Edited and added personal anecdotes by KJ Landis
There I am, finding myself sliding down the chutes, knee-deep in Temptation City of a Candy Land game. Platters of buttery cookies, lovingly-baked and warm, fresh from the oven, coyly call to me. Servings of shimmery, homemade whipped cream seductively beckon. The carrot cake with extra-thick cream cheese frosting appears especially beautiful tonight. How do I refrain and restrain myself from these pitfalls?
Until my nutritional understanding grew to a point when most sugary treats just no longer seemed as appetizing to me, any dark chocolate bar or vegan cookie within arm’s reach was in mortal danger. Yet, they are safe in my presence now (and I’m safe in theirs!). I have learned how to choose a treat as a treat once in a while without feeling guilty. Choosing without the feeling of cheating is important to the resulting mind-body communication. I also have embraced using natural alternatives to sugar that taste delicious. I have learned how to politely decline without insulting the bakers or party hosts. What’s armed me with such fortitude? Why don’t I eat the cookies and the devil’s food cake this year? Because I know what they are! I can also bring my goodies to the events and teach others through doing, not talking...
Sugar Chemistry 101:
To arm oneself with knowledge, now that is a wonderful sword. Let us learn a little chemistry along the way. Sugars do taste good, and there is no problem in enjoying the naturally occurring fructose in whole, fresh fruits. The problem is in eating sugar as a food! When I am holding a cookie in my hand, a piece of cake, or a candy bar, I am holding a chunk of sugar in my hand. Sweets are usually baked or made with fat, creating the creamy mouth-feel that is oh-so satisfying. It is usually also combined with bonded with refined carbs, which also turns into glucose in the bloodstream during digestion. Would I consider going over to the sugar bowl and shoveling tablespoons of the white stuff into my mouth? Most likely, no.
If I do eat it, within minutes, my bloodstream is flooded with sugar. Soon, the structural proteins in all of my tissues – the elastic fibers of the skin, the hemoglobin in the blood, the filter membranes in the kidneys, the inner lining of the blood vessels, the lenses of the eyes – all get “sticky” with sugar. In the 98.6° F metabolic “oven” of the body, the sugars and proteins melt together and oxidize, like the browning of bread crust. These oxidized, damaged, and congealed proteins do not function normally. The gummed-up, oxidized protein fibers break, skin cracks in the sunlight; eyes become less permeable to light; muscle proteins do not contract as vigorously; brain function dwindles – sound familiar? Sugar is an inflammatory food and feeds cancer cells. EATING SUGAR AGES US!
Now that we know more about the science behind sugar, we can make sense of the sweet seduction.We can try one day at a time. Can we do "Meatless" and "Sugarless" Mondays? If we are successful at that, we can give ourselves a positive affirmation or a little star on our calendar, or both! After a month of successful Mondays, try "Sugarless" Saturdays, which are more challenging due to the fact that most parties are on the weekends. Remember, it is possible to create the optional sugar-free desserts and wow the party-goers!
I wanna hear from you! Let me know how your health and wellness journey fares. Here's to your superior self!
-Author and Creator of the Superior Self Series
-CPT, CFI, Life and Wellness Coach
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