Now that we have celebrated Easter and that I feel stuffed with chocolate and candy (yes, I sometimes do indulge in unhealthy treats), and that my body is telling me "why, oh why, did you give me that junk?", I thought I would write a little something about sugar.
Monday is always a good day to start a diet, and while I dislike weight loss diets because they are not sustainable, I do believe in cleansing after a weekend of indulgence, and I do believe in new beginnings. The body is very forgiving and can regenerate and heal from unhealthy intake or overload, if you give it what it needs.
Sadly, in this culture and society, our bodies are getting fed way too much sugar. It is the ingredient that you can find in just about anything processed. When I was on the elimination diet, I became sorely aware of it. I couldn't even find chicken broth for my soup, without it having sugar in it, for Pete's sake! It's in processed meat, smoked salmon, tomato sauce, processed cereals, processed soups, dressings, spreads, bread, crackers, certain nut butters, added to certain dried fruits, most non-dairy milks... and the list goes on and on and on.
I dare you to start reading the labels and not come up with at least 70% of your grocery list being items that contain added sugar.
And why is sugar bad for you? Well, if you really want to know the scary reality and the more scientific details, you should watch these two videos, for a start:
If you don't have time, that's why I'm here. I will spare you the scientific details and break it to you plain and simple: sugar goes into your blood and turns into fat. It can give you heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes. More and more kids these days are being diagnosed with type II diabetes, and it is mostly due to the high amount of sugar in their diet. This could be avoided, in most cases.
Sugar is also inflammatory. It makes our liver work harder, which causes inflammation in the body, which always ends up causing disease, often cancer. And last but not least, cancer cells LOOOOOVE sugar. They thrive on sugar. They grow on sugar. So whether you have cancer, or cancer cells in your body, or potential for cancer in your genes, when you eat sugar, you are feeding the monster.
Last but not least, sugar is addictive. When you eat sugar, it activates parts of your brain that release "feel good hormones". So you want more. And more. And more. Until more isn't enough, and then you want even more. Yep! Just like cocaine or heroin!
So do me a favor this week: read the labels. See how many grams of sugar are in that cup of sweetened milk you give your kids, or that cereal bar, or that box of cereals, or that soda, and event that Starbucks Latte... Favor fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsweetened drinks, plain yogurt over flavored yogurt, Ezekiel bread over white or even whole wheat bread... Make one little change at a time. And since we've all had more sugar than usual this weekend, why not start with lowering your sugar intake this week, and see how you feel.
If you can't drink coffee or tea without sweetening it, why not try stevia? If you dislike the taste, try decreasing the amount of sweetener you put in your drink, or even eliminating it altogether. It's an acquired taste and you will get used to it!
In fact, will you join me in a new healthy habit, just one at a time? How about Sugar Free Monday? Commit to one day a week, where you eat absolutely no added sugar. This means that anything that is not naturally sweetened by nature (like fruits) does not make it into your plate or your mouth this Monday. And that includes honey. Will you try with me? And who knows, you might even be able to carry this into Tuesday, Wednesday... ;)http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403942n