Spring is a season for change and renewal. During the long and bitter winter months, its easy to fall into poor habits. Warm weather is just around the corner and the emergence of spring fever is in the air. With the copious amount of detox “diets” available to us at the tips of our fingers, it can often become overwhelming and confusing as to which route to follow. What’s good? What’s bad? What works? What doesn’t?
At Holistic Nutrition, we believe in going back to the basics. For us, cleansing isn’t about a 3 week plan that has a start and an end date, but is an opportunity to start making life changes that are sustaining. It is about establishing roots to help us thrive for the summer and fall months to come. This April, help change and renew your health by committing to detoxify and rid your body from all the stuff that makes you sick. For the next few months, we chosen to become your partner in health by dedicating ourselves to help you clean house with daily tips, encouragement, advice and recipes. Starting internally and working our way out, we will help you detoxify your body, mind and space. We hope that you’ll join us in this journey.
SO — what’s first on our list? Sugar.
Detoxing can and should be done through dietary means and supplementing only when necessary. This week, begin with the appropriate phase below and check in with us later for a more comprehensive look at dietary suggestions.
Holistic Nutrition has been waging a war on sugar for quite some time now. A sweet tooth is not cute. Sugar addiction is exactly that… an addiction…and one that we’re seriously hooked on. It has become an epidemic world wide and the processed food industry has been complicit in this for decades. This is the first garbage can that needs to be emptied during our spring cleaning process. First and foremost, you need to be aware of the many dangers sugar poses.
What Is The Bitter Truth About Sugar?
After decades of silence, there is new scientific research linking the increase in sugar consumption to all kinds of chronic diseases. And, no, we're not just talking cavities. Over time, our sugar addiction can lead to some not so sweet chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease and breast, endometrial, and colon cancers. One new study found that normal-weight people who loaded up on sugar doubled their risk of dying from heart disease. Other research pinpoints excess sugar as a major cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver failure.
Many of us have been led to believe that there’s a hierarchy of sugars, as if some are better than others. We tend to forget that sugar is sugar. Generally speaking, no matter what form it comes in, sugar negatively impacts the body in the same way. Unfortunately, manufactures have caught onto this misunderstanding and have dominated the game of disguising sugar in most of the foods we eat. Always read your labels and learn the long list of synonyms that are used to mask plain ol’ sugar:
Agave Nectar, Barbados Sugar, Barley Malt Syrup, Beet Sugar, Blackstrap Molasses, Cane Crystals, Cane Juice Crystals, Castor Sugar, Corn Sweetener, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Crystalline Fructose, Date Sugar, Demerara Sugar, Dextrose, Evaporated Cane Juice, Florida Crystals, Fructose, Fruit Juice, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Galactose, Glucose, Glucose Solids, Golden Sugar, Golden Syrup, Granulated Sugar, Grape Juice Concentrate, Grape Sugar, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Icing Sugar, Invert Sugar, Lactose, Malt Syrup, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Mannitol, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Muscovado Syrup, Organic Raw Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Raw Sugar, Refiners’ Syrup, Rice Syrup, Sorbitol, Sorghum Syrup, Sucrose, Table Sugar, Treacle, Turbinado Sugar, Yellow Sugar.
To face this challenge, we are going to follow a 5 phase process of eliminating sugar … for good. Some of you may be starting at different phases, but to be successful, it is important to remember one thing… like overcoming any addiction, it’s tough… and it’s a process! Take your time. Set Goals. Be accountable. Don’t give up.
Check in with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help you with daily tips, support, reminders and recipes. Share your experience with us. Ask questions and get answers.
If you would like to educate yourself further on the evils of sugar, please be sure to check out this documentary called The Secrets of Sugar by The Fifth Estate (CBC News). You'll be amazed at the truths unmasked!
PHASE 1: Eliminate Sugary Beverages
If you're anything like the average, you slurp down nearly 40 pounds (70,000 calories!) of liquid sugar per year. Sipping sweet, fiberless beverages (think soft drinks, sweetened waters, coffee drinks) spikes your, insulin levels and cues major cravings. Over a period two weeks, cut out all such drinks. If straight H2O bores you, sip seltzer water or unsweetened teas or coffee.
PHASE 2: Quit Sugary Junk Foods
Cakes, cookies, candy bars—give 'em the heave-ho. Also press pause on secretly sugary fare such as granola bars. When you can, opt for fresh food over processed snacks—nearly 80 percent of the latter contains loads of added sugar. First, ID the foods you have the hardest time avoiding (um, cupcakes?) and quit those first, one at a time. Over the next two weeks, edit out all sugary junk. Sub in fruit when your cravings start up. (Try to stick to low fructose fruits to avoid spiking your blood sugar. Some examples are blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapefruit, honeydew melon)
PHASE 3: Reduce Simple Carbs
Chances are, by this point you've halved your sugar dependence—and shed some serious pounds. Next, tackle simple carbs, which act just like straight sugar in your body. Make a list of the refined foods you typically eat (e.g., crackers, white breads, white pastas) and, again, reduce them one by one over the next two weeks. Try starting with pastas: Instead of making two cups of spaghetti, make one cup and top it with a protein-packed lean meat; the next time around, replace that remaining cup with a veggie such as spaghetti squash.
PHASE 4: Sleuth for Hidden Sugars
This one's the trickiest and could take a full two weeks to master. Because hidden sugars are, well, hidden, you could still be ingesting lots of sweet stuff. Keep a critical eye on ingredient labels on condiments, sauces, and salad dressings—all sneaky sugar sources. Also, be leery of "sugar-free" offerings; many are packed with simple carbs instead. (Remember when you’re reading labels, look at the serving size. Also keep track of your DAILY sugar intake, not just that isolated serving. It adds up quickly!)
PHASE 5: Keep It Up (Realistically!)
It's all right to indulge every now and then, but pay close attention to your cravings. A slice of cake might be okay for one woman, but it could push another woman over the addictive edge. If a sweet snack leaves you yearning for more or, worse, bingeing, you'll know you're particularly vulnerable to sugar's powerful lure. Major bright side: Once you've kicked the habit and your taste buds are back to normal, fruits will taste supersweet and satisfying—and massive amounts of added sugar will taste like what they are: sickeningly sweet.
Source: Gretchen Voss, Sugar is Killing Us.