Are you addicted?

sugar

A conversation last night led me to the need to share this info today. We all love sweet treats right? The problem that I think most of us know, is that sugar is very addictive…we want more and more. Are you addicted?

I’ve shared before that it’s like crack cocaine…that’s how addictive it can be for some. If you’ve ever been addicted to something and try to leave it, what happens?

We become cranky, we crave it more, we obsess about it, often times to the point where we cave and feed the need.

This then follows by a feeling of bliss, then feelings of being ashamed to have failed at our resolve and then if you had the high of the chocolate or treat, you crash and the cycle starts all over again.

Just me writing this, has me thinking about dark chocolate and my love/hate relationship with it. Can you relate?

You might be asking…what’s wrong with sugar anyway?

For one, it’s empty food that replaces the nutrient-dense foods that our bodies crave and need for optimal health.

  • In 1700 the average sugar consumption of sugar was only four pounds per person per year.
  • In 1800 consumption was eighteen pounds per year.
  • In 1900 consumption was ninety pounds per year.
  • Today consumption is around one hundred eighty pounds per person per year or about one-half pound (one cup) per day.
  • Most of the increase since 1975 has been in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

Ironically, the increase in sugar consumption has also shown a dramatic increase in chronic diseases and the obesity rate is out of control.

  • 1890 the US Obesity rate for white males was 3.4 percent
  • 1975 the rate of the entire population was 15 percent
  • Today the rate is 32 percent and climbing

Let’s focus on our children for a minute. A sugar-diet is particularly harmful for children as it is often replacing nutrient-dense foods like meat, butter, eggs and cheese, which children need for optimum growth. High sugar consumption during childhood sets children up for serious diseases in adulthood, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression.

In addition to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and diabetes, many other diseases and adverse health effects are caused by sugar, such as:

  • Addiction
  • ADHD, Hyperactivity
  • Adrenal gland fatigue
  • Allergies, asthma
  • Alterations of “feel good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, GABA, endorphins, serotonin)
  • Brain fog
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Compromised wound healing
  • Dental cavities
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatty liver disease (NASH)
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • High insulin levels
  • High triglyceride levels
  • High uric acid levels (an independent risk factor for heart disease)
  • Increased stomach acidity
  • Infertility
  • Kidney disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms, obesity, high HTL, hypertension, low HDL and high fasting blood sugar)
  • Obesity and rubber tire syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pancreatic stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Premature aging
  • Reduced immunity, frequent infections

Industrial sweeteners to avoid and are identified as the following:

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) (worse than sugar – rats on high-fructose diets end up with livers like those of alcoholics and do not reproduce).

Agave (made in the same way as HFCS, contains up to 90% manufactured fructose)

Processed Fruit Juices

Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet and Equal)

Sucralose (Splenda)

Others: Corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, brown rice syrup, imitation syrups, heated honey, stevia extract, maltodextrin and sugar alcohols (xylitol, mannitol, erythritol, sorbitol)

Some natural sweeteners, used in strict moderation are much healthier choices and when making sweet treats, made with healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, lard, egg yolks, cream and nuts.

  • Maple syrup
  • Maple sugar
  • Raw honey, unfiltered
  • Molasses
  • Green stevia leaves and powder
  • Dehydrated sugar cane juice (Rapadura or Sucanat)
  • Coconut, palm or date sugar
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Malt syrups (barley) – may contain gluten

As I mentioned above, sugar cravings are very real and with sugar being addictive, hard to give up. Some suggested tips that have worked for many are:

  • Eating 3 meals a day with animal protein and plenty of healthy natural fats, like butter, eggs yolks, cream and meat fats.
  • Not skipping breakfast and having animal protein and fats
  • If you have in between meal hunger, snack on something fatty and salty, like nuts, cheese or salami
  • Don’t shop when hungry as this leads to unwanted purchases and don’t keep sweets at home or the office.
  • Drinking kombucha (fermented tea) is a great alternative to pop or soda
  • For the occasional sweet treat, make homemade treats with the natural sweeteners recommended above and include natural healthy fats like butter, cream, coconut oil, egg yolks and nuts.
  • A homeopathic remedy called Argentum nitricum can be really helpful for people with strong sugar cravings.

Sugar is a very real problem and hopefully this information can be taken with a grain of salt and lead to life changes. I know the journey might be a little bumpy, but with some real desire for positive change, it can be accomplished and celebrated.

Just think how much better you are going to feel, how much more energy and if you are suffering from chronic illness, how many meds you may get off of.

What’s been your experience with sugar addictions and how have you slayed the dragon?

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

References: www.westonaprice.org

 

Fast Food Myths: They all have them

Woman pouring herbs into bowl of salad in kitchen, close-up of hand

If you are like most, fast food is a way of life, at least part of the time. While it’s true, there are better options on most menus to help avoid major diet dings, the truth is, they are still not “healthy” and are loaded with much sodium and pesticides. Fast Food Myths: They all have them.

Let’s look at McDonald’s and their newest salad introduction that’s an attempt to offer healthier alternatives.

McDonald’s has unveiled a new salad with a “nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale,” shaved parmesan, and chicken (grilled or fried). Like many fast-food salads, it may seem like a healthy option at first, but it’s not. The salad, when paired with the restaurant’s Asiago Caesar Dressing, packs more fat, calories, and salt than a double Big Mac—that’s a sandwich with four beef patties.

According to the McDonald’s nutrition center, which is accessible via their website, the salad contains 520 calories, 31g of fat and 1,140 milligrams of sodium.

But when you add in the Asiago Caesar dressing, it rockets up to 730 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 1,400 milligrams of sodium – whereas the Double Big Mac rings in at 680 calories, 38g of fat and 1,340 milligrams of sodium.

This doesn’t factor in the greens mixture being used, which is not organic, therefore it’s also loaded with pesticides, which adds to the toxic overload of chemicals being put on or into our bodies.

In a recent study, researchers found that 92% of large-chain, local-chain, and mom-and-pop restaurants served meals that exceeded the calorie intake for what is considered a healthy meal. This study included 364 meals from restaurants in three cities: Boston, San Francisco, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The meals covered American, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese-style cuisine.

In 123 of the restaurants sampled, at least one menu entrée exceeded the recommended amount of calories for an entire day—and that didn’t include drinks, appetizers, or desserts. Meals from American, Chinese and Italian-style restaurants tipped the scales with the most calories, an average of 1,495 calories per meal.

When it comes to fast food, “healthy” basically means food that offers you a decent combination of macronutrients, without going overboard on calories or potentially harmful things (like sugar or sodium, for people who have high blood pressure). The key here is moderation, with ideally some benefits if possible. With all that in mind, here are the parameters for the foods below:

  • Low in calories:For lunch, that means about 500 calories or less and dinner is 800 calories or less.
  • Protein, to help you build muscles:Look for meals that have at least 10 grams of protein (ideally more!).
  • Low in sodium (or at least not HIGH in sodium):Aim for less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium per meal (which is high already, yes).
  • Low in sugar (or at least not HIGH in sugar):Looking for less than 20 grams of sugar.
  • No trans fat:Trans fats are related to heart disease.

Of course there is always the option to pack your lunch and further control what you put in. Sometimes it is not worth the feelings after a really bad meal.

By now, you should also know the trigger foods for you, if not, I suggest you start with keeping a food journal for a while. This entails detailing everything (I mean everything) you eat and how it makes you feel.

My best advice, limit eating out as much as possible. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also save money.

What experiences have you had with making “healthier” choices while eating out? Comment below and we’ll do this journey together.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

Are you ready to slay the “Sugar Monster”?

24018105

Are you hooked on sugar? Do you seem to be dependent on it to feel good or have energy? Have you ever felt like it was running your life? Are you ready to slay the “Sugar Monster”?

You may have heard the same stories that I’ve heard….sugar is more addictive than cocaine. While I don’t know that this 100% true from a personal perspective, as I’ve not had a cocaine addiction, what I do know is that it can get a grip on you.

Recently I shared that I had caught a bug that was going through our family which left me not eating anything for about 24+ hours and the next day was minimal.

Prior to this, I had already been having the conversation with myself about the amount of sugar, mainly chocolate, that I’d been consuming. Typically a small piece or two a day or every couple days was sufficient.

Which then turned into doing that 2-3 times per day and then if my day was more trying or stressful, I’d want something else, like a cookie. This starting happening more around the holidays and continued beyond, with no relief in site.

That is, until I got sick.

I used this opportunity to kick the “sugar monster” to the curb. I’m happy to say that as of writing this, I’ve had no processed sugar for 6 days. Yes, that means NO chocolate.

I’ve had minimal raw yogurt, minimal fruit and minimal pasta or potatoes.

Ugh…it’s surely not easy, especially when I get to mid-afternoon and the habit of having a piece of chocolate after lunch sneaks up on me. Then I seem to want to fixate on the lack and want it more.

What I’ve realized is that while my brain chemistry is different and it wants the “make me feel good stuff”, it’s also about breaking habits. Just like a person trying to quit smoking. You associate so much of what you do with something else.

Sugar dependency is no different. While I don’t know that I’d recommend cold turkey to everyone, it was better for me. I also can’t say that I’ll do this forever, but for now, its working and I feel so much better.

Some things that help if you’re serious about kicking the habit are the following:

  1. Start a little at a time, drop something once a week, like the chocolate candy one week, the cookie the next, the pop after that, etc. (Or suck it up and go cold turkey like I did)
  2. Know that cravings will hit, be prepared. If it gets bad enough, try eating some raw fruit.
  3. I find that eating high fiber foods also help fill you up and stick with you longer.
  4. Exercise will also decrease hunger, or your brain telling you are because it hasn’t had its sugar habit.
  5. Nutrient-dense foods along with healthy saturated fats help the body feel satiated.
  6. Purge your home, office, car, gym bag or any other hiding place of the temptation foods
  7. Eating regular meals helps too. Don’t skip meals as this tends to let your blood sugar levels dip, leading to snacking on processed foods.
  8. Stay away from processed foods, as they have many hidden sugars in them, which lead to more bingeing.
  9. Know what other sugar names are:
  10. Agave
  11. Corn syrup
  12. Sucrose
  13. Dextrose
  14. Honey
  15. Cane sugar
  16. Cane crystals
  17. Fruit juice concentrate
  18. Molasses
  19. Turbinado sugar
  20. Sucanat sugar
  21. Brown sugar
  22. Maple syrup

While some of these are definitely better for you, your body still reacts to the sugar. Know what you’re eating and make the best choice for you. If you eat some of the sweeter foods or fruits, eat them raw, as they have fiber, and the body digests them more slowly, rather than the immediate blood sugar spike.

Also know that pasta, bagels, breads and potatoes are also culprits. Beware of how much of these you are consuming.

While this article isn’t meant to dive deep into the differences in sugar and how your body reacts to them, it is meant to just share my experiences with sugar and what I’ve found to be helpful.

Have you found some of this happening with you or your family and what have you tried to “slay the sugar monster” in your life? Be sure to share your comments below. Let’s journey together.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

Is your immunity strong?

close-up of a young man blowing his nose

Is your immunity strong and are you staying healthy this winter? Seems that everywhere we turn, someone is sick, whether it’s a cold, sinus infections, flu, bronchitis or any other complication that slows us down.

It seems that I wasn’t able to buffer this last bug round that made its way through our family.

It started with my oldest granddaughter, then passed onto my youngest daughter, her husband, my husband and then myself.

I have to tell you, I don’t like being sick, as I’m sure no one does. It really is a rareity for me. It’s literally been years, especially to the point of donning the throne and burying my face in the trash can at the same time. I know, not a pretty sight to imagine.

My point in sharing all the gory details is to make us aware of the importance of our immunity.

Our gut health literally is 75-80% of our immune health. If you suffer from chronic stress, eat a lot of processed foods, sugar, white flours, white bread, etc. you are compromising your health.

While I’ve been blessed with a great immune system, obviously I have a chink in the armor, which has made me sit up and pay attention. I can pinpoint areas that are weak.

In the last several months, stress has been higher, sleep not as good, sugar intake higher, especially over the holidays and my fitness routine not as regular as it should be and guess what, my body gave me a time out AND a chance to clean up my act.

Can you relate to my story? If so, perhaps your body has been waving red flags at you too!

Do you know how to identify these so called “red flags”?

  • More frequent headaches
  • Sleep patterns disrupted more regularly
  • Catching colds frequently
  • Catching office bugs, when you didn’t used to
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • No energy
  • Short tempered or moody

Honestly the list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I call these symptoms red flags, because they really are little signs that our body is really struggling to keep up.

Part of ridding yourself of the “flags” is self-awareness. For me, I knew that I really had to create more balance in my life, which lowers stress, carve out more “me” time to exercise, meditate, or whatever self-care I need, eliminate the sugar habit and by doing these few things, really does help my body care for me as a whole.

While I’ve been doing better, I obviously had already done the damage and now it’s time to rebuild and renew.

My go to’s are always:

  • Bone broth
  • Lower sugar intake, especially processed sugars
  • More healthy saturated fats for satiety
  • More sleep, it’s winter and time to recharge
  • More exercise, this also helps improve sleep
  • Supplement with vitamin D3, unless you are blessed with a lot of sunshine this time of year
  • Take in good quality fermented cod liver oil
  • Carving out me time for meditation, prayer, soaking baths, etc.

You can add whatever works for you personally, the point is to take charge and not put this off any longer.

The thing about red flags are that they turn into BIG red flags and then they turn into full blown illness or disease if you continue to ignore them.

While I’m happy to say, today, as I’m writing this and getting ready to send out to you, I’m about 80%, which means that I’m well on my way to recouping my strength back and today, I have no more headache, I can function again….hooray!!!

So, my strong advisory message to you is this.

If you can identify with any of the red flags I mentioned, or you know of others that you’ve been experiencing, take my advice and do something about it. There is no better time than the present. Taking action creates steps in the right direction.

Your health is one of the most important foundational pieces of your life and it’s too important to ignore or not make time for. You are valued and you are a gift! Take charge today.

Don’t know where to begin or need some guidance, reach out and let’s see if we can unravel what’s truly going on and get you on the right path to health and healing.

Can you relate to what I’ve shared? If so, please comment below and let’s help each other.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor