16 Feb Sugar Busters!
Hey Hey and Happy Thursday! It is a freaking tundra here in Delaware today, but I can’t complain too much, because we just had two beautiful days down in Virginia visiting my family It was seriously 80 degrees over the weekend and absolutely glorious. I CANNOT wait for spring/summer!
If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, you know that this past week I participated in Further Food’s Sugar Pledge. It was a 7 -day sugar detox that eliminated all sources of added sugars and brought awareness to the excess consumption of sugar in the American diet.
I was excited to “take the pledge”, because even though I don’t consume much added sugar in my diet, I do enjoy my daily treat, whether it be organic dark chocolate, an energy ball sweetened with dates or maple syrup, banana (and more fruit) in my smoothie or a drop of honey in my tea. So I was definitely curious as to just how much sugar (even natural) was sneaking into my diet!
It is estimated that American’s consume 22 teaspoons of added sugars PER DAY – and that doesn’t include sugars that are naturally occurring in foods – which is just pretty crazy. Eating too much sugar can lead to unhealthy weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, insomnia, depression and the list goes on. Not to mention, sugar has made its way into just about every food, in one way or another and the worst part is, we aren’t even aware of this!
Yes, the sugar industry has found ways to sneak sugar into just about every ingredient list, whether it be under the name of SUGAR or some other alias. This over consumption, and down right addiction is responsible for so many of our populations health issues. Some negative effects that can be linked to sugar consumption are:
- Weight Gain
- High blood pressure/cholesterol
- Lack of energy
- Diabetes/Insulin resistance
- Digestive Issues/Candida
- Suppressed Immunity
I’d say this a pretty big deal and I can be almost certain that each of us has experienced one of these symptoms and it can more than likely be attributed to sugar intake.
So how do we cut back?
-First and foremost, do a pantry raid! Rid your pantry and fridge of those major sugar offenders. Cookies, chips, granola bars, fruit snacks, cereals, breads, ketsup, BBQ sauce, dressings, flavored yogurts, coffee creamers, tomato sauce, baked goods, juices and sports drinks.
-Try finding ways to make your own substitutes for the items above, like making your own energy bars, making your own dressing and spaghetti sauce or using butter in your coffee for added creaminess. Also, choose brands that are dedicated to producing products with lower sugar and quality ingredients. Do your research!
-Up the protein! By adding protein into your diet your better able to stabilize blood sugar, so that you are not left “crashing” and reaching for more sugar to repeat the vicious cycle. Protein can help keep us fuller longer, as well as slow the digestion of sugar in our blood stream. Try pairing protein with each meal or snack to avoid that sugar drop.
-Eat those fats! You guys, by crowding out the sugars in your diet with healthy fats, your body must use fat for energy. They help keep us full, more satisfied, high in energy, regulate our hormones and are super important for brain and heart health. Choose good sources like coconut/avocado/olive oil, avocados, nuts & seeds, nut butter and wild caught fish.
-Get enough sleep! If you are not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night this can (and will) cause a disruption in your cortisol levels. If we are tired and low in energy, more than likely we will reach for some sort of sugary food to “perk us up”, which only results in the inevitable crash…and repeat.
-Increase your veggie intake! Vegetables that are in high in fiber like, brussels sprouts, peas, cauliflower can help our digestion healthy, as well as keep us fuller! + other high fiber foods like lentils, beans, oats and berries!
-Start your day right. First of all, eat breakfast and be sure to include some protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep you full and energized! This will help regulate blood sugars and keep you in control!
-Prep your pantry and stock your fridge with great healthy options that will keep you from reaching for those unhealthy alternative or taking a trip to the vending machine.
-Add collagen to your daily routine. By adding a collagen supplement to your diet you can easily bump up the protein of your morning coffee or health snack. The added protein will help keep you fuller longer and keep sugar cravings at bay. Not to mention of the other added benefits of collagen!
-Make some healthy swaps! Try making your healthy treats and meals by using natural sweeteners like dates, maple syrup, honey, stevia, coconut sugar, bananas, or apple sauce. Remember that this is still SUGAR, so you must be mindful about when and how much you are eating. Luckily, these options to provide some nutrition benefits (unlike sugar), but still should be consumed in moderation, for they can cause the same impacts on our body that artificial and processed sugar does.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite low sugar recipes. Made with just a little maple syrup and banana for some sweetness, plus avocado for satisfying healthy fats! It’s super quick to whip up and tastes delicious!
Peanut Butter Chocomole!
1 1/2 large ripe avocados
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until creamy. Divide between 6 small serving glasses or mason jars to store. Best if eaten right away, but will keep in the refrigerator or a few (~3) days!