If I look back on what I was eating 5 or 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing how my diet has changed and how much better I feel. Like anything, making long-lasting changes to your life require small, baby steps. It’s your willingness to make the effort every day, in little ways and stick to it over the long run that brings about sustainable change.
So, after many a juice, detoxing heavy metal chelation, saying goodbye to gluten, limiting dairy, limiting meat, banning processed foods and GMOs (if I know about them)…. I’m feeling great. But…there’s one more thing that has to get under control: sugar.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth…and I remember racing through meals so that I could get to the best part: dessert. After entering into the 40 Club, I’ve noticed changes in my body, my metabolism that I’m not liking and it’s caused me to jump over this last obstacle to my healthy, balanced eating and that’s my sugar addiction. There, I said it….I am addicted to sugar.
I couldn’t elaborate better than this video: How Sugar Affects the Brain
So…I’ve started with just a few baby steps that made sense to me:
- Dessert/Sweets are SPECIAL treats, reserved for a once in a while treat or to celebrate a special occasion and NOT an everyday or every meal occurrence (BIG mindset change for me)
- In addition to being just a special treat, I will continue to avoid processed, refined, high fat cheap sweets. Only the good stuff in tiny amounts.
- I’m reading all labels on everything I buy for sugar content in grams, as well as those sneaky sugar words like evaporated cane juice, agave nectar and anything ending in -ose. When we’re more aware we make better choices.
- I’m paying special attention to foods that I eat everyday like what I put in my coffee and what I have for breakfast. Yes, for those that regularly read this blog, you may remember that I was coffee-free for awhile, but I’ve allowed coffee back in, in moderation and have made the decision to not eliminate coffee and sugar at the same time…I’m sure those closest to me are happy about this decision. So, I’ve cut sugar from my morning coffee and added just a very small amount of stevia, a natural sweetener. For breakfast, I eat a half grapefruit and a bowl of GF steel-cut oats with 1/2 banana, handful of walnuts and handful of berries. So far, it’s working for me…the oatmeal in the morning is satisfying and the berries give it just a bit of sweetness.
- I’m not going overboard and limiting all sugar… Fruit, in moderation, is good for you. I’m just paying better attention to which fruits and how much sugar they have. Sometimes the antioxidants or other nutritional benefits of the fruit make it worthwhile. And, if I’m going to have sugar, I want to enjoy it in a bowl of berries and not hidden in our pasta sauce.
- I’ve cut the sugar in my green smoothies and made them a bit more green. We planted a garden this winter and have been enjoying homegrown kale and swiss chard which has been amazing. So my typical green smoothie recipe looks like this:
1 cup coconut water, 4-5 leaves of greens, stems removed, handful of berries, 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple, 2 T. yogurt (I use coconut plain yogurt), 1 scoop of non-GMO protein powder ( I like Tera’s Whey or PlantFusion)
Here’s a good article on sugar and its connections to inflammation and other chronic health issues: http://experiencelife.com/article/sugar-breakdown/
Here’s an article from one of my favorite health news resources about healthy foods to eat to cut sugar cravings: http://www.naturalnews.com/041463_sugar_cravings_healthy_foods_appetite.html
So…I’m sure I’ll be writing more on this topic in the future. What about you all? Any sugar elimination/reduction success stories out there to fuel the rest of us on?