Is “healthy” sugar a real thing?
Damn good question, glad you asked! Here’s the skinny on sugar – our bodies need it. Back in the caveman days, sweet foods indicated safe options. Bitter foods tended to be toxic. We are ingrained to naturally gravitate toward sweet foods and have that comforting feeling that what we’re eating is safe. Additionally, sugar is a source of energy (we touched a bit on sugar metabolism on this post).
It is our nature to want, crave, and require sugar. Our bodies know this, and unfortunately, the food industry is *well* aware of this.
Here’s some great news – nature has given us all we need. Truly. If we just default to eating what has always been intended for us, we’d be good to go. Yes, it isn’t the sexy and convenient route, but quite often the best results come from doing things that don’t come easy at first.
I’ve had several requests for recipes and what can we use in place of processed, white sugar.
Here’s my take on this – I recommend going cold turkey for a few days. A week if you can manage it, and a super huge kudos if you want to give your life a 30-day reboot.
Sugar is sugar, no matter what form we take it in. While some natural sweeteners have benefits, they ALL have downfalls.
However, if you absolutely positively cannot get by without adding some sweetness to some of your daily go-to items, I have a few questions, and a few suggestions.
Why do you need to add sweetener to your stuff? Is it coffee? Are you drinking coffee because it’s really a vehicle for the sugary stuff you’re adding to it? Are you drinking coffee because you want an energy boost? How’s that crash after working out for you?
Are you adding it to food, like fruit, oats, cereal and yogurt? What are you willing to try instead of that stuff (for instance, ever tried replacing your morning oats with quiona)?
If you’re adding sugar to fruit (like strawberries), do yourself a favor and knock it off. I also hear about people adding it to sweet potatoes. SWEET potatoes, really? Come on. Let your body re-set. Give yourself a break. Eat natural food like it’s been given to us – naturally.
Yeah, it sucks at first. It’s hard to change. Our brains resist change. Remember when we talked about how our brains are wired for reward? We’re programmed to be lazy, and yet we find fulfillment by rising to a challenge.
I contemplated adding these to the next email, but here’s what I’m going to do instead – I’m going out of town all weekend and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get another update to you all, so we’ll start with this list of recommendations.
Please bear in mind my FIRST recommendation is to cut yourself off added sweeteners altogether. If you must have something sweet, then go with fruit. Again, it’s better to have two pieces of real, delicious, ripe fruit than to go to town on a bag of candy.
My #1 recommendation for an all-natural alternative to processed, white sugar is:
Here’s the deal – there will be pros and cons to ANYTHING we use to replace sugar, because in the end, it has a very, very similar result on our brains and bodies. It causes sugar spikes, and we still get that sugar high. Also, honey is great – and it’s also sweeter than sugar. Additionally, honey has also been bastardized by the food industry, so it’s important to note where your honey is coming from, and what kind of honey you’re getting.
Personally, I go with a locally crafted organic honey, and I switch between Orange Blossom, Mangrove, Almond, Wildflower and All-Season honey. The Mangrove honey is my personal favorite – a great balance of sweetness and I totally dig that it comes with honey salt. I can repurpose that salt many ways.
So again, my challenge to you is to go on a cleanse from sugar and replacements altogether. Stick to natural, whole foods. Sure, honey is a whole food, but switching from refined, white sugar to honey is kinda like switching from heroine to methadone. It’s not fixing the problem.
Here are your action steps for today:
Ask yourself why you’re craving sugar. Is your energy low? Are you bored? Feeling sad? Are you drinking enough water?
What are you adding sweeteners to? Could you skip that thing to bypass the sugar use?
We’ll get into the other natural alternatives to refined white sugars, but I charge you with this – review the above questions and answer them honestly. Truly, you deserve to live a good, abundant, prosperous and healthy life. Feed your brain good stuff, and the choices you make about the things you put into your body will follow that healthy pattern ♥
All my best,