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:: Sugar and Spice, not always nice ::

While at work yesterday, I was thinking about how much shame is associated with our food obsessions. Like returning to work with a bag of Mc Donalds or Taco Bell because you had no time to pack a nutritious meal, your starving and reduced to grabbing whatever is close to eat, simply because your starving by this time.

A program I've been watching has helped me make some real positive changes in how and when I eat, and I'm thinking that it could really help other people as well. I think just being conscious about our food is a good way to start, and also... it goes back again to what I've said about scheduling your time for the really important things we need to do. { like pack a lunch }

Start to notice your conditioned default patterns towards food. This is a big one. Just knowing this is key to knowing how to navigate your self with food. For me, I know that I am conditioned to eat everything on my plate… so I need to plate lightly and add more if I need. And, if I let myself get too hungry I’ll eat just about anything and everything in sight. Do you have the thought “I need more” before you even begin?  These are all quite common thoughts believe it or not.

But now, here's what we will do. First, and most important. Make a mixture of H2Orange. What is that? Your new drink of choice! In a large 2 gallon container, add 2 cups of "Not from concentrate" orange juice and then add enough water to fill the container. Upon waking in the morning have a glass of that and take your medicine and/or vitamins. Amazingly, this does two things. It prevents me from feeling hungry {because I wan't really hungry, I was thirsty} and it also regulates my glucose level so I don't crave sweets. I drink about 3 large glasses {12-16oz}of this during the course of my day. The rest of the time, I drink water. Although, I also do drink coffee and tea in moderation as well.

Next, and the most important thing. Do not eat until you are between a level 2-3. What this means is that you know that your are hungry, and you must eat. You are hungry, but not past a three where you are starving and will eat anything. Never eat at a 1. Why? Your not really hungry. When you do eat, I want you to eat very very slowly. Be aware of what you are eating. Taste your food, really taste it, slowly. Now, eat very slowly for 10 minutes then stop. Wait for 5 minutes, then continue to eat again for 10 more minutes very slowly. When you do this you will notice that you are really tasting your food, and second, that you are becoming full on a very little amount of food. If you do this for about six weeks, you will have shrunk your stomach back to its normal size {which is the size of your fist, or appox 1 cup } and you will become full much faster from then on. But, it will always be important to eat slowly. So, it is very important that you are aware of when you are really hungry. If I wake up at 6am, I am hungry by 11am, then, I eat again around 5:30-6pm and that's it. It's amazing how little I eat. I only eat twice a day because that is all my body requires. Believe you me I am surprised by that as well. And because of that, I plan my food well. Every meal should be 25% protein and there should be no need for snacking. Make sure the food you are giving yourself is healthy.

We have to talk about the real problem. Sugar. No more soda. None. Give it up completely. No sports drinks. Water, tea, coffee, that's it. Why?  A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. If you’re reading the ingredients list though, you won’t see sugar clearly listed. Coke in the United States is made with high fructose corn syrup as a lower-cost sugar alternative. High fructose corn syrup is actually the second ingredient in Coke, behind carbonated water. Can you believe that? And people give there children pop, and then wonder why they can't sit still? Look at some of these... I'll bet you thought many of these were healthy didn't you?

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day, which is 25 grams of sugar or 100 calories from sugar. As a man, you can have up to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily, or 38 grams of sugar, which is around 150 calories from sugar. No matter your gender, a single 12-ounce can of Coke goes over the maximum sugar allowance for the day.  

This is a big thing. You, need to be aware of all the hidden sugar content lurking in your food. And this, is not easy. It is in everything. And I'm not kidding.

A full McDonald's cheeseburger with bun and toppings is approximately 4 ounces. It has 300 calories, 110 of those from fat. Total fat is 12 g and half of that is saturated fat. Another half gram is trans fat. The cheeseburger contains 40 mg of cholesterol, 680 mg of sodium, 33 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of dietary fiber, 7 g of sugars, 15 g of protein, 6 percent vitamin A, 2 percent vitamin C, 20 percent calcium, and 15 percent iron. You are consuming approximately 14 calories of fat per bite. Over 1/3 of the McDonald's cheeseburger calories comes from fat. Half of those calories are from trans-fat.

Most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day — more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. In many people, sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden to your heart. Blood pressure rises with age, and eating less sodium now will help curb that rise and reduce your risk of developing other conditions associated with too much sodium, such as strokeheart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease.

As you can see, this is not funny. This one cheese burger contains almost half of your daily allowed salt intake. {sodium}  and, mind you this is just a small cheeseburger, the other kinds and bigger varieties are even worse! I cannot tell you enough how bad any fast food is for us. And, it is depressing. Because, I love it too. But, I refuse to continue to do this to my body. My body can't handle this anymore. Really, it can't take it. It was never meant to breakdown such large numbers of pure junk. Which is why we have such a problem in this country with our weight and ultimately, Diabetes. Folks, I hate to say this. But, it really is this simple. Buy food that is as fresh as possible, and prepare all your meals at home. If you need to - make some meals ahead and freeze them, bake some healthy breakfast cookies that you can grab as you run out the door, whip up some egg salad, or chicken salad from leftovers, have some organic tortilla chips and hummus with your small sandwich at lunch and a piece of fresh fruit. It's easier than you think. 

Think about this:

  • Foods we recognize as dessert (e.g. doughnuts, ice cream, cookies) often have far less sugar than things we consider “healthy” (e.g. juice, yogurt, dried fruit).
  • Cereal isn't necessarily better than doughnuts.
  • Energy bars are little more than glorified candy.
  • Dessert is sometimes hidden in things like sandwiches.
  • Some foods marketed to children aren't much better than soda.
  • A salad can have as much sugar as one of the biggest cupcakes I've ever seen.
  • “Natural” foods can have lots of sugar.
  • The worst offenders are drinkable.
How much sugar is in your favorite foods? It's time you checked.

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