Posted by kristenjoy on:
Not really sure how it happened, but here's my second post of the day. It is motivated by an article recently published on Mercola.com, one of the leading natural health/wellness resources available online. The source for my inspiration is found here:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/HighFructose-Corn-Syrup-Alters-Human-Metabolism.aspx?aid=CD945
Did you know that the average Westerner consumes 142 POUNDS of sugar per year?
Eating this much sugar is one of the single worst things you can do for your health. It is like poison.
So, you say, what are my alternatives? Raw agave nectar?
No, my friend. Agave nectar is also evil. Yes.
What? How could this be? It's "raw" and "vegan" and a "super food!"
I am sorry to break it to you, friends, but agave nectar is also not ideal. Agave nectar is almost all fructose, which is broken down by the body in a way that taxes your liver and converts to fat, instead of being fully processed as energy. Recent research has also pointed to the fact the fructose - especially high fructose corn syrup - is basically fuel for cancer cells.
Do you really want something like that in your body? I don't think so. Don't let the health food marketing fool you. Read on, if you like the science: http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/06/16/agave-a-triumph-of-marketing-over-truth.aspx?aid=CD945
My suggestions for safely and moderately managing your sweet tooth:
1) Stevia: Stevia is an herb with zero glycemic effect. This means that when you use stevia as a sweetener, it provides you with the sweetness but no crazy sugar highs. You can use it as much as you like, but you probably won't need much. I prefer the unrefined version, which is basically the stevia leaf ground into a green powder. Others like the more processed powder version, which I don't find as nice. It's widely available in health food stores and TJs.
2) Raw local honey: used in moderation, this is one of nature's best medicines. While it has a high glycemic effect, if you use it in small quantities and earlier in the day (not at night) your body will have a chance to metabolize it. Honey contains many essential B vitamins and amino acids, and if a local variety, will help you avoid or manage allergies. I have also heard of traditional healers using honey - just a half teaspoon full - to clear a stagnant liver by taking it just before bed. I have not tried this myself, but am passing on what I have heard.
3) Say NO to artificial sweeteners of any kind. Some of the chemicals incorporated into these sweeteners are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors (aspartame) and others cause all sorts of digestive problems (maltitol). Stay far away from these sweeteners no matter what!
4) Find a program to engage in dietary discipline. If you properly nourish your body with adequate protein, and a healthy combination of living raw and cooked vegetables, chances are you will be less likely to have intense sweet cravings. Minimizing caffeine intake will also help you develop a diet with less sugar (I'll talk about caffeine in another post). Exercise - especially yoga - can positively impact your food decisions and bring more mindfulness to your diet. You may find that you don't NEED that sugar at all...it's just one of those things that we get addicted to in our fast-paced environment. Once you repattern your dopamine receptors with other healthy stimuli, you will be liberated from the sugar cravings!
5) Think about adding Nopal cactus to your diet, either in the cooked form or in capsule form. I will be writing a more extensive post about nopalito in the coming weeks, but the healing powers of this plant are immense and many yet to be completely discovered. Nopal helps lower the glycemic effect of foods, so if you do choose to eat something sweet, you may find this to be helpful in balancing a meal. Nopal also has noticeable effects on the cariovascular and elimination systems, and can be a helpful aid in detoxification.
I hope my post about sugar didn't scare you. Just remember, use moderation and take small steps toward your health. Good luck!