Ok, first off I’m not going to pretend that I never have sugar. I still do, every day, more on that later, but what I do is limit my sugar intake as much as I can. Once you do it you’ll find that everything (including life) is a lot sweeter.
Step 1 – stop adding sugar
The first thing you can do is stopping adding sugar to anything such as tea and coffee. I wouldn’t recommend switching to sweeteners as many have been linked to harmful side affects. Whilst some like Stevia are natural in origin the processed versions available in shops are isolated extracts of the plant. Unless you are using the whole plant try to stay away from all isolated extracts where you possibly can. Especially where the result is a white powder.
I’m a big coffee drinker and used to drink a lot of tea as well. I found that by buying a higher quality coffee with more taste and switching to chamomile tea I was able to cut out the sugar. I have porridge for breakfast most mornings and switched out sugar for homemade fruit jams without added sugar.
Step 2 – kick that can
All sugar water is bad for you! This includes flavoured waters, which can have a lot of added sugar. Coca Cola is around 10% sugar, which means a standard 330ml can has around 35grams or nearly 9 teaspoons of sugar. Volvic summer fruits flavoured still water is around 4.5% sugar so nearly 4 teaspoons of sugar in the same amount. Fruit juices (no matter how good the quality) are also a high sugar drink, while fruit is great it should be eaten whole with all the fibre.
Water is a good drink! No seriously, I found that by buying a water filter jug that I was able to improve the flavour of our tap water dramatically and find it more enjoyable to drink. There are many bottled waters on the market but most are overpriced filtered ground waters no matter what their marketing claims may be. Water filters are normally a cheaper option to buying bottled water and so are normally good investments. If you want to add flavour to your water just add slices of your favourite fruit to the jug.
Step 3 – eat real food
I can’t stress this enough, stop eating all processed foods. What do I mean by processed foods? Well it’s everything and anything that has been altered from its natural state for convenience. This especially applies to microwave meals, ready meals and fast food. I know that’s easier said than done, especially in todays’ world, but it’s the most important step. These foods are so awful that they are normally laced with artificial flavours and sugar just to stop them tasting terrible. Not surprising as they are made in factories … why would anything made in a factory not taste terrible?
The second caveat to this is avoiding anything that is marketed as low fat or fat reduced. This normally implies that it contains more added sugar than the full fat version. Once you remove the fat from food it tastes terrible and so manufacturers load it with sugar to improve the taste.
As poor quality processed foods tend to have less fat/protein and nutrients than real food, switching to real food will leave you more satisfied and less hungry.
"I'm eating the same amount of calories as I did before, but my liver has turned to fat, my belly is chasing my lady's, it's doing something to my brain, we know that, and I'm not feeling full."
"That Sugar Film" by Damon Gameau
Step 4 – buy the best
Remember earlier when I said I still have sugar and that it was every day? Well here is my guilty secret. I eat chocolate every day. Everyday I have a piece of good quality raw or high cacao content chocolate. I love it, and have no intention of completely giving it up. Some of my favourite bars have around 12% sugar content and I normally have apiece around 10grams. This means I have around 1.2 gram of sugar or just over a ¼ teaspoon.
Switching to a higher quality chocolate makes the cheap stuff like milk chocolate taste terrible. Now I understand why the Europeans think milk chocolate is not real chocolate. So by buying a better quality chocolate you will appreciate the taste more therefore end up eating less.
Step 5 – the bad news
Now for the last tip and some bad news … almost, everybody will find at least one particular aspect very difficult to overcome. For some it might be processed foods, for others “sugar water”. There is no way to get around the fact that sugar is addictive and therefore trying to cut sugar out altogether or trying to follow the above steps all at once will be hard if not impossible.
But by introducing one step at a time and giving your self the time to withdraw and adjust your taste buds you can greatly increase your chances of making positive changes. Also remember that in all the steps above while you are removing or lowering sugar you are also adding something; swapping coffee with sugar for better quality coffee, low quality chocolate for better quality chocolate and hopefully processed food for real food.
Also don’t beat yourself up if you happen to have that slice of double chocolate cake with thick frosting one day. It doesn’t mean that your hard work was for nothing. Just be mindful about your consumption for the rest of day.
Lastly, you can help avoid being tempted by keeping a ready supply of sugary treats on hand … in the fruit bowl.
Although we are surrounded by junk and fast food, eating healthy has never been easier. Let GrassRoots Health help you on your journey by joining our RSS feed or use our contact us page for more information.
About the GrassRoots Health Blog
The Grassroots Health blog is written by Dean and Joanne. Joanne's passion is vegan raw food, nutrition and wellbeing while Dean likes to explore the real science behind health.
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