So it is inevitable, you are going to eat sweets. It’s the holidays, right? Sugar is how we celebrate, how we show love, how we indulge. Fortunes have been made on sugar. Our culture is so inescapably sugar coated, that it is often hard to pass on the sweets without being seen as rude. Sugar is just what we do. We love our sweets.
So how can you navigate the neighbor gifts, the holiday parties, the sweet gifts given with sweet intentions? Well, quite simply, you can’t. I would just encourage you to indulge mindfully. Here are 5 tips to help you survive the frosted fun of holiday indulgences.
For me, it is easier to pass on something when I know exactly what it does in my body, when I can weigh the detriment against the pleasure and make an informed decision. Generalities won’t do it. You can tell yourself “a second serving of pie and I won’t be able to button my pants in the morning.” It might stop you. Or you can stare down a brownie and tell yourself, “the sugar in that will spike my blood sugar, tax my liver, fertilize cancer cells, leach nutrients from my body, impair my immune system, and, oh yeah, I won’t be able to button my pants in the morning.” That may sound extreme, but the more you look into it, the more and more sugar begins to look like a poison. Consider this:
Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has compiled a list of 146 reasons on ‘how sugar is ruining your health’ in her book Lick the Sugar Habit. Here are some of them:
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis”
(Taken from this article on Mike Adam’s “the Health Ranger” site, NaturalNews.com
Now, while thinking these facts and staring at that brownie, I might still have a bite…but it would have to be one hell of a brownie!
While browsing the holiday spread, you might consider drinking water and bypassing the sodas, the ciders, the sparklies. It is easier to overdo the sugar consumption when consuming beverages because you don’t have the fiber, the bulk, to signal you with satiation cues. In addition, fructose–the sugar typically most abundant in beverages like sodas and juices–does not suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin, leaving you still looking for something to satisfy that sweet tooth. Once again, be mindful. If you have decided to celebrate with some sweets, would you rather drink your “allowance” in once glass of bubbly, or opt instead to sample the munchables?
3. Know your alternatives.
I love my sweets, like anyone else. I am a recovering sugar addict. Seriously, I used to “shoot” sugar packets at restaurants while waiting for my meal. Now, when the need for sweet hits, I don’t deny myself. I just use different tools to get the job done. In fact, when I am required to cook with sugar, I run to the store…I don’t even have it on my shelves. I am friends with enough other options, I can almost always get by with a healthy alternative. Try them out, find your favorites, keep them on hand. Make yourself some healthy snacks or desserts so you can indulge without crashing your diet.
click here to meet some sugar substitutes.
As a side note, do not substitute Bad with Worse. The diet soda full of chemical sweeteners is not a sound substitute for sugar!
4. Watch your portions.
Taste if you will. Oftentimes, I have a bite of my husband’s dessert, or a tiny slice of this or that. I just need the taste. When you get that bite in your mouth, don’t swallow right away….savor. Put your fork down and experience the flavor. Stretch out the experience. Enjoy it.
It may sound silly or simple, but I tell you…it works. If you indulge, do penance the next morning with a big so-healthy-its-nasty smoothie. It will make you think before you indulge, “it is worth it?” And if it is worth it, so be it! You can just help your body recover with a mega dose of good-for-you greens.
I encourage you to do your homework. Try not to use the holidays as justification to tank your health. Check out the chart below. Be mindful of how much sugar you consume daily. Also, I recommend the movie Hungry for Change. And if you have an hour and a half to burn on a heavy lecture, listen to “Sugar, the Bitter Truth” by Robert H.Lustig, M.D. of the UCSF Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
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