a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Jan, 2011

A temporary goodbye to my whitest of whites

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you

As if the Shopping Embargo wasn’t enough eh? As of today I’m also taking another go at a Sugar Fast, blogged here and written about here too. But this time, the family is not included AND I’m tossing in one extra aspect.

I am going to try to eliminate the WHITES, those snowy bleached, superrrrrrrefined whites that figure so prominently in our collective North American diets for TWO WEEKS. So the following items have removed from my menu for the next while:

    mister bread

  • Refined sugar. Just like in the Sugar Fast, I will be ignoring the usual culprits like cake and cookies and ice cream and also the unusual ones… like ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings… all of which contain sneaky sugars. I’m including artificial sugars in the “don’t eat” category, but I am allowing myself a splash of honey in my occasional cup of tea.
  • White flour. With that go baked goods aplenty: pasta, white rice, bagels, toast, pita, flour tortillas, the baguettes that I LOVE SO MUCH. Gah.
  • Potatoes. Just because.
  • Alcohol. 

For gastro-intestinal purposes I am making an allowance for my All-Bran Buds: god’s gift to my colon.

So what does that leave me with? Real foods, whole foods, including:

  • fruit
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • lean meats
  • nuts
  • veggies of all kinds – especially the colourful ones
  • coffee (unsweetened, with 1% milk)
  • tea (black and green varieties)

Basically, it’s stuff we all know we should be eating. As I said, I’m aiming for two weeks and then we’ll see where I go from there. (To be honest, I’m really not sure if I can do this. HALP.)

I feel compelled to point out that this little venture isn’t about weight loss for me. (Should I reveal my weight here? Should I bother with measurements?) I’m happy with my size and shape and am not looking to make a big change… it’s about focusing on health, a bit of a post-Christmas sugar detox, and kickstarting some great habits. But please note, I’m no expert. This is an eating plan of my very own. If you want to follow, great, but I cannot be held responsible for headaches and violent moodswings that come with the first couple of days of chocolate deprivation. :)

 Things I’m keeping in mind as I go:

  • I’m keeping a food and mood journal. If there’s anything I learned from our week of food-logging for The National Segment That Never Happened (speaking of which, you can catch it here) it’s that food logging WORKS. I am just not sure if I will be posting my food lists here. I’m not convinced that anyone other than me (and my mother) really cares.
  • Eating smaller meals more frequently, with a bit of protein in each one. I will set my alarm so I don’t forget!
  • Out of sight out of mind. If it’s not in the house I won’t eat it. I hope. (Bread will be the toughest to withstand.)
  • This is not about portion control. No weighing or counting.
  • Menu planning needs to take a front seat here. I don’t want to be caught without food in the fridge.
  • I need to take it one day at a time… because that’s all I can do. I think if I can do it, anyone can do it. (How many days can YOU go without your whites?)

Anyway, I will be writing updates from time to time. Maybe with links to recipes I’ve tried. This is the just first of a few posts to come in the coming two weeks fourteen days  336 hours. :)

22 Responses to "A temporary goodbye to my whitest of whites"

1 | Siobhan

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:00 pm


Just curious – what about whole grains?

If you do cut out all wheat, be prepared for a bit of an adjustment when you go back to eating it. Apparently, even those of us who aren’t gluten-sensitive normally may react a bit if we haven’t had it in a while. (This may lead people to assume they have gluten issues when they don’t – they cut out gluten and feel better (because they’ve eliminated most processed foods), then feel sick when they eat wheat again (because their system isn’t used to it.))

2 | Mark Clatney

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:14 pm


Since I ate so many shortbreads, bread for sandwiches and soup dipping….I will do the same for 14 days nothing white or similar to white. Clats.

3 | Mary @ Parenthood

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:15 pm


Potatoes? What’s wrong with potatoes???

4 | Javamom

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:21 pm


I have a neighbour who does an annual fast in February. Why February? Because all the food that’s good for you (whole foods, fresh foods) are bland, ick, imported, or taste like cardboard during that time (here in Canada, and in may places south of the border as well).

I wish you luck, encouragement, and all that jazz!! Sure will be tuning in to hear about it.

5 | andrea

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:27 pm


Siobhan: I love bread and grains too much to leave them out for long. I’ll be bringing them back after two weeks.

Mark C: Glad to have you on board. I ate a TON of chocolate over the holidays. Time to take a much-needed break.

Mary: Nothing is wrong with potatoes per se. I could eat potatoes every day. I find that I eat more veggies when I cut out the potatoes, and I think that’s a good substitution.

Javamom: I think that’s a great idea. You’re right, everything does taste terrible in February! But I have to strike while the motivation is burning … :)

6 | Cheryl

January 3rd, 2011 at 2:41 pm


Try the Vanilla Cupcakes with Lime Frosting on Elation Centre’s website. Yummy and totally within your allowable foods. The recipe is under the Blog section.

7 | Fiona

January 3rd, 2011 at 3:06 pm


I think you’ve provided excellent advice, namely; plan ahead, take one day at a time and keep track of what you are doing.

Come to think of it, those rules could be applied to so many things in our lives.

Thanks for the interesting column.

8 | Liisa

January 3rd, 2011 at 6:31 pm


I was wondering about whole grains too. Just wondering why you would eliminate ones like oats, quinoa, or other ancient grains?

You’re right about planning. Finally made a meal plan this week and I feel on top of it!

9 | Kathleen

January 3rd, 2011 at 8:45 pm


Good luck! After 8 days of a holiday house full of relatives and a menu that had to include vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut-free and garlic-free options we are chilling out around here….and are back to our usual vegetarian, peanut-free and lactose-free routine.

10 | andrea

January 3rd, 2011 at 9:14 pm


Liisa – I’m taking an (amended) page out of South Beach for this one. I want to see if I feel different (read: better!) if I cut out grains for awhile, and I’ll wait a couple of weeks to reintroduce them. The focus here is on fruit/veg/lean proteins.

11 | andrea

January 3rd, 2011 at 9:26 pm


Liisa – I just reread your comment. Sorry, I misunderstood. I’m cutting out bread, but not whole grains like brown rice or quinoa if prepared in a healthy way! :)

12 | Neeroc

January 4th, 2011 at 12:40 am


you’re becoming a monk aren’t you? First shopping now this? What earthly pleasures I ask?

Okay I don’t and I’m being a total goof. Good luck, I’m still working on getting back to ‘home cooked’ atm.

13 | Vicky

January 4th, 2011 at 12:43 am


You are amazing for doing this! I buy brown rice pasta (gluten free!) from the Superstore, not sure if that would count for you?

14 | Jen Hughes

January 4th, 2011 at 1:34 am


I’m doing similar, though I’m allowed whole grain bread, brown rice and other whole grains, sweet potatoes etc. in limited quantities. Basically, South Beach Phase 2 (skipping Phase 1 due to nursing babe).

My goal is weight loss and feeling healthier and better. I know you said your goal wasn’t weight loss, but be careful, as you very likely will lose weight regardless.

Also trying to drastically reduce (though this will happen more gradually) the amount of processed crap (sugary and salty) the kids eat. No more Bear Paws, Crispy Minis, Goldfish, etc. They don’t eat a lot of that stuff, but there’s always some of it sneaking into the house and if they see it, they want it. My husband came home with Fruit by the Foot last week and I almost threw it at him. I allowed them each about half a “foot” and then quietly deep-sixed it. It would really help if I could do all the grocery shopping by myself. Perhaps that’s another goal to work toward?!

15 | andrea

January 4th, 2011 at 9:14 am


Vicky: I might try that at some point. After two weeks.

Jen H: I don’t want to lose too much weight. That’s why I’m still eating full-fat cheeses, nuts and fruit.

I know what you mean about the processed foods. And yes, it can be dangerous to let the husbands do the shopping. :)

16 | Beginning of day two means breakfast >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 4th, 2011 at 10:07 am


[…] won’t be filling up this space every day with Sugar Fast Plus posts because that would be a dreadful yawn (for me and for you) but I made it through day one (!) […]

17 | andrea

January 4th, 2011 at 1:37 pm


Think you’re sugar-savvy? Check out this quick quiz.

(Thanks Mark, for sending the link!)

18 | Meghan

January 4th, 2011 at 1:49 pm


Best of luck with this ambitious & inspiring transformation! I’ve had some challenges keeping this regime going but have found working with a naturopath to have helped a lot, too :)

19 | Sugar Fast update and a bit about pushups (one hundred pushups, to be exact) >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 11th, 2011 at 10:42 am


[…] Day 9 of Sugar Fast Plus, in which I am not eating refined sugars or flour. (Read the how and why here.) Amazingly, it’s actually getting easier as I go. The only sweetener I’ve […]

20 | Beth

January 14th, 2011 at 3:48 pm


Wow, I am so inspired by you.

It may take me a week just to get prepped to do it, but I will do it too! Unfortunately there is pizza dough rising (your recipe) beside the stove which is currently baking up the last of the filo dough I had lurking at the back of the fridge from Christmas baking.

Smell the over-processed white carbs wafting up from Barrhaven ;)

21 | Playing with our food >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 16th, 2011 at 10:54 am


[…] up: a post about Sugar Fast II and some other […]

22 | A long and rambly update with lots of bullets about Sugar Fast II. >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 17th, 2011 at 3:35 pm


[…] it out and enter here before time runs out! – Second I wanted to collect a few thoughts regarding my second foray into the Land of Very Little Refined Sugar and Flour. And no potatoes or white rice […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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