Happy Friday again! I’ve been getting into a groove of blogging 3x a week and I’m loving it. It’s great to have my momentum back! It only took 3 years 😉
April is really busy for us (in a good way). Mike’s birthday is Monday, so we are going out tonight with family for him, then on Sunday we are celebrating Passover. Next weekend is my sister-in-law’s wedding and all the events/preparation needed surrounding that! The day after the wedding is Easter (OMG i need to get the baskets, and omg, the perks of being in an interfaith family … with allllllllll of the holidays).
So, we have tons of family time and eating planned to say the least!
With celebrations and “spring cleaning” in mind, I thought today would be a good day to chat a tiny bit about a subject I have talked about until I was blue in the face (and even wrote a 100-page e-book on for the flowtox program.)
My wellness story is a long and bumpy one, and today isn’t the day to tell it, but I will say that my sugar addiction was at an all-time high at a point in my life when I thought I was being my healthiest. I remember eating mock desserts every. single. night. I was addicted to them, adding agave nectar or maple syrup, and even stevia to try and reduce my sugar intake, but I was still addicted to the habit of sugar. I know the addiction started very young, and I also know that was one of the triggers of my disordered eating days. I feel like after years and years of getting to know my body, and studying all things nutrition that I have gotten a handle on my addiction, and have even been helping others do the same.
It is not simply a lack of willpower.
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. From an evolutionary standpoint humans are programmed to want sugar, use it, and store it in times of feast or famine. The problem is our early ancestors rarely came across sugar, and aside from honey, the sweetest thing they could load up on was fruit.
Today, sugar is all around us, packaged and hidden everywhere. We can’t get enough of it. It’s genius for big food companies to add sugar to their products because it keeps us coming back
Literally, guys. Food scientists are hired by big food corporations to sit in their labs and add chemicals and sugars to foods so that you buy more and eat more of it. Potato chips are freaking addictive as hell to some people because of what is in them … it’s not your fault .. it is not a simple lack of willpower. It’s a corporate conspiracy that is shitting all over your health. You CAN, however come at it with some ammo.
Most people are taking in more of the sweet stuff than they realize. Studies show that American adults are taking in over 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. The average child is consuming 34 teaspoons (544 calories worth) of sugar daily! That’s almost 6 times the limit.
Here are five quick tips to get you started:
1. Remove the Temptation
Having a proper defense is EVERYTHING! Clear your cabinets out and remove all the junk from hour house, then you have no other choice. There are the obvious culprits (cake, cookies, soda, candy), then there are the not-so-obvious things (protein bars, granola, sauces, marinades, salad dressing, flavored yogurt, juice, and carb-y things like potato chips). READ LABELS! Sugar is hidden in many packaged and processed foods under many different names. Brown rice syrup, agave nectar, glucose syrup, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, and so on. When looking at labels get into the habit of looking at the ingredient list! Learn about all the names that sugar hides under and limit it as much as possible. Stick with foods that are an ingredient in itself. Natural, whole, unprocessed foods! Sounds simple but a processed-free diet is one of the hardest things to do in a world where everyone is in a rush. This may be especially tough for families with varied food preferences and picky eaters. Get everyone on board with your mission to quit sugar, and if you feel you have to keep some “junk” around, choose things that do not tempt you as much. Eventually you will feel so satisfied by your whole foods diet, and will be spending so much time adding in nourishing foods that there won’t be any space for “junk.”
2. Lower your Carbohydrate Intake
Studies show that lowering your carbohydrate intake will help you to lose weight without counting calories because your appetite will decrease naturally. I am talking about bread, pasta, grains (even whole grains), crackers and cereal. Low carb does not mean no carb. In fact, many people who start to cut back on cereal grains, bread, and other processed carbohydrates will often say they eat more vegetables and fruit than ever before! When you can naturally appreciate the sweetness in these whole foods, you will be less likely to grab for quick-energy sugary foods and treats.
3. Stop Fearing FAT!
Fat satiates! Eating the right fats (and it may not be what you think) will help you to ward-off sugar cravings in a big way. Not too long ago someone told me she thought avocados were “bad” for you because of all the fat. It was a person in medical field and it absolutely broke my heart that she thought this way! I can get it when people think they need to eat egg whites, I disagree, but I get it because so many people still fear cholesterol in foods … but an avocado!?
For the past 50 years, eating healthy in America has become synonymous with avoiding dietary fat. Highly processed sugar and chemical-laden fat-free products hit the shelves and their popularity spread like wild fire. Mainstream nutrition has continued to demonize fat, yet after half of a decade and millions of dollars in research they have failed to prove that a low-fat diet will help you to live longer. When fat intake went down, the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates increased. This fueled sugar addiction in a big way, and health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease increased.
Just like avocados, saturated fats are not the devil. In fact, it is the very oils we have been told to replace fats from healthy animals with that are causing issues. It’s the processed, industrial vegetable and seed oils: (corn, cottonseed, canola or rapeseed, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils) that have been causing us to get an overabundance of omega-6 in our diets and trans fats that are causing issues. Our bodies need a ratio of 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid, yet with our Western diet today we are getting a ratio more of 1:15 and up to 1:40 omega-3 to omega-6 which is incredibly off balance. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. When we get too much of this essential fatty acid it will cause adverse health problems, obesity, and disease. When we consume full-fat foods, from the proper sources, they will help satiate as well as help absorb and assimilate the food we are eating. When we are nourished properly from eating those foods that help us properly absorb all that nutrition, we will feel more satisfied and cravings will no longer take over.
4. No Fake Stuff
When trying to eliminate sugar from your diet, do not fall into the trap of replacing it with zero- calorie sweeteners. In fact, if you have been using these sweeteners for years you should make it
a priority to ditch the habit for good. Artificial sweeteners are excitotoxins. They can retrain your taste buds to not recognize the calories in sweet foods. These chemical sweeteners will “excite” the part of your brain that controls appetite and and release a hormone called neuropeptide Y that increases appetite and stores fat. They are also endocrine disruptors, aggravating your cortisol levels and wiping out your adrenal glands. These substances still stimulate the sweet receptors of the tongue and may even cause an insulin response since the tongue is the first step in the digestive process. The normal use of artificial sweeteners gives a false sense of security. There is scant evidence that these sugar substitutes actually help people lose weight. In fact, there is evidence that they contribute to weight gain.
5. Get More Sleep
I spoke a little bit about sleep in last week’s Friday Five, and today I will touch on another part of the sleep issue.
The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function in our body. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function and reproductive processes. The foundations of the endocrine system are the hormones and glands. When something throws off the balance of a hormone, it can make one hormone work overtime, and another go into hibernation. Every single thing we do contributes to either nourishing, or stressing metabolic function. Often times, a stressed metabolism causes you to reach for sugary food. One surefire way to throw off hormonal balance and stress your metabolic function is to skimp out on sleep. When not getting enough shut-eye, our body releases cortisol, the stress hormone, causing an imbalance in progesterone and estrogen while raising insulin levels and triggering sugar cravings. Nourish your metabolism by getting plenty of rest and watch your cravings disappear!