What would your last meal on Earth be?
Mine would be my grandmother’s signature recipe. She made her Chess Pie in small tin baking pans with three ingredients: eggs, butter, and sugar. I would stand by the oven, making sure I was close enough to feel the warmth but far enough out of the line of the hot door swinging open. She rewarded me with this sweet, rich gooeyness. I can still taste it today.
I don’t think there are too many peeps who don’t remember such sweet love from their childhood memories. You never forget things like this.
And you can never forget the other side of the sugar debate because some people say sugar is the culprit of ALL the evils in the world.
As more awareness about the adverse health effects of consuming table sugar and high fructose corn syrup comes forward, it seems like the multinational food corporations are increasing the amount of sugar in their products. These days you can find sugar in corn chips! 40% of the American population is obese. Ultra-processed foods full of sweeteners are getting the blame.
Recently, I went out to lunch with a friend who ordered an antioxidant salad. At first glance, it looked yummy. The bowl was overflowing with kale and quinoa; two popular ingredients deemed “superfoods.” As all girlfriends who lunch together do, I reached over to have a taste. I wasn’t sure if it was the creamy pomegranate dressing or dried cranberries, but I was soon deep diving into a sugar stupor. Dried cranberries have a natural tartness but are often infused with sugar to mask the flavors of sour crossed with a touch of bitter. Both sour and bitter have a positive effect on gut health by aiding digestion, absorbing nutrients and enhancing our immune system. Unfortunately, the sugar cancels out the promise of infusing your body with antioxidants.
So what’s a girl to do?
Here are three things I wish I would have known sooner about how to decrease sugar consumption.
1. READ THE INGREDIENTS
So often we are in a hurry when it comes to grabbing our next meal, and we don’t stop to look at what we’re buying. I bet you take more time trying on your latest find at TJ Maxx. So, chica, pay attention when you are foraging for your next meal.
Numbers speak the truth on any label. Pay attention to the total amounts of sugars, especially added sugars. It’s the latter that is troublesome. My rule of thumb is when the sugar content is over 5%, I reconsider if it’s worth consuming.
This seems nearly impossible when you’re ordering in a restaurant. If you are in a quick service restaurant that has over 20 locations, they must provide a nutritional breakdown of all their menu items. This information was studied by all diners when the law came out almost a decade ago. Either people don’t know to ask for the list, or they don’t want to know how many calories are in what they eat. So many dishes can have more calories than required for your entire daily intake. When you frequent smaller independent places, take your time and study the menu, read the descriptions, and ask questions of the order taker. Be worried if they don’t know what’s in the dish!
2. COOK AT HOME
This is the best way to know what’s in your food. There is nothing more powerful than cooking for yourself. This is how you heal and change the way you eat. I’ll be talking more about the value of preparing your own food in the months ahead. I am so excited to share with you a program that I have put together to show women how to take control of their own food journey.
3. STAY HYDRATED
Do you know that the part of our brain that controls your appetite can get its wires crossed when we aren’t well hydrated? The hypothalamus convinces us that our hunger pains are for food, when really we may just need a little H2O. Before raiding the fridge, slow down, take a breath, and drink a glass of water or two. Then decide if you just need more water, or it’s time to eat.
An extra bonus of being hydrated is that it can curb your appetite, causing you to eat less. It’s a win-win when you drink enough water.
Check out a new documentary series called Broken Bread. Roy Choi explores social justice issues through topics dealing with food deserts, food waste, and sustainability.
Choi compared junk food to cartoons. It’s something we do sometimes NOT all the time.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m not suggesting you give up sugar for forever. Giving up any one food or category of food is NOT realistic. A noble attempt but why rob yourself of a controllable pleasure.
The last time I talked about sugar on my blog, a woman wrote to me and said, it is different and challenging for her. She told me sugar ruled her world, and she could not stop eating it. She suggested I start a 12-step program for sugar addicts. I told her to search online (the answer for all things these days) for such a program. I also told her to give these three simple actions steps a try.
And you can too. Start by reading labels, cooking at home, and whooshing down more H2O. It’s a smooth start. Keep me posted. I’d love to hear how it is going for you.
In good health,