Health is a journey in which our destination is just to be in a better place than where we were yesterday.  Always moving forward as we increase in knowledge, skills and mindset.  I have always considered myself to live a healthy lifestyle, but as I have continued to gain knowledge over time, I look back and realize I had a lot to learn ... and I still do.  

So my journey continues.  I have a deep seated love/hate relationship with sugar.  I grew up in a typical American family, in which, eating dessert EVERY night was common place.  I knew no different ... until I became an adult and started hearing 'things' and reading 'stories' of how sugar is the cause of all of our problems - it's the devil!  NOOOOO, it can't be.  It's too good to be bad.  Nonetheless, I started realizing I HAD to reduce my sugar consumption.  

It was at that time, I found out It was  not possible, it was too late - I was ADDICTED.  I'm sure you've heard it said  'Sugar is worse then cocaine.'  I don't know anything about that, but I can't seem to break this addiction with sugar.  

So now it's out there for all to see - I'm addicted.  My family knows, my friends even know.  I don't have sugar in my house - I can't.  If I did I would EAT IT ALL!!!  BUT if I come over to your house I will smell it out, there is no use hiding it. I WILL find it ... AND eat it all!  Cookies, candies, ANYTHING (even soda, if that is all there is).

Two years ago my family did a candida cleanse.  It was suppose to be 4 weeks without sugar.  It was hard, but I did pretty good.  I went 3 weeks and I felt good!  Then in the 4th week, I failed miserably.  You know the story after that, it was just  not possible to get back on track. 

Now at the cusp of another cleanse.  I am determined! 

So I'm doing research ... again, as to why I need to ditch the sugar.  I already know I do, but I have to see hard cold facts ... yes, again.

Here are the numbers that prove it's not just me.    
Resource: http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf
Wow, we ALL like our sugar!

According to Dr. Mercola - In 2009, 50% of Americans consumed 1/2 lb of sugar per day, which is about 180lbs of sugar per year!  What I found really interesting is that refined sugars (which have zero nutritional value) make up the bulk of America's sugar consumption.

We all know sugar is not good for us.  ... or maybe some of us are blinded by the mind frame that what we don't know won't hurt us.  If we REALLY know what it is doing to our bodies, we just might put it at the top of our "foods to avoid" list.  Here it is, the TOP reasons to avoid sugar
  1. Sugar effects our mood and energy - we've all experienced the "sugar rush" followed by the more dramatic "sugar crash" followed by cranky, hungry, moody me ... or you.
  2. Sugar is the true silent killer - over consumption of sugar messes with our leptin hormone (this is the hormone that says "hey, you've had enough food."  This leads to over consumption of food and consequently, obesity and a plethora of weight related dis-ease.
  3. Sugar "addiction" may be genetic - I knew it (thanks mom).  My hope is that I can change my own genetic pre-disposition and that of my children.
  4. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body - fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver just as the metabolism of ethanol and that sugar increased the risk of several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for.
  5. Sugar may sap your brain power - no wonder I can't remember anything from my childhood (mom, it's not repressed memories after all - it was just all the sugar you fed me).  


Forget it, I'm not even going to go here.  ... and trust me you shouldn't either.


WHAT - NO SUGAR!  What am I going to eat then?

I've already told you I AM AN ADDICT - you are too, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.  So what do we do without sugar?  We need to acquire some sort of balance in our life AND when we do need something sweet, turn to natural sweeteners. Oh yes, they are out there and in moderation they actually can have health benefits.

Here are some in our pantry right now

  1. Raw, local honey - raw and local really is key here.  Pasteurization removes all the good enzymes and healing properties.  Local honey can help in fighting seasonal allergies - woohoo!  Honey is sweet - less is more.
  2. Real Maple syrup - we prefer Grade B, it has a stronger maple taste and is more nutrient dense than it's sweeter alternative.
  3. Molasses - has vitamins and minerals.  We use it in our gluten free graham crackers, ginger bread goodies and baked beans - yum!
  4. Rapadura or Sucanat - This is an unrefined sugar that can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace white sugar.  It does have more flavor!
  5. Coconut sugar - has some fiber and minerals and is not highly processed.  This isn't our go to sugar, but we do use it on occasion in baking.
  6. Stevia - is an herb that is very sweet.  The ground herb is green, but is most usually processed into a white powder.  It can also be purchased as an extract.  This is probably our least favorite sweetener - it has a funny after taste, so be forewarned and use it in small amounts.  

I don't want to forget to mention "nature's candy" - FRUIT.   Our go to desserts are frozen blueberries, grapes, and delicious dried dates!

If this is ALL new to you, just take baby steps - it's easier that way, trust me.  If you're an addict like me, promise yourself not to have any refined sugars in the house - it's best that way, promise.

Protocols to Curb Sugar Cravings
  • Fill up on nutrient dense food throughout the day 
  • Eat a healthy breakfast every morning
  • Eliminate sugary products and replace them with fruits, vegetables and lean proteins
  • Choose healthy snacks that are a good balance of protein, fiber and healthy fats. 
  • Get plenty of fiber - Top 10 High Fiber Foods                                                  (RDA for men - 38g, for women - 25g)
  • Fill up on good Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Drink plenty of water = 1/2 your body weight in ounces                                       (150lb female should be drinking 75oz water daily)
"strive for progress, not perfection"  -unknown
Dr. Hyman - 5 Reasons HFCS Will Kill You
Huffington Post - 10 Things You Don't Know About Sugar
Journals of the American Heart Association - Heart Failure
Journal of Diabetes Research - Insulin Resistance and Cancer Risk
Alpha Galileo - Scientists Link Excess Sugar to Cancer
Public Health - The Toxic Truth About Sugar
The Journal of Physiology - "Metabolic syndrome" in the brain
Circulation - Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Incident Coronary Heart Disease


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