Friday, April 10, 2009

Recent text conversation

...with a friend who is cutting down on sugar and refined carbs (not real names).

Karen: I have to tell you John and I were like a couple of addicts last night jonesing for our next hit! We wanted dessert after dinner SO BAD! Ended up eating carrots and hummus, apple, orange, and finally a bag of potato chips at midnight.
Me: What did you eat for dinner?
Karen: Ate pork chops, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, and corn. Drank water. Did not have gum.
Me: How did you feel after? Full? Hungry? Satisfied?
Karen: Satisfied but could have eaten more. John wanted more of something right away.
Me: Was it plain apple sauce?
Karen: Yeah, organic no sugar.
Me: Could be a few things. Maybe John needed more meat. Or wild rice w/herbs & butter and a big green saald might have balanced the meal better. Eating all those carb-heavy foods at once can create the desire for more carbs later. Depends on the person.
Karen: Yeah, that's what happened I guess. Really need a safe dessert.
Me: Yes, sometimes fruit doesn't cut it. Another thing is the fat content. Pork is pretty low-fat so maybe you needed another fatty food with it. Sour cream? Guacamole and chips?
Karen: I mixed tons of sour cream in the potatoes.
Me: Hmm, full fat, right? I think less starch might help. You have to eat enough protein, too, though.
Karen: Yes, full fat.

Post-conversation commentary: I forgot to mention that sugar is 4 times more addictive than heroin! Believe it or not, humans trying to give up sugar face a tougher challenge than your average drug addict. Based on what I now know about sugar and all the bad things it does to the human body and psyche (cancer, depression, aggression, diabetes, weight gain, immune suppression, etc.) it is really hard for me to understand why it's still legal! (especially when a life-giving, delicious food like raw milk has practically been banned outright) Chalk this up to industry pressures: the sugar and corn industries (which of course makes high-fructose corn syrup) are incredibly powerful and more or less "own" many government representatives and agencies (USDA, anyone?).

Well, I'll get off my soap box here. Just keep in mind if you're trying to cut down on sugar that there are a few simple rules to follow:
1. substitute (use raw honey, molasses, maple syrup, or dehydrated cane juice instead of sugar or corn syrup products; while these products will still break down into sugar in your body you will at least get the benefit of the enzymes and minerals which are present in natural sweeteners but not present in refined white sugar; oh, and I should mention artificial sweeteners should be avoided like the plague they are)
2. go slow -- cut down gradually on the amount you use (i.e. a little less every day in your baked goods or coffee until you reach a reasonably-low level, or slowly begin substituting white-flour items with whole wheat)
3. resist your cravings -- eating refined carbohydrate foods and sugar in all its forms (soda, muffins/bagels, pretzels, goldfish crackers, juice, etc.) will simply reinforce the desire for more. I have found that having a couple cookies a few days in a row will make my body expect it -and want it- again and again! Even chewing gum will create this desire: every time you taste something really sweet you will want to experience the sweet taste again, whether it be a few hours later or the next day. The more times you can simply avoid giving in to this desire, the faster these chronic cravings will subside.
4. boost your protein intake -- this will really help with refined-carb cravings (think of it this way: your body is starving for nutrients (protein) so it craves calories (sugar))
5. ADD FATS!!! This is probably the most important thing you can do. While we have been taught to avoid most animal fats thinking they are what is causing our mass epidemic of obesity and chronic disease, this advice is totally wrong. We really need high-quality animal fats (pure butter, lard, cream, duck/goose fat, eggs, meat, etc.) in order to meet our nutritional needs and quench sugar cravings. These fats are very useful for treating numerous disorders from infertility to hypoglycemia. Olive oil, nuts/seeds, avocado, and coconut oil & cream are also great, but not quite as satisfying for many people (and among the plant sources of fats, only coconut products provide a lot of the all-important saturated fats ). You can pretty much eat the amount that feels right for your body without worrying about things like cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight gain. Not only will you easily shed a few unnecessary pounds by eating this way, you will also experience a lift in your mood, greater patience and resilience, more energy, better sleep, clearer skin, and fewer colds/flus and infections (remember, all bad bacteria, tumors, cancer, etc. feed on sugar).

*One note on animal fats: go for local grass-raised animal products whenever possible, and balance them out with a good amount of leafy greens. Experiment with quantities and types that feel right for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment