Fighting the Sugar Monster

The ‘sweetness’ of the holidays…

If you are like me, the sugar monster that I keep contained all year escapes his cage around the holidays and goes on a short rampage. When you bake goodies, you have to taste test them, right??!! When January comes, the battle to beat the sugar monster back into his cage rages on, and I end up throwing away the key! Until next year……

We all know sugar is bad for us, but I thought a review on why it’s bad might help you to keep your own sugar monster under control.
Sugar is a refined, devitalized product, containing no vitamins or minerals and is derived from cane sugar and sugar beets. It is estimated that the average American eats about 1 cup of sugar a day! Yikes!

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Much of sugar consumption today is in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is an additive in many foods. Did you know that a high percentage of high fructose corn syrup is contaminated with mercury?  Given the large consumption of high fructose corn syrup, it could be a leading source of mercury exposure. It also can cause non-alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver. The corn used is Genetically Modified, and heavily sprayed with pesticides. Read labels and avoid anything that has high fructose corn syrup added. It’s worse than cane sugar!!

A high-sugar diet in childhood is particularly damaging as it sets the person up for some serious diseases in adulthood. Sugar causes inflammation, and inflammation is the common undercurrent of all health issues.  Sugar consumption is associated with many illnesses – ADHD, adrenal fatigue, allergies, cancer, cardiovascular issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, dental cavities, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fertility challenges, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, premature aging, and many, MANY more.

Sugar’s History with Slavery
If the health detriments of sugar aren’t enough to help you keep it in check, perhaps the history of the sugar trade might convince you. Sugar cane harvesting was a significant historical contributor to the slave trade, and even today sugar workers often work in unsafe and unhealthy conditions, with child labor in some places and unfair pay in most.

Sugar Addiction
Sugar is actually very addictive and can be difficult to give up. You can experience withdrawals when coming off sugar – such as headaches, depression, and fatigue. Moderation can work for some, and for others, just a little bit of sugar sets up an uncontrollable craving and it has to be avoided completely. Know your triggers for yourself.

Dealing with sugar cravings:

  • Eat three meals a day, with adequate protein. The protein helps to stabilize and maintain blood sugar levels and thereby reduce the cravings that come from low blood sugar.
  • Eating or drinking something bitter can reduce cravings. Have a nice cup of dandelion root tea!
  • Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, and don’t keep sweets in the house.
  • Find other ways to ‘sweeten’ up your life – a walk in the woods, hugging a loved one, taking some time to honor and respect yourself…..
  • Some sweeteners that can be used in moderation are: molasses, xylitol, raw honey, maple syrup, stevia, and sorghum syrup. Even these should be in moderation though.

If your sugar monster is out of the cage, I hope the above helps you get those cravings under control.

May your New Year be a healthy and happy one, filled with joy, blessings, goodness and the sweetness of life.

Every good wish,
Jennifer O’Hagan RH(AHG)