Last night Cowboyfriend and I watched a documentary called Sugar Coated that broke down the marketing ploy that made sugar such an immense part of our diet. It also explained how this is assisting in a rapid increase in fatty liver disease in adolescents and children which was unheard of before the 1980’s. This got me to thinking about some of the tips that I’ve picked up since consciously watching my sugar intake. Years ago I became hyper focused on cutting high fructose corn syrup out of my diet and I came to a harsh realization: Sugar is in everything under countless different names.
What I want to urge more people to do is to read the labels of their trusted bottled, packaged and frozen products in the store next time they visit. Sometimes up to 4 of the names in the long ingredient list of packaged foods are homonyms for sugar and sugarderived products. The reality is that sugar is a main cause in diabetes and heart disease but there is no FDA approval on how much sugar can be put into a product. This means that products in the store can be legally labelled healthy but may contain up to 30 grams of sugar per serving.
In my own journey to eating food that will make me and my body feel happy, I’ve found that these unhealthy additives are usually there to cut down on processing time and extend shelf life. Meaning that if we just spent time creating our food with love and intention we could be healthier. Above all else I’d recommend taking to the kitchen, the Pinterest and some new cookbooks to help you understand exactly how easy it is to whip up your own salad dressings or loaves of bread. Following technique from a simpler time will also help you and your family cut down on waste since a lot of these items are packaged (plastics) and shipped (fossil fuels). Here are some things to be aware of next time you hit the grocer.
- Make Your Own Dressings & Sauces
Did you know that most salad dressings use a combination of 4-5 ingredients, all of which are generally in your house? It takes about 5-10 minutes to whip up a batch that lasts a couple of weeks, sometimes up to a month. If you have mayonnaise, dijon or regular mustard, olive oil and/or balsamic in your kitchen then you’re ready to experiment with new dressings. Even ketchup (aside from Annie’s Natural Organic brand) has loads of sugar in it, and all you need is some spices with tomato paste to make it on your own stovetop. Making these commonly used products at home will reduce the sugar count of your family drastically. Please be sure to check the mayonnaise ingredients before buying, our favorite is Just Mayo.
- Skip The Low-Fat & Packaged Nonsense
This documentary also shed light on the fact that the Low Fat craze was a smoke and mirrors marketing ploy from the sugar companies to ensure that their industry wouldn’t be threatened by the fact that their product was a slow killer. In fact, most of the research that diabetes is related to fat intake was funded by the sugar companies as devastating facts about the harms of sugar were being proven in Europe, the low fat craze was there to make sure we wouldn’t see the harms of sugars.
Healthy fat is actually quite good for you: nuts, avocado and other natural fats are epic for your hair and skin. But much to the same vein of sugar in fruit being digested differently than sugar in sodas or even juices would be. Low Fat foods are made with even more preservatives, additives and unbearably scientifically named products that definitely aren’t in your pantry. Forget about eating these products and buying heavily marketed low fat items, it’s definite that they aren’t going to provide you with nutrition, which will only make your body call out for more sustenance. Instead eat a healthy, well rounded diet rich in vegetables and lean meats with little to no packaged assistance.
- Bake some bread, go on.
It is amazing how much sugar sneaks past us in breads, bagels, english muffins, etc. I know that people have make baking bread look like a super difficult process but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not. Baking a loaf of bread or even hamburger buns can be a super easy process with one tip: don’t over heat the water before putting the yeast in. Personally I had my fair share of rock hard, not risen loaves before I figured this out. As long as the yeast is happy, the bread will rise and you and your family will rejoice around warm yummy gluten sans sugar. Some of these recipes do call for a tablespoon or two but nothing compared to packaged breads. If this is impossible think about finding the local bakery in your town, just remember that fresh bread does get stale more quickly. But once that happens you can make some pretty epic croutons.
- Put Down the Juices!
One of my cousins is a genius scientist, she just finished her law degree after accomplishing her docterate. Aside from being proud of her I also trust her when it comes to food science and she told me years ago that juice is useless. Our body cannot metabolize any of the vitamins or minerals in manufactured juice, it simply grabs the sugar before the drink moves through our system. This means every glass of juice is like eating a candy bar unless it has been juiced from a fresh source within the last 60 minutes. We all know to cut out all sodas to cut back on sugar, but put down the juice too. I’d recommend drinking only water, detoxing off of other beverages and then starting again. ALWAYS read the labels before buying a bottled drink whether it is marketed as tea, soda or juice. For vitamins that come from fruits that are commonly juiced, I’d recommend just eating the fruit. This is the best way for your body to get the vitamins that the fruit has to offer.