As mentioned on Monday’s post; Beauty from the Inside Out, I will be posting a few times a week about health, wellness and how our lifestyle can nurture this or detract from it. I apologize that this week has gotten away from me, but in the posts to come, you will see why!
Today I want to chip away at a very big issue that is especially prevalent in modern society: sugar. Most of us convince ourselves that we have a sweet tooth that we must cater to, but let me assure you, that is not true.
Sweets create a sweet tooth. When you begin to cut out sugar, you will begin to crave it less and less to the point where you don’t want it at all. Of course, the memory is still there of how good it once tasted, but the craving itself goes away. Remember the old ad about Lay’s potato chips., “No one can eat just one?” Well, the same can be said for sugar. Almost inevitably, one bite of that donut, ice cream or cheese puffs (yep, sorry – SUGAR), leads to another. Then another. The interesting thing about sugar, and the reason for its addiction, is that it gives our brain a rush of feel good chemicals called serotonin and dopamine. When we smell the brownies baking, our body begins to produce these chemicals. The act of tasting and chewing create another feel-good flood of chemicals… But then we swallow. And the rush is over. Without even being conscience of it, we want that feel good sensation again, so we take another bite or reach for another chip. It is a vicious cycle that only truly be broken by not beginning it at all.
When I was in high school, the football team used to have “carb parties” the night before a big game. The idea was to load up on carbs to store as energy for the next day. While carbohydrates (sugar) are, in fact, a source of fuel for your body, they are only one of three main sources. The other two are proteins and fats. I am not going to get into a debate about which diet protocol you should follow from the overwhelming number out there, but let’s just agree that food serves one main purpose for the body: fueling it. Pleasure is just a nice byproduct of our need to eat. But there is an order of operations to the process. Like our kid pulling out a calculator to solve a math problem, our bodies want to find and use the quickest energy source possible and store the rest. If you’re thinking that’s sugar, then you are correct. But what we actually want is to give our bodies good fuels so that it can function properly long-term. Like the kid with the calculator, he may get the problem right initially, but he’s going to have problems later down the road. With our bodies, we want to fuel it with a healthy balance of good, lasting fuels. When we overwhelm our bodies with sugar, we actually are left with less energy and replaced with lethargy, anxiety and feelings of depression. To make matters worse, sugar is actually good for fueling bad things such as yeast and other infections, as well as many forms of acne.
If you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t eat junk food, so I don’t eat a lot of sugar,” you could be wrong. Most Americans are, so don’t beat yourself up. Sugar is put into virtually everything. Why? It tastes good and it is addictive. Take a look at the following:
That, my friends, is a lot of sugar. And we didn’t even get to dessert yet!
I’m not saying you should never have another Oreo, but most of us really need to sit down and take a look at what we are eating. If consume a lot of processed foods, i.e. anything from a can, jar, box or bag, guaranteed most of it has sugar in it. By cutting back on sugar you will be less likely to have the following issues:
- weight gain/obesity
- sleep problems
- yeast infections
- skin issues
- tooth decay
- accelerated aging
- vitamin and mineral deficiency
- overworked kidneys and liver
- inability to focus
- increased risk of heart disease…
Just to name a few!
For me, cutting out sugar changed everything. I don’t get any pimples at all, not even around my period. And on that subject, the premenstrual cramps and back pain I used to have are non existent. I don’t get as tired during the day and my body feels lighter. And I dropped weight.
So for your health, inside and out, start paying attention to your real sugar intake and begin cutting it from your diet. Sure, your taste buds will miss it in the beginning, and your body may even go through a withdrawal period, but this is all temporary compared to a life of health problems.