So here we are! First week of 2015. Everyone is talking about New Year's Resolutions. The winter months are also a great time to look inward, do a bit of housekeeping. I for one have realised that I need to be more conscious of my food choices, especially where sugar is concerned. So I'm embarking on a 30 Day Sugar Detox. Rather than eliminate sugar from my life, this lightweight cleanse has two specific objectives:
- Increase my awareness of sugar in food, especially "hidden sugars"
- Retrain my palate and (fingers crossed) curb that sweet tooth.
Let's start with Awareness. We all expect obvious things like cookies, cakes and ice cream to be high in sugar. That's probably why we eat them in the first place. But what about everyday items like salad dressings, ketchup, low fat yogurt or my favourite Chipotle hot sauce. All of these items are sweetened! Even healthy sounding treats like natural peanut butter are sweetened, when plain old PB is so delicious! According to SugarDetox.me, 75% of packaged goods sold in supermarkets are sweetened. I'm guessing is the result of consumer taste testing, where our natural affinity for sugar wins out time and time again. Our sugar preferences were an asset in the old days when our ancestors had to hunt for food an energy. Now that food is so readily available, these cravings have turned into a public health crisis. It's time to educate ourselves on food. This book in the photo is highly recommended by a friend. It's on my To Read List (but not related to my current Sugar Detox).
It would be so much easier to cut back on sweets if I didn't like them so much, which brings me to the second goal of my Sugar Detox: Retraining the Palate. The next 30 days I'll be avoiding sugar, starting with the obvious, but also checking ingredient lists to see where sugar ranks in the recipe (Here's a tip, ingredients are ordered by quantity, so if sugar is near the top, what you are eating is probably sugar disguised as something else). I'm hoping my palate will get used to unsweetened foods. This is the first time I try a sugar cleanse, but cutting back has been an ongoing process. Two years ago I was one of those people who loved Caramel Macchiatos, having one almost every day. The truth is, even if you're thin it's not healthy to have that much sugar. Sugar consumption has been linked with cancer and diabetes, not to mention obesity.
Wrapping Up. I'm not a nutritionist so this Sugar Detox is driven partly by common sense, but also because I listen to my body. It's telling me, enough with the sweets! At this point, I have no intention of giving up sugar completely. I like Nutella too much for that. But what I would like to accomplish, is to eat less sugar, and to choose when and how much. For that to happen one has to become aware of hidden sugars in food, so that we can start to choose unsweetened options and hopefully, enjoy them too.
Image Source: http://www.cleanprogram.com/