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How to Get Rid of Refined Sugar Completely

How to Get Rid of Refined Sugar Completely

Sugar Is a Drug

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.

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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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