Healthier Habits

Unsweetened passion tango iced tea from Starbucks: Dairy free, caffeine free, and sugar free!

Like thousands of other people, part of my New Year’s Resolution is to eat healthier. For me, though, it’s not just about being healthier and losing weight. My vision and thyroid and whole body are depending on improved nutrition.

Uveitis, which I constantly struggle with, is an inflammatory disorder. I was recently told I have an under-active thyroid, too, which I suspect might be worsened by inflammation. Because of all the inflammation in my body, I’ve taken so many steroids in the last three years; I worry about my adrenal glands, cortisol levels, and pesky weight gain.

I’ve procrastinated from changing my diet because I am a major emotional eater. I console myself with a treat when I’m sad, and I celebrate with a treat when I’m happy. Food is soothing to me, and (until the pandemic) elaborate meals have been enjoyable social activities for my family and friends. I’ve finally come to the realization, though, that food truly is fuel, and it might actually be doing me more harm than the good feelings I get from my treats indicate.

Hallmark rules of an anti-inflammatory diet: NO SUGAR, GLUTEN, ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE. I also need eliminate processed or fried foods, and limit dairy and red meat.

I used to look at that list and think NO FUN.

Bye, burgers and fries! Bye, cookies and ice cream! Bye, pizza and mozzarella sticks! Bye, mac n’ cheese and chicken tenders! (I will miss you most of all.) Also, what is life without wine?!

Recently, though, I have felt so crummy from the various health problems I’m facing. Feeling that awful isn’t fun! If eating cleaner can make me feel better, then maybe this can be fun.

A Sunday tradition in my house is to wake up, stay in comfy clothes, jump in the car, pick up a breakfast treat and an iced coffee, and go for a Sunday drive.

With today being the first Sunday of the new year, I had a chance to practice my healthier habits. Thankfully, our favorite Venezuelan breakfast is gluten-free! Arepas are made with corn, not white flour. My favorite filling is perico (eggs with tomatoes and onions) and turkey bacon, so I didn’t have to make any substitutions.

When we rolled into the Starbucks drive-thru, I got a little depressed. I love an iced vanilla latte, and I’ve always been a decaf girl, so I usually thought “How bad can this be?” Well, I learned that, with all the vanilla syrup, my favorite latte has 35 grams of sugar! The American Heart Association suggests no more than 24 grams of sugar for most women for the entire day! If I paired that coffee with a doughnut (which I’m known to do), then I was probably (at least) tripling the amount of daily recommended sugar.

So, I perused the Starbucks menu and remembered how much I love their herbal teas. The Passion Tango Iced Tea, without any added cane sugar, is delicious! I happily ordered that, and I didn’t miss my latte at all.

And when I stopped to think about it, regardless of any food, treats, or drinks, spending time with my hubby on a peaceful Sunday morning was the real fun. ❤️

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