Sugar vs. Sugar

Hi friends!

So over the passed few years I have cut sugar for periods of time on several occasions. Each time I do this, it is inevitable that I get at least one “well are you cutting fruit too?” and I always say “uhhhhnoyoucray?” The response is usually something along the lines of “OH. Well then that’s easy. Sugar is sugar, what’s the point if you’re not going to cut fruit too?” Well asshole, (kidding…not kidding), you’re wrong. SO, I reached out to my good friend Dr. Chanel Cressman to “dumb it down” for us, and help explain the differences between sugars, and why they are absolutely not all created equal.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.07.38 PM

That post-race froyo feel.

Here she is!

I’ve often had people ask me about the differences between sugars. From white sugar, to honey or maple syrup, to artificial sweeteners– what’s the difference? Are some better than others? Does the body respond differently to different sources of sugar? So here goes my breakdown on that– sugar vs sugar, what’s the diff?

What you need to know

Nerd alert! Because I can’t talk about sugar without discussing how it impacts the body, I am going to break into a mini biochem lesson to help add some context in explaining things.

When the body takes in any carbohydrate (= sugar) through our gut, it breaks that down into “simple sugars” and pumps that through the blood stream. This is how our blood sugar gets raised. When it’s raised too quickly (like after I chug my mocha chocolate frappuccino) the body releases insulin to gather up the extra sugar to store for later– as a fat cell.

Now there are lots of different kinds of sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose etc) that the body can use, but it’s favourite is glucose. So when we eat other types of sugars, the body has to work harder to  convert them over to glucose before it uses that as energy.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.10.55 PM


Okay, back to the real talk about sugar in our diet.

So in knowing that different sugars all get converted to glucose, than that means sugar = sugar, right? Well, not exactly. How sugar comes in, makes a big difference in how our body processes it. Remember how insulin gets released when we have too much sugar in our blood stream? That means, taking in straight sugar (for example in our coffee) will “spike” our sugar levels compared with sugar that comes in, for example, as a piece of fruit. With fruit, the body has to work to pull out the sugars from the fibre, nutrients, and vitamins that are all in there together. So that sugar “spike” doesn’t happen, because the body processes it more slowly.

PLUS– sugar in fruit is fructose, which means the body needs to work to convert that to glucose before it can use it effectively. Even better, is the fact that the fruit sugar comes along with so many other healthy ingredients, like vitamins and minerals.

What about artificial sweeteners?

Now in terms of artificial sweeteners– I have to say I’m not a fan. Although these have “zero calories,” these are synthetic garbage, in my opinion. Doesn’t the fact that they have the term artificial as part of the name not make you think ‘that’s a little freaky?’ Our body doesn’t know what these artificial sweeteners are, so this is where low-grade inflammation starts to happen. The body breaks things down two ways– self (aka. good) or non-self (aka. bad). And artificial sweeteners = non-self. You know what else the body ID’s as non-self? Parasites. Bacteria. Viruses. Need I say more? (NEED SHE SAY MORE?)

In the big scheme of things, we all need sugar to function. But where we get that sugar, and what else comes with that sugar, can make a big difference in how our body looks and feels. So next time, hold the cheesecake and pass me the fruit!

- Dr. Chanel Cressman, Naturopathic Doctor

p.s. Follow Chanel on her blog for more great nutritional advice and great recipes!

Dip of the TACOS

Who doesn’t enjoy a solid taco dip?

I made this for a friend’s NYE party and managed to make it a bit healthier, so I wanted to post!



  • 1 500mL package of cottage cheese
  • 1 500mL package of plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 package of low sodium taco seasoning (or make your own if you’re super keen!)
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 small jar of salsa
  • 2 cups (ish?) shredded cheddar cheese (FYI, orange cheddar is the same as white cheddar, but with dye in it. Choose white cheddar if you have the choice!)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped



  1. Throw cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and taco seasoning into a blender and GO. (You can also throw into a bowl and used a hand mixer). Blend until there are no more cottage cheese chunks so that no one knows your secret.
  2. Spread evenly across 9×13″ pyrex dish (I used to random sized ones that looked pretty for the party’s sake!)
  3. Spread an even layer of salsa on top.
  4. Layer shredded cheese.
  5. Layer shredded lettuce.
  6. Sprinkle red pepper and green onion on top.
  7. ET VOILA, grab your nachos!

This legit tastes like an actual mini taco in your mouth with every bite. It’s kinda weird.






Time flies when you’re having fun!



That got a bit crazy.

My office and my home are both officially moved and (just about) settled. Christmas craziness is over and we are getting ready to head into the new year. These reflection/goal setting posts likely become a bit of a broken record for people, but it’s something I really like to take the time to do. A year goes by SO FAST and I find it important for myself to reflect on all of the things that lit up my life and made it so special. Time flies because I’m having fun! RIGHT? Right.

Last year, I made a point to keep my goals smaller. I simply wanted to stay active, and run a 1:45 half marathon before the year end. Of course I managed to stay active (my 5 year runniversary is coming up in February!) and I hit that DAMN 1:45 GOAL in November, regardless of all the injuries I dealt with this year. I didn’t run too many races this year– but I also managed to PR in the 10k by a few seconds, with a 47:51 time.


In addition to my running achievements, I feel like I have finally found a balanced and comfortable way of eating. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, with some proteins and fats, and I think nothing more of it. I just eat. In recent months, Grand River Organics has really helped me to make this shift simple. I get a bag of local, organic produce every Thursday, I don’t really know what I am going to get, and I eat it.  Life is so much happier when you know you are nourishing your body without over thinking, or feeling like you are making sacrifices. Aka. I get to eat 1 million potatoes and feel really good about it. If you are in their delivery area, I 100% recommend it!


One of my absolute favourite parts of 2014 was my trip to Vancouver for SeaWheeze! Each year I get closer and closer with my favourite internet friends, and I feel so lucky to have them– I also 100% recommend internet friend-dating. You find the best friends on the internet.


Last but not least, the most exciting thing to happen in 2014, which will carry all the way through 2015 as well!


I’m not about to get all mush-mush on you, but after 7 years of Josh n’ Dan we finally get to become even more of a family but signing some papers and drinking a bunch of booze with all our best friends (and our doggies). Just a wee bit excited about that! Only 184 days to go…

Maybe I should buy a dress.

And book a caterer.



The things I wanna do:

  • Run a SUB 1:45 half marathon. Okay so technically I would only need to shave 19 seconds. So maybe we should go bigger here. I’m gonna say 1:42:xx. Totally doable!
  • Run another full marathon. I ran a full marathon once– my training was MINIMAL. Like really minimal. I ran a 4:35 by running REALLY comfortably. I wasn’t even sore the next day. True story. I would like to PROPERLY train for a full, and see how fast I can really run it. I’m aiming for Ottawa at the end of May, but that is 6 weeks before our wedding, so that could change. But it’s going down before 2016. I need a benchmark so I can see how reasonable or unreasonable my lifetime Boston goal is.
  • PR in the 10k. I ran the first 10k in the Hamilton half marathon in the same time as my current PR. That tells me there is no reason I can’t smash that bad boy this year!
  • Stay injury free! (aka. see my practitioners regularly and DO MY PHYSIO EXERCISES. Claire, I’m looking at you).
  • Start working towards building the career I have always wanted. I won’t say too much about this for a while, but I will likely be going back to school for a year to get going. I am really lucky to have an amazing and supportive boss who is ready to help me make this happen, while I keep my current job.
  • Be a better blogger. I’ll never be a once a day blogger, but I would like to take better pictures and make more time for it, because I really do love it!
  • Throw a really fun wedding!
  • Go somewhere awesome on our honeymoon! Josh and I have never been on a trip alone together, so I am really looking forward to that after all of the craziness subsides in July.

That’s about it!

Happy New Year friends!

What was your favourite accomplishment in 2014?