“The moment you stop learning is the instant you stop growing.” What a fitting quote on my daily calendar as today I stumbled across a new cook book, The Sugar Free Kitchen. Much to my surprise and delight the beginning of the book was as if someone was writing it just for me on this journey. The introduction talks about becoming aware and mindful of where sugar is found and to understand that a lifetime of no sugar would be unrealistic, even inadvisable. As I continued to read I began to educate myself on the differences between fructose and glucose helped bring a lot of things in perspective. One the body recognizes and processes – glucose. Where the other can be damaging if eaten too much as the human body is not designed to deal with large amounts of it – this being fructose. Only the liver is able to process fructose is significant amounts, which if overloaded, will convert it straight to fat. The results of this is not just weight gain but linked to a whole gamete of other health issues including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Where natural sugars (glucose) stimulate the release of insulin in the body, fructose has a clever way of sneaking under the body’s natural radar system. Insulin produces something called leptin, this chemical is responsible for regulating fat storage and when it is not released, the fructose is unregulated. Unfortunately, fructose is hiding in many day -to – day foods. We’ve all heard the new buzz about watching out for high fructose corn syrup in our foods, but what about when we think we’re being healthy and reach for an apple or a raw carrot? While these choices are nutritious, the sugar they contain quickly adds up. I began to think back to my school days, trying to remember a health class that taught the importance of nutrition, I was stumped. I recall obviously being taught about the food pyramid and balanced eating but believe that maybe it was a chapter discussed over a week. Why is this not in the forefront of our education for our children? How is what we put in our bodies as fuel not equally as important as common core mathematics? Now let me stop here – I love my daughter’s school. I believe in the passion and drive that her teacher and the entire staff deliver every single day. And then I realized, maybe it’s not the job of the teachers to teach this lesson, yet maybe it starts in our own kitchens, with our own lifestyle. When starting this journey, I was approached by many people asking me: “Why are you going on a diet?” “What’s the point of a two week quick fix?” To me this is neither of the above. This is a commitment to lead by example, not just for my peers but most importantly for my kids. We live in a society where it has somehow turned cliche or “hipster” to be healthy. Where mindful eating practices take a back burner to convenience. There’s no shamming here, as I fully get life gets crazy busy – sometimes you need to pull thru a drive – thru – I hear ya. But maybe, just maybe, with the help of the community, the support of our peers and the spreading of knowledge we can help support a generation that gets back to our roots – literally – eating mindfully, learning different methods to deal with stress and emotions and recognizing prevention of health issues as the cure. You may say that I’m a dreamer……..