I was packing a school snack for my step-daughter the other day. Seaweed crisps, dates, strawberries and a vegan marshmallow for a surprise treat, which is super rare. You’ll have to notice that my blog also rarely includes sweets.
For whatever reason, she got into her head that dates are “just full of sugar”. SO I had to have the *birds and bees* conversation about sugar. Good sugar, bad sugar and how it’s processed.
If you’re struggling with how this sugar game works, there are some pointers to keep in mind in the grocery store and out on the town when you’re met with uneducated comments on sugar.
Remember, not all sugars affect our insulin levels, but some do. They also interfere with our overall energy levels. Be sure to meet with a medical professional if you’re suffering from Diabetes or any other illness which may be adversely affected by changing your sugar intake.
As a cancer survivor, my road to recovery did not include any processed sugars or foods in a box. I am 10 years free and clear and I attribute a lot of my success to the respect I’ve paid my body since diagnosis.
Sugars are simple carbs. They contain about 4 calories of energy in each gram. This energy fuels your brain and nervous system – precious operating systems of our beautiful bodies.
Complex carbs are not broken down easily and take ages to process while spiking your insulin. I call them “dead calories”.
Natural VS Processed Sugars
Natural sugars are found in a high amount in most fruits. Sugar is made of two components – fructose and glucose. These two components are IDENTICAL in fruit and in pastries/pop/candies etc…make no mistake.
The ratios of fructose and glucose are nearly the same in fruit and table sugar with fruit being about 40-55% fructose. (Ever wonder why your kids LOVE bananas but not kiwis?). This does not mean that the sugar composition in cake is the same as fruit.
Fruit has added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fiber – candy/cakes/sweets are a nutritional wasteland.
A half a cup of strawberries has around 3.5g of sugar while ice cream by the same measure has around 15g!!!! Not to mention the added bad fats from dairy.
Neither type of sugars are necessarily “bad” for you however, your body does process refined sugars a lot differently than natural sugars. FRUCTOSE breaks down in the liver and has no insulin response. GLUCOSE breaks down in the stomach and requires insulin to be metabolized.
Insulin spikes are not good because over time it leads to fat gain. Unhealthy fats to boot! This can lead to sugar crashes, hypoglycemia, which also triggers your body to believe it is hungry even when it is not.
Natural sugars are found in foods like milk and fruit but this doesn’t mean you should be eating a whole tonne of them. Especially if you’re eating a diet that is mainly out of restaurants, packaged and pre-made foods and lacking in fresh green leafy veggies. The standard diet of people today does not hold any space for going crazy on fruits all day!! Where the average diet is concerned, women and men should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons per day, respectively.
For me? Well, I eat a vegan diet full of fresh fruits and veggies. Never out of packages and rarely at restaurants. If I’ve ever cut out fruit I’ve never lost a pound or inch!
Health foods to avoid
Running through the grocery store and stocking up on quick “healthy” snacks for you or your family? Think twice and avoid these items:
– Granola bars – Here’s my RECIPE for a healthy homemade version packed with protein
– Fruit juices/from concentrate
– “Real Fruit” jellies of any kind
– Sports drinks
– Microwaveable popcorn
– Powerbars and all types of bars found at supplement stores that are not NATURAL. I reommend Vega bars.
– Flavoured yogurt (the kind with radioactive fruit fillings)
– Canned soups / boxed lasagna & pasta dishes
– Pre-packaged apple sauce/puddings
– Cheese strings
– Fruit leather
aaaand obviously: cookies, muffins, cake pops etc…
We all know that feeding ourselves and our family through a drive-through window is insanity – I feel sorry for those folks who don’t feel like they have the time to do the right thing by their bodies. You also have to know that eating out of a Starbucks Coffee pre-made food display is equally horrific. I’ve got a few things for you to carry around that are amazing for your body and mind.
Don’t eat out of windows!
– Baby carrots
– Seaweed crisps
– Trail mix
– Natural beef/chicken/turkey/ Jerky or Vegan Primal Strips
– Vega, meal supplement powder with water or almond milk
– Nut crackers and hummus
The best thing to remember is; if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. We have become so accustomed to eating unnatural foods and thinking we can “diet” the pounds, bad skin, rotted teeth, damaged hair, insomnia and digestive issues away. We can’t. If you treat your body like garbage…….garbage in, garbage out is the saying. You cannot exercise away poor nutrition and if you are prepared and aware you’ll never have to eat out of a drive through window (aka the trash can) again.
For more information to add to your library of health check out these links:
That Sugar Film – LINK HERE
Article, Glucose & Cancer – LINK HERE
Article, Kids & Sugar – LINK HERE
Article, Sugar Addiction – LINK HERE
Article, Sugar & Cocaine – LINK HERE
Article, Sugar & Weight Gain – LINK HERE
Article, Your Brain on Sugar – LINK HERE