How to Wean Yourself Off of Sugar

How to Wean Yourself Off of SugarEating sugar can cause addiction. Scientific studies have proven that consuming sugar activates the same brain receptors as taking addictive drugs. Additionally, sugar consumption leads to craving more sugar, binging on sugary foods, and choosing foods with refined sugar content over natural sugars.

On top of all of this, it’s hard to find premade food that doesn’t have sugar added. The Food and Drug Administration has made the search for food without added sugar easier for purchasers, as they have a new labeling system which requires added sugars be listed explicitly. This new labeling should make it easier for consumers to work out what is in the food that you are eating. But even with this new information, refined and added sugar is hard to avoid.

Watch out for these sugars

When attempting to cut sugar from your diet, be on the lookout for sugar and sugar substitutes. These include:

  • Aspartame-amino sweet
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cyclamate
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Dulcin
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Glucan
  • Kaltame
  • Mannitol
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • Phenylalanine
  • Raw Sugar
  • Saccharin
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle

There are many more names for sugars and artificial sweeteners, so be aware of what you are eating.

Replace refined sugar with natural sugars

While you are trying to wean yourself off of sugar, you may still want to eat something sweet. There are many natural sugars to be found. Fruits like dates and bananas can add sweetness to yogurt or shakes. Maple syrup, raw honey, molasses, and agave are great alternative sweeteners for coffee, cookies, or cereal.

By replacing refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with natural sources, you can help your body get used to lower amounts of sugar and sources of sugar that are simpler to digest.

Find the real cause of your craving

Your body interprets many things as sugar craving. It’s important to know what these are, as you can then resolve the problem instead of giving in to your desire for sugar. If you crave sugar, you may actually need:

Protein

Sources of protein like lean meat, wild fish, raw nuts, black beans, hard boiled eggs and more can balance your blood sugar and reduce sugar craving. Keep high protein snacks to hand when you are combatting sugar withdrawal.

Fiber

Eating fiber can help you stay fuller longer. It can also fight symptoms of candida in your body. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber, as are veggies and some fruits. Try chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, Asian pears, peas, figs, coconut, squash, turnips, beans, lentils and quinoa for fiber.

Water

This may sound too simple, but a little water can go a long way in fighting sugar cravings. Your body interprets dehydration in many ways, including feeling hungry or craving sugar. Sip on some herbal tea, grab a cup of pure water or infuse your water with some lemon, lime, cucumber, grapefruit, or watermelon to spice things up.

Probiotic-rich foods

Sour and probiotic-rich foods can knock out your sugar cravings. Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and apple cider vinegar are all great additions to your diet. It’s easy to add sour foods to a salad, lean meat, or high-fiber grain. You can garnish a plate of rice or quinoa with kimchi or splash on some vinegar to give it some extra punch.

Fats are your friend

Many of us grew up thinking that fats were all bad, all the time. Recent science has found that this is not true at all. Your body burns fat for energy. When you don’t have healthy fats around to stoke a slow burn, you will crave sugar for a quick pick-me-up. By consuming healthy fats, you make your body more likely to become a fat burner instead of a sugar craver.

Which fat do we recommend most here at Change for the Health of It? Coconut and coconut oil are our favorites. Coconut oil provides healthy fats for you to burn. It’s also an excellent cooking oil. You can find more information on this healthy oil here.

Do you need help weaning yourself off of sugar? We are here for you! Attend our October 13th Class at 7 PM: Sugar Blues. You will learn more about how to get off of sugar and back to health. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#images

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx

Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight Loss

Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight LossThe holidays are almost here. With this new season often comes weight gain that never goes away. Multiple studies have found that every year, around the holidays, Americans gain 1 lb that we never lose. This is bad news for anyone attempting to get fit and healthy.

However, you can overcome this issue. The holiday season from November through December is a high-risk period for anyone trying to lose weight. But “high risk” does not mean you have to give up and give in to temptation. Instead, the holidays are the perfect time to refine your weight-loss strategy and become vigilant about your diet.

What is the Most Effective Weight Loss Strategy?

Traditionally, both diet and exercise have played an active role in weight loss. However, studies have shown that diet counts more toward shedding pounds than exercise.

Many people have taken this information to mean they don’t need to exercise at all. Nothing is further from the truth. While you certainly may not need to exercise to lose weight, if your goal is to be healthy and look great, exercise is a vital part of your overall plan.

However, cutting calories is the most rapid method of losing weight. Here at Change for the Health of It, we concentrate on helping those on our weight loss program cut calories and drop pounds. Part of the calorie reduction process can mean people have little energy and feel “hangry” throughout the day. We utilize a proprietary formula for preventing this phenomenon.

One of the many elements in our proprietary formula is consumption of vitamin B12. This vitamin has many health benefits, from supporting metabolic processes to increasing energy. Utilizing this and other vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help you maintain your energy as you diet, allowing you to exercise as well.

Five Effective Dieting Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a tough time to stick to a healthy diet. There is sugar everywhere, tons of food as well as food-based holidays. Here are five tips for sticking to your diet, even though the holidays are coming:

  1. Maintain your food diary. Food diaries are a great dieting tool. They help you keep track of what you’ve been eating and contribute to keeping you honest. If you have a particularly bad day on your diet, your food diary can help you understand what made it so rough. This information helps you and your health coach evaluate how to stop you from becoming tempted to break your diet in the future.
  1. Stay accountable. People hire health coaches for two reasons. First, coaches help people use effective dieting practices and stay healthy during a diet that they have not previously utilized. Second, a coach keeps you accountable for your dieting actions. It’s easy to slip up when there’s no one to report to, but when there is someone that you must inform about your slip up, more thought goes into what you are eating.
  1. Do not binge. Thanksgiving, holiday parties and other holiday meals all encourage binging. There is just so much food available and so many courses. Instead of eating everything on the table, pick a small portion of each item that you want to munch on – leaving room for a little dessert.
  1. Keep up your diet and exercise routine. Too many people starve themselves all day so that they can justify the sheer volume they eat at night. Do not fall into this trap.
  1. Bring some healthy food to the table. Healthy food is delicious too and deserves its spot at the holiday table. Instead of green bean casserole, how about just making baked or boiled green beans tossed with a bit of olive or coconut oil? Instead of apple pie, make baked apples with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. Instead of regular ice cream, make homemade frozen yogurt or coconut milk ice cream. Who knows, shaking things up at the holiday table may come as a relief to all of your holiday guests.

If you would like more information on weight loss, be sure to attend our “Why Can’t I Lose Weight” class at Oregon City’s Curves. It’s on September 20th. Or, just give us a call and find out how we can help! We have an effective weight loss program which has helped many professionals – even physicians. Find out more right here.

 

References:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/22/the-skinny-on-holiday-weight-gain/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/dieting-vs-exercise-for-weight-loss/?_r=1

http://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/vitamin-b12-vitamin-facts/

School Lunch

How to Keep Your Child Healthy This School Year

School LunchSchool has started for many Portland students – and will soon begin for children in Oregon City, Gresham, Milwaukie and surrounding areas. The new school year brings the food challenge all busy moms and dads face: keeping one’s child healthy at school.

Not only are children usually exposed to potential allergens and germs at school, they are also more likely to eat poorly. They may trade other kids for candy, eat out of school vending machines, or have a particularly unhealthy school lunch that day. Even with all of these factors, there is hope for parents. This article will give you information on how to help your child enjoy healthy meals both at school and at home.

Sweet, Salty, Creamy & Crunchy

Certain food combinations trigger the desire eat in the brain. The fast food industry hits these desires on the head. For example, food with a crunchy outer shell and a creamy middle can excite brain receptors, making it feel as if you are eating something novel and delicious. Additionally, sweet and salty foods activate the salivary glands, which “makes your mouth water”.

While many foods with these four factors are unhealthy, there are healthy options:

1. Add a spray of citrus where you would usually lay on the salt. Citrus fruits like lemon or lime activate the salivary glands much like salt would, making a dish taste seasoned with salty goodness when it’s really rather healthy. Foods you can activate with citrus include:

  • Salad and salad dressings
  • Stir fry
  • Soups, stews, and chowder
  • Chip dips, salsa, and guacamole
  • Homemade baked chips
  • Potato, tuna, or egg salad

2. Pickle veggies. It’s incredibly simple to pickle different vegetables in your refrigerator. You can pickle anything. Delicious and crunchy options include radishes, red onion, cucumber, carrots, and cauliflower. Here’s how to do it:

  • Cut all veggies into thin strips
  • Make a brine of 1 cup of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of salt.
  • Toss everything together.
  • Leave in the fridge in a sealed container. The pickled veggies will be ready to eat in 30 minutes and can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

As a quick note, this is also a great way to get rid of leftover raw veggies.

3. Add some crunch to your creaminess. This is something you, your child, and food industries have been doing for years. However, if you’re drawing a blank on how to make something both creamy and crunchy, here are some ideas:

  • Add granola or nuts to yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Make chia seed pudding (you can find a great recipe here).
  • Put a nut butter on rice cakes or celery.
  • Sprinkle a pureed soup with seeds. One yummy suggestion is sprinkling roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas over a pumpkin or squash soup.
  • Send your child to school with a homemade jar of “instant cup of noodles.” There’s a great recipe for this here.

4. Go all natural. Many foods are naturally crunchy and sweet, creamy and sweet or crunchy and salty. Pack foods like apples, carrots, edamame, olives, avocado (which you can preserve naturally by coating in citrus juice), watermelon, pepper slices, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, and more.

5. Make sure to pack food your child likes. The last thing you want to do is spend time creating fun and healthy meals that your youngster doesn’t eat. While it’s a good idea to expose your child to new foods, don’t do it in a packed lunch setting. Instead, expand his or her culinary horizons at home, where you can see the reaction to your newest creation.

Transporting all of this healthy food

Once you have healthy snacks and lunches ready for your child, it’s time to transport everything. This may seem challenging, but it can be made very simple.

First, it’s important to have the right tools. This article provides excellent information on what you need to pack and preserve a healthy lunch. You can read the article in full, but here is a quick rundown of what you will need:

  • Thermal bag
  • Ice packs (or frozen water bottle)
  • Containers with dividers, mini containers
  • Thermos to hold hot or cold food
  • Snack size Ziplock bags
  • Silicon cupcake holders
  • Smoothie pop molds
  • Cloth napkins/reusable plastic ware
  • Paper for notes

Next, include your child in buying, preparing and packing his or her meals. You will see what he or she prefers to eat simply by asking them to add a snack or two – or giving them the option to pick out which premade lunch they would like to bring with them. It may be disappointing to find out they never pack carrots, or they dislike cashews, but it’s important for you to know what your child will actually end up eating.

Finally, get your youngster to help you during cleanup. Usually cleanup occurs at the end of the day when you and your child have more time to chat about the day. Not only will you be able to connect with your youngster and get him or her to take responsibility for any messes they have made – you will be able to discuss why particular foods are and are not delicious. You may find out that your sweet tooth isn’t shared by your child. Or it could come up that they trade their olives to another kid for a fruit candy. This is valuable information that you can use later to guide your child in healthier eating habits.

Do you want to learn more about helping your child eat healthily? Attend our September 15th Class: Healthy Dinners for a Busy Mom and School Lunch Ideas. Just RSVP here.