I love sweet things. It must have started when my kind-hearted, but misguided, parents started giving me candies to get some peace and quiet from their little outspoken princess. Anyway, it’s biological too, right? Mmm, caloric density…
Sweet things I love: Nutella (bad, bad, bad but sooo good), raspberry jam, creamed honey, CHOCOLATE!, Thai food, honey flavored Greek yogurt, buttery blueberry scones, the list goes on and on.
Why I’m giving them up: Sugar aggravates, and possibly originates, inflammation in your body.
Do you want….
- to have allergies
- to worsen existing allergies
- to keep your cold or flu for an extra week
- to feel tired and sluggish at work
- to develop or maintain your adult acne
- to put on a little extra weight in the form of pure flub, or…
- to just feel / look crappy overall?
then, you should eat lots of sugar, especially in concentrated forms!
Don’t believe me? Try to quit it for a month and see how you feel. Yeah, I thought so – truly giving up sugar is incredibly difficult, especially when you start considering that it’s in every single Thai dish (I can see into the kitchen of the Castro Thai House Express from my BEDROOM WINDOW), not to mention sloppy joes, ketchup, potato chips and even non-sweet-tasting soymilk.
Do you think it’s worth it? My allergies can get BAD. I will break out in hives all over and have uncontrollable, sequential sneezing for up to an hour. I’m also having a major, face-puffing surgery in a mere two weeks. Yeah, I definitely want to control inflammation from all fronts in my life. It’s worth it to me.
Consider the law of diminishing returns. You can work really really hard at this, never ever eating anything sweet (not even Vietnamese noodle salad with a sweet-salty-vinegar dressing). Then, you’d be perfect.
Or, you can work reasonably hard, being generally aware and doing your best most of the time. Then, you’d be doing pretty damn well with a fraction of the effort it takes to be perfect. And, you’d still be doing your body a major service.
Does your office have free chocolates? Do you feel bored / stressed / insane by the afternoon? If one little chocolate is what keeps you from developing a peptic ulcer or high blood pressure, then… well, the answer’s obvious. Follow the law of diminishing returns – after your effort curve hits a certain level, the rate of return for this effort (the health benefits associated with sugar reduction) starts to drop.
There’s no need to be perfect. It doesn’t even make business sense. The key is to hit the *sweet* spot where minimum effort yields maximum returns.
Try these four tricks:
1. Try the completely unsweetened versions of products like soymilk. Chances are, you won’t miss the sweetener.
2. Try stevia. I love stevia, the totally natural sugar-free sweetener that’s derived from a South American herb colloquially known as ‘sugar leaf.’ It has zero calories because it’s just an herb that has a sweet flavor to it; it has NO glucose whatsoever in its chemical makeup, so it’s not a sugar!
3. When you want something sweet, ask yourself why. Can you replace it with a walk? Can you replace it with a conversation with a friend? Can you replace it with a really good YouTube video of Kanye West? As long as your replacement isn’t french fries, cigarettes, or booze, then go for it!
4. Cut yourself some slack and have a sweet treat once in a while. Stick to less sweet versions, like dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and choose your sweetener wisely – honey rather than high fructose corn syrup (duh!), and agave rather than either of these (agave is lower in blood sugar-spiking glucose).
I’d love to know how (and if!) these tips work for you. If they’re totally basic or useless to you, please PLEASE let me know what you do to make it happen! I’m always looking to learn….