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Back to Basics Boot Camp


The end of August didn’t used to mean much to me.

When I lived on the East Coast, it indicated colder days ahead and a shift from summer’s simple foods to that of a heartier sort.

When I relocated to Texas, practically nothing changed in my life come fall.

Light, healthy eating remained since it’s hot pretty much year ‘round in Austin.

My routine—work or play—wasn’t altered with the advent of summer so there was never anything to return to.  And, with no little ones gearing up for school to start, July and September were entirely interchangeable.

Initially, even with the addition of our daughter, nothing in my world shifted with the arrival of fall…until she started school.

It was then I finally got it.

Only then did I grasp what friends had referred to when they lamented the mayhem of fall.

To my surprise the entire family was impacted by our daughter’s sweet, sweet summer freedom.

We stayed up late.

We still got up early (which may seem a positive as we kinda kept to our school-routine.  It was not. We were always very tired.).

We watched lots of movies.

We ate many less than healthy snacks during the aforementioned movie viewing.

We were super, summer time active and frolicked like the crazy people we are.  We climbed, swam, did gymnastics, hula-hooped, trampolined and generally moved all day long.

And the loose schedule of summer afforded us the time to do all of the above in the name of fun.

Now, as the start of school approaches, I find I’m equally sad and ready to get back to routine.

Unbeknownst to the other members of my family I’ve come up with an idea.

I’m launching a Back to Basics Boot-camp of sorts with regards to our food, sleep, and exercise routines.

Allow me to elaborate.

For my family the benefits of eating healthy extend far beyond how we look.  When we eat good, clean foods, we feel better, sleep more soundly and have far more energy.  Here it’s all about keeping the blood sugar levels balanced.  Our meals remained (pretty) okay throughout the summer, but I had the luxury of zipping to the grocery with the child right before making lunch or dinner.  As part of getting back to fundamentals, I’m committing to meal planning and advance preparation.

Exercise comes so naturally in the summer.  We have all day to move and great weather in which to do it! With fall and school comes homework and sitting.  I’m making the commitment to prioritize activity as much as possible even as she heads back to the classroom. We’ll be taking homework breaks and stretching.  I plan to take advantage of the lingering evening light for family walks after dinner.  I’m committing to leading by example and practicing what I may be tempted to preach.

It’s definitely time for a sleep boot camp here. We need to return to our old, school-time wind down routines that signal our bodies and brains it’s time to rest.  It’s taken effort, but we’ve discovered what morning and night habits work best for our family.  It’s time to return to basics with that, too, as routine sets us all up for success.

I know we will all miss the freedom in all facets of our lives that summer offers, but if nothing else we know there’s another one coming in ten months or so.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share there’s a small facet of our routine and framework to our days I’ve sort of missed.

And our eight year old? She’d never admit it, but I’d venture to guess she feels the same way, too.

  • Did you find—children or not—summertime derailed your slumber, movement, and food-plan?


Throwback Thursday

My grandmother said to me once, “As you get older, the years go by much faster.”  At the time all I could think is that the school year went by like molasses and the summers seemed to never be long enough.  Well, twenty-five years later, I now know exactly what she meant.  Where did the first half of 2014 go?

Most of you are probably new to Swerve Sweetener, within the past couple of years or so.  You may not even realize that we’ve actually been around since 2001.

The original Swerve logo from 2001.

The original Swerve logo from 2001.


An early Swerve ad, showing our original packaging.

An early Swerve ad, showing our original packaging.


With all the exciting news about greater awareness of sugar consumption, like the new proposed FDA Nutrition Facts labels highlighting added sugar, the FedUp Documentary, etc, I thought you might be interested in a little Swerve history and how we actually came to be the Ultimate Sugar Replacement.

The mission has always been to educate people about blood sugar and how it effects so many aspects of our health, like energy levels, weight management and overall hormone balance.  The original Swerve blend came out of unsuccessful attempts to sweeten protein shakes with stevia. We just couldn’t get it to taste great.  Enter erythritol, which at the time was a relatively new ingredient being made through fermentation.  What we ended up creating to sweeten the powdered drink mixes was so good that we decided it needed to have its own glory and not just be in a protein shake.  Swerve was born and begin hitting shelves around the greater New Orleans area.

For several years we stayed regional with Swerve being found at natural foods stores throughout Louisiana and Texas.  In 2011 we set out to change that and with a marketing makeover we begin introducing Swerve to stores on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest.  Now, thanks to all the support we have received our team is working with grocery stores and natural foods stores across the entire United States to make Swerve available to everyone.  As a matter of fact, I am just getting back from a meeting with Sprouts Farmers Market – so keep your fingers crossed!

It’s amazing to think it’s been more than 12 years since we started this journey.  There is still much work to be done to educate consumers about the over-consumption of sugar and why stabilizing our blood sugar matters.  Together we are making a difference – we’re committed to continuing to educate – it’s the only way we can truly affect change.

Thanks to you we recently hit 10K likes on Facebook.  We hope you’re one of them and if not please join the conversation – it’s a great way to to stay in touch and share lower sugar recipes, news and all the fun stuff going on at Swerve.  You get a little peek into our day-to-day operations and a connection with who we are beyond just another ingredient in your pantry.

Hopefully you have seen that we’re having our biggest sale of the year right now – and if not, check it out here.  Plus, stay tuned, we’re heading into the “Dog Days of Summer” and we’ll be celebrating with some fun Four-Legged Friends – so start getting your pictures ready!

Grandma was right – the years do go by much faster these days – but I still believe there is never enough summer (even in hot, sultry New Orleans).  To celebrate the warm months, we hope you will enjoy a new, fun summer recipe from our good friend Carolyn Ketchum – she never ceases to amaze us with her creativity!

From the entire team at Swerve – we wish you a safe, happy & healthy Fourth of July!

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating. Intuitive eating. Either pair of words can be used to describe my (finger-quote) diet (unFQ) over the past twenty plus years. I eat when I’m hungry (there’s the intuitive). I pause, grow still, and ask my body what it’s craving (there’s the mindful and sometimes challenging piece in today’s cacophonous world.). I’m often asked how I became an intuitive eater.  While my personal process can be time consuming to explain, an illustration I frequently use is that of ……[Continue Reading]

Eating Choices and Special Occasions – Tips and Tricks

Every culture, family, or group of people on earth has unhealthy traditions, no matter your perspective on health.  In New Orleans, we have Mardi Gras, a weeks-long bacchanalia of king cakes, beer, and “parade food”.  Probably nobody thinks Easter candy, Thanksgiving excess, hamentashen, or drinking to the New Year are healthy choices, but what’s a healthy person to do when everyone else is doing it?  It’s easy to fall back on asking “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would ……[Continue Reading]