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Last Updated on June 3, 2019

How to Get Rid of Refined Sugar Completely

How to Get Rid of Refined Sugar Completely

I like to think of sugar as a drug. If you think about it, refined sugar bears striking resemblances to illegal street drugs: it’s a white crystalline or powdery substance that does not occur in its refined form spontaneously in nature, just like many addicting substances. When we ingest it, we get an immediate dopamine release and accompanying sense of pleasure, and if we are used to having it often and then are deprived of it for a longer time than usual, we get cranky and irritable. We can even have withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, moodiness, and so forth when we stop eating it. It’s a substance we often can’t bring ourselves to resist, even though we are well aware of many of the consequences of using it. Sound like a drug? All laughing aside, I have to admit that it sure sounds like one to me.

Social Sweetness

One of my biggest pet peeves about public schools and certain social traditions is that they have increased my children’s intake of sugar by at least ten times what it would be without them. For instance, every time someone in my child’s class has a birthday, it’s a tradition for the birthday kid to bring a special treat—invariably a sugary treat—for every member of the class. Multiply this by 24-28 kids each school year, then add the class parties, birthday parties at friends’ houses, trick-or-treating, Christmas goodies, Valentines Day card/treat swapping at school, Easter candy, and candy thrown out to children at summertime parades. And don’t forget the treats offered to my kids every time I go to the bank, the grocery store, the hardware store, and even (yes, it’s true!) the doctor’s office of all places. By the time we add it all up, my kids have been bombarded with sugar. I am sure that the motive behind this is not to inundate my child with sugar, but that is the effect it has.

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Early on in our home, we had much less sugar than we do now, but as time has gone by and my children get older, I have less control over how much sugar they eat. At times my children have absolutely refused to eat anything that is not sweetly-flavored; no meat or vegetables will cross their lips. It becomes a battle of wills. They become less cooperative, more irritable, less able to focus, and more disrespectful when they are in a sugar funk.

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Kicking the Habit

How do you kick the sugar habit? I’m not an expert, but here are a few suggestions that I’ve tried somewhat successfully:

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  • Drink more water. Why would drinking more water help you eat less sugar? Much of the sugar we consume comes in the form of beverages, so if we fill up on water more often, we’ll be less inclined to down a soda.
  • Eat more protein and fats. Protein and fats stay with you longer than sugars do. So after the sugar has been used up, the proteins and fats start to be used by your body for energy. It’s ironic that our culture that eats about 10-15% less fat than it did 60 years ago, is now, on the average, more overweight than it was 60 years ago. Be choosy about fats, though. Completely avoid trans fats, or hydrogenated oils. Eat moderate amounts of saturated fats. Also, choose healthier monounsaturated fats, and Omega 3, 6, and 9’s. And by all means, don’t go overboard on fat consumption.
  • Try new flavors. Make a goal to try a new or relatively new non-sweet flavor a few times per week. Try out a new spice or herb, or a new veggie or fruit, or whole grain.
  • Eat more often. Usually, when we are craving a sweet snack, it has been a few hours since our last meal.  It’s easier to avoid cravings if we nip them in the bud—before they even start. If you normally start craving a sweet snack at 10:30 a.m., try snacking on whole wheat toast, carrots, cheddar cheese, and 12-16 oz. of water at 9:45 or 10:00, before your blood glucose levels are low enough to make you crave sugar.
  • When snacking, think “food groups” first. Use snacks as an opportunity to add to your day’s allotment of each food group. Put a higher priority on healthy foods by choosing them first.

Conclusion

Good luck on your quest for a low-sugar lifestyle. It’s a goal worth fighting for, and will likely help you live longer, avoid disease, have more energy, and be healthier overall!

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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