Note from Carolyn:  January Freebie Days for the herbal de-tox drink we share at Meridian ends tonight , January 27, at midnight Utah time.  You will receive free product now and a coupon for free product with all your orders through 2014.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Many of you have asked about how the October “Sugar-Free” challenge for Meridian readers has played out.  The links to those articles are listed below. Many joined with me and followed the blog I kept that month.   I’m here to report on that experience, along with a current situation that is a wake-up for me that coincides with “January” resolutions in a profound way.


As I write this, it is the one-month anniversary of my mother’s fall the night after Christmas.  She broke her left shoulder while getting to the bathroom.  It could have been much worse, with severe breaks similar to those she experienced earlier in life.  She is 92 and quite marvelous in every way.  She has lived with us for the past 18 months and we love her very much.  An extremely dedicated wife and mother, she has been a widow for nearly 24 years.  She was a full-time temple worker until she was 85, when she retired.  Ostepoerosis, arthritis, curvature of the spine and these severe lower-body injuries should have put her in a wheelchair for most her life, but she overcame it all until her 85th birthday. She is now 92 and the past seven years have slowly put her into a status of being bed-ridden for all but the most basic of needs.  (A link to her fun website is below.)  

The fall has changed even that, as she can no longer get up or walk without assistance.  Her physical independence, other than feeding herself and communicating with us, is gone, along with her energy.  Otherwise, she is 100% and able to talk and read and be a part of things from her bed.  Her greatest desire is to be valiant and endure to the end.  She patiently anticipates her return to her heavenly home and Savior with much delight.
Why do I share her story?  Her own mother had osteoporosis badly, and she inherited it.  She passed it on to my sister and me and we were both diagnosed in our late-40’s.  I am turning 60 this year.   I wrote about this in a Meridian article in June of last year. (Article links are at the end.) Fosomax was immediately prescribed for both of us, and it turns out, there was quite a circle of friends in the same boat.

There was some interesting response to my Meridian article, which focused on the book  “Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis–Without Dairy Foods, Calcium, Estrogen, or Drugs” by Amy Lanou.  The thesis of this book is that drugs are basically ineffective in treating osteoporosis.  The fact that osteoporosis is an epidemic in the United States, while hardly a blip in other cultures, indicates that the American diet plays a far greater role than imagined.  

Comments from Meridian articles stressed how important it is to be under a doctor’s care, and I whole-heartedly agree.  Over the years that I was supposed to be taking the drug “fosomax” (Alendronic acid) for some reason I just couldn’t get myself to take it regularly.  At my annual doctor appointments, I would tell the doctor I would “do better” but still couldn’t get myself to do it. I felt great guilt about it, as osteoporosis is not something that you can monitor or see easily, yet it is quietly there and evolving.

Over the past year, several within my osteoporosis circle of friends who have been faithful have experienced distressing health challenges:  specifically deterioration of the jawbone.  This is a devastating situation where the bone erodes to the point there is not enough bone to hold the teeth, the palate also erodes, and there are other jaw/mouth problems.   The direct cause is long-term use of fosomax. If you research it carefully, jaw deterioration is visibly listed as a possible side-effect.  I have watched their surgeries this year.  It is not fun, not covered by their dental insurance, nor was the deterioration able to be fully restored.  It will never be “over.”

When I read and heard all of this, I was shocked and saddened, and relieved that I had not been taking it, but still reluctant to tell my doctor that I was not following through. Imagine my surprise at my last appointment where while looking at my chart my ob-gyn said, “Now, you’re NOT still taking fosomax, are you?  You got a call from us, right?  Studies have shown that long-term use can be very harmful.”

I told her that I had “taken myself off of it” and was working on every other element possible: diet, exercise, supplemental calcium and strength training. I’ll do my best and we’ll re-evaluate with a scan this November.  

YES! Still Sugar-Free!

The visit coincided with the conclusion of the October Sugar-Free Challenge.  Since that time, many have asked how it went, and if I’m still sugar-free.

You can read my entries throughout October and early November at my blog listed below.  Then life got very busy, so I did not keep up with the blog, but I DID maintain with no sugar!  The cravings were simply gone with very little drama.  Throughout my entire life this has been a problem, even an addiction.  When I was without sugar at many different short stretches in my life, there was a lot of concerted “self-discipline” to make it happen. It was hardly a comfortable, natural habit.  No wonder I couldn’t keep it up.

Since the beginning of the October challenge, it’s been a glorious thing that has truly enlightened my understanding of the Atonement. I did not do it alone. The account is at my blog listed at the end of the article.  I no longer crave candy, chocolate, cookies, cake or the “creams” as in ice cream, whipped cream, butter cream, etc.  This has happened with a sweetness that far surpasses any cookie or candy, and I know it’s for a lifetime.

Did I eat sweets over Christmas?  I made a conscious choice to make Christmas an exception for a very short time.  I chose one particular treat that I was easily able to detach from once it was gone. Yes, it tasted wonderful, but more importantly I was shocked at how quickly it melted in my mouth, immediately dictating that I provide “more.”  It was a reminder of the hold it has been for nearly my entire life, and robbed much of the overall pleasure of eating it.  I don’t want to ever be a slave to it again.

January 1 came, and I was able to immediately move on and into the New Year without sugar.   By next Christmas, I don’t think that it will be on my radar at all.  No drama, just no sugar, and the Savior quietly having made this delightful change possible.

So, no sugar!  But Mom’s situation, however, has changed the month’s proceedings.  I’ve let that become an excuse for not exercising and being as diligent as I know is necessary.  The situation has, however, increased my understanding that our personal health is not ours alone!  It has a HUGE impact on our families, and my experience this month with her is the reasons for my first two “Family Affair” articles here at Meridian.  (Links below)

My battle cry for health in 2014, is not for ME, but for my kids and our future.  Though my mom did everything she could to take care of herself for many years, not as much was known during those years about how important the exercise element is.  Even if she had known, her lower body weaknesses from those three big accidents did not allow her to exercise the way she needed to.

  For my children, for my future independence and theirs, I MUST do what I can.  It is not a luxury or an option.  The fact that healthy eating and exercise brings a more attractive appearance is not the priority or focus, but a side benefit that I’ll enjoy too.

It’s true that as we age, our bodies decline, and one malady another will eventually allow us to return to our Father in Heaven.  I however, firmly believe that it is up to us to make the most of each day and when our turn comes to be able to say, “I did the best I could! I was valiant and responsible in caring for this precious mortal body in every way I knew how in order to serve the Lord and my family for as long as possible.”  I am grateful for my mother’s tremendous example of graciously accepting her body’s decline.

My Plan – Will You Join Me?

As of this past weekend (January 26, which was one month from the date of my Mom’s fall) I have gone back to my “Beat-Sugar-Cravings” blog as a place to record and reflect on my own daily activities for healthy eating, exercise and maintaining my sugar-free liberty for LIFE, and will record there several times a week.  You’re more than welcome to join me and follow along!  The blog is at and you can sign up to receive the postings there, or just hop on when you want.

My go-to book “Building Bone Vitality” stresses the absolute imperative requirements of eating MANY fruits and vegetables each day, so I plan to include some of the recipes that are wonderful in both the taste and the nutrition department.  Of course, I will continue to take my doctor-approved multi-vitamin and calcium supplements, along with the tea that keeps the system nice and clean so that I absorb the nutrients from both food eaten and the vitamins/supplement.  I am scheduled for another osteoporosis scanning in November, and will keep you posted.  

This is a yearlong adventure!  And perhaps beyond.  Will you join me?  I learned many years ago as a Weight Watchers leader that while the FIRST of January seems to be the most significant time for launching the new year, that many of us are not ready emotionally until much later in the month.  In truth, there’s never a time more precious than RIGHT NOW to get going. 

 And that’s why they call today the “present.”  It’s yours for the asking!  Click HERE to see the blog and free sign up! 


Barbara Brewerton Lee: A scrapbook site where you can meet my mother

My Sugar Free Blog and Health Spot for 2014!

Meridian Articles:


The Sweetest Thing I

The Sweetest Thing II

The Sweetest Thing III

It’s A Family Affair I: A Healthy 2014

It’s A Family Affair II: Weight Management Tricks to Learn From Our Kids

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website,

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program. 

Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian! CLICK HERE