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Look, Ma! No Blisters! October 10, 2008

I ran from Southshore in Alameda around Bayfarm Island and the model airplane field and back. This is the view, and trust me, in person, it's stunning.

T-minus nine days till the half-marathon.

And I am SO stoked. I ran eight miles this morning, and I FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT. No blisters on my insteps. The cure, for me, is three-fold, all thanks to tips from y'all:

1. Smartwool socks. I can't believe I wasn't using them before. They're only single layer, but they feel awesome, and they're wool. What's not to like?

2. 2nd Skin blister band-aids. I know they're not band-aids, but you get the picture. I've used them before, many times, but they usually skid around too much to be effective.

3. Duct tape. Specifically, over the 2nd skin and all the way around, so that I taped the tape to itself on top of my foot. Also, this particular duct tape is pink, and I might have stolen it from a bar after a performer left it behind (they were so long gone! And it made a great bracelet! I'm still twenty years old!), so I think it just works better.


Also, I just felt great. I ran probably ninety percent of the time, which is WAY up from my recent pathetic attempts at running that turn into a half-walk half-run shamble about half-way through.

I attribute this to food.

I'm trying something new, my friends. No sugar.

I KNOW! It's horrifying! Avert your eyes if you must, I totally understand. There's something on cuteoverload that you should probably see instead.

For those of you still reading (you brave souls), I'll Biden it for you: No sugar. You heard me. Let me say it again. No sugar.

Oh, lord have mercy.

I've just been feeling so dang crappy lately. All the time. For the last two months I've had an almost constant nagging headache that flares into a migraine every ten days or so. I'm exhausted to the point I'm reminded of when I had mono in college. I've been to the doctor, it's not a tumor. I just put it down to working a hell of a lot, both at the j.o.b. and at the writing, but I think I was wrong.

I have always known I had a problem with sugar, but (also in the last few months) it became a monster I couldn't control. I thought about sugary things all the time. And you'd think I'd be okay, since I'm allergic to soy lecithin, and that rules out eighty percent of all things good, but you'd be surprised at what I found to sugar myself up with. Sweetened condensed milk. Brownies from TJ's. All-natural ice cream. I craved sushi everyday, and I'm convinced it was about the white rice (I like how I put that in the past tense. I always crave sushi. Crave it right now).

Carrots, for the love of god. That was the breaking point, actually, three days ago. I'd torn the house apart, looking for anything sweet, and realized there was nothing sweet that I wasn't allergic to. So I ate carrots, which I don't even usually like, and felt temporarily better.

Then I crashed with the headache again. Ask Lala, I haven't been very pleasant to be around lately.

Two days ago I stopped eating sugar. Last night I made brown and wild rice with broccoli and chicken with tomatoes and mozarella cheese (recipe from the Sonoma Diet cookbook). This morning I ate 10-grain hot cereal from Bob's Red Mill (I used a drizzle of honey because otherwise, it's just noxious, but that's the only small amount of processed sugar I'm allowing myself).

Then I went for the run, and dudes, I ran! (I ran so far away.... you're welcome) I kept running. I felt seriously great. I still feel great. I haven't had a headache in two days.

I'm not saying this is the cure, and I'm not saying I'm going quiet into that good night. There may be a tantrum or two coming up. But it's worth a shot. No refined sugar for a month, low-carbs, lots of whole grains, and we'll see how I feel after that. But if this is how I feel after two days, well, then. Hi. Nice to meet you, energy. Sit a spell.


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I've got the sugar thing BAD. I know I must stop but always come up with a rationale. Like, you made those beautiful lemon square and Luke is going to ask for a lemon square instead of real food and it will be a fight and he will think you're mean....
I know I have to just stop but, oh it's going to hurt.
Stevia. In extremely small does with a bit of cinnamon if you can works as a pretty decent sweetener. And maple syrup which I could literally drink from the bottle.
congratulations on the good run!

Thanks. Now I need a cookie. I think I have a problem.

Oh, so my FIL got back to me on the earplugs. The ones he uses are disposable, and they're called Hearos. I know he talked about custom, permanent ones at some point, but these are the ones he swears by right now.

The first week is the hardest. I cut out the sugar completely, plus all processed carbohydrates and grains, a little over a year ago, as you know, and that first 3 or 4 days of withdrawal was physically and emotionally painful. But I don't even miss it now. Not even chocolate! Obviously, I took it to the extreme, but it was to control my diabetes and along the way I've lost 95 pounds and the diabetes went away. Hang in there Rachael, the cravings go away!!

Hey, I cut out the sugar 6 weeks ago (plus cut drastically all carbohydrates that are not vegetables) and those headaches are GONE! Plus gone are 15 pounds....

It's funny, I always heard people say that cutting sugar helped, but I never believed it - until I was diagnosed a month ago with gestational diabetes. I've had to limit myself to 3-4 carbs at meals and two 1-2 carb snacks a day (15 carbs on the nutritional info label is considered a carb). Even though I'm 3 weeks away from giving birth, I've had more energy than I did in the first 6 months of the pregnancy, and WAY more than I did in my first pregnancy - I'm walking (well, waddling!) a mile and a half 3-4 days a week, which I never thought I'd be able to do. I'm definitely planning on keeping sugars to a minimum after I have the baby! Good luck limiting your sugars, too - and good luck with the half-marathon!

What TMK said- the beginning is the hardest. After the first few weeks, life is so much better. I gave up white stuff last spring and I feel so much better, and I've been losing some weight, but mostly I just don't have the peaks and valleys and cravings all day and into the night. I can walk by a big tray of cookies at work, or the baked goods at a coffee shop and they don't even call to me anymore.

On the cereal sweetener- you might want to try agave nectar. It's lower on the glycemic scale, so again you don't have that late morning crash. It has a mellower flavor than honey or maple syrup (my former favorite), but it really helps out the Bob's 10-grain, oatmeal and plain yogurt.

Best of luck with the running! Yes you can!

Dude, SmartWool socks are the BEST EVER. I am obsessed with them. Absolutely obsessed. I have SmartWool thick socks, SmartWool running socks, SmartWool, knee socks, SmartWool TIGHTS (srsly); they are the most wonderful socks on earth.

Good for you! My migraines dropped by half when I went vegetarian. Couldn't do zero sugar!
Sorry it's been so long since I commented.

Very interesting! I've had a headache/neckache/shoulderache thing since July. Dude, it is getting old. I may actually try the no sugar thing.

Yep. No sugar, no migraines. Sucks, but it totally works.

I admire anyone who is able to give up sugar, but I have no desire to do it myself. I want REAL sugar in my coffee; nothing else will do. I do think, however, that the stevia I'm growing in my backyard may work well in my tea.

I can relate. Not too long ago I was waking up exhausted and I was blue. Not quite depressed but it was a persistent blueness. I decided to cut caffeine and sugar out of my diet. The first week was kind of brutal but I did feel better. And I started sleeping better by about the 2nd or 3rd night.

After a while I was able to reintroduce some sugar into my diet and it never got as bad as it did before. It was like I needed a complete detox before I could bring in sensible amounts again.

But I sure did feel better!

When we were in grad school, I started to think I had chronic fatigue syndrome. I even got tested for Epstein-Barr. Some days I felt fine. Other days I felt as if I'd never have the energy to leave the house again (and I don't mean that in a hyberbolic way. I mean it in a literal way). Some days I got awful headaches. It was so weird and erratic, unlike anything I had experienced before. Finally, I decided to cut sugar (including booze) and all processed foods for six weeks. Voila! Symptoms disappeared. I should do it again now in order to increase health, be a good role model for the kids, and drop pregnancy weight (that I've carried for several years post-pregnancy). But I get a little freaked out thinking about it.

I quit eating sugar in January--and felt great. In August I nose dived off the wagon and have felt like crap--the last week have been waking up with headaches, been depressed, been grouchy.

Thanks for the reminder of how GOOD I can feel. Starting right now, off sugar again (oh, sweet, dear peanut M & M's you will be missed) and know this is the right thing to do for me.


You're echoing my thoughts exactly. I've always had a sweet tooth, and it had gotten out of control. Inspired by TMK's success (but it took me a while), I went low-carb a couple weeks ago. First 2 days were hard, but I feel more "even" all day (and lost 4 pounds!). I can even walk past the chocolate candy on my colleague's desk without giving in. It had to be 'cold turkey' for me, because I just couldn't manage "moderation." Congratulations on your awesome run and good luck on the half-marathon.

Try Agave syrup as a sweetener. It's amazing - tastes just like sugar but it not and won't make you crave more the way real sugar does.

Good luck.

Eight miles??? Wow!

Yay, you!

(I'm not running this week. Did the breast cancer 5K and my broken toe woke me up the next night... booo.)

I've cut alcohol way down, and never was a big sugar person, but the soy milk I drink seems to have a crapload in it. I'm wondering if maybe it's not refined sugar. Hoping, actually, because I like it a lot.

Good luck with your half-marathon: what a wonderful way to honour your mother.

I have a question for you: are you still using your Nike+ running shoe sensor/iPod combo? After several years off, I'm beginning to run again, using a run-walk program. I've never been quick, and the layoff (and my asthma) makes even the 2 minute jogging segments tough, but I'm also glad that I've started again.
I love my iPod, and listen to music or podcasts to get me through, but have been intrigued by the opportunity to monitor my progress with the Nike+ functionality. What are your thoughts?


Now, that is very interesting. I always have headaches and I eat way too much sugar. I am not sure how to have my morning espresso with out sugar. That is really the only thing I just cannnnnot give up.Maybe I will try it with fake sugar. But I worry that that is worse. But I may try the giving it up thing.

Hear, hear! Sugar is a drug, very easy to be addicted. Good for you for quitting, at least for a while. I have to be very careful myself... it does get easier to resist after a while of avoiding it.

Sushi rice usually has sugar in it, too, I think...

Good luck!

Yay for you! Absolutely, cutting down on sugar helps just about everything work better, and your taste will adjust to being without it. I don't LIKE sugar in my coffee anymore, and I never thought that would happen. I tried a different smoothie "recipe" last week, using apple juice instead of orange, with the usual soy powder, frozen berries and frozen banana. It was too sweet! Go figure.

Major Congrats! I have been sugar and wheat free since August 1. Do I miss the sugar crave, hell yes, Do I miss the headaches and lack of energy Hell no. I have also dropped 22 pounds, go figure? Wheat and sugar, the evil twins in my life......hope that we can both resist for as long as necessary.............

You should try some agave nectar instead of honey. Low glycemic to boot. Sweetens without making you have sugar cravings.

Wow. No sugar huh? I'm impressed. Any tips or websites you can point me in the direction of to learn more? (specialized cook books are hard to come by here in India)

I suspect I have problems with sugar as well- though my "reactions" tend to be more in the throat area- but definitely physical energy levels as well....

Good for you! I have found that the first week or so is the worst. Then I can't eat sugar because it just feels like too much for me.

My two cents are the same as Michele's (for ONCE I browsed the comments before making my own. And yet I'm still gonna make it, even though it's redundant): agave nectar. Although, for me, it's sometimes just easier to cut out the sweet altogether. But if you just have to put a li'l somethin on your cereal, agave is pretty dang benign. Way to run, btw!

Try Agave Nectar. Sweet but better on the glycemic levels.

I totally understand the low-blood sugar headaches and the tiredness. I've always been pretty sensitive but as long as I was exercising regularly it seemed to keep it in check. But with a new state, new job and horrible commute I haven't been able to exercise as much and the headaches came back with a vengence. Something had to give so I stopped eating sugar and white flour in July. The first week was brutal but like others have said, it gets so much easier! I've lost 20 pounds and haven't had a headache since. And it's so easy to say no to the office birthday cake!

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