Healthy Snack: Almond Butter and Goji Bites
Once upon a time, grocery shopping used to be easy. There used to be one brand of ketchup, one brand of sugar, and one brand of bread. Life was easy. Nowadays, we are inundated with choices and hundreds of different brands of products, which are all more or less, the same.
Big companies like Nabisco, Kraft and Nestle have gone out of their way to rename or disguise sugar in their refined and denatured products. Instead of the word “sugar” on the ingredient list, we now see words like “cane sugar”, “sugar in the raw”, “fructose”, “dextrose”, “sucrose” and finally artificial sweeteners like, “aspartame.”
Each of these sugars and artificial sweeteners are chemically manufactured differently and therefore have often detrimental effects to the human body when consumed in excess. Don’t be fooled by clever marketing claims like “zero calorie sweetener” or get lost in catch phrases like “sugar-free” or “lightly sweetened”; all fake sugars are dangerous!
Unfortunately, you are already at a disadvantage when trying to “eat heathy” because sugar and artificial sweeteners can now be found in over 80% of the products in any given supermarket! It’s hiding in unsuspecting products like baby formula (yikes!), granola bars, condiments, cereals, bread, chips, nut butters, yogurts, sports drinks, energy bars and more.
Various health organizations have recommended that adults stick to 7-9 teaspoons of sugar a day, but sadly just one Snapple (or similarly sweet drink) will put you over the limit in a matter of minutes.
Remember this formula the next time you go shopping, 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. This will help you get an idea of how much sugar is lurking in your snack or beverage and how to avoid taking it too far.
The impact of sugar on our health is well documented. If you look at the rise in chronic disease (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, autoimmunity) it correlates closely with our increased sugar consumption over the past 60-80 years.
If you are looking to lose weight, tone up or simply feel better in your own skin, addressing sugar intake is the most effective and powerful step you can take. Excess glucose intake (from carbohydrates to sweet treats) is stored as fat in our body and leaves us craving more of the same denatured/refined sweet treats.
Here are my three tips for breaking your sugar addiction:
1) Eat FAT: Fat helps to regulate blood glucose levels and curb cravings. Look for good fats that are contained in avocados, nuts/seeds, fish, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, and hemp oil.
2) Nature’s Candy: I generally recommend 1-3 pieces of fruit per day for the average adult. Through fruits and sweet veggies, nature provides all the sweetness we need in order to thrive and eat really well. Opt for fresh seasonal fruits like mango and pineapple for an incredible treat!
3) Protein Pill: Whether you are choosing plant based protein in the form of chia/hemp seeds, spirulina, beans/rice or animal proteins like fish, eggs, pastured animal meat, know that protein intake not only helps to act as the building blocks for your body but also helps to keep you satiated and full. Make sure to have some form of bio-available protein with every meal and snack to curb cravings and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Coconut Palm Sugar Sweetened Granola
*Elisa Haggarty is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Natural Foods Chef living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Elisa empowers people who are fed up with sugar cravings and chronic health ailments to wake up and realize their full potential. You can book your initial health consultation with Elisa at www.culinaryfarmacy.com and start your healing journey today!