Independence Day - Celebrate Your Freedom from Sugar

Sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us are actually addicted and don’t even know it. It’s scary but true. And summer can be an especially tough time to avoid the white stuff, with all the barbecues, baseball games and beach trips. But this month, in honor of the July 4th holiday, we invite you to declare your independence and celebrate your freedom from sugar.

Rejecting sugar can be a frightening process. Like any addiction, it can cause physical as well as mental and emotional symptoms—you don’t need that kind of dynamite in your life! But you can take charge of the situation. All it takes is a little knowledge and some pre-planning, and you can liberate yourself and your family from the roller coaster ride that sugar causes.

First of all, don’t beat yourself up. Most of us have been eating too much since we were kids—through no particular fault of our own (Fruit Loops anyone!). And the problem isn’t getting any better. In fact, a new study conducted on more than 800 children ages 6 months and 23 months, suggests that 85 percent of children eat added sugar on any given day, and those between 19 months and 23 months were found to consume on average more than seven teaspoons of added sugar daily. That’s more than is recommended for adults!  (And we’re not talking about naturally occurring sugars from fruit, but sugars intentionally added to foods to make them taste sweeter). So, eliminating as much sugar as possible is one of the best things you can do for your own health and that of your family.

But it’s not easy to just go cold turkey—remember sugar is everywhere and potentially more addictive than many drugs. So here are some strategies to help you shut the door on sugar.

Get cracking: Do some soul searching and figure out what will motivate you—maybe you want to lose weight, have more energy, live longer or give your kids a sugar-free foundation. Whatever your reason, tuning in to what gets you moving forward and thinking positively will help you stay on course.  And realize you might have a few setbacks. Forgive yourself, remember why you are doing this, and get back on track.

Don’t blow up: If you’re having trouble getting started or feel yourself trying to rationalize things (it’s just one piece of cake—how much harm can it do?), get your focus on. Start by learning what sugar is doing to your body. It can cause a spike in your blood sugar that damages internal organs, it will likely make you gain weight and age prematurely (who needs that?), it causes imbalanced hormone levels, leaches minerals from bones and teeth, messes with your microbiome and saps your energy. Now there’s some powerful imaging! Keep these ideas top-of-mind and it will be easier to turn down that sweet dessert and skip the cookie aisle at the supermarket.

Snip your ties to sugar: Many people turn to sugar-laden foods as a friend to ease the frustration of a bad day, the hurt of a disappointment or the pain of a full-blown loss. Learn what your triggers are and come up with some strategies for when you feel like you might cave into cravings.

One of the keys to success here is learning how to handle stress. Everybody has a tough day now and then. But today’s hectic lifestyles can take you to the very edge--big project due at work, a sick kid, another needing a ride to soccer practice, and don’t forget about dinner. It is enough to make anyone explode. All this stress gives you an adrenaline high, but the resulting crash could send you scrambling for the candy counter.

Instead, be prepared with tactics that can help you calm down. It can be as simple as learning how to breathe properly with your whole diaphragm, practicing mindfulness by just living in the moment or being prepared with healthy snack ideas and low-glycemic index foods that can even out your blood sugar.

Re-think your diet: For many years we have been told that a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet is best, but the reality is that this diet has contributed to the obesity crisis and our sugar dependence. Now the prevailing nutrition wisdom is that a low carb, healthy fat, low sugar diet is the way to go. But there is so much sugar hidden in foods, you need to become a food detective to keep it all straight. First of all, you might not think of pasta, bread and rice as sugary foods, but guess what? They quickly turn to sugar in your digestive system. Even your healthy salad is a problem if you pour on the bottled salad dressing, which can contain loads of added sugar.

The best approach-- stick with whole, unprocessed foods  and a healthy eating plan with a good balance of protein (think grass-fed beef, range-free chicken , sustainably caught fish, or organic eggs), a wide variety of organic vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, coconut oils or avocado (skip the processed dairy and cheese, please) at every meal. If you need a sweet treat, eat organic berries (as patriotic as it comes) or try a low sugar snack like Shift Bars, as a tasty pick-me-up (your kids will love them too!).

Life after sugar: While some people are certainly more sensitive to sugar than others, it is possible that you are eating far more than you realize and your ability to recognize the difference may be impaired--the more sugar you eat, the more tolerance you have. Don’t let the sugar do the talking! There are plenty of great foods to enjoy without compromising your health. If you don’t believe it, check out the Shift Bars Sugar-Free Sweet Treats recipe book, which is full of great treats for your July 4th barbecue, by the way  (and the Pumpkin Doughnuts are every bit as delicious as they sound).  

So go ahead declare independence.  Once you break the cycle you can take that power back and you’ll feel like fireworks every day all year! Happy 4th of July!

 

Sources

Toddlers consume more ‘added sugar’ than the recommended amount for adults. Tech Times https://www.techtimes.com/articles/229867/20180611/toddlers-consume-more-added-sugar-than-the-recommended-amount-for-adults.htm

Freedom from sugar addiction. Natural Health Enthusiast. http://www.naturalhealthenthusiast.com/freedom-from-sugar-addiction/

Cut carbs, quit sugar, feel fabulous! It’s a food revolution that’ll make you slimmer and healthier and it’s blissfully simple. The Daily Mail. By Karen Thomsen author of Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction. At http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-3672595/Cut-carbs-quit-sugar-feel-fabulous-s-food-revolution-ll-make-slimmer-happier-s-blissfully-simple.html#ixzz4I3p8vp1P