October 1, 2014

Whole Body Beautiful: Sugar, How Sweet It is ... NOT!

 

Like heroine, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.”

—William Duffy, author of “Sugar Blues”

PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA FALLON MINDEL

Whole Body Beautiful: Sugar, How Sweet It is ... NOT!

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Mousse can be a good alternative to refined sugar.

The sweetest day of the year is almost here and what's sweeter than being healthy? Being sweet and healthy without refined sugar? Much easier said than done, but so worth it.

Read on to shed some light on one of the most addictive substances out there and what we can do to move forward without it!

What is it about sugar that we all love, crave, and desire? Is it that sweet delectable taste? Is it the feeling that it gives us when it hits our tongue? Or is it that we find it too hard to stop and just can’t stop craving it?

The United States is the world’s largest consumer and importer of sweeteners and sugar. The average American now consumes on average100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year (about 30 teaspoons a day!).

WHAT IS SUGAR, REALLY?

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. It occurs naturally in some foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains and beans, the types of sugar that have all the good stuff in them: vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes. When we eat them they break down and enter our blood stream where they can be burned in a smooth and balanced way. It gives us lasting energy and also helps our brains cells to function.

This isn’t the type of sugar that is causing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, migraines, arthritis, or suppression of the immune system (the list goes on). It's the refined sugar (added sugar) that is the culprit, the cakes, cookies and the candy. We know that, but do you know it is also hiding in other foods such as tomato sauce, peanut butter, baby food, bread, cereals, canned vegetables and cigarettes. Even so-called “health foods” have large amounts of sugar in them. A Cliff Bar has 21 grams of sugar (5 teaspoons), or what about that Starbucks Frappuccino with 44 grams (10 teaspoons)?

While sugar causes many health and weight issues what’s worse is that it is totally addicting. Once you’re hooked, look out!

Why? Well, for one, sugar triggers a chemical called dopamine once it hits your tongue. This signals your brain’s reward center and makes you feel ever so good. But eating too much sugar dulls this feel-good response and it takes larger amounts of sugar to get that “ever so good” feeling back and the vicious circle begins: the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you need.

Artificial sweeteners are just as bad, as studies have linked aspartame and saccharin to different forms of cancer.

Their ingredients range from phenylalanine, aspartic acid, as well as multiple neurotoxins. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, eye problems, insomnia, joint pain, numbness, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, nausea and so many other health risks.

Lets face it, a teaspoon of sugar will not harm you but over-use of it will. It has become such a common additive it is difficult to avoid it, even if you’re trying to. To avoid sugar or sugar cravings:

• Read the labels

• Don't skip meals

• Avoid sugary drinks

• Learn about other, healthy sweetener options( stevia, agave, honey, blackstrap molasses)

• Keep some fruit around

• Make sure to have some protein in your day

• Eat healthy fats

• Get rid of sugary treats in your home

• Drink lots of water

By cutting out refined sugar, or at least cutting back, you will help your health, your heart, your waistline and may just fall in love again with the natural sweetness of real fruit. How sweet it is!

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Mousse

This Mousse goes great with a crust but you can also eat it as you would a pudding.

Crust (optional)

1 cup dates


1 cup walnuts

Make the crust first. Place the two ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix and blend slightly until sticky. Divide into small individual pie dishes or in one larger pie plate. You may need to double recipe for a full-size pie.

Chocolate Strawberry Mousse

2 avocados

1/2 banana


2 cups strawberries


2 Tbl coconut oil

4 Tbl raw cacao

Make the mousse by putting mousse ingredients into a processor or Vitamix blender. Mix well and add into pie dish or individual dishes. Eat immediately or store it in the freezer covered.

This is a special treat that is healthy and free of refined sugars. Enjoy!

Lisa Fallon Mindel, HHP, AADP, is a qualified holistic health and nutrition Coach as well as a model and triathlete. She counsels people on how to effectively reach their health, nutrition and wellness goals. With her personalized step-by-step program and support, reaching goals is enjoyable and lifelong. For more information: WholeBodyBeautiful.com.