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Sugar Saboteurs

Sugar Saboteurs

Sugar Saboteurs are loved ones who undermine your efforts to avoid treats, desserts, sweeteners, and sugar-laden food. If you are emotionally attached to individuals who are sugar addicts, you may have a difficult time avoiding sweets when you are around them. Six strategies can help you maintain a healthy friendships AND a healthy lifestyle.

Suggest a Substitute

No one wants to feel deprived. In fact, going without something can actually drive you to it. So, consider higher quality, more nutrient-dense options, such as these from Life Health HQ.  It can be liberating to bring your own sugar-free treat, or offer an alternative that is more acceptable to both you and your sugar saboteur.

Progress, not perfection

If you fall off the bandwagon, don’t wallow in the mud. Climb back up with compassion, but determination. You know how to nourish yourself better now than ever before in your life. But you are still learning. It is unlikely that you will ever reach a state of flawless food consumption. But, you can do a little better each day, perhaps hydrating more, selecting a few more fresh vegetables, or simply adding more Omega 3’s to your routine. Wherever you are, shun complacency, but be realistic. There are likely to always be sugar saboteurs in your life.

Your uniqueness is a gift

Instead of being ashamed that you are making different food choices than those around you, see yourself as a ring leader. Perhaps your sugar saboteurs just need a little encouragement to follow suit. Your initiative could be the factor that changes your office culture.

To reduce sweets, increase nutrients

Sugars can leave you hungry and roaming for more, like an exhausted fire waiting for kindling. Fueling with vitamin- and mineral-rich choices throughout the day satisfies you, so that you are less vulnerable to cravings. Choose colorful vegetables, wild-caught or pastured protein sources, and include natural fats. Unrefined fats are satiating, providing long, slow, burning fuel, like a log on the fire. Stick to unprocessed choices, like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocados.

DIY is always in style

Special diets are accepted these days: there’s always the gluten-free, the dairy-free, or the meat-free crowd. So if your sugar saboteurs are coaxing you to make unhealthy choices, it’s okay to say, “My practitioner told me I can’t”  It’s easy to say, “I have food sensitivities,” or “I have special dietary considerations.” Most people won’t even ask why, but if they do, you have an opportunity to share your food philosophy!

Develop Your Dance

Sugar saboteurs may be eating to fill a need, such as beating boredom, escaping fatigue, or connecting with loved ones. Why not suggest a physical activity to replace eating?  Perhaps just strolling through a park, or tossing a few horseshoes would fill that need. If all else fails, dance!

 

A sugar-soaked gut = a sugar-soaked brain

Sugar-Soaked Gut, Sugar-Soaked Brain

Brain fog and fatigue are two tell-tale signs of a sugar-soaked brain. The sweets you eat impact your mental abilities. The story of how food affects cognition starts with a sugar-soaked gut.

A Sugar-Soaked Gut

You have a vast filter inside of you that allows nourishment in and keeps toxins out. It’s called the endothelial lining, or gut membrane. It’s like a wire strainer that separates pulp from orange juice. Figuratively speaking, a coffee filter sits on top of that strainer. That filter is your microbiome – your gut bugs. If that probiotic filter is “torn” or defective, some of the pulp is going to get through.

Sugar damages your microbiome. Your beneficial microbes need whole foods. They digest the insoluble plant fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes that your body cannot process. In doing so, they create a short-chain fatty acid, called butyrate. This chemical fuels your microbiome and nourishes your colon. But, if you eat too much sugar and processed food, you starve these microbes. Therefore, you compromise your microbial layer.

Sugar has no fiber. So, it feeds other bacterial strains that destroy the harmonious balance of microbes in your gut. These other strains create inflammation. Between the inflammation and the reduced microbial diversity, you threaten your brain.

A Sugar-Soaked Gut Leads to a Sugar-Soaked Brain

Your gut and your brain are connected in several significant ways.

Vagus Nerve

To begin with, Your Vagus or “wandering” nerve joins your brain to all your vital organs. This major nerve links 100 billion neurons in your brain to 500 million neurons in your gut. Unfortunately, stress causes loss of vagal tone. Your body perceives sugar as a stress because is upsets blood sugar balance and creates inflammation. When the Vagus nerve loses tone, your sugar-soaked gut can freeze your brain in a state of “fight-or-flight” where you have a hard time resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

Neurotransmitters

Next, Neurotransmitters are chemicals used send messages from neuron to neuron, or from neuron to muscle tissue. Your body makes a large quantity of two notable neurotransmitters – serotonin and GABA – in your gut.  In fact, you depend on certain gut microbes to manufacture these neurotransmitters. Serotonin contributes to feelings of happiness. GABA calms feelings of fear and anxiety. So, a sugar-soaked gut impairs your ability to manufacture serotonin and GABA, and therefore worsens conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The Fatty Acid, Butyrate

Additionally, microbe-manufactured butyrate not only strengthens the gut-lining, it is critical for forming the blood-brain barrier, too! Your blood-brain barrier keeps pathogens out of your brain. A sugar-soaked gut means a more permeable gut AND a more permeable brain! Then, toxins (or “pulp”) slipping past the gut lining can get into the brain!

Inflammation

Also, Inflammation occurs when toxins squeeze through the gut lining into the blood stream. Your body has to call in white blood cells to fight these  that invaders don’t belong outside of the gut. Inflammation is the mechanism that allows white blood cells into infected tissues. Inflammation from a sugar-soaked gut can ignite in the brain when toxins cross the blood-brain barrier.

Mitochondria

Finally, Mitochondria are the tiny factories in each cell that take the food you eat and the oxygen you breathe and turn it into an energy currency, called ATP. You spend this currency every time you think, breathe, move, eat, feel, and simply live. Inflammation from a sugar-soaked gut damages the DNA of your mitochondria. Damaged mitochondria create more “exhaust” or oxidation than healthy ones. Subsequently, this exhaust damages them even more, initiate a self-sustaining process of destruction. A classic sign of mitochondrial damage is fatigue. Unfortunately, this process of destruction triggers an enzyme pathway that leads to the death of neurons, hurting your brain and your gut simultaneously.

Heal a Sugar-Soaked Gut

Many foods and lifestyle choices benefit your gut and therefore your brain. Here are five of the most important ones.

Omega 3 Fats

The best sources of these fats are oily fish, shell fish and sea vegetables. Studies show that omega 3 fats can increase good bacteria in the gut and can be beneficial to brain health. Additionally, Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory, plus they boost enzymes used in the mitochondria to produce ATP. To get adequate amounts of Omega 3’s, you should eat seafood at least 3-4 times per week.

Fermented Foods

These are foods that contain living microbes such as lactic acid bacteria. They include traditionally-cultured sauerkraut or kimchi, pickled beets, gingered carrots, and dilly beans. It turns out that the benefit of these foods is not solely from the probiotics – which actually die as they pass through your gut and out the other end. In reality, great benefit comes from the actual fermentation – the breakdown of the nutrients to create certain end-products. These end-products can be very healing for the gut and appear to bolster your microbiome. Eat a fermented product every day.

High Fiber Foods

Whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables all contain fibers that are good for your gut bacteria, as discussed above. Additionally, high fiber foods can reverse the effects of stress on the gut by restoring the microbial populations. Start with 25 grams per day and work up to 50 or more.

Polyphenols

Polyphenols are plant chemicals that your gut bacteria digest along with plant fibers. Brightly-colored, anti-oxidant foods are rich in polyphenols. Like fiber, polyphenols can increase healthy gut bacteria. Thereby, they reduce oxidative stress. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and spices contain polyphenols. If you’re not having vegetables at every meal, start there, then increase until half your plate is vegetables.

Movement

Individuals with high cardio-respiratory fitness produce more butyrate, signalling that they have a healthier microbiome, according to a study published in Microbiome in 2016 . Additionally, these fit individuals had fewer pathways that were creating inflammatory toxins from harmful bacteria in their guts. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, get up and stretch every half hour. If you can fit in cardio workouts, engage for at least 30 minutes per day.

So, What’s the Bottom Line?

In conclusion, whole foods support a healthy microbiome. But a sugar-soaked gut can lead to brain dysfunction. So, eat your vegetables, get adequate fat and protein, and stay active!

 

low-sugar Easter treats include gummies and chocolates

Low-Sugar Easter Treats

Looking for a healthy alternative to chocolate eggs and marshmallow bunnies? Our Fruit-Filled Chocolates and Raspberry Gummies are satisfying. Make them from stabilizing whole foods that minimize blood sugar surges.  These low-sugar Easter treats even fight inflammation with antioxidant ingredients.

Fruit-Filled Chocolates

3-4 oz. chocolate bar, at least 70% cacao

1/2 c. dried apricots

1/4 tsp. almond flavoring

1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

In a food processor or high-powered blender, process the apricots and almond flavoring with the coconut flakes until a smooth mixture forms that holds its shape when pressed together. Form marble-size balls and set aside.

Break the chocolate bar into 1-2″ pieces. Melt in a microwave-safe container at half power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until no lumps remain. Chocolate should not be hot! To the touch, it should as warm as body temperature. If warmer than this, set aside to let cool slightly so that you get a nice thick coating on each apricot ball.

Dip each apricot ball in the chocolate, swirling to cover. Then lift out with a fork and place on parchment paper to set. (Either dip the balls in a cool room, less than 70° F., or place in the refrigerator after dipping.) Store in a cool place – if you don’t gobble them up immediately! Makes 18-24 balls.

Nutty Variation: Place a piece of an almond, hazelnut, peanut, pecan, or walnut inside of each apricot ball before dipping.

Berry Burst Variation: Omit the almond flavoring and use dried cranberries in place of the dried apricots.

Reese’s Variation: Use raisins in place of the dried apricots. Substitute 1 tsp. vanilla for the almond flavoring. Swap 1 c. nuts for the unsweetened coconut flakes.

Tootsie Roll Variation: Add 1-2 Tb. cocoa or carob powder to the Reese’s variation. Roll into mini-logs instead of balls. Wrap in waxed paper instead of dipping in chocolate.

Fruit-filled chocolates are low-sugar Easter treats

Antioxidant Raspberry Gummies

2 raspberry or raspberry-hibiscus tea bags

1/2 cup boiling water

1 Tb. honey

2 Tb. unflavored gelatin

Steep the tea bags in boiling water 10 minutes. Remove the bags and stir in the honey. Cool the tea. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cooled tea. Stir just until gelatin is moistened. Let stand 5-10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and mixture looks grainy. Gently warm the mixture on the stove until all the gelatin is dissolved, stirring intermittently. Spoon into candy molds and refrigerate until set. Makes 18-36 candies, depending on the size of your molds.

raspberry gummies are low-sugar Easter treats

Low-sugar Easter treats will keep you from feeling deprived while others around you gorge on fake foods and end up with a sugar hangover. This year, celebrate Easter without the guilt – and without the inflammation that comes from too much sugar!

high blood sugars can cause leaky gut

Blood Sugars and Leaky Gut

Are your blood sugars making you sick? New research suggests that high blood sugars may actually cause leaky gut, a condition linked to chronic disease and autoimmunity.

This research is fascinating because we already know that a leaky gut causes high blood sugars (via inflammation and insulin resistance). So, with science now showing that high blood sugars can trigger leaky gut, we see that dysfunction in one leads to degeneration in both.

What is Leaky Gut?

Technically called increased gut permeability, leaky gut is a condition where bacteria and toxins from your intestinal tract enter your blood stream. The resulting inflammation harms your digestive health. Leaky gut seems to trigger metabolic syndrome and may be prerequisite for autoimmunity. Increased gut permeability occurs when the “gatekeepers” that let nutrients into your bloodstream, called tight junctions, don’t work right. Infection, food allergies, or toxins from the environment, such as pesticides, can damage tight junctions.

Sugar in your diet may contribute to leaky gut by feeding certain microbes that open tight junctions. Of course, too sugar much in the diet means high blood sugars, too. So dietary sugar contributes to leaky gut in that way, too.

Protect Yourself

A stitch in time saves nine. Don’t wait until chronically high blood sugars compromise your gut and put you at risk for long-term illness. Choose to quit sugar now. Eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet can normalize your blood sugars as well as support your gut health.

Processed foods often have sugar added. So avoid canned and packaged products where possible. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season, unrefined nuts & seeds, whole grains and legumes, and animal products from pastured, free-range, or wild-caught sources.

 

Are you powerless to stop sugar cravings?

Stop Sugar Cravings

You crave sugar when you are undernourished or overstimulated. But by eating a nutrient-rich diet, you stop sugar cravings now and prevent them in the future. Why? Because you are providing deep nourishment and reducing the physiological stimuli that drive sugar cravings.

How Undernourishment Starts

By definition, undernourishment means your energy output is greater than your fuel input. You can develop this energy debt in a number of ways.

To begin with, perhaps you cut your night’s rest a bit short. Then, who wouldn’t want a doughnut in order to keep running on fumes? Sugar provides a quick source of fast-burning energy – like kindling on your metabolic fire. So, when the coals are almost dead, a sugary snack fans the flames.

But it doesn’t provide the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and phytochemicals your body needs to be well. So that empty calorie food just increased your energy debt! Did you know that it takes more than a dozen molecules of magnesium to change one molecule of sugar into energy that your cells can use? Further, the processes that change that sugar into fuel require certain enzymes to get them started – the way a car engine requires a spark plug to ignite the gasoline. Your body makes enzymes from proteins. If you’re not eating enough proteins, your body has to “cannibalize” its own tissues to get the raw materials it needs.

Another way you become undernourished is through blood sugar imbalances. When your sweet snack burns out, you drop into a state of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Like a stalled car on the freeway, you can no longer stay in the fast lane. So, you reach for emergency rations – a candy bar for instant relief. Like a bad dream, the cycle starts all over again.

Eventually, these habits cripple your ability to use the sugar you are eating. The lack of vitamins and minerals arrest your body’s natural metabolism. Finally, insulin resistance sets in, blocking the limited nutrients you have from entering cells. You are in a permanent state of fatigue and even more dependent on empty calories to function from one moment to the next.

Stop Sugar Cravings Resulting From Undernourishment

The answer to this hopeless cycle is really very straightforward. You make sure you have enough gas in the tank at the outset of your journey. That means you make sure arise well-rested each morning, and eat a nutrient-rich breakfast. The most nutrient-dense foods on the planet include vegetables, seafood, and organ meats. But not coffee and pastries, or even Cheerios. So, why not make a skillet of Fisherman’s Eggs to start the day? (See the end of the article for the recipe.)

How Overstimulation Happens

First, like the lack of sleep, stress raises your demand for energy. But in this case, your body is stimulated by stress hormones to quicken your breath, send blood to the brain and muscles, and increase your heart rate. You need more energy now!

Second, in a nightmarish way, you become addicted to the surge of dopamine the stress created. Your body now wants constant stimulation, and it turns to sugar and other stimulants to keep the rush going. But none of these fixes gives you the deep nourishment you need for optimal health.

Then, down in your gut, the beneficial bacteria begin dying, starved of the fibers and Omega 3 fatty acids they need for vitality. Meanwhile, pathogenic strains of bacteria feed on your high-glycemic diet. When you don’t supply their sugary feast, they demand it by creating cravings.

Stop Sugar Cravings Resulting from Over-Stimulation

But the answer is always the same. Go back to your roots. Skip the commercial, man-made foods and nourish yourself with the foods of nature that have sustained mankind for millenia. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Take the time for unprocessed grains, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to get some wild-caught, pastured, or grass-fed protein. Then cook and dress your food in unrefined, natural fats. Check out these ideas on how to eat traditionally without spending endless hours in the kitchen!

If you’d like to delve deeper into how to stop sugar cravings, Dr. Jockers has an excellent article.

Use Roasted chicken & veggies to cook once and eat 6 times

Cook Once; Eat 6 Meals

If you’re going to eat healthy, you need to be able to make home cookin’ as convenient as take-out or fast food. Here’s how to spend just 60 minutes to cook once and eat 6 meals. I call them Mighty Meals.

Prepare the Food

  • Chop many different types of vegetables: some leafy greens, some colors, some sulphurs, and some roots. Prepare enough to feed yourself or your family for several days. A mandolin slicer may be a handy way to do this quickly.
  • Add a protein. Include variety, such as tempeh, tofu, poultry, fish, shellfish, wild game, or traditional meat.
  • Season liberally. You can choose a commercial spice blend such as Mexican, Italian, Chinese, or Cajun, or make your own.
  • Then bake, fry, grill, or slow-cook with a natural fat, such as tallow or coconut oil. To accommodate a large batch, use an Instant Pot, a wok, or a roaster pan.

Now Eat 6 Meals

Take just a portion of this Mighty Meal base entrée mix to make a different meal each day.

  • Fresh off the grill or out of the roasting pan, splash the food with balsamic vinegar and serve.
  • For a teriyaki bowl, scoop some cooked rice into a dish, add your entrée mix, and drizzle with soy sauce, pineapple juice and grated  garlic and ginger root.
  • To make some comfort food, combine the entrée mix with barbecue sauce and ladle onto a baked potato or yam.
  • Soup is easy. Cover the entrée mix with broth. Whisk in some tomato paste, or cream, depending on the type of soup you want.
  • Perhaps you prefer salad. Start with a base of dark leafy greens. Add the entrée mix, and dress with olive oil whisked together with mustard and red wine vinegar.
  • Finally, stuff the leftovers into a pita or wrap. All you need now to complete this is condiments and lettuce.

Who says eating healthy has to be hard? Or boring! With such convenience, why not cook once to eat 6 meals?

P.S. When you work with me, you get the Mighty Meal Menu Planner and the Mighty Meal Mix-&-Match Template for free!

 

This is Sherry's story of beating inflammation

Beating Inflammation

Today we have a guest post from Sherry Worthington, a nurse, who didn’t realize the connection between sugar and inflammation until it was almost too late. Here is her story of beating inflammation:

My breath wouldn’t come. Numbness surged through my limbs. I heard nothing more after the doctor said, “I don’t feel comfortable treating you any more, due to your immune system.”

The tiny sparkle of hope that had been there a moment ago tumbled into oblivion. I was speechless. My dark world was mirrored by the night sky when I left his office.

The Darkness of Lost Hope

No more medication to treat the crippling rheumatoid arthritis that fettered my days and seared my nights? No more relief from the tiny hammers beating inside my body incessantly? How was I to sleep? Or dress? Or eat? I was going to deteriorate inch by inch into lifelessness!

My tears blurred with the days. But there was no other option. Accept it. Just accept it.

But how could I? How could I descend any lower? In addition to RA, I had hypertension, osteopenia, stasis dermatitis, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, reversal cervical lordosis, B-12 deficiency and sleep apnea. Shots in my neck and back for pain relief had been largely unsuccessful. My high-powered pharmaceuticals with devastating side effects had only been minimally effective in managing symptoms. And even these had been withdrawn when my weak and compromised immune system had descended into pneumonia, followed by sepsis. It was too dangerous to take them now, the doctor thought.But how was I to cope?

Just showering and dressing fatigued me so drastically that I fell asleep at work – or threw up. My fingers tingled constantly. Sometimes my pulse would suddenly spike to 110. Dizziness and nausea haunted me. At night, I would wake up every hour or two, trying to coax my body back into repose.

At some point, I found an RA support group on Facebook. Women from another country started talking to me about diet and holistic approaches. That spurred me into research, where I absorbed massive mounds of information. Confusion reigned initially as I sifted through the flood of suggestions.

The Beginning of Beating Inflammation

Unsuccessful at finding a local support group, and hoping for more personal conversations, I started my own. As I posted the information I was finding, it became clear:

I could do this! I could find relief if I just kept educating myself!

My self-treatments started with herbs: boswellia and turmeric. With some minor degree of success, I kept going. A breakthrough came when I purchased the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott. It urged an elimination diet. Would I need to do that? If certain foods really were not good for me, then why were they on the grocery store shelves? But I was desperate.

I took out refined sugars and felt a difference! Then I removed processed foods, and the improvement heightened. The dizziness and nausea were diminishing. I added vitamins, minerals, Omega 3’s and started massage therapy and essential oils. I was beating inflammation!

A year later, I have moved from the highest pain patch available to the lowest. My bad days are few and far between – and when they come, I can get relief within a few hours.

I cannot go back to the medications. There is another way: the way of hope! The way of beating inflammation with food and holistic approaches. If you don’t know where to start, contact a nutritionist, and eliminate sugars. And may my story inspire you to believe things can get better!

The Diet Brain Connection

The Diet Brain Connection

What you put in your stomach directly impacts how you think and how your learn. By enhancing your Diet Brain Connection, you can increase your concentration and memory. That’s because the foods you eat can increase or decrease brain fog, distractibility, depression and anxiety.

Too Many Refined Carbs Hurt the Brain

Your brain is an energy hog. It uses more energy than any other organ in the body. Taking up only 2% of your weight, it uses 20% of your fuel. So, if there’s a disruption in your fuel supply, the brain is going to feel it first, before other parts of your body. Sugary, low-fiber foods, and processed carbohydrates create a roller coaster effect on your blood sugars. First, they raise blood sugars well above normal. Then with an equal an opposite reaction, your blood sugars crash. As a result, you have a hard time thinking clearly. But there is an even more insidious problem than bouncing blood sugars.

Sweet & Processed Foods Inflame Your Gut

Crackers, chips, pasta, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, pastries, fruit snacks, fruit juice, soda and other convenience foods cause inflammation. But unfortunately, what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut.

Researcher Sarah Ballantyne explains that inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers) produced in the gut in response to dietary stimuli travel through the bloodstream to every cell in the body. They cross the blood-brain barrier and activate brain cells that sustain inflammation. “An inflamed brain has fewer and slower nerve connections, which manifests as stress, depression, or anxiety,” she reports in her book, “The Paleo Approach.”

How Do I Enhance the Diet-Brain Connection?

To avoid learning difficulties and prevent memory hiccups, the first preventative strategy is to balance macro-nutrients. Americans typically get 60-80% of their food in the form of refined carbohydrates. So you can swap white carbs for colored ones and increase the ratio of natural fats and high quality proteins in your meals. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate vegetables, not more than 1/4 of your plate starchy carbs (such as grains or potatoes), and at least 1/4 of your plate protein.  Dress liberally with natural fats.

balanced macro-nutrients feed a healthy diet-brain connection

You can also make sure you are eating anti-inflammatory foods. The least inflammatory foods also happen to be the ones that are most nutrient rich. They include:

  • Berries, lemons, limes and papaya
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, and chives
  • Wild games such as duck, quail, pheasant, elk, bison, and deer
  • Wild-caught seafood, including salmon, herring, halibut, sardines, oysters, and anchovies

Smart Snacking Keeps Your Thinking Sharp

Keep your diet-brain connection strong by avoiding empty calorie foods between meals. If you must snack, try a boosting combo that pairs a nutrient-rich carbohydrate with a natural fat. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bell peppers and olives
  • Dates and goat cheese
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Snap peas and tahini
  • Grape tomatoes and hard-boiled egg
  • Celery and sunflower seeds

For more ideas on taming brain inflammation, check out our free inflammation e-guide!

3 Tasty Ways to Forsake Sugar

Forsake Sugar the Tasty Way

With Valentine’s Day behind us for another year, it’s time to forsake sugar…again. But before you groan, consider that eating a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet can be much more delicious and satisfying than snacking on junk food. To prove my point, let me share 3 tasty ways to subdue your cravings.

Start the Day Right

If you feed your metabolic fire with kindling, you’ll have ashes by mid-morning. You will need a sugar-fix to get you hot again. Pancakes, muffins, and cereal are kindling. Instead, fan the flames with nutrient-dense foods that burn like logs until the next meal. You could try a Sausage, Sweet potato, and Apple Skillet, or Black Rice Pudding served with a collagen-spiked Pina-Colada Green Smoothie. Jump on over to this post to get the recipes and additional ideas to forsake sugar in the morning.

Add Before You Subtract

Instead of worrying about all the treats you can no longer eat, celebrate with a few special desserts that are truly satiating, such as Chocolate Banana-Avocado Pudding Pops, or Raspberry-Lime Sorbet! After all, if you’re going to forsake sugar, make sure you don’t feel deprived in the process. By adding a little natural fat  and some fruit to your treats, you can skip the sweeteners. Big Fat Treats are truly delightful.

Trade In Your White Carbs

Pasta, potatoes, and bread don’t help you forsake sugar; in fact, they tend to fuel your cravings because they cause an insulin spike that will lead to a blood sugar crash in a few hours. But instead of going low-carb, why not just switch for nutrient-rich colored carbs, such as lentils or plantains. You’ll find the the flavors enhance your entree more than a roll or a side of rice would. I’ve posted 3 recipes to help you get started.

When you eat a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet, your need to snack diminishes, and your cravings die. Then it’s no longer a chore to forsake sugar!

 

Colored Carbs

Fruits and vegetables are beneficial carbs partly because of their colors. Their rainbow hues indicate precious phytochemicals your body needs for health. So, take a lesson from nature. Remember the colors of the stoplight to stop inflammation and blood sugar imbalances that come from eating white refined carbohydrates. Choose red, yellow, and green colored carbs to replace rice, potatoes, and pasta.

Red Lentils and Tomato – best with beef

The lycopene from the red colored carbs in this dish provides antioxidant protection.

red lentils are colored carbs

  • 1 c. red lentils, washed and drained
  • 2 c. bone broth
  • 2 Tb. coconut oil or red palm oil
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1″ ginger root, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and broth. Bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat, cover, and cook until lentils are soft and only a little liquid remains, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the oil over medium heat. Add the seeds. When they sizzle and change color (10-20 seconds), stir in the onion. Saute until onion becomes translucent, 2-3 minutes, then add in the garlic and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and cook gently to marry the flavors while the lentils finish cooking. Combine the cooked lentils with the tomato mixture. Add salt to taste.

Yellow Plantain Wraps – beautiful with teriyaki chicken

High in fiber and low in glycemic index, these yellow colored carbs help stabilize blood sugars.

plantain tortillas are yellow colored carbs

  • 2  plantains
  • 1 yucca root
  • 2 Tb. coconut oil
  • salt to taste

Peel the plantains by slitting the skin from stem to blossom-end with a sharp knife. Insert your thumbs into the slit and pull the skin back and away from the fruit. Then cut the plantain into 1-2″ pieces. To peel the yucca root, cut the root into quarters lengthwise. Use a paring knife to cut the skin away, including the pink membrane under the woody outer covering. Likewise, cut the yucca root into 1-2″ pieces.

Now, put the plantains in a saucepan covered with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Drain and cool. In a high powered blender or food processor, mash the plantain and yucca root with the coconut oil and salt until it is smooth like mashed potatoes. Form 6 balls. Roll each ball between pieces of parchment paper or flatten in a tortilla press to 1/8″ thickness. Cook on a medium high griddle until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Green Lentils with Capers – complimentary to fish

Small but mighty, green lentils are colored carbs that help lower cholesterol.

French lentils are green colored carbs

Photo credit: Romulo Yanes

  • 1 c. French green lentils
  • 4 c. bone broth
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced (white part only)
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 Tb. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 4 oz. capers
  • Salt to taste

Put the lentils to simmer in a saucepan with broth over medium heat for about 40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender. Meanwhile, saute the leeks in butter. Then add the leeks, lemon juice, tarragon, capers, and salt to the cooked lentils and cook 5 more minutes to marry flavors.