Here I am pouring a little sugar on a chocolate cake my sister made. Ok, a lot of sugar. And no, I did not eat this cake! But I did have fun pouring over it a waterfall of hundreds and thousands. Just like I remember my late beloved Grandpa pouring white sugar over his bowl of cornflakes in the mornings for breakfast. Just like I remember pouring golden syrup over multitudes of pancakes I've eaten in my lifetime. Just like how many of us order our favourite hot drink. One sugar to two?
Does anyone know the song Sugar, Sugar by The Archies? The lyrics in the chorus go like this: Sugar, ah, honey, honey, You are my candy girl, And you got me wanting you. Now let's pretend this song isn't about a person; let's pretend this song is about food. Do you recognise the sweet call of sugar?!
There is much conversation around the topic of sugar in the health and wellness world at the moment. The problem with sugar and the modern-day production of food is that it's in everything. Sarah Wilson, the voice behind I Quit Sugar, is an Integrative Nutrition graduate, and I highly respect and support her message as a fellow Integrative Nutrition student. Her program is well suited for people who need help making healthier food choices and are looking for a way to manage and recover from auto-immune disease.
My particular focus on sugar has been to swap out refined, artificial sugars in my diet and add in whole, natural sugars. I simply eat sugar as found in nature - like fruit. This is an accessible starting point for anyone wanting to consume less sugar. It's all about moving in the right direction. And so now, I've begun to decrease the amount of sugar I include in my diet, and am moving towards a more low-sugar diet. A challenge considering fruit is a staple in my diet! This change has come about because I have an underlying health issue that responds negatively to more sugar and positively to less sugar in my diet. How do I know this? Apart from being a health nerd I am doing something very important day-by-day: I am listening to my body.
Quitting sugar isn't the way for everyone, and such elimination diets are hard to sustain long-term, but this approach helps to support your body's healing mechanism and resets your health so that you can live your life to the fullest, and without continual health concerns.
My own struggle is with an unfortunately common condition, Candidiasis, which is an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. There are many causes including the use of antibiotics, birth control pills or other hormones, and excessive consumption of processed foods. There are also many symptoms, which include but are not limited to intense cravings for sugar, digestive issues, fungal infections, brain fog, mood swings, food or chemical sensitivities, flu-like symptoms, joint pains, muscle aches, fatigue… and the list goes on.
There are many differing dietary approaches to treating Candidiasis and herein lies a problem within the study of nutrition - for every theory that is proven true another stands in opposition to it. That is why it is so important to listen to our bodies. What works for me may not work for you! But, there are ways to minimise nasty sugars and maximise natural sugars so that you may see improvements to your health:
- Avoid refined starches and refined sugars, such as white bread, white pasta, sugary drinks, cane sugar, molasses, fruit juice concentrates and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Eat more sweet vegetables.
- Eat more non-sweet fruits, like avocados, coconuts, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini.
- Choose low-sugar whole fruits, like grapefruit, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, lemons, limes, green apples.
- Swap syrups for dried fruit. For example, use dates or prunes rather than agave or maple syrup in your raw desserts. Or, if you prefer baking, experiment with coconut sugar or coconut nectar.
- Use gluten-free grain-like seeds in cooked dishes, which are amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa.
I'll keep you in the loop as to how my low-sugar diet is working out. I am even considering a Sugarless Saturday! I encourage you to experiment with sugar in your diet and if you're ready, maybe you could consider a Sugarless Saturday, or perhaps even a Meatless Monday?! Until next time, my friends, may good health greet you every morning, meet with you every day, and lay you down to sleep every night.
Book for a Look…
The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder, C.N.
The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates with Linda Schatz
Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, Gabriel Cousens, M.D