Those diagnosed with diabetes are not the only ones that should be mindful of their sugar consumption. Some health experts blame sugar for the obesity epidemic, others can trace almost all of our nation’s health ailments to this one ingredient that seems to sneak its way into the most unsuspecting foods (think bread, crackers, pasta sauce, dried fruit, yogurt, etc.)
Reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet will reduce cravings, eliminate “hunger pains,” reduce headaches and fatigue, shed weight, and improve skin and overall vitality. The goal is to gradually reduce the amount of sugar you consume so eventually your cravings subside without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
The goal is to master one step each day. Build on your progress until you're able to live the sugar-free lifestyle - ideally you'd complete this list in a week! If this is too daunting, try completing one step at a time, maybe one per week, or at your own pace.
Step 1: Learn to read food labels and ingredient lists.
Click here to learn how to read Nutrition Labels, paying special attention to sugar content and Ingredients Lists.
Step 2: Stop adding sugar (and artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes) to your food and beverages – and ditch the soda! (Regular AND Diet varieties!)
Ok, so this is technically two in one, but both are very important to do right away! Did you know that one 12-ounce Coke contains about 40 teaspoons of sugar? And Diet versions are no better!
While sugar substitutes may be a good way to wean off of the addiction, this is only a temporary solution. First of all, most alternative sweeteners are loaded with chemicals that are toxic. We're not sure of the long-term effects of these substitutes, but based on some studies, the future looks grim. There are some natural alternative sweeteners such as stevia (see step 3) that may not pose a health risk to those who consume them. Be mindful, however, that if you are constantly sweetening your foods, no matter the source, your body will continue to crave sweets and prolong the breakup.
Step 3: Learn to “sweeten” with natural sources.
Cinnamon, bananas, stevia, lucuma, yacon root, raw honey, dates, figs, raisins, fresh fruit, plus other natural foods are naturally sweet. While some of these contain natural sugars, they also provide a wealth of nutritious vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and antioxidants. It's understandable that a NutriBlast comprised entirely of vegetables may be a little overwhelming and bitter for beginners. You’ll need a little touch of sweetness. Choose from one of these ingredients to boost your Blast. Over time, your taste buds will start to crave foods that are less sweet (thanks to the abundant vegetable content).
Step 4: Be carb conscious. Increase fiber.
Fiber is key! It not only helps keep you regular and helps remove bad cholesterol from your body, but it also helps delay the release of sugar from your food into the bloodstream. This will prevent those rollercoaster peaks and troughs that lead to more carb cravings and mood swings. Fiber also helps keep you feeling full, so that you eat less overall. The NutriBullet is different from a juicer in that this key component, fiber, is retained and its health benefits are reaped.
Step 5: Remove packaged products with added sugar (which is almost all of them) from your life – you know how to spot it from day one!
Now is the time to start making the transition. Try to go without any packaged products. Choose to Blast or stick with fresh, whole foods like vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you do include any packaged products, read the label and identify those without added sugars.
Step 6: Choose only whole grain foods – eliminate the “white stuff."
Carbohydrates turn to sugar once digested. Think of a slice of white bread, a serving of white rice, or pretzels as eating pure sugar. The difference between the processed, refined grains and the whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, etc.) is that the nutrients retained in the whole form help balance blood sugar, while the altered grains don't.
Step 7: Choose low glycemic-index fruits and veggies
You're practically free from the chains of sugar! There is one more step you can take if you need to monitor your blood sugar more closely and your cravings still lurk. While the added sugars aren’t available to tempt you any more, you may have come to rely on fruit to tide you over. Until that sweet tooth is knocked out, I suggest you reduce the amount of fruit you consume. The natural sugars still affect your blood sugar levels and may tempt you back into your old ways.
Try to go for a week without fruits, specifically staying clear of the high glycemic index (GI) fruits, the ones that spike your blood sugar more rapidly than others. You will probably notice your sweet cravings slowly decline or disappear altogether!