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PinkGrape & Joe Dude,
LOL, I read your post yesterday Pinkgrape and it was sooo pumped full of energy. So missing the sugar hasn't hurt you in that respect, huh ;-) Since you both have problems with sugar, one possibility is that it’s a [U]sugar metabolism issue [/U] or it could be an [U]internal yeast (candida) issue[/U]. I suppose one way of knowing this is if you always breakout from consuming fruits. Sometimes, this would be due to taking antibiotics orally for years and if so, your diet will be very strict and not very fun, for at least one year until you kill of the yeast. Books such as The Yeast Connection, Anti-Candida Diet (if that exists), Body Ecology Diet, and perhaps even Breaking the Vicious Cycle (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) are what you want to follow.

Otherwise, the questions you asked I hear often and am still in the process of adapting to myself. I definitely think that there is a HUGE misconception that healthy for you food has to suck, but it doesn’t. With so many people out there with allergies & intolerances, and on “diets” they are making “good” tasting foods to suit everyone. If you don't know how to shop or how to cook, it doesn't matter, cuz I'm still learning how too. ;-)

There's two theories with produce: 2 Vegetables for every 1 Fruit or 2/3 of your diet is composed of vegetables. Choose Fruits that you enjoy and seem to tolerate & Vegatables that are high in fiber, Calcium & other nutrients AND that you enjoy. [u]Somethin is better than nothing so eat produce however you feel comfortable & in order of flavor pick:[/U]
Fresh / Packaged
Frozen
Canned


[U]Meats[/U]
Fresh
Frozen or Precut
Prepared or Frozen Seasoned (watch the ingredients)
Applegate Farms (wasn't fond of their beef hotdogs)
Wellshire Farms meats & lunchmeats
Shelton’s Meats & Lunchmeats (tasty, no sugars or nitrites)


[U]If you're thirsty drink:[/U]
Water, water, water
Fresh Blended whole fruit juice (so you have the fiber)
Decaffienated Tea
Decaffienated Coffee
Use Xylitol and/or Stevia to sweeten


[U]If you are used to eating pastas or Ramen[/U]
Go for GF Rice, Buckwheat, Quinoa, and/or Corn Pastas
Go for (rice) Thai Noodle (box, bowels, packets) - different flavors
Organic Spaghetti Sauces (w/o sugars..)


[U]Condiments & Flavorings:[/U]
Add No Sugar Added or Unsweetened Flavorings when bored w/ just water
Westbrea Naturals Unsweetened Ketchup (ONLY no sugar added ketchup)
San-J 100% Soy Tamari Soy Sauce (most soy sauces have wheat)
Seasoning Blends or Marinades (check ingredients)
Olive Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Smart Balance
Palm Oil or Coconut oil (for cooking)


[U]Baking?[/U]
Organic Milk or Goats milk
Rice, Almond, or other Nut Miks (watch the sugar)
Soy Milk Maker - make your own grain, nut & seed milks
Natural Applesauce instead of Oil
GF Flours – Nuts, Seeds, Coconut, Bean/legume, GF Grain Flours


[U]Snack or Healthy Junk:[/U]
Organic Dark Chocolate (check type of sugar)
Unsweetened Flavored Applesauce
Fresh or Frozen Fruit
Dried Fruit, Bars, & Leathers
Fresh & Dried Vegetables
Nuts –
Seeds – Brazil nuts, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin
Veggie Crisps
Corn Chips
Organic Potato Chips
Frito Lays[I] Natural[/I] Potato Chip Brand
Rice or Corn Cakes
Newman’s Own Organic Popcorn (no trans fats)
Homemade Popcorn either in microwave container or stove & add oils & flavorings after



[U]Grocer Shopping:[/U]
Natural/Holisitc/Organic/ Healthfood Stores

Farmers Markets (may be seasonal)

Buyer’s Club – kinda like the Co-op, more costly, & high purchase minimums

Co-Ops – these are places or drop sites that offer fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and sometimes even packaged foods that are priced at a lot less than your regular or natural grocery store. You pay be to be a member and then sign up for a delivery of food every 2 weeks or every month based on the season’s selection. Where I live there’s a co-op about 1 hour away, but I’ll be commuting to school over there so it’ll be worth it. Usually though you should be able to find one nearby (that will deliver), especially if you live in a highly populated or agricultural area. The Members own the Co-op and there’s variety of ways to earn additional savings (% discount, volunteering, etc). It’s a really cool concept that tries to bring back sustainable agriculture in your community. Do a search.


Oh and as for recipes, LOL, one day I'm sure I'll start on those, but I've realized that if I want something fried, I do it with no flour and sometimes you can't tell a difference. That whenever I buy salads I could have made 4 - 6 of them with meats & fixings at home for the price of that ONE salad! So eating out is convenient, but it's usually not more affordable (unless it's poor quality food).

Now, all I do when I'm tired is grab some frozen or precut meat (hamburger patties, chicken, fish), season it (w or w/o olive oil), toss in the oven and then spread it over a bed of rice or spinach/romaigne lettuce. Other days I'll grab some vegetables like broccoli, green/string beans, okra, squash, etc and make a stir fry with chicken, shrimp, sausage, or yes....even hotdogs. If I’m really really tired I’ll grab some Hormel Chili or Beef Stew or some canned food that doesn’t have gluten or sugars and eat that.

When I eat out, I make sure to find out on the resturant/fast food website to know what's gluten free or if they even have an ingredient list. Usually all I'm able to eat at a fastfood place is Tacos or Taquitos (be careful), Fajita meats w/ corn chips insted of flour tortilla, baked chicken, flavored chicken wings, some soups/stews, rice, vegetables, SALADS (w or w/o chicken, salami, turkey, etc), and the occassional Low-Carb (lettuce wrapped) burger/chicken sandwich. If trans fats aren't a huge problem, some places like Burger King & Carls Jr. do have a coating on their fries, but it's Rice flour.

Also, when I'm out and there's something I want and the product seems suspect I'll ask them to check the ingredients for dairy and wheat/gluten. Usually they end up bringing the package so I can check myself, but there's been one occasion where the boxes didn't have ingredient labels! The one thing you must realize is [B]you can't assume that just because it's chicken, lunchmeat that it doesn't have corn syrup or wheat in it[/B]..... Ask them, [B]check online[/B], or read the package before buying it. Yet restuarants don't offer this info so you can follow their low carb and/or Gluten free meals section or, in terms of sugars, just order what you want and take extra fiber, like [B]Glucommanon Fiber Capsules[/B] and/or [B]R-ALA [/B] to try to prevent a breakout. I don't deny myself restuarant food, I just don't eat out as often as I used to.

You know you would think that getting a breakout, let alone really STUBBORN cystic ones, would be enough to stop one from eating foods they shouldn’t, but we are not all the same. The more you avoid the harder it gets and unless you are well prepared you may find yourself in a yucky situation. Eventually, you will learn how much sugar & what type you can get away with eating that won't give you cystic breakouts or any breakouts and then hopefully you'll feel more comfortable and will be less likely to give up. Also, this is why you should surround yourself with as much “safe” foods as possible so that even out on the run, you can grab something or you know where it’s somewhat safe to eat out at. So when it comes to Gluten Free substitute foods like brownies, protein bars, waffles, breads, etc, I could give you tons of brands, but it would probably be easier if you guys would share what foods it is that tempt you, as perhaps there’s a healthier version ;-)





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