As you continue your journey along the Yellow Brick Road seeking healthy choices
you probably come across a lot of sugar!
Do you have a relationship with sugar?
Sugar is easy to fall in love with. Like so many people, I definitely had a love affair with sugar!
My relationship with sugar first began at the age of four when my family would take Sunday drives, to Chagrin falls outside of Cleveland, Ohio where I was born. We drove over a little bridge and then went to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with red leather stools. The smell of ice cream filled the air. My favorite was vanilla, and I relished licking my ice cream cone as we gazed at the waterfalls.
Vanilla ice cream has remained my favorite sweet treat to this day. What is your favorite sweet treat? We usually travel back in time to our childhood with fond memories associated with sugar. Memories that make us smile.
As delicious as all those sweet treats are, experts now agree that refined sugar acts more like a pharmaceutical drug in the body than a nurturing food. I know…..not what we want to hear!
I found that after eating sugary desserts, I would initially feel good, but soon after my energy level would drop. Sometimes I had brain fog, and later would feel achy or irritable. These symptoms were not so sweet!
Eventually, I found that getting off refined (and artificial sugar) was a process and over time I discovered other healthier alternatives to sugar. My improved mental and physical health was a positive side effect that motivated me to minimize my sugar intake.
Today, to satisfy my desire for something sweet, I eat fruit such as blueberries, bananas or strawberries, or sweet vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes or some dark chocolate. Or I’ll have a handful of nuts or some cheese with fruit as protein can help diminish food cravings and balance blood sugar. And I follow the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of the time I stay away from sugar and 20% of the time I indulge in those special occasions like parties and birthdays. After all, we do want to celebrate and enjoy those special times!
Here are a few ways to start the process of weaning off sugar.
*Begin gradually and do a slow transition. First eliminate the sugars you aren’t likely to miss, like sugar hidden in drinks or in convenience foods.
*Eat unprocessed whole foods to cut down on your sugar intake: fish, poultry, meat, eggs, legumes and whole grains such as quinoa. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and nutrients, which help balance blood sugar.
*Read food labels closely. Buy products with the least amount of grams of sugar. Eventually, the goal is to buy foods with 0-5 grams of sugar.
These are just a few beginning steps. You’ll find that the less sugar you have, the less you’ll crave it.
Good luck and let us know how you are doing!