Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to break free from the sugar cycle

Are you are slave to sugar? Do you have to start your day with something sweet? I know the feeling! When you see cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats at work do you HAVE to grab one before you can concentrate on anything else?

Years ago, I loved starting my day with a chocolate raised doughnut or sugary sweet cereal (until I realized I was bouncing off walls only to come crashing down an hour later!)

I have finally broken the sugar addiction cycle!
Here's how...
I cleaned up my diet. It was easier than you think. I stopped buying processed foods--no more shortcuts. I only bought whole, fresh foods.

When I craved something sweet, I would eat the opposite... a lean protein like turkey, nuts or plain yogurt. Apparently, it takes 3 full days to break strong cravings for sugar. Don't keep ANYTHING sweet in the house. No more little candies in your purse either.

Pay attention to your body. Once I got rid of all processed sugar, I noticed my joints didn't hurt, my skin cleared up & I actually had more energy.

If I do want to eat something sweet (or if I have friends over... we eat this "healthier" version of a sundae) I make a stevia sundae.
I take plain, lowfat yogurt (Greek yogurt if you want it extra creamy & thick) add a few drops of liquid vanilla stevia--a zero calorie herb (I bought mine in the supplement section of Whole Foods.) Mix the stevia into the yogurt until it is sweet enough for you.
Add frozen or fresh mixed berries, a few dark chocolate chips or crushed raw almonds or other nuts. I promise you'll be surprised how good it is! You can have it for breakfast with granola or add the dark chocolate or dried fruit for a dessert!
Check out the photo in the recipe section of my breakfast parfait.

I used to always order dessert after dinner. Now I look for an interesting cup of tea--there are so many amazing flavors! As I write this, I am sipping Acai/Blueberry, loose leaf, white tea--no sweetener needed!
I also read labels...
I've noticed more & more food companies are offering "no sugar added" products. Steer clear of high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, syrup, glucose.

You can't bake with Stevia, so I usually turn to unprocessed, whole foods to sweeten cookies & cupcakes. I'll use a ripe banana, maple syrup, honey or agave, but I cut the amount suggested so there is a hint of sweetness.

The processed sugar subject comes on a day the American Heart Association issued its first ever guidelines for daily added sugar.
AHA says women should eat no more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories or 25 grams) of added processed sugar a day and most men, no more than 9 teaspoons (about 150 calories or 37 grams).
One can of regular soda (130 calories & 8 teaspoons of added sugar) and you've already gone over that amount.
The group says most Americans eat 22 teaspoons a day--so you can see how many people are addicted to the sugar cycle.