A Spoonful of Sugar...
“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down-wown, the medicine go down…” The truth behind this iconic song is that sugar has an uncanny ability to improve the taste of any food, even bitter medicine. Sugar is magical, but we often over do it, by using sugar as a coping mechanism for stress. Plus, we have the food industry adding refined sugar to our favourite food products as a preservative, leaving the consumer consciously and unconsciously eating a lot of it!
As an experiment, in my household, we decided to cut out sugar for a month to uncover some of the hidden sources of sugar and how much we actually depend on it. However, eliminating sugar for an extended period of time is not for everyone. For one, this elimination can be unsustainable because sugar is literally everywhere, which means it is easy to slip up and feel guilty and stressed out about your mistake. Secondly, sugar is not the ONLY reason we are unhealthy. We can be unhealthy for lots of different reasons: we are frequent flyers to restaurants and fast food joints, we eat too much processed food, or we sit too long. So, the takeaway message is: if you want to try your own no added sugar challenge, remember to be gentle with yourself and to do it as an experiment, not as the be all and end all of healthy living.
While on my own journey of no added sugar, I found myself accidentally consuming sugar out of habit. Gum and mints oh my, using ketchup unconsciously to dunk my fries in at dinner, and having a glass of wine…In my defence, I am being extreme, as my challenge includes no juice, no natural sugar (honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup), no artificial sweeteners and no refined sugar. Naturally occurring sugar is totalling fine, which includes carbohydrates, dairy, fruit and vegetables..yes even starchy potatoes and corn. Please don’t start avoiding vegetables and fruit because of their sugar content!
Not ready to take on the full no added sugar challenge? Start with cutting down sugar step by step. For instance, if you add sugar to your morning coffee cut it in half and see how that goes. Then the next week cut that half in half again. It takes your taste buds time to adjust, so again be gentle with yourself. Swap out candy for dried fruit and enjoy sparkling water with lemon instead of pop or juice. One major benefit of reducing sugar: balanced blood sugar and no 3pm slump!
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