Sugar: few health hacks to kick the sweet tooth... buh-bye!

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With the holidays wrapping up, I finally had time to sit... rest... and FEEL the effects of all the holiday goodies had on my body.  Seriously.  I was a wee bit cranky... and the mama-fanny pack, aka. MFP, was protruding more than I care to admit.  But, hey.  I couldn't resist some of those homemade desserts that only come out during Christmas celebrations... right?  You feel me?  

Anywho. 

I figured it was the PERFECT time to do a quick "5 Day Sugar Detox"... and thankfully, some beautiful ladies in our Brain + Gut Health Community were ready to link arms with me and kick the sweet cravings together!    

But... you may be wondering, "why on EARTH would I need to do a sugar detox?" Hmm... Well. Check it. 


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did you know... 

the amount of sugar we consume daily: 

+  adults (22 tsp) 

+  children (34 tsp) 

when the recommendations for sugar consumption daily is quite drastically lower! 

 


A few benefits one may see when reducing their sugar consumption, include a reduction in: 

  • Acid Reflux        
  • Migraines    
  • Fatigue     
  • Joint Pain
  • Irritable Bowel     
  • Rashes        
  • Anxiety/stress

With the Sugar Detox Series, we broke things down simply... and you can catch the replays of our 5-Day LIVE video series, here!  But, I'll break it down for you, too... because.  honestly, who wants to watch me talk for 10 minutes ;)  there's so many facial expressions popping out on the screen it's downright comical.  { need a laugh + just want to watch me talk... I got you covered! }  

Here you go, love!  

DAY ONE: Being a label-reading master!  

Seriously.  

Did you know that ~75% of all packaged foods contain ADDED SUGARS?!?  Seventy-Five percent!  So... it's time to prep yourself + become a master label-reader.  

Now.  One cool tip to spot sugar is by looking for the ingredients that end in "ose"... check it: glucose, fructose, dextrose, lactose, galactose, maltose and sucrose.  But a scary thing is that sugar holds many other aliases and we talked about ~67 different names sugar can be masquerading as on a label!  Some of these aliases include: barley malt, carob syrup, agave nectar, and molasses.  If you want to dive deeper, here's an article which lists a few more. 

DAY TWO:  The Good.  The Bad.  The Ugly!

We explored the world of sweeteners... for instance, did you know studies have linked artificial sweeteners to certain health problems.   Thinking these chemical sweeteners may actually change the bacterial makeup of your microbiome  which can be a trigger for autoimmune problems, diabetes and metabolic disorders.  YIKES, right?  Want to keep reading... here's an article you might enjoy!  

But you may be wondering... um. what DO you use, Amber?!?  Well.  Let's break it down in BULLET-FORM, shall we? 

  • Stevia - this is a natural, zero-calorie low-glycemic sweetener which sounds pretty freaking amazing. It is… but you need to make sure you are getting RAW + ORGANIC!  
  • Maple Syrup -  actual 100% pure organic maple syrup, not Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, love!  It’s loaded with minerals and antioxidants!  There use to be a grading system for maple syrup; however, here’s my go-to rule… the darker the maple syrup the better (because of the higher amounts of antioxidants!)  We use maple syrup for our traditional Saturday pancakes... like our delicious pumpkin pancakes!!! 
  • Honey - seriously.  I could talk a whole hour about the goodness of honey, but let’s keep it simple.  Local raw, unfiltered honey.  
  • Blackstrap Molasses - for a wee bit, I had no idea HOW molasses was actually made until I used blackstrap molasses in our Christmas Gingerbread Cake!  (um. That was THIS year!)  For those of you who don’t know, molasses is made by boiling down the raw sugar to remove the sucrose.  What’s left is a thick and dark syrup!  
    • Blackstrap is a wee bit more nutrient-dense since it undergoes the process THREE times to remove as much sucrose as possible.   Another cool fact about blackstrap molasses:  it contains MORE iron than any other natural sweetener! Which is important for your red blood cells… and oxygenating your tissues… and warding off fatigue. 
  • Dates - Growing up, I thought dates were merely for old people with constipation.  However, I have come to LOVE these little buggers and add them to our primal granola for a wee bit of sweetness.  Dates are completely unprocessed… and you can eat them fresh, dried or even make a paste and use in baked goods.  Remember:  they are a bit high in fructose, so… limit the intake. 
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DAY THREE:  Sugar Triggers (for me)!

We focused on the three MAIN SUGAR TRIGGERS... for me, I confess.  and, hey, maybe these are the same triggers for you! 

  • SUCCESS: 
    • Seriously.  Who else has been or continues to celebrate successes with food?  Yesterday. I literally heard the hubster tell the Gillie, our twin 4yr olds… if you do eat your brussels, you can have a piece of chocolate.   Um.  WHAT?!?  Do those word come out of my mouth as well… YIKES!  Our minds have been programmed to think when we do something good… we receive instant gratification, typically in the form of something sweet!  Something we are now struggling to fix in our household!  
    • So. Now... when we reach a certain goals, we do still celebrate BUT we strive to celebrate the successes with an adventure (ie. tea party for our little girl, building forts with our little man, movie-night with the kids (which means we pile up in mama + daddy's bed and watch a movie), mama gets a much needed massage, etc).  It's not perfect... but we are trying!  

 

  • SOCIAL LIFE: 
    • Now, I use the term “social life” rather loosely because let’s face it… my social life consists of ZOOM chats with friends after the kids are tucked in bed + I’m still in my pajamas covered in the day’s adventures.  BUT, do you notice when you are out with friends… you may have a mixed drink.  You may order that decadent dessert.  You may indulge in something, that is not the norm when you are at home. 
When we’re stressed out, we have a high level of a hormone called cortisol, and we crave sugar because if we eat some sugar, we will actually get another hormone called serotonin, which is calming and relaxing... It’s just our body’s way of taking a chill pill.
— Rebecca Scritchfield
  • STRESS:
    • A HUGE TRIGGER (especially for the hubster)... is stress.  Me? Not so much, but GRIEF, yes.  There is such a deep connection with sugar + hormones... that you may find yourself CRAVING sugar when we are in these deep emotional situations.  Here's a quick read to dive deeper into stress + sugar
      •  Now… I am NOT a therapist.  But I do recommend reaching out to talk to someone if and when you need.  
    • Truth:  when our twins were in the NICU, the hubster + I lived off homemade dark chocolate oatmeal cookies which we then labeled "crack cookies" (because you couldn't just have one!).  I convinced myself since I was breastfeeding two babies...the oatmeal was needed for my supply/production of breast milk!!!  
      • Crazy, right?  but, hey, we were in "survival mode".  

DAY FOUR:  How switching up your routine... may help you!

What I mean by "switching up your routine"... is by eating within a certain time period which is known as Intermittent Fasting!  Now.  
This is a lifestyle (aka. eating pattern) I have been implementing for the past… 2-3 years.  If you’d like more info, love, click HERE.  

Basically, you are eating within a certain window-frame… or breaking your fast (breakfast) LATER than standard time.  It allows your body to transition from a state of glucose-burning (sugar burning) to a steady state of fat burning.  Multiple studies have shown its proven ability to lower insulin resistance and increase metabolism.

NOTE: with any changes to your fitness or nutritional lifestyle, it is important to work with your doctor FIRST… your doctor can monitor your progress and increase your fasting length as glucose starts to stabilize. 
 

There are multiple ways to fast, but the most popular is the 8-window fast… where you fast for 16 hours and eat within a 6 hour window.  Here's my typical schedule:  fasting from 6pm to 10am, breaking the fast at 10am + closing the kitchen after dinner at 6pm!  

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Why I skip breakfast?   

get the scoop... on Intermittent Fasting!


DAY FIVE:  The importance of Sleep! 

Sleep, love.  Sleep.  
With our busy schedules and endless to-do lists, I know at times I swipe a few precious hours of sleep for additional time to complete xyz.  Which is most likely MORE harmful to my self... my mental health... and my gut health.  

Sleep is quite essential for your body to run optimally… it allows your body to rest, repair + refresh!  And... just skimping on sleep, even just for one night,  may cause your sugar cravings to rise.  

A "high performance" coach also mentioned a lack of sleep (from the coveted 7-8 hours) can also affect your productivity + performance levels.  Hmmm... maybe I should be more intentional + learn to shut off all technology at night!   

With the Brain + Gut Health Community, we discussed the importance of a good evening routine... but I'll share those tips in a future post! 


WHEW!  

I know... that was A LOT of information!  But, you handled it like a champ :)  

Now.

If you are thinking, hey- this chic is speaking my language + I know with some accountability and tough love, I can hit my health goals.  Then... yes.  I'm your gal.  There's a few ways WE can work together, check it: 

  1.  Join my complimentary (aka. FREE) Brain + Gut Health Community
  2.  Get some tough love + simple recipes (ahem. which are gluten + dairy free) in your inbox, weekly.  
  3.  Take baby steps and work through ONE week of meals with me!  These recipes are legume, dairy + gluten free.  
  4.  Game face is ON, love!  One month + 4 Menus + Daily tidbits... and a whole lot more for YOU, my VIP!
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Until then... 

Drop me a line + tell me the health hacks which help YOU kick the sugar habit!  Because the more you know... the more you can grow, love!

 

 

love + gumption.

a. 

Brain + Gut Health Explorer