Several months ago I broke an extreme sugar addiction I didn’t realize I had. I started a 40-day Yoga Chakra Cleanse thinking I would get healthier, lose weight and get into a daily yoga practice. The Cleanse required me to cut out all processed sugars among other things, but allowed honey and fruit. I stopped eating processed foods and sugars. By day three I was feeling quite cranky.
The first two weeks were the hardest. I developed a headache from the back of the neck up over the top of my head, which did not cease. I became snappish and felt like flinging plates at people’s heads. Those who know me might find this shocking because I am the least likely person to yell at you, let alone fling something at your head. I was going through sugar withdrawal. The craving got so bad I recall standing in front of the kitchen cabinet, soup spoon in hand, eyeing the brown sugar. This shocked me more than anything else, because this was something new. Who eats heaping spoonfuls of sugar? After returning to that cabinet more than once to look at the brown sugar I knew I had a problem. That day I faced the fact I had an extreme sugar addiction and it had to stop. I dumped the processed sugars in the house into the trash. Opened containers and poured the granules out in case I was tempted to dig through the trash later. I had to get it out of the house. That was the roughest patch but I stayed strong.
On day 38 I broke the cleanse because it was my birthday. I was celebrating at the Lori Foster Reader Author Getaway and brought in a sheet cake to share so of course I was going to have a piece. A small piece, but it was sugar and you cannot fool your body. That evening I also had a birthday drink, a strawberry daiquiri with whipped cream. It was a fun birthday but that evening I was up until 4:00 a.m. All that sugar and I couldn’t sleep. The next day I had flu symptoms (and the headache I would come to recognize) from the early morning hours until dinner. I believe it was the sugar because it went away when I drank plenty of water and ate a mild dinner.
That was more than six weeks ago. Other than my birthday I’ve stuck close to avoiding processed sugar. This weekend I made my famous rum cake for our youngest sons birthday dinner. I tried a small slice and ended up with that headache again. I’ve learned to recognize it.
At the end of the 40 day cleanse I felt healthier and lost twelve lbs and kept it off. I didn’t feel deprived because I could eat all the fruit I wanted. The headaches were gone. Carrots and strawberries tasted sweet again. My tongue now celebrates the natural sugars in fruit. I feel better not eating sugar than I do eating it and have come to the realization that even that small piece of cake isn’t worth it nor does it taste as good as I thought it would.
During these past three months, I’ve learned a lot about myself and everyone else around me. Here are some things I learned which have had me thinking.
Sugar is in nearly every processed food and the amounts can be staggering. Americans are eating far more sugar than many realize. It’s socially accepted that we eat plenty of sugar. Every holiday we’re surrounded by sweets. Candy, baked goods, drinks. If we say no thank you I’m full or I don’t care for any right now some people will still take offense. They might say…just a bite. One little bite won’t hurt. Everyone else is having some. You can go back on your diet tomorrow. You can eat healthy after the holiday is over.
Some say sugar is so addictive it should be classified as a drug. It works on the part of the brain, which responds to opiates so there is science behind this train of thought.
Let’s replace the word sugar with another addictive substance like cocaine or crack. Most of us would never agree to just try a little. Because someone says a little won’t hurt.
You’re going to hear me say this more than once. You are in control of what you put into your body. No one else. If you give up that control to someone else because they twisted your arm, made you feel like you ought to or have to, then you give them the power over your body and over your health. It also touches on the issue of respect. If you do not care to have any then your wishes should be treated with respect. Adults should treat other adults with respect and if they do not, there is more going on than simply who is or who is not having that slice of cake.
There are many good cooks out there whose egos are heavily invested in their cooking. For some, it is a way of showing love and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for those who take issue with someone not having a slice of that cake, or pie, or cookie it could have more to do with them than with you. People with low self-esteem are often threatened by anyone who doesn’t do as they do, like what they like, like what they’ve made. Their self-esteem is caught up in the piece of cake you don’t want. They might even be a little angry. Sometimes the person shoving sweets at you is not so sweet.
Some people will be threatened by anyone living a healthier lifestyle because they don’t want to examine what they are doing in their own lives. It’s easier to focus on you and take that focus off them. They may say all sorts of strange things to you, accuse you of being difficult, sabotage in small ways like making your favorite dessert, giving you sweets as a gift, buying that extra sweet treat one for them and one for you. Anything to pull you out of that no processed sugar life choice. Let’s again switch the word sugar for cocaine or crack. Why would anyone want you to take something into your body after you’ve told them it isn’t healthy for you, or you don’t care for it? I’ve met people who have told me it’s easier to tell people you’re diabetic or have “sugar” so they’ll leave you alone. But when I ask, then do they leave you alone, the answer has been no and shots or testing the levels are mentioned. I have a lot more sympathy for anyone who is diabetic and dealing with this.
It puts me in mind of folks who’ve told me I ought to take pills for lactose intolerance so I can drink milk or have ice cream. Taking a pill in order to eat something my body clearly says is not good for me has never made sense to me. Again, I return to the question, why are other people so interested in or invested in what I do or do not eat or drink? What is the big deal? You eat what you like and I will eat what I like and let’s co-exist peacefully together. It does not have to be a big deal.
I will say it again. You and you alone decide what you put into your body. No one else. You are the one living inside your beautiful body and it is the temple for your soul. Treat it well and with love. Be strong, be healthy, and be well.
Today on Cover Model Corner I'm pleased to introduce cover model Len Gunn.
I had the pleasure of meeting Len at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last year in Chicago at the Desert Breeze Publishing author breakfast and I'm pleased to host him here on Cover Model Corner so you can have a chance to meet him too. :-)
Len, what was the first cover you appeared on and how did this come about?
My first cover is Honor by Janet Dailey. I had the good fortune of competing in the 2011 Mr. Romance Competition in LA during the RT convention. To my surprise, I won the competition and was awarded a photoshoot with Kensington Publishing which yielded not one but five covers!
If you could do a photo shoot anywhere in the world for a cover, where would you most want to go? What sort of shoot would it be?
I would love to shoot in Florence, Italy. The natural beauty of the lush hillsides is breathtaking! I could see either shooting a picnic scene with a vineyard in the background or walking through the vineyard holding hands with my beloved.
Beyond romance novel cover shots, what other projects or jobs keep you busy?
In my spare time (haha), I run a lawn irrigation company. Yeah, I dig holes all day! I enjoy the blue collar work; always have. It allows me to keep life in perspective and to fully appreciate getting treated like a “king” when I am on a photoshoot.
What's one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
Why hasn’t a woman swept you off your feet?
This question is almost always asked in interviews because your fitness level is beyond the average persons. What is your exercise routine and what sort of nutrition plan do you follow to achieve and maintain your level of fitness?
Hmm, I honestly don’t like to bore others with this subject. I live by one simple rule, what you put into your body (fuel) is what you will get out of it. There is really no reason to make it any more complicated than that. I maintain a very healthy diet of course, and try to change it up every so often so my body doesn’t become dependent on any specific items. Since two years ago I rarely eat meat at all! I feel better than I ever did when on the traditional high protein, lots of meats diet. I feel like a well-oiled machine at all times and haven’t lost any size (common occurance for a traditional vegan or vegetarian male). As a matter of fact, I have added 7-8 lbs of muscle while on my newer diet. I work out with weights five days a week and seven days a week on core and cardio. It’s not an option, It’s everyday life! Desire, Discipline, and Dedication (3 D’s) is the key to any success. You gotta want it!
If you could share three simple fitness tips the average romance reader could do every day to stay healthy, what would they be?
Eat clean (the more ingredients on the list, the more processed it is), Find a way to sweat every day (guarantees you are raising your heart rate), and find ways to change it up often (go for a long walk one day, slow jog the next, change locations to keep you interested, etc).
It's your birthday dinner and the calories don't count. What's on the menu and what are you drinking?
Corned Beef and cabbage (favorite past time from growing up in the Northeast) and Boston Crème Pie! And of course a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley area.
Describe the perfect romantic evening:
It’s very simple; just spending time with someone that you have an unexplainable connection with. It doesn’t matter in what capacity when the connection is there. Sure, a low lit dinner exuding the ambiance of romance with a great view of a great city or the ocean in the background sets the night off right. But the connection is what it’s all about, because it’s any backdrop special.
Please share one unusual fact about you or your life:
I am only the second in my extended family to attend college and obtain a four year degree (with honors I might add!). My oldest brother was the first and my inspiration for following through with the achievement.
Eight Quickie questions:
1.) Watching the sunset or watching the stars? Watching the sunset
2.) The beach or the mountains? The Beach
3.) Primitive camping or luxury hotel? Camping
4.) Snow skiing or water skiing? Snow skiing
5.) Favorite movie: Tommy Boy (I love comedies that don’t require thought)
6.) Best book you ever read: Intensity by Dean Koontz
7.) Fav. Sport to play: Golf and Beach Volleyball
8.) Fav. Sport to watch: Football (NFL)
Thank you for visiting with me today. It's been fun getting to know you. Before we say goodbye, how can fans stay up to date on your latest news?
Today on Cover Model Corner I'm pleased to introduce cover model John Quinlan.
John is the most tattooed male cover model in the world and it's a pleasure to share his interview here with you today.
Q - John, what was the first cover you appeared on and how did this come about?
*John* - It was called ‘Captive Fantasy’ by Ann Mayburn. She needed a model for her cover that was bad enough to rock a prison jumpsuit with tattoos. I guess I was just the guy she was looking for at the time.
Q - If you could do a photo shoot anywhere in the world for a cover, where would you most want to go? What sort of shoot would it be?
*John* - I love warm weather and beautiful backdrops when I do model shoots so ideally it would be someplace in the Caribbean. You know all the great things would be included like palm trees, sandy beaches and waterfalls. It would be amazing!
Q - Beyond romance novel cover shots, what other projects or jobs keep you busy?
*John* - I have been involved in fitness related things for over 20 years so projects of this nature are always on the table. I will be one of the cover models in Kansas City May 2-5 this year for the RT Convention which should be really fun. I also have 3 little children, 2 boys (6 and 3) and my little princess is 16 months. These angels keep me pretty busy as well but it’s the toughest job I will ever love.
Q - How do you feel about being the most tattooed male romance cover model in the world right now?
*John* - I bring a fresh new look to the romance cover model world. I definitely look a bit different than the traditional male romance cover model of the past. I have 19 individual tattoos; most of them have an Oriental and Celtic cross theme to them which include 2 half sleeves, 7 Kanji characters and 4 nautical stars just to name a few. I love being unique and being referred to as the most tattooed male romance cover model in the world right now does that for me and separates me from the traditional look of many of my model peers. I am truly honored and humbled by this title Debra.
Q -What's one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
*John* - Great question Debra, maybe something along the line of, “what drives you?” It is a question that just asks what keeps me going, to never give up and to never quit. Great things happen to those that are good people who work hard and treat others with respect. I have done my best over time to be all of these things so let’s see what happens to John Quinlan.
Q -If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
*John* - It would have to be my autobiography. I never talk about myself as I am very humble BUT it would be about all the great people who supported me along this journey to the top of the mountain. Many people have called me the “Mickey Ward” of the modeling business because I was just a scrappy blue collar guy who never gave up. The dream was always in my mind and I worked endlessly to make it a reality.
Q - This question is almost always asked in interviews because your fitness level is beyond the average persons. What is your exercise routine and what sort of nutrition plan do you follow to achieve and maintain your level of fitness?
*John* - Debra, right now I follow an exercise regimen like a boxer. I train now more for stamina and burning calories to keep in top shape. There will be a day or two during the week when I will work out with weights that are bit heavier than normal to switch it up a bit but boxer training is my thing right now. My nutrition was always pretty basic. When it comes to my diet there was never anything scientific about it. I stick to the basics and the key is consistency. To have an effective diet that works one has to stick with it as results don’t happen overnight. I keep my protein level up to maintain my muscle mass during intense bouts of training through chicken, fish and some red meat here and there. I also use some quality whey protein as well. My carbohydrates are usually through oatmeal, potatoes and rice. My favorite vegetable is spinach which is full of iron so this does the job just fine. Good enough for Popeye is good enough for me! I was never a big dairy guy and I love berries, especially blue berries. There you have it my amazingly talented romance writing friend!
Q - If you could share three simple fitness tips the average romance reader could do every day to stay healthy, what would they be?
*John* - Read nutrition labels, don’t consume empty calories and eat a good breakfast (it is the most important meal of the day).
Q - It’s your birthday dinner and the calories don't count. What's on the menu and what are you drinking?
*John* - Greek pizza, loaded as that is my favorite cheat food without a doubt! I love Coke so mix some Rum into it for the sweetest drink to enjoy the moment! I have to mention the desert after everything settles. A chocolate marble cake with dark frosting that is just me for me only. This is so I have the chance to eat the whole thing without worrying about anybody stealing a slice!
Q - Describe the perfect romantic evening:
*John* - I know it sound cliché but a nice dinner in a fine restaurant always starts the night off right. It creates a nice foundation for the rest of the evening with endless possibilities.
Q - Please share one unusual fact about you or your life:
*John* - I was a Vegan but gave up that lifestyle.
Eight Quickie questions:
1.) Watching the sunset or watching the stars? Stars
2.) The beach or the mountains? Mountains
3.) Primitive camping or luxury hotel? Luxury Hotel
4.) Snow skiing or water skiing? Water Skiing
5.) Favorite movie: Wedding Crashers
6.) Best book you ever read: Too many to name just one, love sports books
7.) Fav. Sport to play: Basketball
8.) Fav. Sport to watch: Football
Debra - Thank you for visiting with me today. It's been fun getting to know you.
Before we say goodbye, how can fans stay up to date on your latest news? Do you have any news or announcements to share?
*John* - It has been an honor sitting down with you Debra. I think you are not only a great person but a very talented romance writer that I am proud to call my friend. Thank you for having me. As I mentioned earlier anybody who would like to meet me I will be in Kansas City May 2-5 for the RT Booklovers Convention at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. I look forward to meeting all the great writers and authors out there. God Bless.
Official Blog Zone: http://www.thejohnquinlanzone.com/
Web Gallery Portfolio & Updates by Patric: http://www.johnquinlan.org/
Model Mayhem: http://www.modelmayhem.com/1627814
Welcome Scott! Let's get started.
1.) What was the first cover you appeared on and how did this come about?
The first cover I appeared on was KILTED DESIRE, and basically it was because I needed a low cost cover fer my book. Aye, I'm an author too. ;-)
2.) If you could do a photo shoot anywhere in the world for a cover, where would you most want to go? What sort of shoot would it be?
It would be fun tae go back tae Scotland and do a 'Highlander' shoot, actually up in the highlands.
3.) Beyond romance novel cover shots, what other projects or jobs keep you busy?
Being an author too I spend time writing, pus I have a Facebook Fan page that I spend a lot of time on. The page allows me tae share my sense of humor. I do a lot of interacting with fans and they seem tae appreciate it. I have a fun online store too where a lot of my images and slogans are available on various items. Plus I have my own designer fragrance range which has been popular.
4.) If you wrote a book what would it be about?
I have 2 books already published and am working on the 3rd in the KILTED DESIRE series. The books are contemporary Romance/Action stories and are based on my own personal experiences and adventures, mainly after leaving the military.
5.) This question is almost always asked in interviews because your fitness level is beyond the average persons. What is yur exercise routine and what sort of nutrition plan do you follow to achieve and maintain your level of fitness?
I was lucky enough tae be able tae train every day fer my job. Being a member of the most elite Special Forces unit in the world fer over 10 years meant achieving nae only strength, but also a very high level of cardio fitness. I dinnae go overboard any more though, I watch what I eat and train aboot 3 times a week just tae stay trim.
6.) If you could share three simple fitness tips the average romance reader could do every day to stay healthy, what would they be?
Eat sensibly, avoid soda (even if it says diet on the can) and exercise regularly incorporating 'reverse - push back push-ips' in tae yer routine. They'll do wonders fer yer upper body.
7.) Describe the perfect romantic evening:
Nae matter what I say I’m sure it would sound very cliché! I am romantic though – I once proposed tae my American girlfriend by taking her tae a Castle overlooking Loch Ness, dressing in full Scottish regalia and getting doon on one knee! She did say ‘Aye’ but we’re nae together anymore.
8.) Please share one unusual fact about you or your life:
I’m pretty sure I’m the only Scottish, straight, single, Male Romance Author/Cover Model with a military Special Forces background ;) I’m also very accessible, which I have been told is unusual ;) I answer every message I receive on my Fan Page personally.
Eight Quickie questions:
1.) Watching the sunset or watching the stars? Sunset
2.) The beach or the mountains? Mountains
3.) Primitive camping or luxury hotel? Luxury
4.) Snow skiing or water skiing? Snow
5.) Favorite movie: The Hangover
6.) Best book you ever read:
7.) Fav. Sport to play: Soccer
8.) Fav. Sport to watch: Soccer
Scott, thank you for visiting with me today. It's been fun getting to know you. Before we say goodbye, how can fans stay up to date on your latest news?
Buy links for Scott's books:
Announcing a new section of my website called Cover Model Corner!
What is Cover Model Corner?
Cover Model Corner is a special section of my website dedicated to interviews and photos of the cover models who grace the pages of our book covers. You will find it in the upper right hand of my website.
How did Cover Model Corner come about? A couple of years ago in 2011, I won a fundraiser drawing Jimmy Thomas held in LA at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. The prize was breakfast in Bed with Jimmy Thomas. As you can imagine, this was great fun. The blog post I wrote about the event and the pics along with the interview Jimmy Thomas did with me later have been the most popular pages on my website. So I decided since my readers enjoyed those so much, it would be fun to have a special section of my website devoted to photos and interviews with my readers favorite cover models.
Here to kick of this new section, I am revisiting breakfast in bed with Jimmy Thomas and sharing the event with you. Stay tuned for future cover model interviews and photos. Enjoy!
Jimmy serving me breakfast in bed.
"(Making sure she doesn't soil her pj's ;))" - Jimmy's quote on his facebook page.
"(What? This breakfast doesn't come with a body massage?)" - quote from Jimmy's facebook page.
"(Cause she's my be-eest frieeend yat, da-da-da-da-dat, da da da da dat, da da da da daaaat...This toast sure is super-duper!!!!)" - quote from Jimmy on his facebook page.
Despite my nervousness (I mean how do you relax and eat breakfast when you are in your pajamas, the photographer is clicking away with the camera and you are sitting next to a famous and handsome cover model?) Jimmy is so much fun I actually started to relax enough to eat in front of the camera and have fun with it. :-)
(And I always did kinda like this song.)
"(Really? You don't say? Hmmmm, so you agree that Pavlov showed that there does exist a basic pattern in the reflex regulation of the activity of the circulatory organs, and that dogs just don't drool saliva when they see food because they haven't been taught proper eating etiquette? Interesting!)" - quote from Jimmy on his facebook page.
For more about Jimmy Thomas and the other cover models who grace the pages of our novels, please visit Cover Model Corner. And enjoy!
Love and Light,
Welcome to my website. Please pull up a chair, accept a virtual cup of tea and allow me to share a glimpse into one author’s life.
Oh but rather than telling you all about myself, let me show you. Browse and explore.
I hope you will come back to visit again.
Love and light,
“Dangerous Ties” won the reader preference round of the RONE contest and now is a finalist for the 2012 RONE awards!
to download your FREE Ebook, which contains
by Debra Parmley
Aboard the Wishing Star
A new contemporary romance novel
by Debra Parmley
Debra enjoys speaking to book clubs and on writers' panels. To schedule an appearance, please contact Debra.