Let’s Get Restarted

Posted March 17, 2017

Finding Motivation In Community-Wide Health Challenges

Motivated to make a change?  Get started with MyBramHealth for FREE!  Registration is easy, and you can join the Brambleton Community Challenges team to get healthy together with your neighbors.  Joining the team lets you connect with others who share the same health goals you do, cheer each other on, and provide support.  Hurry, our next community challenge begins Monday, March 20th!


Do you wonder who is participating in the MyBramHealth challenges, and what real health benefits they’re receiving?  The first community-wide challenge, “Healthy for the Holidays,” included 8 teams and over 100 Brambleton residents and employees competing to see which team could average the most daily steps.  Altogether, participants collectively logged over 27.5 million steps!  Not only was a group of your neighbors vowing to eat healthy and move more, but the  winning team’s leader, Julianne Benson, a Certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant, was so inspired to share the secrets of her success with the Brambleton community, that she has since collaborated with the Brambleton Community Association to launch the RESTART program.  Read on to learn how Dana Vinci, our community’s Lifestyles Manager, is following the plan to give up sugar and make a lasting impact to her health.

keep calm and eat clean So what are you waiting for?  Consider signing up for MyBramHealth today and joining the Sharecare team, Brambleton Community Challenges, and start the next community-wide challenge on Monday, March 20th.  For 14 days, you’ll be encouraged to “Eat Clean” by adding more fruits, vegetables and nuts to your diet.  Let’s get healthy together!


Let’s Get Restarted!

By Dana Vinci

For years, people have been telling us what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, and on and on and on. It was only 20 years ago that FAT FREE was the way to go. Soon after, HIGH FIBER would make you lose weight. Now we have prepackaged foods that are the answers to our problems. I have tried it all, and I continue to gain weight, feel sluggish, and have that feeling that my body is getting old.

Recently, there has been a lot of conversation around sugar. The World Health Organization has called for a reduction in free sugar (added sugars) to no more than 10% of your diet, though ideally it would be 5% (around 25 grams or 6 teaspoons). For a reference point, a 12oz Coke has 39 grams. A Yoplait Yogurt has 27 grams! I have watched several documentaries on sugar and whole foods, and it really made me wonder if this could be the culprit that has been holding me back. I would recommend you watch Fed Up and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for some interesting commentary on our food industry.

Then along comes this new program that is available here in Brambleton called RESTART. This class is led by Julianne Benson, Certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant. Its focus is on trying to break the addiction of sugar using “real” food. I like that – REAL FOOD! I decided to take the plunge in January for this 5-week class and see if it would work for me.

The first week of the class was a solid introduction to what we could expect to learn and what foods we could eat in the upcoming three weeks. Amazingly, the list of what you can enjoy includes bacon and butter! It does, however, restrict added sugars and wheat. Was I skeptical? You bet. Did I think I could do it? No way! Would I try? Yes, I would.

The second Monday started this three-week journey. I am not going to lie – the first three days were rough, especially not being able to use sugar or artificial sweetener in my coffee. Around day four I was getting into the swing of things and finding yummy recipes all over the internet and using the cookbook that was given to me at the beginning of class. Shopping became very eye-opening when I started to read ingredients and realized how much sugar and fake food is out there. Almost every packaged food has added sugar; even most bacon has added sugar!

After week one, I had lost about 3lbs, which is huge for me. I am a slow loser; half a pound a week is around average for me, and that’s when I’m really staying on top of it. But the weight loss did slow down after the first week. However, I noticed something else. I wasn’t hungry. I would eat my egg muffins for breakfast, and around 12:30pm I would have to tell myself to eat lunch. I wasn’t craving a mid-morning snack or feeling that mid-afternoon slump. My energy level was very consistent throughout the day, my skin was clearing up, my joints were hurting a little less, and my skin was not as dry as it normally is.

Each week of the class you learn about something different, such as healthy fats, digestion, and what sugar really does in our bodies. Did you know that it isn’t fat that makes you fat, but sugar? The program is backed with science and factual information that will quite possibly make you mad at the food industry and the FDA. I personally loved the science because it gave reasons for certain actions instead of just telling you to do or not do something with the “because I said so” attitude. It helped me wrap my head around the thought process behind this way of eating.

I  am now at week 7 of clean eating and have lost 7.5lbs. Not a huge amount of weight but better than my normal average weight loss. This is also with absolutely no exercise. I have stopped putting sweetener in my coffee, my grocery bill is actually lower, I am able to plan my meals in advance for the week (check out one of my favorite recipes below), and all in all, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I do allow myself one cheat day a week to enjoy a glass of wine. Oh, and I really don’t crave sugar!

I will admit that it isn’t as easy as many programs out there, and prep is king in making this successful. But if you think you want to break the sugar habit, learn how food is processed and can heal your body, and desire to eat wholesome foods, then I would recommend you give this a try. By my calculations, if I continue on the same path (which I am planning to do so), I should have lost around 20lbs by Brew Fest. Come find me and see how I am doing. Or if you join, come tell me what you think!



• 1 pound ground pork sausage
• 6 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cab-bage
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1/4 cup chopped green onions
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often to crumble, until cooked through. Do not drain.
2. Add the coleslaw mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to the skillet with the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until cabbage has softened a bit.
3. Remove from the heat and top with the green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.
4. Serve immediately.
© Buns In My Oven