How’s everyone’s week going so far?
I always feel like Tuesdays are the worst days of the week. Does anyone else feel that way? You’re no longer riding the wave of the previous weekend, and it’s still too far from Friday to feel stress-free about about your to-do list.
Anyways, today I wanted to tell you guys about a recent change I made in my diet: reducing my sugar intake.
Many of you probably recall that I’ve dabbled in Paleo during the past few years. Although I’m no longer following the strict Paleo guidelines by any means (hi, oatmeal and sandwiches every day), last month I decided to re-adopt the Paleo “no sugar” rule. And by no sugar, I mean processed sugar and (gasp!) fake sugar, such as Splenda. (In other words, not the sugars naturally found in fresh fruit.)
I forget what the actual tipping point was, but I had a light bulb moment in May where it finally sunk in that processed sugar is not at all necessary for our bodies to function. Duh, right? In actuality, sugar is the only part of our diet that truly has no nutritional value whatsoever. It got me thinking that maybe it wasn’t in my best interest to routinely indulge in fake sugars, or even foods that were surely highly sweetened but whose nutrition labels I just never paid much attention.
Now, it’s not that I ever ate a boatload of candy or ice cream – I actually don’t even like most sweet stuff (except chocolate – I’m a cookie gal). But you guys, sugar is seriously snuck into everything. It’s sort of crazy.
Sugar is in so many of the seemingly good for you snacks I was used to enjoying on the daily, from yogurt to granola. I have mainly stuck to plain Greek yogurt in the past due to my passion for swirling peanut butter into it, but I’d gotten on a recent kick of enjoying some of the more flavored varieties…which can have 13 grams of sugar and up. And heck, even a lot of peanut butters have added sugar! Not to mention my former daily Luna bar habit. Certainly not sugar-free either.
The more I thought about it, the more sugar I realized I was actually consuming every day without even noticing it.
Not that any of those snacks are “bad,” but all that sugar? Gosh, it adds up! I was starting to wonder what all of that sugar was actually doing to my body, even though I am (thank God) in pretty good health. And really, just why it was necessary to have in my diet period. Ya know? That was the main issue for me.
As for the Splenda, I’ve long felt like my attachment to a packet of Splenda in my morning oatmeal and regular soy mistos at Starbucks was maybe not the most ideal. To be frank, I have no idea if the chemicals in Splenda or any other “fake” sugars are really eroding my stomach lining or yours, nor is that actually my primary motivation here. Honestly, I just didn’t feel comfortable anymore knowing I was relying on a chemical rather than just trying to kick an (albeit relatively small) sugar reliance altogether. Chalk it up to my perfectionist/Type A-ness.
So, instead, I’ve been focusing on eating more real food and less energy bars, and reducing my sugar intake altogether.
Snacks like avocado toast and mixed nuts instead. Boom.
Any energy bars I do have in a pinch have been sugar free or under 5 grams. I’m also enjoying far less Splendas per week than I used to.
If anyone else has struggled to eat unsweetened oatmeal, here’s a tip I learned from my cousin while in D.C. last week: instead of adding sliced fruit and berries on top of your plain oatmeal post-cooking (i.e., what I have done for years), heat the oats with 1/4 of a banana or 2-3 medium sized strawberries right in the water/milk. I usually microwave it all because I have zero patience to wait for stove-top oatmeal to cook.
The finished product is a naturally sweetened bowl of oats, ready for topping with nut butter. Stupidly easy, right? And so yummy!
Bottom line here, though, is that the less sugar I consume on the regular, the less I find myself interested in having it, and actually? The better I feel. (I’ve always known this about myself with chocolate, but never really paid attention to other forms of sugar.) In other words, I don’t miss it. Does that make sense?
Let’s be clear though, you guys – I am not at ALL perfect, nor am I striving to be. I mean, I regularly have syrup with my pancakes, and my peanut butter cup snack on Saturday? Totally delicious. I have no interest in blacklisting all foods with sugar 24/7; I’m human after all. But I’m striving to not make sugar a regular guest in my diet.
Have a great day!
How do you guys feel about sugar? How about “fake” sugar?