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Thanks for stopping by! I'm young, I'm in love with my man, and I'm a mommy. We're busy, but happy. I'll share with you how to eat natural, healthy, whole foods while balancing family life! Learn to love your food, it will love you back!
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post Series- Sweets and Being "Whole"

I’ll have to admit, letting go of sugar has been THE SINGLE hardest thing I’ve done tried to do for my health! I was at my best right before I got pregnant with my third baby, then everything went out the window.  My baby is now almost 11 months old and I still struggle with my sweet cravings.

Why should we avoid excess sugar?
I think we can all agree that sugar in excess is not good for our bodies.  Did you know that sugar can make you fat more than fat can make you fat? When you consume a sugary snack or beverage, it causes a sugar rush or sugar high.  This causes the release of insulin, which accumulates fat. Then, increased insulin only drives you to feel hunger once again and eat.  So, you see, it’s a vicious cycle.

Sugar is addictive.  IT IS A DRUG (in my opinion)! Try going without it for a few days, you will have withdrawal. Sweeteners of all types, even natural sweeteners which are a little easier on your body, are still habit-forming and leave you wanting more.

Think about the naturally sweet foods in nature; mainly fruits and vegetables. How often do we eat those to satisfy our sweet tooth?  We may not think of those as foods that would curb a craving, because, the truth is that there is NO food in nature that can compete with the sweetness of refined sugars. Real foods (those fruits and veggies) lose their appeal and we end up eating less of them, or even worse, none at all!

So, what can you do about it?
There is good news for a sugar addiction.  It’s absolutely reversible. By eating the naturally sweet foods found in nature, rather than the sickeningly sweet food-like substances, we can combat the effects of excessive sugar in our bodies.  Here are some other tips:
Drink lots of water
Chances are, if you are drinking something other than water, on a regular basis, you are adding a lot of extra sugar in your diet. I don’t even buy fruit juice.  My husband makes the argument that it’s 100% juice, but when the juice is extracted from the pulp and natural fiber of the whole food, all you are basically left with is the sugar; plain and simple. So, we drink water 99% of the time.

Make breakfast healthy
I think we pretty much tackled this in the whole grain post.  Learn to eat and enjoy hot cereals, granola, homemade pancake mixes, etc. rather than sweetened processed boxed cereals.

Cook and bake from scratch
I think this is probably the most essential when trying to switch to a whole foods diet.  When you cook from scratch, you can control what goes into whatever it is you are making, especially the amount of sugar.  When you stop to look at the ingredient list in packaged food, you’d be amazed at the added sugar in thing you wouldn’t think of.  It is really easy to make your own mixes for many of the pre-packaged mixes and foods we are used to buying at the store.  

Increase protein and fat
When you consume protein and fat, you are satisfied longer, and you aren’t left on the downside of a sugar rush craving more.  Just remember to make sure to limit animal protein, getting much of it from plant sources, and choose healthy fats like avocados, olives, olive oil and tropical oils, and nuts.

Quality, not quantity
If you do choose to splurge on a sugary sweet, make sure it’s worth it!  You are more likely to savor and eat a smaller portion of a high quality chocolate bar than eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Special Occasions
I has been startling to me as I have watched my oldest child go to kindergarten this year. She has come home from school many days telling me they had CANDY for a snack! Really, candy for a snack?  I can see handing it out occasionally for a child’s birthday, but certainly not more than once a week.

This is part of the problem, why there are so many sugar addicts.  Having something sweet has become the norm, not the exception. Define what your own special occasions are and try to stick to them.  

Keep it out of the house
I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  If you don’t buy it you, you won’t eat it.

Here are some alternatives when you want just a bit of sweetener, maybe in some oatmeal, tea or pancakes: raw organic honey, real maple syrup, stevia, turbinado sugar, molasses, brown rice syrup.

Becoming “ Whole”
Just about any food that is available has been processed to some degree. When trying to make good food choices, think about two things and use this rule of thumb: Can it be easily traced back to its source and how different is this food than when it was found in nature? Fresh produce is pretty easy to imagine, even breads and meat.  Twinkies, on the other hand, not so much.

When shopping for food, get in the habit of reading labels.  Look for (and try to avoid) ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dyes, artificial sweeteners and flavors, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and hydrogenated oils.  

When I go grocery shopping, the contents of my basket are probably AT LEAST 75% produce.  That is where I do the bulk of my shopping at. Once or twice a month I shop another grocery store with a great bulk section.  When I go there, my shopping cart mostly consists of lots of bags filled with things like steel cut oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. It is rare to find pre-packaged items in my cart.
My challenge to you is to choose one thing about your diet and make change today!  If you need to go back through my previous posts DO!  Change one thing at a time and over the course of a week, month,  year or more, you’ll find your habits are changing for the better.

Thanks for letting me share with you! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments, or you can also visit me at my blog, Sweet Luvin' In The Kitchen.

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