Hi. Today we're talking about sugar.
Ugh! Our arch enemy!
We are constantly bombarded with sugary, cheap snacks and drinks. Everywhere we go - the convenience stores, the grocery stores - the aisles are laden with these snacks and drinks that are high in processed, or even fake, sugar and have zero nutrient density. Even if you're not hungry and not craving it, you walk to the register and there's all this stuff sitting around and your brain says, “Oh, Yes! I want it!”
So, is it possible that you can be addicted to sugar? We're going to dive into that in just a second. We all know that too much sugar and especially artificial sugar, is bad for us. It's in the news every day. Diets high in sugar can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, heart disease and obesity. If we know that the sugar is bad for us, then Why? Why do we crave it?!
Well, there is this thing called dopamine and it is a neurotransmitter in the brain. When you eat a ton of sugar it floods the brain and releases dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone. There are a lot of other things that bring that pleasure, too, such as drugs and sex. But we're talking about sugar today. If you're constantly bombarding your body with sugar and your brain releases dopamine, then your body begins to crave it! It tells you “yes I want more, I need more!” Even though you know you don't need it. So what can we do about it?
Believe it or not, there are some things to help curb those crazy cravings!
One way, and I have mentioned it before, is always go for the skin in vegetables and fruit. Try to eat the whole fruit, the whole vegetable! Go for whole blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Yes, these fruits do contain sugar but it's naturally occurring sugar. Plus, you're getting fiber that is good for you and it's nutrient dense, unlike ordinary refined sugar that has been processed. Even sugar in the raw, which I always keep around the house, and agave nectar have been processed. Processing foods takes away some of the nutrient density.
Nuts and seeds are great for you. They give you magnesium and protein. Make sure to include green, leafy vegetables, beans and legumes. The more you have of these things in your body, the less you're going to crave those sugary snacks. Drink plenty of water. If you find, in the middle of the day, that you've hit a slump and you’re craving some sugar because you need that energy level back up, go outside for a brisk walk! A good 10 or 15 minute brisk walk helps increase the oxygen in your body which will rejuvenate you. It also releases endorphins, another “feel-good” hormone.
Here's the bottom line...
Don't deprive yourself! Because if you deprive yourself of the things that you're craving and you really love, you're going to wind up getting it and then you're probably going to eat way too much and then you're going to be mad at yourself, which starts this vicious cycle. So don't deprive yourself. Especially with the holidays because we're going to be surrounded by tons of good food that we just want to eat. If you know and understand yourself and you listen to your body, and you know that you cannot eat just one cookie or one brownie or just one small piece of cake without losing complete control and mowing it all down, then avoid it. Fill yourself up with the good stuff - the berries, the nuts, protein - find a source of protein.
Or, if you can, go out for a walk and get yourself away from the temptation.
Anyway, that's my spiel for the day.
I hope you guys have a great week and make sure you eat all the good things that are good for you and drink plenty of water. See you next time!