Lets get one thing straight... Sugar is sugar, in all it's forms and too much of ANY sugar is not a good thing. One thing I am learning is what TYPE of sugar I would rather consume into my body and how I consume it.
I am not a super-hero, although sometimes I am a 'super-mum!' - I did the 100% NO SUGAR diet for a while in order to heal my thyroid after the birth of my first son, it worked, for which I am so proud of, it completely dumbfounded the western doctors who were sure that it was impossible to cure through diet alone. I am not on life long medication and my levels have stabilised from my hard work and this above all gave me solid proof of how excess sugar consumption affects our body functions and causes inflammation and disease.
However not having ANY fruit or ANY sugar at all is a miserable existence for me and most others. I want to eat birthday cake with my kids, I want to have an afternoon tea treat and not feel a rush of panic or anxiety from a 'refined sugar' overload.
So, with the dilemma of; my necessity to maintain a low sugar diet to prevent the recurrence of inflammation in the body, alongside being a mum who wants to eat something delicious for a dopamine hit, what's the solution? I don't have ALL the answers, but, here are a few suggestions...
First thing I do I look at the types of sugars I am going to use in my cooking and baking, , I go towards non refined sugars that include:
- agave nectar
- brown rice syrup
- maple syrup
- date sugar
- coconut sugar
The above list are still classified as sugar in my books, they are just a better version. However, as they still spike the blood sugar levels, I treat them with caution and respect.
When it comes to preparing food and baking, I tend to use HALVE the amount of sugar advised from the recipe. I find that most recipes put WAY too much sugar in their sweet treats to begin with. The next thing I do, when I am craving that sweet tooth is ask myself: "Do I really want something sweet right now? Or is there something else at play?" When I truly listen to my body and why I am craving something sweet I am usually honest enough to discover that there is more going on and actually I probably need to sleep, have a hug or build up some other nutrients like protein, magnesium, zinc, calcium and other minerals that are depleted. i try to reach for a handful of nuts to see if that does the trick. Often not, but I have at least had some protein before I hit the sugar which is really important when breaking down sugar in the body.
Note to self: always try to eat sugar after you have eaten a meal or have sugar with protein to help break it down in the blood system better.
In short - I am not going to lie - I would love to be that 'perfect person' (do they exist?!) who can 100% all the time just break the sugar cycle and be satisfied with a stick of celery and cup of herbal tea when I feel like something sweet, but I am not and I am human. So, investigating alternative sugar sources and how I can incorporate them into my cooking in moderation is the next best thing. Something I have learnt is that the less sugar I eat, the less I crave it and the more unpalatable very sweet refined foods become. I also believe that depriving oneself of things only leads to greater addictive patterns in the long run and who needs that, certainly not me :)