Holiday meals. Holiday parties. Leftover food from holiday meals and parties. Throw cold weather and an indoor, sedentary lifestyle into the mix and you have a recipe for a sick body. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way at all!
There are lots of reasons to love the Holiday season. Whether it’s time with family and friends, a chance to cook, or a time to indulge your sweet tooth. Who doesn’t love Christmas through New Year’s Day?
The problem is that on the days after New Year’s it sinks in that we’ve eaten too much of the wrong stuff. That’s why we tend to make resolutions. We feel crummy!
So, here’s a radical idea: eat the right stuff, and discover how easy, and amazing it can be! You can satisfy that sweet tooth and enjoy yourself at the same time! Stick to quality and healthy ingredients and you will be surprised how good it tastes and how great you feel!
What we’re going to give you here is not an “alternative approach” to diet and nutrition- it’s a new platform for taking care of our body which begins with a twofold mental approach.
- This is not new information. It’s as old as the concept of eating. Only recently, chronologically speaking, has our food been so radically altered that we need to address these issues.
- How we view our diet will determine how easy it is for us to adjust our diet. Recently I saw the phrase, “Eating better got easier when, ‘I can’t have that’, turned to, ‘I don’t want that’.” Eating right is a great habit.
Sugar is something that trickles into our diet during the holiday season. Okay, maybe we turn that faucet on too high ourselves. Whatever we justify during this time, we need to be aware of what we’re doing to our body.
A 2015 study shows that Americans consume 126 grams of sugar each day. That’s the equivalent of 32 teaspoons.[i] Much of this makes its way into our diet through juices, soda, and carb-filled foods.
BUT DOESN’T OUR BODY NEED SOME SUGAR?
Sugar itself is a simple carbohydrate. Our body needs it to operate. Every cell in our body needs sugar to operate. We need it to create energy and it can even help brain function.[ii]
“The sugar from fruit will get into the bloodstream at a steady rate as the fruits digests in the stomach. Fruits also provide great sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber, so fruit sources of sugar are great for the brain and your body.”[iii]
Yes, we need sugar. Our body runs on sugar- it’s one of the best food sources to drive us. In fact, there are eight types of sugar that are essential.
Glucose, xylose, galactose, fructose, mannose, N-Acetyl galactosa, N-Acetyl glucosamine, and N Acetyl neuraminic are all examples of essential sugars that our body does not make. We must eat them.
The problem is, the main source of sugar in our diet isn’t one of these essential sugars, it’s sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose is a hybrid of fructose and glucose. These “simple sugars” break down quickly and provide a very quick increase in blood sugar. The natural, healthy sugars listed above have been over-processed and altered so that they’re not what they were originally intended to be, and our body rejects them.
Complex carbohydrates, which come from starchy vegetables, breads, cereals, rice and grains are processed slower, and more safely absorbed.
What we need to avoid are the “added sugars,” excessive juices, sweet drinks, candy, extra sugar (sucrose) in your coffee, and virtually everything with high fructose corn syrup.
Even many of the well-known, store-bought, prepackaged substitutes include toxic ingredients.
THE RESULTS OF EXTRA SUCROSE
We’ve heard for decades that sugar is bad for our teeth, and makes us put on weight. Both are true, but there is so much more that we’re doing when we binge on the wrong kinds of sugar.
Sugar can cause you to become insulin resistant, which leads to diabetes. It can also overload your liver, which can lead to potential liver damage. That’s too high a price to pay for indulging your sweet tooth.
Too much sugar and fructose will affect your metabolic system as well, causing weight gain, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and increased LDL (low-density lipoprotein), elevated blood sugar (diabetes), elevated triglycerides- even high blood pressure.[vii]
And make no mistake, sugar can be as addictive as alcohol.[viii]
THESE CHOICES WILL SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH BUT WON’T RUIN YOUR HOLIDAYS!
We all love our holiday treats. Just because you’re avoiding excessive sugar (sucrose) doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorites. Here are some sugar substitutes that will sweeten, and probably enhance some of those traditional dishes.
Maple Syrup is a flavorful sugar substitute that is also a healthier alternative. What you need to find is a 100% pure maple syrup, not the factory made, fructose filled syrup that stores sell for you to put on pancakes and waffles. Look at the label. Added chemicals are added problems. It may cost a little bit more but it goes a long way, will taste great, and not have the detrimental side effects of table sugar. As a general rule, you want to use ¾ cup of syrup to every 1 cup of sugar (75%). And let’s face it, maple syrup has a dynamite taste.
Coconut sugar not only tastes great but includes vital nutrients like, Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium. It has a lower glycemic index than sucrose.[ix]
Manuka Honey is a wonderful alternative to sugar and corn syrup. It also has a variety of health benefits, including: promotion of growth of friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract. It’s good for your skin. It reduces homocysteine levels which promotes heart health. Honey helps sooth coughs. It fights viruses and bolsters nutrition because it includes enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Honey tames allergies, and even prevents tooth decay.[x]
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in certain fruits that is a low calorie, natural sweetener. It’s not quite as sweet as sugar, but it has about 6% of the calories. It doesn’t spike blood sugars or insulin levels and has no effect on biomarkers like cholesterol or triglycerides.[xi] Studies show that it is safe but, like all sugar alcohols, consuming too much at one time can cause digestive issues.[xii]
Xylitol is another sugar alcohol whose sweetness is comparable to sugar. Dentists have been recommending it because it seems to have dental health benefits.[xiii] Like Erythritol it doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels[xiv] and, in fact may improve bone density and aid in preventing osteoporosis.[xv] The biggest drawback of Xylitol is that it is toxic to dogs, so I’ll need to keep it in a safe place
One of my new favorite sweeteners is Stevia, which is extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a plant that has been known for its sweetness and medicinal value for centuries. It is many times sweeter than sugar and has virtually no calories. While the sugar alcohols have no effect on blood sugar, Stevia actually lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics.[xvi] It can even lower blood pressure when it gets high.[xvii]
A GIFT FROM US
If you are looking for recipes for desserts that your family will love, but will not add to increased sugar and an expanding waistline, look no further. You can click here and redeem A Sweet Gift: the 2016 edition of Healthy Desserts, a recipe eBook loaded with delicious alternatives for your holiday gatherings… or just because.
What you will find, as you cut the extra sugar from your diet is that you feel better, have a clearer head, and none of the burnout you feel after a sugar high. You’ll also find that the alternatives are tasty and satisfy your sweet tooth as much as the foods that were only making you sick.