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Kick Sugar for Good – Tips & Tricks for a Healthy Life

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Our last article explored the dangers of sugar. This week we are sharing some tips and tricks to help you cut sugar out of your diet and get healthy. By minimizing sugar, wheat and processed foods and not depriving yourself of healthy, grass-fed, and whole food sources, you should find that your weight naturally stabilizes. You may even find your overall health improve, including mood, focus/concentration, digestive health, inflammation, and even pain.

Tips to Cut Sugar:

Craving chocolate? Have some magnesium!

Nourish your gut flora with probiotics – grass-fed/pastured and fermented, unpasteurized food sources are best, including grass-fed kefir, pastured cheese, and sauerkraut, though high-quality probiotic supplements can help as well; improved gut health has also been associated with better mood and even increased feelings of willpower. If you can’t absorb and process the nutrients you are eating, than your body and brain can’t function properly. Gut health is strongly linked to neurotransmitter functioning, as well as absorption and processing of vital nutrients.

Increase healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed meats, pastured cheese, grass-fed butter  – they are nutrient rich and satiating – and contrary to popular belief, health fats don’t make you fat – but sugar and processed “foods” do!

Increase your grass-fed meats and pastured dairy products – they are much lower in saturated fat and significantly higher in vital nutrients including magnesium, omega 3’s, B vitamins, and conjugated linoleic acid which has been found to reduce cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and body fat.

Go cold turkey – because eating sugar, wheat and processed foods makes you crave more sugar, wheat, and processed foods. It also makes you hungrier.

Have a protein-rich breakfast.

Choose healthy carbohydrates and pair them with healthy fats and proteins. Enjoy a sweet potato with grass-fed butter and a delicious grass-fed steak.

Be prepared – pack healthy snacks, prep meals for work, plan out your menu for the week.

Eat when you’re hungry, and don’t get obsessive about calorie counting – instead, focus on eating foods that are real, whole, and natural. Get back in touch with your body’s natural hunger cues – and listen to them! Eating healthy fats and protein with healthy carbohydrates will naturally be more satiating – the worst thing you can do is starve yourself of nutrients, especially when trying to clean up your diet.

Rest and destress – try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, acupuncture, massage, etc. to stave off stress-induced binges. Make sure you are getting adequate rest, as not sleeping enough can throw off leptin and ghrehlin levels which are responsible for appetite/satiation.

Don’t punish, guilt or shame yourself for making mistakes, just take a step towards getting back on track, and another step, and another. Before you know it you will be making progress towards a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

If you feel a craving and want to give in, wait it out. Sit with the feeling for 5 minutes, no judgment, just feel it. Just because a feeling arises doesn’t mean that you have to act on it, this too shall pass.

The Devastating Truth about Sugar

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Sugar has been linked to a host of health issues and side effects, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor Concentration
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood Swings
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Digestive Disturbances
  • Crying Spells
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation

Overconsumption of sugar also diverts and/or depletes your body of vital nutrients, including mood-enhancing B vitamins, chromium which is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar, and magnesium, which many people are deficient in and causes a host of health issues ranging from chronic pain and poor sleep to depression, low energy, and muscle cramps.

What’s more, eating bread, pasta, and other processed carbohydrates has the same effect on the body; two slices of wheat bread raise your blood sugar as much as a candy bar.

Sugar feeds disease, impairs brain functions, and is devastating to your health. Sugar impacts your health in countless ways, including:

Gut Health – Fructose feeds the pathogens in your gut, which enables them to overtake your good gut bacteria.

Mental Health – Sugar suppresses activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a key growth hormone in your brain. Critically low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders

Appetite/Satiation – Sugar and grains contribute to insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and impairments in signaling, which can interfere with appetite suppression and satiation cues as well as mental health

Brain Function – artificial sweeteners and artificial food ingredients, particularly aspartame or amino sweet, have been found to cause depressions, panic attacks, anxiety, and other negative side effects to brain function and mood. Artificial coloring has been linked with attention problems, poor impulse control, and mood issues as well.

Blood Sugar fluctuations affect neurotransmitters, especially in people who consume low amounts of protein. Studies have shown that children consuming sugary snacks after a carbohydrate-rich meal became hyperactive, restless, and moody. However, their reactions were much less severe when sugary snacks were given after a high-protein meal.

Mood & Energy – Research has repeatedly linked sugar consumption with mood swings, depression, and low energy. It has been found that dopamine and serotonin levels are released as part of the “sugar rush” you get when consuming high amounts of sugar, causing you to feel happier, and even calm – at first. However, this is followed by a crash in mood as the receptor sites slow down production to regulate endorphin levels. This sugar crash is typically felt as fatigue/lethargy and depressed mood. In fact, it has been found that people who drink 4 or more cans of soda or fruit punch a day are 30-40% more likely to suffer from depression than people who did not consume sugary drinks. Furthermore, diets high in processed foods were 58% more likely to suffer from depression, while people who consume more “whole foods,” i.e. fish, fruits, vegetables, etc. had a 26% lower risk of depression.

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The verdict? If you suffer from mood swings, low energy, cravings, or other sugar-related side effects, cut out the likely culprits: sugar, wheat and processed foods. Eat more whole foods, and whenever possible opt for nutrient-rich, hormone free, GMO free, pesticide free, chemical free, i.e. grass-fed, pastured, and organic.