Just a Spoonful of Sugar…
It is a well-known fact that Americans eat too much refined sugar. But even as we understand that, how many of us actually try to reduce the amount of sugar we eat? Taking it further, how hard are we, as parents, willing to try to keep sugar out of our kids’ mouths? A little honesty… my young niece and nephew were over and at every meal were given a “pouch” to suck down so that they could have their servings of fruits and vegetables. I finally took the time to read the nutritional content on one of these pouches and couldn’t believe how much sugar was being fed to these two toddlers every day in the name of “good health”!
Well now that the modern American eats well over a hundred pounds of sugar per year, it is wreaking havoc on our health (and teeth). Naturally occurring unrefined sugar is found in nature along with healthy proteins, fats, and fiber so that it can be slowly digested and absorbed. When we consume refined sugar in isolation our endocrine system rushes to compensate, stressing our hormones. At the same time our body actually feels MORE hungry because the empty calories are low on nutrients so we crave more food to replace our depleted vitamins. A sweet snack on its own is not a horrible thing but the forms and quantity of sugar that we currently eat are grossly out of proportion, causing out of proportion bodies and metabolic diseases like diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, as well as depression and behavioral problems!
We don’t want to set our children up for (organ) failure. Food companies are doing exactly that with cute packages that contain a “whole serving” of fruit because these snacks trick kids into eating them with extra sugar. And don’t forget that bread and crackers have been filled with high fructose corn syrup for years. Oh, yes, check the yogurt, ketchup, ranch dressing, bbq sauce and the frozen stuff too. They contribute to the roughly 3 pounds of sugar the average American eats in a week (200 years ago it was only about 10 pounds in a year!)
This one is a worthy fight. How many people do you know that take hormone drugs because their “thyroid is out of whack”? How many people do you know whose lives have been touched by cancer or heart disease or neuropathy pain in the feet? Sugar is an important issue, do you wonder what it would be like to make a sugar high a special occasion again? What if a cake or cookie was an actual treat for party?
There are great ways to reduce your sugar load. Replace with unrefined sweeteners like maple syrup, raw honey, stevia, molasses, or even date sugar. Unrefined sweeteners have the benefit of having all of their nutrients and trace minerals. Be cautious when buying “healthy sugars” like turbinado or sucanat as they are frequently still filtered sugar that has had its nutrients stripped except for a little coloring from added molasses.
A few tips
- Don’t keep junk sweets in the house “in case” you need them for an event. You will find almost any occasion can become special and those treats and snacks will be eaten.
- Plan your meals – including deserts.Eat a special desert only once a week. Check out the website www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com for delicious dessert recipes that utilize beans, healthy fats and natural sweeteners.
- Appease the kid’s cravings with a handful of cashews, a naturally sweet nut.
- Adults can try brushing their teeth immediately after dinner to satisfy that craving for something sweet.
- If eating away from home, pack a lunch. Sugar loves to hide in the bread, sauces, even the meat that they serve in school lunchrooms.
- When you go to a party, eat a healthy meal immediately beforehand. Don’t arrive with a big appetite. Give your children an option between two choices of sugary snack when they arrive so they don’t go hog wild with the sugar.
Finally, don’t stress over occasional sweets and treats. Sugar makes food taste good and good food makes life better. Ease into it, completely restricting sweets could blow back and cause you to fall of the wagon, it can also make kids try to go behind your back to get sugar. So remember to occasionally have some treats! Enjoy every bite!
- Our lovely friend and customer, Christi Hodill