Hey Clean Eaters!
On my facebook page I asked you to tell me what is most challenging about Clean Eating. I received a lot of responses and I am happy to announce that all of your questions will be answered in my Clean Eating Summer School edition!
Looking for more Clean Eating Summer School posts? Check this one out!
Let’s talk sugar, shall we?
Sugar: so good yet so evil.
Did you know that the average American consumes 100 pounds of sugar and sweetener per year? That breaks down to 30 teaspoons per year. Nearly half of this consumption comes from soda and fruit drinks. These drinks are the number 1 source of calories in the American diet!
While this post is not about soda, it is a good visual for you to see. We eat A LOT of sugar! TOO MUCH SUGAR!
As clean eaters, we need to be aware of hidden sugars and sugar substitutes in our food. Why? Because we need to stop poisoning our beautiful bodies!
I avoid anything with sugar. I know that when I consume sugar my levels go into a spiral and I start craving sugar almost instantly. This is the same with breads and gluten. My body cannot handle them. And I feel so much better without it! I have turned to eating raw desserts which still satisfies my sweet tooth yet does my body wonders!
Here are some excellent clean sweeteners that are safe for you. But remember: we still need to be aware of what we are consuming and we still need to limit sweets.
Pure maple syrup comes from maple trees and it’s pure goodness. It is my sweetener of choice because it provides and excellent source of magnesium and a good source of zinc. I buy Grade B maple syrup as it has a richer flavor and more minerals than Grade A. You can find pure maple syrup in most stores, too. And while it is more expensive than the toxic fake maple syrup, you don’t need nearly as much. I use maple syrup on my homemade pancakes, on oats, in my sweet potatoes, homemade Asian marinades, and sometimes I will put a splash in my coffee with almond milk!
Dates are natures candy! They are gooey, soft and super sweet! Dates are a very popular fruit with an amazing nutritional kick. They are virtually fat free, provide wonderful sources of iron, potassium, dietary fiber and give an excellent source of natural energy. I eat them as a snack with nut butter when I am craving something sweet. I also put a date or two in my smoothies, homemade almond milk and chopped up with an apple. Kids love them, too! Since they are so sweet, they make an excellent snack for kids!
Honey is straight up an amazing super food. However, I do have rules when it comes to honey. It must be raw, locally produced and bought straight from the farmer. Honey from the store has been processed and pasteurized, killing the important enzymes and minerals raw honey has. Honey is believed to be the worlds oldest sweetener. Honey is very versatile and can be used in several ways. Just like maple syrup, you can put it in your morning oats, use it in recipes, sweeten hot tea and it also helps with your seasonal allergies.
I do not bake anymore. But I know that many of you do and I wanted to give an option that is better than white sugar. Even though it is raw, organic sugar, it is still sugar, folks. Which means it still has no nutritional value and should be avoided. It is better than white sugar which has been heated, bleached and processed. But again, your baking should be limited. Yet, I know home amazing fresh baked cookies smell… oh yes!
Sweeteners that didn’t make the list:
Agave – there are too many conflicting options and facts with agave, and most state agave is not good for you. I would avoid it if I were you. Here is a great article that has great information regarding agave. http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/
Stevia – I use liquid stevia from time to time. But I never really cared for the taste. It tastes… chemically. I read Dr. Mercola and trust his advice. Stevia is his sweetener of choice. But I am just not a fan.
White Sugar – Duh.
Corn Syrup – Duh x 2
Artificial Sweeteners – AVOID!!!
Tips for limiting your sugar intake
- Use ripe bananas or plain apple sauce in baked goods to help reduce sugar
- If you are craving sugar, try a 3 day sugar detox! Refined sugar is highly addictive and your body is experiencing withdrawals. The longer you can go without consuming any sugar, the better you will feel.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners! AT ALL COSTS!
- Drink plenty of water
As always, limit your sugar intake and stick to whole fruits. The more you avoid sugar, the less your cravings will be and the better you will look and feel!