(Editors note: This post is part of the I Sparkle Spa series.)
Every day we hold our spouses, children, co-workers, teachers, politicians and neighbors accountable. But how often do we hold ourselves accountable? For example, we tell our children to go to bed because it's a school night and if they don’t, they will wake up tired and irritable. Yet, we sacrifice sleep regularly to get things accomplished in our homes, for work or for other commitments that we have made. The question then becomes, who is really tired and irritable?
Being Accountable: Let’s Talk Sugar and Fats
The September “I Sparkle Spa” session focused on health messages around sugar and fat. While enjoying a farm to table meal of roasted red pepper and eggplant dip, curried butternut squash soup and a delicious lettuce, kale and fruit salad, the women attending talked about the strong, emotional memories they have attached to foods loaded with sugar and fat. You should have seen eyes light up as we each talked about our sugar or fat strongholds!
Remnants of these memories play out in our behaviors today and may not be serving our overall well-being. Often, we allow our bodies to execute on auto-pilot—for example, we “always” have dessert after dinner—instead of challenging ourselves to think differently. One woman discussed how a cake intended for a church event was accidently frosted with the parchment paper still attached. Deemed inedible for the church, the cake was brought home to be eaten because this woman had been taught to “never to waste food!” While she participates in I Sparkle Spa, and is committed to developing healthier eating habits, the woman still ate a piece of cake (with parchment paper removed, of course). Yet, she found herself unable to sleep that night because of a stomach ache.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why aren't we checking in with our bodies? Do we really need that piece of cake after dinner? Are we truly hungry? Why do we feel we "deserve" that piece of cake? Why aren't we holding ourselves accountable? We must begin to ask and answer these types of questions for the health and wellness of ourselves, our families and the sustainability of our community!
As the conversation continued, the moms revived their feet and their spirits with a warm herbal tea foot soak and rejuvenated their hands with tools from their “spa gift” of a mini mani/pedi kit, followed by a sugar scrub and olive oil moisturizer. Prompted by the presence of two sugary props–20 oz. bottles of Mountain Dew and Pepsi—the women talked about how they were not aware that a 12 oz. can of soda contains more than 8 teaspoons of sugar! In our community, the larger bottles of soda are less expensive. How much sugar are we really consuming, we asked, and what is the effect?
Co-director Geraldolyn Horton-Harris lamented how she and her granddaughter had become addicted to sweet tea from McDonald's, especially since she could get an extra-large for just one dollar. That was until the day she saw an employee pouring three large bags of sugar into the tea dispenser. This visual caused her to examine this habit and to actually add up how much she was spending a month buying a minimum of two drinks a day!
The Health Message Was Not To Stop Eating All Sugars and Fats
We want to be clear that the takeaway from this session was not to stop eating ALL sugars and fats. Reserve desserts and sugary treats for special occasions. And for fats, in light of recent reports that suggest saturated fat is good in moderation, the women were left with this message: Don't always rely on external information. It’s your body! Practice restoring power to yourself and understand what your body needs by understanding how your body communicates with you.
We have remarkable bodies that always are trying to move towards health, trying to restore balance. We have to help our bodies filter through the constant barrage of marketing messages such as fad diets, energy drinks, over the counter remedies and quick weight loss programs. When we restore this connection with our own bodies, we will be better listeners, parents, spouses, community members and leaders/advocates for health in our communities.
I Sparkle Spa invites you to put sugar and fats to good use, like through this sugar scrub recipe below. Also, the recipes for the dishes we enjoyed can be found at Ziplist.com. We hope you find some time to pamper yourself!
Sugar Scrub for Feet
Prepares 1 application. This scrub exfoliates, revitalizes and moisturizes the skin. Use as needed.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil (almond, canola, avocado or olive oil)
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Combine the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
- Get your feet slightly wet. Then massage the scrub into feet.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Minty Foot Soak
Prepares 1 application. This foot soak refreshes and soothes feet. Use as needed.
- Warm tap water
- 3 herbal mint tea bags
- Place the tea bags in the basin. Then fill it about halfway with warm water. Ideally, the water should come up to your ankles.
- Soak your feet in the warm water for 5-10 minutes. Pat dry.