Monday, October 10, 2011

Kicking the Sweets Habit

Refined sugar and chemical sugar substitutes are like narcotics; they are harmful and addictive.  Without getting into too much science, they cause a hormonal response that leaves the body feeling depleted in a way that can only be satisfied by having moresugar.  Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar and not only causes the same hormonal response as sugar, but both create a heavily distorted sense of what level of sweetness is appropriate for our healthy bodies.

The taste of 'sweet' is very important to our palate. Without the taste of sweetness, it is hard to satisfy our appetite as humans. I recommend to my clients that they have a sweet taste in all of their meals and that they make a point to have that taste in the last bite they take of that meal.  The important thing to remember is that the degree of sweetness that we need is much lower than many people use on a daily basis.  Most people in our society are sweet abusers.  The sweetness from a meal could come from a ripe orange bell pepper, many types of breads, milk, cream, certain cheeses, or, my favorite, fruits.

So my first, and most important recommendation is to spend a few days refining your palate by eliminating any added sweetener until you can distinguish the distinct sweet taste in a piece of wheat
bread. It is actually quite sweet when you're not used to off-the-chart sweetness. Then, go back to adding sweetener if you still want to. But now that your palate is more refined, you will notice that your sweet needs have changed and become more realistic and you'll find that you can be satisfied with more natural sources.

Honey is a nice, natural alternative to refined sugar and chemical sweeteners. It can be added to anything cold. You're not supposed to heat honey or it loses its natural, healing properties. Stevia
root is also a natural sweetener, but it has been accused of interfering with carbohydrate absorption, causing gene mutation in lab settings and lowering the sperm count in lab rodents. Pure maple syrup can be used as a sweetener as well.  (Avoid things labeled as "pancake syrup" or "maple flavored syrup"  they're refined and artificial.)

But the healthiest way to add sweet to food is by adding fresh fruit.  Throw an apple into your oatmeal or your salad. Cook a pear into your tomato sauce; it cooks down and adds a distinct (natural and healthy) sweetness without being off the scale or causing addictive responses. Pineapple is a wonderful sweetener as well.  Also most dried fruit can add a nice sugary sweetness.  Just be careful to look for fruit without sulfur dioxide, which is a nasty preservative.

Have fun experimenting with your sweet tooth.  It's a joy to retrain yourself to appreciate the natural things in life.  Trust nature to bring you to a state of health.

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