I’ll be honest. I am mad today. Mad that so many things that I like to eat- that I depend on- to get me through my day, are things that I really am trying hard to not put into my body. Things like sugary peanut butter, sugar-filled yogurt (yes, even the Greek kind when it’s not plain… sorry to upset you- read the label), sugary cereal at my office like Frosted Mini Wheats and all of the other things that I weave into my day around the ‘bulk’ of my diet that is full of veggies, fruits and lean meats.
They’ve totally done it. They’ve gotten me hooked. Big business knows that we are all hooked, so I am on day 2 of trying to take the own hook out of my mouth- and for good. Right now, it just plain sucks. Especially when on the way to the restroom at work, I have to pass this: M&M trailmix, cinnamon toast crunch, honey nut cheerios, frosted mini wheats, animal cookies, pretzels, and brown sugar oatmeal. Wowzers.
While Sugar-free is my goal for the next 30 days, with the ultimate goal being to form a habit that will build into a better lifestyle, sugar-free in today’s world can be scary. Like, really scary.
I have never eaten foods containing artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame, which is why I finally decided to part ways with chewing gum a few years back. I would rather eat a spoonful of sugar than have this dangerous substance enter my body. So, if you’re eating or drinking diet sodas, ‘sugar-free’ candy, sweeteners, etc- you might want to start checking labels and run in the other direction. Even Splenda, which we all thought was our sweetener savior when it came on to the market 10-15 years ago, is filled with controversy. To me, it’s common sense- how could it be ok for you, with that artificial taste and zero calories? I am an eternal optimist, yes. But in this case, when something looks to good to be true, it is.
So where do we go from here? As much as this is about eliminating sugar from my diet, it’s about being even more conscious of what I am fueling my body with and wanting to eat things ‘closer to the earth.’
I was so conditioned through my teen years, in the 90’s phenomenon of the ‘low fat craze,’ that as long as something was low fat or low carb, it was good for me. Remember those SnackWells white sandwich cremes? I ate them like they were going out of style. But what are they, really? White flour cookie things with a creamy white sugary-but-low-in-calories ‘stick to the roof of your mouth and probably your intestines’ frosty middle? When you really think about it, these kinds of foods are the furthest thing you can get from healthy.
Let’s alter our minds in the way that we think about food. Let’s stop thinking ‘how many calories’ and start thinking, ‘how will I feel when I eat this?’ Better yet: how will my colon, my liver and my CELLS feel when I eat this?
Final thought: I was in the store yesterday getting a snack. Awareness caused me to look at all of the labels and be more thoughtful about my decision regarding what to buy. I am a frequent label-looker, but sometimes when I get to the ‘natural’ section of a store I stop being as conscious and just buy whatever looks good. I go back to being a packaging shopper. In looking for a bar to buy, I normally get ThinkThin bars. I love them. They’re creamy and delicious and have 0g Sugar. You heard me, 0g sugar! Sounds like a good choice? I won’t say it is a bad choice- but all I know is as I read the label of this Creamy Peanut Butter Protein Bar, I didn’t know what over half of the ingredients were. And, why doesn’t it have sugar but it has 11g of sugar alcohols? Something about that just seemed fishy.
So I picked up another favorite, a LARABAR, and I smiled when I looked at the ingredient list: the beauty of simplicity. DATES, CASHEWS, ALMONDS, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL FLAVORS. That’s IT. Yes, I think I know all of these ingredients- Winner! So while it has ’22g’ of sugar, those sugars are coming from fruit. And I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better about eating fruit than sugar alcohol. Whatever that is.