Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for all things sweet and in the past I wouldn’t have thought twice about saying ‘HELL YES’ to a chocolate bar or a slice or cake or ten! In fact I have been named and shamed by many on numerous occasions as being a mega chocoholic.
I’m not claiming to be a super healthy, plant based diet, no refined sugar goddess; but I am trying SUPER hard to quite this toxic (so to speak) white powder that is refined sugar.
The problem is that this white powder is now in everything we eat, often disguised in foods that we wouldn’t expect to find it, behind names such as glucose or different syrups. Refined sugar is also hidden away in its most naturally occurring fructose form in fruits and honey.
One of the reasons I want to quit sugar is because refined sugar can promote inflammation in the body. I suffer from Eczema, a condition that causes inflammation of the skin which I’ve had since I was a baby. I’ve tried every cream and lotion under the sun and nothing has completely got rid of it. Around November time last year I started my ‘quest’ and managed to limit the amount of refined sugar I was consuming a considerable amount. I noticed SUCH a big improvement of the skin on my hands and face which are often areas that usually get quite bad. I also noticed that my energy levels were so much better than they had been – I was even getting up earlier in the morning to exercise before work, which is not like me at all might I add!!!
Sadly Easter happened, along with other excuses and over the past few months I have let this slide and almost ate my whole body weight in Chocolate! It doesn’t help that I work in a Farm shop and Cafe with lots of cake and tasty sweet treats which makes it even harder to resist the temptation.
3 signs you’re a sugar addict! (Like moi)
- You crave sweet things after meals
- Once you’ve bitten into that cake once, ain’t nuttin gon stop you from eating 10000x your body weight in cake/chocolate/anything else sweet you can get your hands on… (me)
- If sugar is what you turn to as a pick me up… TOTALLY ME
If this is you, pleeeeeeease read below to find out the FACTS behind refined sugar.
As well as promoting inflammation in the body, sugar is also the main culprit for feeding unhealthy gut bacteria and yeast. Sugar is quickly absorbed into your system releasing energy and raising the body’s blood sugar levels. Our body responds to this by secreting large amounts of insulin from the pancreas and producing cortisone from the adrenal glands. This is known as the classic ‘fight or flight’ response – so think large sugar rush followed by a sudden decrease in these sugar levels, often making us feel buzzed for a short period of time then poop after. Over time, these continuous spikes in our insulin levels can cause the body to become resistant to insulin. This is what causes all the problems!!! Suppression of the immune system, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and accelerated aging.
How to conquer the dreaded sugar cravings!
- Replace your treat with an alternative – so maybe go for a natural fix like a bowl of fruit and honey. There are tonnes of alternative sweeteners out there that can be enjoyed in place of refined sugar like Raw cocoa, coconut palm sugar (this has such a awesome rich caramel taste!), maple syrup, date syrup…
- Try to keep your blood sugar levels stable so you don’t feel like you need hat pick me up. Make sure you are eating small regular meals daily. DON’T skip meals. Try adding spices such as cinnamon to your breakfast or snacks; this has the opposite effect of sugar.
- Don’t give up after the first few days – they can be the hardest, but after you get past the initial struggle it is so worth it!
Here are a few ideas for some naughty but not so naughty sweet treats.
1) Deliciously Ella’s RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS sweet potato brownies. I have to say I did eat at least half the batch at once but at least I can say it was guilt free… maybe.
2) Nutty raw cocoa snack bars – I kind of threw this recipe together, luckily it tasted amazing. Melted down some coconut oil and raw cocoa butter and then added raw cocoa powder to make a yummy chocolatty paste. Then chucked in loads of nuts, seeds and dried fruits and bobs your uncle. I also used coconut palm sugar as an alternative sweetener to give it a slightly caramel flavour.
3) Buckwheat flour pancakes – Mix the eggs with almond milk (or an alternative milk if preferred) in a large bowl and then gradually add to the buckwheat flour. Add coconut palm sugar or an alternative sweetener for extra flavour and a pinch of sea salt. These can be enjoyed with a mixture of berries and mayple syrup or natural yoghurt which is yum with berries. Maybe even melt down some raw cocoa and drizzle over! I cook these in coconut oil because I LOVE all things coconut.