cheese brands, like publix, friendship, and breakstones all have many ingredients, some of which you don't even know. But Daisy brand only has FOUR. And they are all natural, with no preservatives or additives on the label. Which one are you going to choose next time?

Here is an excellent example about checking your ingredients. Most cottage cheese brands, like publix, friendship, and breakstones all have many ingredients, some of which you don’t even know. But Daisy brand only has FOUR. And they are all natural, with no preservatives or additives on the label. Which one are you going to choose next time?

To sum up these past three weeks, its been such a great lifestyle change. This didn’t become just a 3 week challenge, only to go back to the way I use to eat. This was a way to change my habits, and to get away from that s0-s0 sweet taste that I wanted everything to be. I will NEVER use artificial sweeteners like Splenda or buy any of those “sugar free” products (aka, tons of added fake sugars and chemicals) again. Stevia will be limited, as I now have such a different liking for sweetness, that many things I use to have to load with agave or stevia like greek yogurt or grapefruits, I like plain now!  And natural sugars like agave and raw honey will mostly be the only types of sweeteners I use.

I love the new lifestyle, and how I feel with no sugar, that I’ve decided to extend my sugar detox until the end of June! My good friend Amy (find her over at Fit Fun and Fantastic) and I who originally began this challenge, will both be continuing our no sugar lifestyle for a little bit longer! Are you in?! Feel free to join now :) You can find me on instagram at @FreshFitnHealthy if you want to follow my day to day no sugar creations!

As for now..how do you feel about added sugar? I believe raw honey is great for our bodies, and am in no way saying I’m staying away from that for a little longer because I think its bad. But eating no sugar except that naturally occcurring in fruits and vegetables, has made me feel so wonderful! So why not continue my journey for a bit longer? :)

No Sugar Chocolate Avocado Mousse & Avocado Benefits

6 Jun

Say what?! A mousse made of avocado? and no sugar added?! Yep, you read it right!

Last night I was really craving a sweet treat, but with being on week three of my sugar detox, I knew I wasn’t about to cave in for any chocolate, or even one of my many delicious protein shakes I usually have every night!

Since being home for the summer, my mom and I have been eating avocados like crazy, going through a bag a week! But I guess when you’re eating clean and not a ton of junk food, avocados are a great healthy fat to turn to when wanting something satisfying. Health facts included below :)

I knew I had used avocados many times in smoothies before to add a creamy texture, so I thought, why not try making a mousse out of it? So that is exactly what I did. And the result was incredible, satisfying my sweet craving absolutely perfectly.

Avocados are such a nutrient-dense food. What are the benefits? Here they are according to natural news:

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-Healthy Brain: The folate in avocados contribute to preventing formation of brain tangles that end in Alzheimers. They are also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that is proven to prevent Alzheimers
Healthy Heart: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat that boost heart health and lower blood pressure
-Pregancy: Folic acid helps the fetus develop its brain and other vital organs
-Eye Health: Contains carotenoid leutein, that specializes in protecting the eyes from oxidative stress damage
-Blood Pressure: Combination of high potassium content(30% more than banana), with omega-3 and oleic acid reduce blood pressure
-Blood sugar: High soluble fiber prevents blood sugar spikes and the monounsaturated fat prevents insulin resistance (a source of type2 diabetes)
-Anti-Inflammatory: Contains an abundance of plant phytonutrient polyphenols and flavenoids, which have been discovered as anti-inflammatory agents
-Anti-aging: The antioxidant glutathione supports the liver and the nervous system. It replenishes and recycles other antioxidants in the body. Avocados are one of the rare foods that contain a good amount of glutathione
-Digestion: Nutrients and enzymes in avocado reduce inflammation in the stomach and small intestine’s mucous lining, which improves the body’s ability to absorb carotenoids and nutrients.
-Cancer: Avocados can help protect again prostate and berate cancers

Convinced you should eat these delicious green fruits? (YES! It’s a fruit!) It’s so easy to incorporate them into your daily diet, whether eating them sliced with eggs on toast for breakfast, on a salad for lunch, sprinkled with a little lemon and salt for a snack, or by making my avocado mousse for dessert!

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse
-1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
-1 ripe banana, peeled, chopped
-1/4 cup almond milk
-2T cocoa powder
-1T nut butter (I chose PB)
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Chill for at least one hour. Enjoy! I added fruit in with mine, and it was delicious. Top with whatever you desire.

 

For healthy facts and information about avocados, check out this lovely lady’s blog at http://fifisskinnymunch.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/super-food-avocado/

PB2 has Added Sugar?!

22 May

Sugar Detox:Day 3

I’m feeling great! Once again, sitting in a 4 hour organic chemistry class without gum is harsh for me, but other than that, fruit has been enough to satisfy that sweet tooth! One finding from yesterday..

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You know that so loved PB2 peanut flour that tastes so great?! Well now I know why. It has added sugar!! Why does everything have to have added sugar to it? I would not have used as much of this as I have in the past if I had known. Thankfully I realized this before I ruined my sugar detox!

Another bad thing about pb2: It has had almost all the fat taken out, so that it is so much “lower in fat and calories”. But isn’t the reason we eat nut butters is to get in some healthy fat. I think so. And now, with this, that isn’t true.

The Truth about PB2 in detail can be found here!

I’ve learned it’s all about moderation. Moderation in eating the food. Not Modifying the food to make it “healthier” so we can eat mass amounts of it! There is such an over eating epidemic in the world today. By the way, things that are “low in fat” have usually had that fat replaced with sugar, so they truly are healthier for you!

There is a peanut flour in which is truly just peanut flour, and no sugar added. Like I said, it still doesn’t have those healthy fats, but I will probably purchase some for minimal use. My main source of nuts will definitely be coming from real, full fat, yet raw nut butters I make at home:) That’s truly healthy! This genetically modified, sugar free, low fat stuff is not truly “healthy”. Low in calories unfortunately does not mean healthy, just like high in calories does not mean unhealthy! There is such a misconception of what healthy is today, and it has led to obesity and eating disorders of all kinds unfortunately.

What to take away from this? Reevaluate what you coin as healthy and not healthy. And check your products labels, they might just surprise you! Fats are good for you, in moderation and of the right type :)

Surprising Foods with Sugar

20 May

Sugar Detox:Day 1!

As I begin my 3 weeks journey of having absolutely NO sugar, I have to say, I’m excited. It’s going to be so beneficial for me. But, it isn’t going to come easily! See, it’s not that chocolate cake or donuts that is going to be hard for me. If I’m honest, my body doesn’t even like that kind of stuff anymore after beginning to eat healthy.

For me, it’s going to be the addition of stevia and agave in almost everything that is going to be hard to stay away from! From my morning coffee with stevia and molasses, to my plain Greek yogurt with added agave, to all the gum I chew during class, to my shakes I make almost every night with protein powder(yep, it has sugar in it too!) and agave..this will surely not be easy!

Have you checked labels on things you eat on a day to day basis? I think it may surprise you as to just how many of those things have added sugar..I know some of my foods already today surprised me. Here’s a couple that I didn’t realized were adding to my sugar intake every day!

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Unless buying plain Greek yogurt, almost all yogurts are PACKED with added sugar.

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Protein powders are a huge one. Most active people (including myself!) use at least a scoop a day, if not more..but have you checked the ingredients lately?! Some of them like these above have SO many ingredients, things that you have NO idea what they even are. Plus, they have artificial sweetener, which truthfully, is even worse for you! Try to read labels before buying, and opt for an all natural one with little sugar or stevia added.

ketchup

Yes, most tomato products have added sugar! I went to put this on my eggs this morning, and realized I couldnt! Many condiments have sugar added. I went to go use my honey mustard for lunch, then realized I couldn’t. Went for the mayo, same story! So many of our foods have added sugar nowadays!

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Sorry all you gum lovers (I’m one of them!), gum has tons of sugar added! Even the “sugar free” gum has artificial sweetener :X This will be a hard one for me throughout these next 3 weeks to not have!

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Protein Bars. Yep, usually full of sugar! Thankfully, these above have very little stevia added, (the ONLY zero calorie sweetener I will use), but these next 21 days I wont even be able to have these! Check the bars you eat, msot are loaded with sugar!

sugarfree

BEWARE of this title! Most things that claim to be “sugar free” are the furthest thing away from no sugar added than anything! I hate how people think they are eating healthy when choosing “sugar free” foods, like canned fruit, jelly, candy, chocolate syrups, ice cream, sodas, all sorts of things. Why? Because what they are really saying when they say their product is “sugar free”, is that it contains loads of artificial sweetener like splenda, equal, sweet n low, or “aspartame” and “sucralose” as its called many times. Caution! Artificial sweeteners, except for all natural options like stevia, are very bad! Their is so much research on this, but to make it short, these type of sugars do not register in your body’s hunger signals, therefore usually just making you overeat! And it has bad effects on digestions and internal processes. Please stay away :)

Here’s a long list of foods(and other things!) you may not have realized have sugar added I found here :)!

Tomato Sauce

Ice Cream

Lip Gloss

Canned Vegetable Juice

Pancake Mixes

Cough Drops

Breakfast Bars

Packaged Cereals

Bread Mixes

Soup Mixes

Yogurt

Dried Fruit

Protein Powder

Red Wine

Chewing Gum

Relish

Mustard

Canned Soups

Canned Fruits

Rolls

Puddings

Breads

Waffle Mixes

Apple Butter

Sherbet

Peanut Butter

Crackers

Soy Sauce

Toothpaste

Ketchup

Lipstick

Lemonade

Canned Beans

Breath Mints

Potato Chips

Stewed Fruit

Baby Foods

Condensed Milk

Licorice

Vitamins(my gummy vites for sure!)

Mouthwashes

Pickles

TV Dinners

Condiments

French Fries

Breakfast Drinks

Meat Sauces

Medications

Food Seasoning

Envelope Adhesive

Hamburger Buns

Gravies

Packaged Nuts

Margarine

Pretzels

21 Day Sugar Detox

19 May

Will you be joining?

I got really bad at one point with artificial sugar. I fell into that false thinking that low calorie (or no calorie for that matter!) meant healthy, and tried to sweeten everything with splenda or stevia, and bought every “sugar free” (which by the way, is NOT free of sugar, just has fake sugar) product I could find..low calorie does NOT mean healthy everyone. A lot of those products actually are worse as they have so many chemically modified ingredients :( Thankfully, I’ve realized that and live stay away from it all. I still use stevia occasionally, but mostly use agave and honey now.

But, because of the use of so much artificial sweetener in the past, that is MANY times sweeter than regular sugar, I have such a sweet tooth! It’s so bad, I love everything so sweet. Since using such a sweet form of sugar for so long, I just don’t like anything that isn’t super sweet anymore.

SO, a friend and I (check her out at fitfunandfantastic.wordpress.com!) have decided to nip our sugar cravings and super sweet likings by going on a 21 day sugar detox! Yes, that is a whole THREE weeks without ANY sugar. The only sugar we are allowing ourselves is sugar that is naturally occurring in fruit and veggies, ect. But NO stevia, other artificial sweeteners, honey or agave.

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Want to join in on the challenge? I dare you :)

This may be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I am SO excited to step up to the challenge! I think it’ll be so great for my body, and such a healthy change from all the sweetness I’m use to! Guess I won’t be drinking my morning coffee anymore, as I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it without sweetener :p

P.S. Do you realize how many foods we eat in our day to day life that we add sugar to unknowingly or has hidden sugar added you would have never expected? You know that gum you chew every single day..yep, tons of sugar..even the “sugar free” gum (fake sugar alert!).  And no sugar in that coffee/tea or bite of chocolate at night! Make sure to look at everything you eat, because many dried fruits, nuts, and so many other products you buy have added sugar :X

I’ll try to begin posting some little creations here and there that I make as my substitute dessert :)

 I’d love to know if you’re willing to join in on the challenge! If you have an instagram, follow me! @freshfitnhealthy, and tag any posts about this sugar detox with #FFsugardetox :)