I’ve realized that I am completely addicted to a drug. Seriously. The name of my nemesis: Sugar.
I LOVE cookies, brownies, gelato, candy, white chocolate mochas, and really anything sweet. My newest favorite concoction: caramel corn.
Although this flu ravaging our household has been completely miserable, there is one good thing that has come of it. It has helped me become extremely interested in our overall health, and how the foods we eat affect our bodies. It is fascinating!
After spending some time reading up on sugar and whole foods, I am learning the most detrimental thing to my health is in fact in almost all packaged food. If it is not grown or living at one time, it contains added sugar. And LOTS of it!
One of the most startling facts is that the average American consumes almost 1/3 lb of sugar a day, 20 teaspoons of added sugar. This does not include the natural sugars that is in fruit, milk, and vegetables. That is around 135 lbs a year! Considering a can of pepsi has 10 teaspoons of sugar, this is not hard to fathom! This is up from the 1800’s where the average was 5 lbs a YEAR. With the increased consumption has also come an increase in virtually every disease you can think of including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, allegies, obesity, and so on. Coincidence? Hmmm….
One of the most interesting things I have learned so far is how sugar affects our moods and clarity of thought. I have always known that a person can have a “sugar high”, but the book Little Sugar Addicts by Kathleen DesMaisons explains how much we as a society are literally addicted to sugar. Our children especially become addicted to not only candy, but when almost every meal contains processed sugar (think kids yogurt, cereal, crackers, chips, dips, dressings, ketchup, pasta, bread, juice, peanut butter, chicken nuggets, canned fruit, canned veggies, not to mention the obvious like fruit snacks, ice cream, cookies, and baked goods), they become physically dependent on it. She proposes that most tantrums, crankiness, moodiness, destructive, and out of control behaviors can be linked to sugar dependancy. She also says that as a child begins to adopt a sugar free diet of natural, whole foods, the child becomes more focused, less irritable, happier, and ultimately more cooperative.
I’m sure most of us have experienced a blood sugar drop. The thing I never knew before is that it is not normal! Only when our diet is high in refined sugars does a drop like that occur. And what makes me feel better when that happens… you guessed it: sugar! Thus the cycle begins.
Not only am I excited about slowly cutting out the majority of sugars our family consumes, but also adding wholesome foods to our diet. I can’t wait to see the results in energy, mood, and overall health. With the hubs working so much, I feel incredibly responsible to make sure what we eat at home is building up his body, and not depleting him of the focus and energy he needs to be able to provide for our family. In addition, I am hoping to start my kids on a nutritious lifestyle while they are young.
It is kind of ironic to me that I am learning about this right before the biggest sugar filled day of the year. But I do subscribe to the philosophy “all things in moderation,” so yes, my family will be participating. 🙂
Besides, a true lifestyle change does not happen overnight, and definitely does not happen when you feel you are being deprived.
I would love to hear any feedback, ideas, recipes, or information you would like to add! I will be keeping you all updated on our progress!