Cut the CRAP

Last Nov/Dec I had a miserable four-week bout of bronchitis. It was hard enough to breathe, let alone eat. So, not on purpose, but entirely by default, I inadvertently cut the CRAP: 

  • Caffeine
  • Refined sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods (except pasta)


Because I was miserable (and couldn’t enjoy it anyway), the CRAP was easy to forego. And though I didn’t need to lose weight, when I stood on the scale, I discovered that I’d lost 8 pounds. 

As it turns out, I don’t miss not having caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, or processed foods (except pasta), so I’m continuing to cut the CRAP. I feel fantastic!

I wish I were the one who’d coined the phrase “Cut the Crap,” but I’m not. It was established by James Duigan, a wellness warrior extraordinaire. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK where you can learn more about his philosophy.

On purpose or by default, have you removed anything from your lifestyle?


93 thoughts on “Cut the CRAP

  1. Hi Laurie,

    As you know I went vegan over 8 years ago. No refined foods, no added sugar.

    I do have one coffee a day, except that for the last two days I have been doing some heave duty coding and testing, so have allowed myself two cups a day.

    I’m feeling fine!

    Not bad for someone 6 years past his supposed 2% chances of survival date.

  2. Good for you: Your sickness sounds like a blessing in disguise. I cut out sugar out of my diet about 30 years ago, but I still need one small cup of coffee first thing in the morning and I have reduced the amount of alcohol I drink to just a small glass with my evening meal, although I do not miss it if I don’t have it. Like you, I love pasta and I am making my own pasta bake tonight (wine is optional). 😉

  3. Well, I’m up to “Cut the R and a small p.” I don’t care for sweets so the sugar is easy except for the fact that manufacturers keep putting in places it doesn’t belong. But I will stick with the caffeine and the wine, thank you though. And we don’t eat many processed foods, but never say never.

  4. Cheers for your healthy choices. I try (but not always succeed) to get most of my sugar from fresh fruit. Thanks for telling us the origin of Cut the Crap – better than Where’s the Beef? Remember that? 🙂

  5. I’m sitting here drinking my second cup of coffee, and I’ll be making a meal for nine tonight, so there will be some sugar in the jalapeno cornbread and in the cheesecake. Not exactly a cut the CRAP day here. However, I hope to start a three-day purge of cutting the crap as soon as the leftovers are gone. 🙂

    • Shirley — The jalapeno cornbread sounds utterly delicious! I’m fairly confident that if you wave red chopsticks over the who kit-and-caboodle, none of it will count against you 🥢

  6. I can say while patting myself on the shoulder (can’t quite reach my back) that I cut off all Diet Coke in December. I loved Diet Coke and could have had three glasses a day. But I only allowed myself one glass a day. But still, my son kept admonishing me about how horrible it is for a person. Astonishingly, I haven’t missed it! I drink my green tea in the morning (which yes, has some caffeine) and iced tea and water in the afternoon. So, I just have to work on the RAP. But no, we hardly ever eat processed food. I’m fortunate enough to have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables and organic meats, but mostly we’re chicken and seafood. So now I’m down to RA. Only one glass of wine a day, and seriously, I think red wine is healthy. So R. Not sure I’ll ever take the R out of Pamela. 🙂

  7. I cut out caffeine many years ago when I learned it could help ease the pain of mammograms, if eliminated about 2 weeks ahead. Rather than go on and off caffeine which can induce headaches, I just eliminated it totally–with a few exceptions. I also find that sugared drinks, if I indulge, sometimes bring on headaches for me–so I rarely rarely have those, most water, decaf coffee, and morning orange juice.

    (Oh and this reminds me of the time my supervisor took me to task for using “crap” in one of my newspaper columns–after a reader complained about the shoddy language. 🙂 )

    • Melodie — I didn’t know that no caffeine two weeks in advance of a mammogram reduces that pain. That’s great information!

      I had my mouth washed out with soap for saying “crap” when I was in elementary school. 🧼

  8. So glad your feeling better my sweet . You never let on once bless you .
    Moaning …Colin and myself have given up moaning . I’ve always said if you moan you really have nothing to moan about . Which is true but it’s such a pain . I say Col you’re moaning again and he says so are you Cherry . So we’ve given up moaning …good idea?

  9. I didn’t eat much of anything for a week when this cold first hit. Does that count? I didn’t want anything, and everything tasted bad. I didn’t even drink coffee. I think I prefer my unhealthy lifestyle without the cold.

  10. Good for you, Laurie! I too do CRAP. As of right now, I’ve just walked away from coffee and caffeine. NOT easy for me to do. But I did not like how I feel after drinking coffee anymore. Processed food ….. I eat a very good organic bread and cheese/yogurt. All else are Whole Foods. And yes you do feel better after eating like this!! I know! YAY for you! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  11. Glad you’re feeling better now. I have been focusing on healthier eating in recent years. My report card on CRAP would be: C= VG one cup coffee each day w. occassional homemade hot chocolate on cold days. R = refined sugar is an ongoing challenge; E= for majority of sugar from fruit and replacing sugar with cinnamon in my AM, GF oatmeal. But probably a C on other sugar sources; keep working on finding lower sugar (for yogurt for example) or no sugar options. P = VG I’m actively working on this one. In the last few years, increasing vegetables; watching carbs (keeping them to 30-50 grams per meal) reducing commerical breads, pastas (homemade best anyway). Trying more GF options too. Can’t wait for the summer and famers markets for local fresh and orgnically grown veggies and fruits to eat or freeze.

  12. My preferred diet of decades was rearranged entirely by default a number of years ago by a gall bladder who’d had enough of the status quo. Not even the eventual pancreatitis was enough to make me see some doc, though, so I’ve controlled the attacks by monitoring my dietary fat intake closely. The too-quick 40+lb weight loss took muscle with it, which I rebuilt in part over time, but otherwise, a low-fat diet has left me a new woman, energy-wise. I also haven’t had illnesses these past 7 or 8 or 9 years except two colds. Color me amazed! I’m so glad you’re feeling better and committed to less CRAP, lol.

  13. I love the CRAP … most of anyway. But I feel better (and lose weight) when I cut out added sugar (including high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners), alcohol, pasta and most breads, processed foods, and also reduce meat (although I never cut out meat altogether–I’d never make it as a vegan). I’ve never been able to give up my coffee, but I don’t drink caffeine after noon. I haven’t had a soft drink in many, many years, so at least I don’t have to beat that addiction. To take care of my sweet tooth when it bugs me, I enjoy a square of Lindt’s 90% dark chocolate. I slipped back into my bad habits in February and could feel the difference. However, getting back on track seems easier this time around. I wish you well with your healthy eating and hope it continues to make a difference.

  14. I like that. In addition to cutting the CRAP we also live free of dairy and gluten and watch our salt and fat intake. We’ve been living this way for over ten years. I always try to remember how sick I was before we made these changes so I won’t even want to turn back. When I am tempted I smile and remind myself, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

  15. While I have been working on eating more healthy foods, I haven’t yet cut the CRAP. Coffee is my morning thing. Refined sugars – cutting back on that, working on substituting apples or at least less sugar-laden “sweets” to satisfy that craving. Alcohol – well, I do have that wine in the evenings. Processed foods – that’s where I’m making the most progress. I’ve been toying with a more vegetarian diet for some time now, then I watched a couple of documentaries about the China Studies, and have gone to a primarily plant-based diet, although I’m not entirely giving up on eggs and cheeses. I have concluded that preservatives do nothing good for me, so I’m working to do my best to cut those out of my life. It’s an ongoing process.

  16. Well done, dear Laurie. C.R.A.P it is for sure and glad to hear your updates. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes … 🥴😋 love and best wishes 😘👍

  17. Laurie, I remember it well, you got it after I had it, I was feeling for you. I’m glad we made it out alive. When I give up something in my diet, it’s because I physically just can’t eat it. When left to my own devices and the garden is growing, I eat pretty good. This is also my clean diet time of year, fewer processed foods, more fresh seasonal foods. I have not given anything up for Lent this year, I could give up chocolate. Chocolate comes under “Petty Cash” on my nutritional register, it’s quick and easy to grab for a fast burst of energy.

  18. When I was fasting 3 days a week during the past year, I found myself truly craving sweets – sometimes nearly driven crazy. Only at Christmas time did I give in with both Champagne and fancy chocolates. I have been vegetarian most of my life to avoid kidney stones. On the eating days I was to add more meat protein into my diet. The pasture raised CSA chicken was a delight, but the grass fed expensive beef was awful…it made my stomach problems huge. So in 2019 I have given up beef once again. Fish and seafood is too polluted for me these days so I maybe eat fish 3 or 4 times a year. I am sticking with the chicken for about 1 meal per week. I just don’t care for food these days though I think I want to eat things – then I don’t. I don’t eat after 4pm because sleep is more important to me than food. I have lost a grand total of 11 pounds in the past 4 years. I was addicted to peanut M&Ms in Graduate school, I have to be very careful around them even now…. I would go back to Vegan eating, but I just don’t feel like cooking or preparing. My partner has Celiac Disease and 2 of my children – I have done mountains of cooking for them over the years – because what kid wants to be left out of pizza and birthday cake !!
    There is now lots of GF processed foods on the market, but we all avoid the processed foods like the plague

    I suffer cysts from caffeine

    • I surely do hope that both you and Sandy are feeling much better these days – so hard being around babies when one is sick. WELL to you both

      • Patricia — I’m up and running and have been for a quite a while now. And yes, I had to avoid Luna Bleue during that time. That was the worst part.

    • Patricia — The good news is, you KNOW what you have to avoid to feel good, and you adhere to it. Many people don’t know, and/or if they do, they don’t avoid it.

      Like you, I don’t eat after 6pm (you cut off two hours earlier than me, at 4pm).

  19. That’s so interesting that despite not needing to lose weight, you lost that much just changing your diet and eliminating CRAP. I love that acronym, by the way. 🙂 That should encourage anyone hoping to lose a few pounds. I am very careful about refined foods and don’t think I eat any at all, at least not consciously, and I don’t have a sweet tooth, so that’s not too hard.

    Two years ago when I turned 65 I went to Weight Watchers and changed my diet quite a bit and lost 35 pounds. I realized that weight was creeping up and I had been very fortunate to not have any health concerns, but I knew that I was gambling with my healthy future. In changing my diet and losing the weight I at least know I’m doing what I can do! We all need to encourage each other to take care of ourselves! 🙂

  20. Hi Laurie, The caffeine…it’s one of my joys…unless I have to I probably won’t cut it out. I also love pasta…the middle two…especially alcohol, since I don’t drink it now, would be much easier.

  21. Some of the foods I’ve cut from my diet aren’t crap but foods I find I am allergic to – like Kale and beets which I love. Asparagus was a no-brainer as I don’t like it. But I guess the biggest cut from my diet is any kind of pop – diet or with sugar. Still drink my coffee but limit myself to one to two cups daily and not after 10 a.m.

  22. Boa alimentação ajuda consideravelmente a controlar açúcar no sangue. Faço diabetes do tipo 2 e limito o consumo de alimentos ricos em sal, gorduras. Álcool, preferencialmente comendo e respeitando as quantidades recomendadas. Saúde é preciosa.

  23. I work nights, so cutting caffeine is a no-go. So I usually will bring a few apples and small cup of joe. Apples are a much healthier source of coffee, but I still enjoy the taste of a cup. As for sugar, its TOUGH but manageable.

  24. Hi Laurie, trust I’m not too late to the party. Im glad you’re feeling better. As for the CRAP in my life? Well, I went off caffeine in 1991 and was off it until Peace Corps where tea was a staple and decaf unheard of. I did get care packages from home with my beloved decaf coffee, but my sleep did suffer greatly over there. I’ve since gone off it again since coming home, BUT then read (AARP I think) that caffeine does something of value to the “more mature” brain, so I started up again. And this time with tea, as coffee had started to shall we say backfire on me. :). Refined sugars, check. Alcohol— off again in 1991 for decades. But now enjoy a glass of red wine now and then. P: the easiest of all; I’ve been a Slow Food junkie (dare I combine them?) for decades. I think since I read my first Adele Davis book, when my kids were young. Exceptions: cocoa, bread, condiments, butter. Much of our good food is processed to done degree. Heavens, tea has been processed. Too bad they coined that term way back.

    Here’s to a commitment to living a healthy, balanced, and self-aware life filled with compassion, courage, and curiosity.

    • Janet — Hear, hear! I heartily echo your sentiment: “Here’s to a commitment to living a healthy, balanced, and self-aware life filled with compassion, courage, and curiosity.” 🙂

  25. I was stricken with an intestinal problem two weeks ago, and chicken soup and toast are the meals of choice that seem to be the best to digest and not cause more problems. I also can tolerate a little chocolate once in a while. I can’t wait to get better and expand the diet.Now, I appreciate a healthy appetite.

    • InesePhoto — Like you, I think many people ‘use’ chocolate. I read that one small square of super dark chocolate (the kind with a high percentage of cocoa) has health benefits 🙂

  26. Well you have done extraordinarily well Laurie! I have never been a smoker nor a drinker of alcohol of any kind, but as an Italian American with a sometimes uncontrollable hankering for pasta and sauce it is always a battle of sorts. Type 2 is here too though I seem to be controlling that.

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