– Many People’s Soft Spot!
Quite often I am asked about sugar and how to avoid it and
the cravings associated with it. Well,
let me start by saying sugar has never had a grip on me. I find it much harder to
around a bag of salty potato chips than I do around a box of chocolates. However, I believe the
principles of healthy
eating and how to avoid excessive sugar consumption are the same as
for excess salt consumption. (And
ask my husband whose weakness is sweets – I am sure he would
agree!) I face
these challenges by following two
simple philosophies: avoid
foods and don’t have the temptations in the house.
processed foods: Whether
it is sugar, fat or salt you are watching, processed foods are
loaded with them. One
long look at the
ingredient and nutrition labels and it is pretty clear that basing a
unprocessed, natural, whole, plant-based foods is a phenomenal step in
decreasing your consumption of sugar, fat and salt.
Simply making the switch to water instead of
soft drinks, flavored waters, high energy drinks and fruit juices will
eliminate most excess sugar. Once
overly processed foods are gone, it’s okay to add back in a little
of sugar, salt or fat in your favorite recipes.
Once we made the switch to fresh fruit for deserts
instead of cookies
and cakes, our sugar consumption plummeted.
I will still add a little sugar to fresh
strawberries or sautéed pears,
but the teaspoon or tablespoon I use is not very much, especially when
to high fructose corn syrup which finds its way into almost every
food. I often use a
seasoning that my
family loves, but it’s fairly high in sodium.
I don’t use much of it and I make sure
that the rest of the day and the
rest of the meal don’t contain much salt.
The same holds true with fats and oil. If we want to indulge in a
dish with a little extra fat such as
guacamole or Brussels sprouts and garlic sautéed in olive
oil, then I make sure
the rest of the meal doesn’t have any oil in it. This is pretty hard to do
foods, because the sugar, fat and salt are “hidden”
and we often severely
underestimate the amount included.
if we are adding the ingredients in our own kitchen or at our own
table, the amount
we add is out in the open and very easy to properly assess.
temptations in the house: Okay,
you may think I am a little crazy, but
if I have any kind of real cheese in the house, I eat it. I just can’t
control myself – it’s that
addictive to me! I
have had cheese in
the house to use for “tea sandwiches” I was
preparing for my daughter’s ballet
presentation, and I nearly had half the package eaten before the day of
would get up and sneak a
bite here and there throughout the day thinking no one would notice and
bite wouldn’t hurt. Next
thing I knew,
half the cheese was gone! Perhaps
are that way too, or perhaps candy or chocolate is your undoing. Whatever it is, what I
work. Since that
incident, I absolutely
refuse to bring my greatest temptation into the house.
I have learned that if I pass it by in the
grocery store, no matter how hard that may be, I am done with it. Only once do I need to
resist it. However,
once it’s in the house, I have to
resist the temptation over and over and over again.
It’s just not worth it.
Every so often, I forget this principle and
I’ll “indulge” the family at the grocery
store and bring something home we
really don’t need. A
few days of finding
myself giving into the temptation and I am convinced again of the
leaving it in the store!