Sugar may be high on your instant gratification list, but that may be because of its addictive nature. Sugar surges through your bloodstream, messing with your energy levels, compromising your health, and leaving you begging for more. How? And what can you do to stop the cycle? Let’s learn how to break up with sugar.
Sugar’s Many Names
The most obvious form of sugar is the white stuff sprinkled into coffee and lurking in soda, cookies, sweetened yogurt, and often in condiments such as ketchup and jam. Cane sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup are processed, fast-digesting (high glycemic) simple carbohydrates and are best avoided. Raw honey, maple syrup, and agave are less processed and have nutritional attributes. Sure, they are healthy alternatives, but also being high glycemic they should be used sparingly.
Problem with Sugar
There are many not-so-pretty ways that high glycemic foods wreak havoc in the body. Blood sugar swings lead to moodiness, crashing energy as well as more sugar cravings. Collagen and elastin, key factors in firm and beautiful skin, are damaged when the proteins that make up collagen bind with sugar molecules in a process called glycation. The effect is a loss of a youthful plumpness and an acceleration of sagging and wrinkles. Combined with contributing to weight gain, imbalances in the gut, diabetes, and heart disease, the reality of sugar is bleak.
Noticing The Sugar Fix
If you have a major sweets habit, try noticing if you’re using sugar’s addictiveness as an emotional escape. Take note of where you are emotionally every time you reach for that soda or candy bar. In a kind, non judgemental way, become aware of your habits. Keep a sugar journal: where and when do your cravings arise? Then give yourself love. Try adding in substitutes: sip on fragrant herbal tea, take a brisk walk outside, or try out a fun new nail shade. Have healthy energy bites on hand such as crudité and hummus, strawberries, a few squares of dark chocolate, a handful of nuts or unsweetened dried fruit. The herbal sweetener stevia is a great way to jazz up your favorite beverage. Also, try this great recipe for delicious Divine Health Bars below!
Opt for Nutrient Dense Food
Eating unprocessed fuel is key in adjusting your palate. Refined sugar will begin tasting too sweet. Don’t give up if you’re skin has seen better days - eating a rainbow of mega-hydrating, antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, good quality fats, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are basics on your way to repairing and maintaining beautiful skin. Leave out foods with hidden sugars from refined flour such as muffins, white bread and pasta; far more beautifying carbs are oats, brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes.
When it comes to breaking up with sugar, slow and gradual wins the race. But the rewards are worth it: good looks, contentment, and vibrant energy — all naturally yours when you go for nature’s sweets over a fleeting sugar fix.
Divine Health Bars
These bars are not only a delicious treat but they give you focused energy with many health benefits.
Go for organic ingredients whenever possible; not required but I recommend using sprouted dehydrated almonds and walnuts (available at natural food stores or online at blue mountain organics).
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 2 cups or 14 large medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup fair trade raw cacao powder (fair trade cocoa works too)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried tart cherries, soaked briefly in warm water
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (flax meal)
- 2 tablespoons coconut or almond butter
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped raw almonds
Using a food processor blend walnuts until finely ground. Pulse in cacao, cinnamon, and sea salt. While food processor is running add dates one at a time and cherries with ¼ cup of the soaking water. Whirl in the flax meal, coconut or almond butter, and coconut flakes. Stir this mixture with the oats and almonds in a large bowl. Press into a wax paper lined 9x12 pan. Optional: dust with cinnamon or a touch of chili powder Chill and slice into bars. Keeps in the fridge for two weeks.
Get the healthy snacking glow!
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