Category: Conversations

Julie & Katie

Hi Katie!!

Read your column from Sunday with great interest because I’ve been seriously thinking that I need to finally win my battle with sugar!!! I’m turning 53 soon and feel much older at times especially in the morning trying to get out of bed :/.

I’m probably not the first to write you for support but would love any advice and support you can offer?!?!?! Fortunately I can say I don’t eat a great deal of sugar but enough that I know giving it up and bread (that’ll be more difficult for me) would produce great benefits.

Thanks so much

Julie. 🙂


Bread is definitely a hard one but since it is loaded with sugar, the best thing I did was identify it as “poison”. I know that sounds extreme but the way I was feeling each day felt like someone was slowly poisoning my body. I knew I would never actually eat poison so I looked at the foods I would miss the most as poison and that made me not want them. I haven’t had bread all year and I really doubt I will again. I feel so much better physically and have energy like I did 20 years ago. If you can set a goal for one month and get through that hard part, I know you can make it. The withdrawals and irritability get replaced by energy and feeling strong. You have to totally cut it to get there though. Maybe shoot me an e-mail every time you get tempted and I will see if I can help?

I have had lots of people e-mail me for support. More than I was expecting actually. There are lots of people like you that want to do this so take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone!

FOX 11: Katie Coombs talks “Uncommon Sense”

RENO, Nev. – Katie Coombs, host of “Uncommon Sense,” announced today that she and co-host Debbie McCarthy have joined the America Matters Radio team, broadcasting live on KCKQ-AM 1180. The show will air on Fridays from 2-4 p.m. Listeners are encouraged to call in and participate during the show.

“I’m excited to start this new journey with America Matters Media,” said Coombs. “The live format is a great way to start a conversation with our listeners and I look forward to creating a kind of “Uncommon Sense” community with all of the great people in Reno and beyond.”

“Uncommon Sense” addresses anything and everything related to families, parenting and children. Coombs and her guests discuss current events and trends and their effects on our society as a whole and our individual families. Through her show, Coombs shares her knowledge and advice with respect to today’s issues, focusing on family values and parental leadership, through the use of common sense.

“With our world moving 100 miles a minute, it’s great to have the opportunity to sit down for two hours and hash out the issues, talk about what’s really happening and how all of it effects us day-to-day,” said Coombs.
In addition to her radio show, Coombs also writes a weekly column in the Reno-Gazette Journal, is a contributing author to “Reno Moms Blog” and Reno Magazine, manages an ongoing blog, and actively engages her listeners in conversation forums through various mediums. Coombs has earned a reputation in the community for her humor on parenting, family-oriented philosophies and current events. With “Uncommon Sense,” Coombs engages her community with interesting guests that offer listeners advice and tips to help with raising a family in today’s diverse world.


I just read your article about how you cut sugar out of your life.  I have tried many times to stop eating sugar myself but by the third day I’m craving it so badly that I give into it.  Do you have any advice you can give me to help me get through the first month?  I really want to change my eating habits and start to feel better…. I can relate to those aches and pains you describe having had before you cut out sugar and carbs!! [at wits’ end]

Thank you so much!!a

That was my approach and it was hard but then it got easy.  I started feeling better and of course that motivated me to stick with it.   You get to a point where if you eat it you know it is making you sick.
I mostly follow Paleo recipes but not 100% as I still eat cheese sometimes.  There are great recipes in their cookbooks that help with variety.
Good luck on your journey.  Reach out anytime.  It’s well worth the withdrawals of the first few weeks!
Katie Coombs


Good Morning,
I read your article about breaking the sugar addiction and I just wanted to know how did you detox. I try so hard and also tried so many times I just can’t get past the 2 week mark and the sugar grip gets me reeled back in…
Suffering and declining at 53 🙁
There is no easy way unfortunately because you are getting rid of a drug from your body. I had a cranky 3-4 weeks. I used one Granny Smith apple in the morning and one in the afternoon my first month. I cut fruit completely for the second month so I knew the addiction was gone. I added back in modest amounts after that in my diet for vitamins but my main source is always vegetables. I have cut up veggies around all of the time.  They are essential to your success.
Good luck with your journey. Check in any time. You will feel like a different person if you can get through the first month. It is smooth sailing from there.
Katie Coombs


Ms. Coombs –

I read your story in the RGJ regarding your search for glue.  It was humorous and familiar at the same time. It is refreshing to read that a parent is actually interested in helping a son in a constructive project.
Regarding glue – Since you say that it is a plastic model, I would guess that you were trying to find a cyanoacrylate glue. You do not say how old your son is but I will tell you that this type of glue can be a problem.  There are two main types. One sets instantly and the other is slightly slower.  The major problem occurs in the user has skin contact as it can cause fingers to stick together and cannot be separated quickly.  Skin oil will eventually break the contact. You might check Home Depot in the paint department. 

I have been in the modeling hobby since 1967.  I have six model airplanes hanging in my garage.  Five I built and have flown. One is from my oldest sons set that his wife let me have when we lost him. The field of building from kits is disappearing. Most buy ready made items that require no building. When our oldest son was 12 we attended a fly in of model airplanes sponsored by the American Cancer Research institute. He was instantly hooked.  A man with whom I worked with at Douglas Aircraft, gave us an engine and a suggested model for beginners. We worked together and when it was finished a pilot tested it for us.  I located an individual who would teach our son how to fly. Long story short, he later finished in 13th place in a national competition.  In his late 40’s he built two full size home build kits. I got to ride in his first one but he died before I could ride in the second one.

Keep working with your son.   The rewards will be astounding.



Thanks for sharing your story with me.  We were actually looking for both types of glue.  We have 7 kids – this model was for my 11 year old step-son.

It’s amazing how much quality time comes from these activities.  I wish more parents would turn back the clock and go towards these activities.

You live pretty close so will be easy to reach out if necessary!

Take care.

Katie Coombs

To read Katie’s article, “Plastic Models Another Casualty of Xbox Culture,” click, here.


This article is me as well I believe thought i haven’t started the process. I know I have too much sugar and for my kids too. Do you have recipes to share that help ? And I would love to see the snacks yo give your kids. I am ready to get rolling on this asap and get my energy back!

Thank you for sharing your story!

Hi Christy,

The best recipes come from Paleo cookbooks even though I don’t follow Paleo exactly.  The kids snack on lots of chopped vegetable and fruits or nuts and seeds.  They do not eat as clean as I do but we are slowly getting them transitioned.  They always eat a clean dinner.

I have also had lots of success on Google.  You can just google clean chicken recipes or sugar free/carb free meal ideas and there is so much that comes up.   You will eventually stop living to eat and completely shift to eating to live.  Food isn’t about variety or even taste anymore but about health.  With that said, some of the recipes out there are delicious.   I own about three Paleo cookbooks and we use those lots.

Good luck in your journey.  Check back in and let me know how it goes!

Katie Coombs


Hi Katie,
I decided to write and pay some honor to someone else in the awakening of no sugar, no carbs (for me, that’s currently limited to no gluten, but I hope to have the finances to eliminate that eventually). I don’t feel it’s worth regaling you with my story, which includes private sugar binges and eating only ‘white foods’ or bread/pasta throughout my childhood, but I use AA to keep myself from sugar consumption and to identify my dependence on it as addiction.
It’s a great thing to know it and have known it – and now actually be living it. And I agree our culture is just degraded in physicality and spirituality by what is consumed. I’m focusing on myself for now.
Thank you for the article, the willingness to reach out. I am mostly just writing to thank you for that much. If I ever need further support – I will write again.
I’m glad the article has helped you. It’s an ongoing struggle and we all need to support each other.
Take care,
Katie Coombs

Letter from G.B.

I read your editorial today and believe it works. What is a typical breakfast, lunch, and supper? What would you substitute for bread when making a sandwich? What do you substitute for snacks between meals?


A typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast -Protein shake if I work out or a banana and a hard boiled egg if I don’t Lunch – Usually chicken with raw cut up vegetables or steamed vegetables Dinner – Protein with vegetables.

I would substitute lettuce for bread if I was going to have a sandwich.  I haven’t  eaten any bread since January 2014 and feel so much better.

I don’t usually feel a need to snack, but if I do it is on sugar snap peas, celery, or fruit in moderation.

I do have an occasional cheat and that is usually a decaf mocha from Starbucks or popcorn.  Sometimes, one of my younger kids will make chocolate chip cookies so I might have one but I usually do not feel good after so the cheats become not worth it and easy to avoid.

Good luck in your journey.  Feel free to reach out anytime.
Katie Coombs


Hi Katie,
First of all – thank you for sharing your story.
My name is Christy and I’m from St. Louis. 

I feel that I have always  been somewhat fit – but I don’t seem to feel that great.  No major health issues, I just don’t think my quality of life is what it could be.
After reading your article, I am going to commit to doing what you did.  I have quite the sweet tooth and although that will be a tough one, I want to feel good more than I want the sugar.
To give you a bit of info –  I’m 53, 5’9 and weigh about 155.  People tell me I’m skinny, but you know, I don’t have the energy or stamina I wish that I had.  Honestly,  I don’t think I look that thin –  at least not by a healthy standard.  
I am going to – beginning right now – cut out sugar and cut out bread.  
I’m training for a 1/2 marathon with my nephew in October, so the exercise part is in check.  
What is not in check – and why I would like your input   – is this –  WHAT DO YOU EAT? I guess what I would like from you is a sample menu of what foods you eat that leave you with having the energy to do your exercise routines, and feeling satisfied.
I would like to lose some weight, but more that that goal, I want to feel energetic and fit.
Unlike you, I don’t have any kids, so honestly, there is no excuse for me not being in amazing shape.  I work full time and seem to come home from work, turn on the television and the night is shot.
Do you by chance have a book that would have this info in it?
Proof is in the pudding and you look great.  Any tips you can send my way are appreciated.  I looked up Dr. Dunlap, and although I cannot come to Nevada to see a doctor, I can certainly take away your tips.  I asked my doctor this year if he thought an annual check-up is a good idea.  He said no – not really – they just want your money.
I agree with your train of thought.  Preventative health is just as important as treating real time illness.  My mom is a diabetic –  I don’t want to follow suit if I can help it. 
Thank you Katie and keep up the great work.


Thanks for sharing your story.  My diet is so boring it might seem unsustainable but I have followed it for so long now I don’t even think about it.

Breakfast – Protein shake if I work out which holds me over to lunch.  Banana and a hard boiled egg if I don’t work out

Lunch – Protein and vegetable

Dinner – Protein and vegetable

The Paleo cookbooks have great recipes to spice things up a bit.   I don’t follow Paleo 100% as I do eat some dairy.

I have two things I cheat with occasionally – Starbucks Mocha and popcorn.  That’s it.  Otherwise I stay away from carbs and sugar.  I eat fruit but very moderately as it has sugar so you want to be careful there.  It took me about a month to cut out sugar and stop the withdrawals.  Then the benefits of feeling great started kicking in and I don’t think about it much anymore.  Occasionally I will eat something the kids bake but it usually makes me sick which is a great motivator not to touch it.

Good luck on your journey.  Check in anytime you want!

Katie Coombs

Letter from C.S.

Dear Ms. Coombs,

Thank you for your April 5, 2015 RGJ column, Finding healing through the words of Dr. Suess: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I am glad he provides you relief. Coping skills grow from these events.

In the last 70 years, I developed many coping skills. I used them for the last two major ones: the amputation of my left leg below the knee in 2012, a wonderful gift because I’m out of pain (which registered at the 7 and 8 level even while resting) and then chemotherapy once monthly from March to July 2014. The rat poison killed the tumor, about the size of my fist, wrapped around my aorta where it bifurcates and killed my brains: memory and functioning. Couldn’t think or remember much. Currently my degenerative disc disease, or as I like to call it, my degenerate disc disease, generates chronic pain at three to four on the pain meter, occasionally spiking to a steady six followed by higher pain when I irritate it. Alas, no more golf. Before the back pain, I golfed on the new leg. “Accept the things I cannot change.” Several spinal interventions; drat, only minimal relief.

Last December and January, I went through the most painful experience of my life. Worse than losing my jock identity my sophomore year at Whitman College. Clipped twice, ruptured two discs and never played again, after playing since I was eight. Afterwards, sciatic pain dogged me for 20 years. This Winter pain worse than my first divorce, much more painful than mother’s death last April.

During this winter storm, I relearned the AA precepts of forgiveness and acceptance… the Serenity Prayer’s balm. Read Pema Chadron, When Things Fall Apart and David Rico’s The Five Things We Cannot Change: and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them. I like Rico, because the Serenity Prayer in his focal point. In AA, we recite it at every meeting. Over the last 34 years, I’ve heard it 6000+ times. His message: change the inevitable. Suess-like, celebrate the past and accept it.

I wrote this haiku to celebrate and accept my loss:

To welcome the stump,

I wrote goodbye to my shin.

Glory days! Then wept.

Philosophically, I try to live in the Eternal Now. Those ads that talk about good futures water the mirage of control. Spiritual Fools Gold. In AA we say, “Man plans and God laughs.” We make plans but no longer plan the outcome. Spiritual equilibrium dies from stated and unstated expectations.

Rico says, everything changes and everything ends and pain is a part of life. The Buddha says the root of suffering is attachment. Like attachment to those pesky outcomes. Grieving is part of life. I’m glad you celebrated your son’s new coaching life and Mason’s toothy T-ball smile, “accepting the things you cannot change.

I hope this helps you on your, probably perpetual, healing journey. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your courage to share yourself with us.

Blue skies,

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