Sweet Stress

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots β€˜N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Thank goodness that it’s Friday because I am feeling really stressed today. I realize that I juggle a lot (CNC, NuVal, Health, OpenSky, Gordon’s, writing a book), so stress is expected in my life, but today it’s totally overwhelming me. πŸ˜•Β I know that I am very fortunate to have all of these wonderful opportunities– I just needed to vent for a minute, ya know? As my husband always says: “It will all work out.”


When I arrived at NuVal, I immediately made myself a hot cup of Rooibos tea with a squirt of agave nectar. It warmed me right up. The weather is in the 40’s today, but I was still really cold this morning.



For lunch, I dug into a homemade salad.


In the mix:

  • Romaine hearts
  • Spinach
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Crumbled blue cheese


I also had a Siggi’s Orange & Ginger yogurt, which was absolutely divine. It was such a treat! πŸ˜€


A little while later, I made a “mocha” by mixing a packet of sugar-free hot cocoa with some coffee. It was just okay, so I only drank about half of it.


When I got home from work, I made myself a whole wheat Sandwich Thin with peanut butter and banana slices.



I was so hungry. It definitely hit the spot!


Agave Nectar

I’ve received quite a few questions about agave nectar. Like many of you, I’ve read some negative articles floating around the internet about agave nectar and the health benefits associated with it. I’m not really sure what to think about these statements. But, from talking with my Registered Dietitian friend about agave nectar, HFCS, table sugar, etc., we basically came to the conclusion that sugar is sugar. I’m not a RD, so I really shouldn’t comment on the health benefits/risks related to agave nectar and sugar, but in case you have any questions, here’s some info that might help you make your own decision:

What do you think about agave nectar and its claims?

P.S. Can someone please come take these cashews away from me!?! I’ve eaten like 50 of them while writing this blog post!



  1. a lot of the “negative” press is about the high-processed syrups- i only use raw, organic agave syrup from trader joe’s

    that being said, i still think it’s much better than white sugar- i feel it too (maybe it’s a placebo effect, but oh wellz)- i don’t get the crash. it also isn’t artificial (in structure or taste) like splenda, sweet n low, etc. i think if you need sweetness (like i do), agave’s the way to go…just raw agave!

  2. Your lunch salad looks great, so fresh and crisp looking.

    I have a bottle of agave nectar in my cabinet unopened for about 2 years now. I view agave, sugar and honey in the same class: All from nature, except sugar which is processed. While agave and honey have minimal health benefits, they are still sugar. However, I don’t feel they are the same as HFCS or other chemically altered sweeteners. Sugar is refined but it’s still only one ingredients, where as HFCS and other sweeteners are tampered with and man-made. I consider sugar of any kind a flavor enhancer, NOT a food group, sort of like salt or other spices.

    It seems that so many are into eliminating sugar in their diet and cutting out grains, and while this can be healthy, I don’t feel it’s necessary if you can just practice moderation and leave discretionary calories to 10-20% of your total intake. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to diet, there’s just balance. You have to find yours and what works for you. πŸ™‚


  3. As an RD I agree with your RD friend on agave nectar. People are wanting a non-nutritive, completely safe, great-tasting sweetener…and there’s just not one out there πŸ™‚ Stevia aside, “all natural” sweeteners have a lot of calories with little nutrition, and should be used in moderation. Great post!

  4. Orange and ginger yogurt? Looks interesting! I haven’t seen Icelandic-style yogurt here in Canada, but I’ll have to try it if I ever find it – Kath had it on her blog, too!

    As far as agave nectar goes, ANYTHING, when eating it large amounts is bad for you. I think just because it’s labeled as a natural sugar doesn’t mean people should go out and eat boatloads of it.

    Cashews rock. That’s all I have to say about that! LOL!


  5. Just an added comment to those that posted after me about the low glycemic load. Yes it is low glycemic so doesn’t cause that blood sugar spike. But conversely it is very high in fructose which causes damage in other ways, specifically the liver. You don’t feel the effects physically as much as you do with high glucose foods but the damage is still being done.

  6. I tend not to use agave just because it’s expensive and I’m lazy. I love stevia and maple syrup more for their flavors too, and sometime I use honey. Sugar is sugar, but I don’t think they’re all exactly equal in how our bodies metabolize them. I just go based on taste, I guess!

  7. Your blog always inspires me because you DO do so much, and everything “always works out” and it amazes me. I’m sure this time will be no different πŸ™‚

    Also , I’m absolutely hopeless around Cashews … so don’t pass them to me!

  8. I think agave is a better alternative but that it is still a sugar. I think ultimately it is better than a sugar substitute though–better for you than splenda!!

  9. If you can’t vent here, where can you vent? Go for it! You do do a whole lot, and I’m amazed at how well you manage all of it. But you’re more than welcome to stress occassionally!

  10. I’ve done a fair amount of research on Agave Nectar, and essentially it is natural, as opposed to Splenda, per-se. For the 1/2T used not even daily for me, I am going to enjoy the light sweetness it adds. I like the “real” flavor, and being low on the glycemic scale, that is what I need!

  11. I think that with everything else it comes down to moderation. If you are having too much of something than it will end up being bad for you. If you use it sparingly there is no harm.
    You need to add moving to your list of stuff that takes your time… that alone is a big stress. I bet you will feel better once you are totally settled, unpacked and feeling at home in your new space.

  12. I agree with you, sugar is sugar, the good thing about Agave is I guess the fact that it’s vegan while white sugar *can* be not vegan.
    I use Agave not because I think I’m doing something great for my health but because I like it, it’s less expensive than maple syrup and I just like syrup sweeteners :).

  13. Eh, I use agave in coffee and oatmeal instead of white sugar. And I use honey in my unsweetened yogurt. I use these because they were recommended by my nutritionist who said “I’d rather drink my own urine that something sweetened with artificial sweetener like Splenda.” Haha. It got the point across!
    I think the rationale she gave me for these particular sweeteners is that “sugar is sugar, but these are sweeter than sugar, so you use a little bit less, calorically speaking.” I’ve also found that honey and agave don’t give the same gross aftertaste that I get when I drink something with white sugar in it.
    And really, I don’t worry about it because I only use a little in the morning in my coffee, so I think it’s fine. I try not to needlessly sweeten things because I think it’s better to appreciate the subtle sweetness in things like fruit and roasted veggies. πŸ™‚

  14. Okay I just thought of one more thing about the agave issue- how much of it is bad for your liver?
    My parents are splenda-holics and my dad recently started thinking that he might have become allergic to splenda (he has a rash that won’t go away- it’s a long story) and so I looked online and read a bunch of comments of people saying “I drink 8 splenda flavored sodas or cups of coffee a day and have XYZ symptoms” (and that wasn’t an extreme example). And at some point in their lives, these people were probably doing the same with sugar or HFCS! I think the SAD diet is incredibly over sweetened so yes, at those concentrations, I can totally see why any sweetener, natural or not would have a huge impact on your health. (My parents drink (or would drink) cup after cup of splenda sweetened tea- I think they made a gallon a day- they would eat frozen berries with a bunch of splenda dumped on top of it- it looked like snow- and they even put splenda on their veggies! Oh, Mississippi!)
    I do think that at low levels, natural sweeteners are probably not so bad- it’s just when we take in more than our body is meant to manage! (And in the case of artificial sweeteners, our bodies aren’t meant to many any of that stuff!)

  15. I use SweetLeaf brand of stevia and love that it has 0 calories, 0 carbs, and a 0 glycemic index!….I’m also very confident that it is very safe…. and health promoting! (the stevia leaf stevia contains 100 different nutrients)


  16. I have heard that you can use honey as a 1:1 substitute for agave nectar– as it is very hard to find here in the country. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere– do you suggest somewhere to order online?Kudos

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