Hopefully you’ve all seen the dangers of refined sugar stories popping up in your news feeds. The media hype begins as the dangerous amount we are all eating is becoming more apparent. Many leading health professionals have told us this for years, but it's only now we are waking up and listening.
We’ve known for a while to cut down the amount children eat, but we perhaps didn’t realise the amount we were eating as adults and the disastrous consequences this is having on our health. Sugar acts like a slow poison causing chronic health conditions and has contributed to the rise of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. It’s scary stuff.
More people are waking up to just how detrimental added refined sugar is to our health. There’s a large sugar free movement going on right now and I’ve been refined sugar free for almost one month. I cut out all the snacks last year and this year I’ve decided to go the whole hog and cut out sugar in my main meals too. By ‘sugar free’ I mean refined added sugar, not naturally present sugars. Just that white sickly sweet stuff that spikes your GI and causes tooth decay, amongst a host of other things like diabetes, heart disease and more when we eat too much of the stuff (and most of us are)!
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How to reduce how much sugar you eat
If you’re wondering where to begin if you’re thinking of cutting down on refined sugar, below are some handy tips for you.
If you eat a lot of sugar (and believe me, you might without realising once you start reading the ingredients lists of everything and learning all the names it’s hidden under), cutting it out completely might be a little daunting. Rather than sacking the idea off completely, just start cutting down. My healthy journey has taken a few years (read this Trying to be Healthy blog post)
Replace unhealthy snacks with healthy alternatives
I am a snacker and I still am, even without sugar. I’ve just replaced the old junk food snacks I used to eat with healthier alternatives. And you know what? They are simply delicious! I snack on toddler crisps with no sugar or nasties, toddler biscuits and cake bars (sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar) and wholefood snack bars. I even eat chocolate! I use raw cacao to make hot chocolate and raw chocolate chewy scrumptious brownies. Now I crave all these delicious healthy snacks and the thought of a normal milk chocolate bar makes me feel quite sick.
Use natural sweetener Natvia in its place
You don’t have to give up sweet food for good! Use a natural healthier substitute in its place. Natvia is a 100% natural sweetener made from organic stevia. It has less calories than sugar (if you’re still worried about those in this day and age). They even sell icing ‘sugar’ and baking ‘sugar’. Yep, you can still bake cakes if that’s your thing! There’s never been an easier way to give up sugar, without giving up your favourite sweet snacks.
Natvia kindly sent me a couple of packs to help me on my sugar free journey. I’ve used some in my tea and even to sweeten a tikka curry sauce! I’ve noticed they sell it in Tesco so it will be a staple household item of ours now. For more information and over 1000 recipe ideas visit http://www.natvia.co.uk/
Get over the hump
If you’re going cold turkey, you’re going to crave it. If you’re feeling crap after a few days remember that’s normal. You are craving sugar. Just keep going. Once you’re over this hard part you’ll forget all about those cravings. Stay strong. No pain no gain!
Change your mind-set. Instead of thinking you can’t have something think ‘I can have this, but I don’t want it’. Remember all the bad things sugar does to your body (see my hand guide Beating Sugar Addiction) to remind yourself why you don’t want to eat it.
Best of luck on your sugar free journey. I know you’ll feel happier and healthier. Just think of all those long term benefits it will have on your overall health.