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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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