by Anglia M. Walpool
Sure, going sugarless sounds a bit harsh to most people, it may even sound a little repulsive around this time of the year. However, for the last six months, I’ve tried to reduce the amount of processed sugar in my family’s diet. But more specifically, I’ve focused on reducing the sugar in my own diet for better health. I realized that if I were going to expect changes from my family, it would be better if I were to look at myself first. Sadly, I still eat two pieces of red licorice once a week, but I’m working towards a healthier me, via baby steps and I am certainly a lot more mindful when I indulge in bad habits.
In America, there are over 28 million people suffering from diabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar is too high which may result in numerous health problems. Type 2 diabetes is a degenerative disease that has increased in frequency as sugar consumption has increased. This form of diabetes accounts for 98% of all the diabetic cases in America today and is considered to be entirely diet-related. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races including Hispanics, African-Americans, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk. The risk for diabetes also increases with age. This may be because people tend to exercise less, losing muscle mass and gaining weight as we get older In some cases type 2 diabetes can be reversed through healthy eating, exercising and monitoring your sugar intake, but it also depends on your genes.
The easiest way to go sugarless is to stop adding the sweet stuff in your food and drinks. Many people are not even aware of how many teaspoons or tablespoons of sugar they add to that bowl of oatmeal, hot cereals or sliced fruit, not to mention those alcoholic beverages, sodas, Kool-aid and sugary energy drinks. “The average American consumes about 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day,” according to SugarScience.org. We are consuming way too much, almost 66 pounds of sugar per year. What’s even more disturbing is the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar in our bloodstream.
It also increases your uric acid levels, damages your liver, causes weight gain, obesity, elevated blood sugar and elevated triglycerides. Scientists aren’t sure specifically how sugar contributes to fatal heart problems, nevertheless it has been shown to increase blood pressure and levels of unhealthy cholesterol, in addition to heart disease or a stroke. Researchers are investigating the connection between sugar and cancer. The idea that sugar could directly fuel the growth of cancer cells has led some people to avoid sugary treats and carbohydrate-containing foods. It even contributes to signs of aging, causing your skin to look and feel older than it is. While your body metabolizes sugar, it initiates an inflammatory process that harms the skin. Sugar attaches itself to any protein in the body and produces harmful molecules called ‘advanced glycation end products’. These reduce the effectiveness of elastin and collagen, proteins in the skin that give us that youthful appearance.
Dr. Aamer Khan, a cosmetic dermatologist, and Co-Founder of Harley Street Skin Clinic established in 2004 said, “There is no point in spending a lot of money on expensive skin creams if you are eating a diet high in sugar.” Going sugarless means, not only getting rid of table sugar but brown sugar, liquid sugar, corn syrup and powdered sugar as well. You may also want to eliminate processed carbohydrates from your kitchen as well as refined carbohydrates like cakes, biscuits, white bread, white pasta, and white rice all quickly convert into sugar in the body. Keeping these common products out of your home is a simple effective way to maintain a better-balanced blood sugar level. Unstable blood sugar often leads to mood swings, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, sweating, headaches and sugary cravings. Dr. Khan stated, “sugar should be avoided altogether.”
The more natural the food the better your health will be. When you’re hungry, choose an apple in place of a candy bar, or an orange in place of a cookie. Always satisfy your sweet tooth naturally with fresh fruits or raw food desserts. One of my favorite fruit snacks is persimmons, they are about 70 calories, depending on the size. It is a very good source of fiber and not to mention, naturally sweet and delicious. Persimmons can be consumed fresh, dried, or cooked. You can also use them for raw food desserts and filling. Raw fruits provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that other desserts made with flour and white sugar simply won’t give you. Desserts and treats don’t have to be sweet in addition to being high in calories, so start exploring nutritious foods while going sugarless.
Let’s try spicing up our life by experimenting with herbs and spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, honey, raw maple syrup and raw coconut. I made my first raw food, pecan pie this Sunday, I shall leave the recipe with you and hope you enjoy it. It was very satisfying without the sugar. I am not saying that you have to give up sugar right away completely, this is a life long journey. However, it would be in your best interest to modify your sugar consumption.
Recipe for Raw Pecan Pie
1 cup almond
1/2 cup pecan
½ cup dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup crushed pecans
2 cup dates (soaked)
1/4 cup date water
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
In a high-speed blender combine almonds, pecans, dates, shredded coconut and cinnamon. Blend ingredients until you reach a dough-like consistency. Mold dough into pie dish and place in the fridge for filling.
In your high-speed blender combine 1/2 cup pecans, dates, water, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon & nutmeg seasoning. Blend until smooth and creamy. With a spoon mix in another 1/2 cup crushed pecans. Pour mixer into pie dish and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup pecan on top. Place in refrigerator for 1 hours