Before we look at how to reduce your sugar intake, let’s look at how many products have sugar in them.
Sugar is addictive and not particularly good for us and has become a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing! I just typed ‘sugar’ into the search box of a well known supermarket online grocery store out of curiosity. What appeared were actual bags of sugar, sugar alternatives, sugar-free products and of course a sugar bowl.
The sugar-free products are interesting as the manufacturers obviously know people are on to them and have come up with sugar-free versions of their products for people who don’t want to consume masses of sugar.
What’s frustrating is how we are led by supermarkets and manufacturers to buy what they want us to buy. Take this online grocery shopping. It is very useful that we can clearly see how much in money each product is by 100g compared to others. And of course price is important, but what about showing the sugar content per 100g? To enable us to make informed decisions without being investigators during our weekly shop.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but most sugary products come in brightly coloured packages. This is another sneaky trick that companies use to play on our minds as colour appeals and distracts. There is an incredible amount of psychology in colours and marketing!
Come out come out, wherever you are
I recently asked on Facebook what products people thought had a high amount of hidden sugar in them and the replies were well educated. Here are some of them:
- Ready meals
- Fruit juice
- Children’s yoghurt and fromage frais
- Tomato ketchup
- Stir fry sauces
- Breakfast bars
- Low fat products
Next time you are thinking of buying something just sneak a look at the sugar content, you might be surprised!
Go sugar-free with Hypnosis
So you probably know that sugar is bad for you and want to cut down your sugar intake or maybe even want to go sugar-free I’m going to give you some insights on how you might do this.
A few years ago, with my Hypnotherapist hat on, it occurred to me that sugar was a lot like other addictions of smoking, food, shopping and gambling. There was the thought process of wanting it and the physical process of craving something addictive. As I treat both these aspects when I help clients give up smoking or lose weight, I applied similar processes and developed a unique ‘go sugar-free’ programme.
I tested this programme myself first and didn’t eat processed sugar for a year. I felt amazing. My energy levels were stable, my sports performance was tip-top and I felt so good. Since then many clients have been through that programme with me face to face in Sussex and on Skype. They have reduced or stopped their sugar intake.
If you just want to reduce your sugar intake yourself, here’s my three top pieces of advice.
1 – Don’t have sugar with sugar with sugar
When you crave sugar you want the sweet taste, the energy rush or maybe a brief escape. So you really don’t need to overdo it. If you are having a chocolate bar, or some sweets, you don’t need a sugary drink with it. Let the one ‘sugar fix’ settle in and see how you feel.
Savour the thing you are having, eat it in small bites or nibbles and take your time. Your taste buds are looking for it, they want it to taste, but this doesn’t mean having 2 or 3.
You can have the pleasure without the need to overdo it, getting high on sugar and beating your insulin up.
2 – Discover the sweetness of nature
Once to start to have less sugar, you will be amazed how sweet everything is! Nature really did give us enough sweetness in fruit. Now word of caution here as any form of natural sugar including maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, or fruit will impact our blood sugar levels. But when compared to sweets full of E numbers or chocolate and biscuits which also have lots of fat and preservatives, fruit is a better choice.
Rediscover your fruity side with exotic fruit salads, juicy berries and crunch apples. Pineapple is so delicious too and anti-inflammatory.
If you are really serious and have gone sugar-free and you have a serious craving, a nice dried date can really sort that out!
3 – Keep a sugar diary
Remember earlier I mentioned the thought process of wanting it and the physical process of craving something addictive? Well, many sugar cravings are driven by an emotional need.
What will often trigger eating a sugary snack is something that stirs you emotionally like a stressful situation which you ‘eat your way out of’ as a distraction. Or maybe an unpleasant encounter with someone. A really common one is tiredness. If you keep a diary for one week, noting what you want to eat or do eat and HOW YOU FELT when you ate it (or nearly ate it) you will definitely see some themes! Try to think of strategies to avoid those triggers.
Get Your Free Sugar Diary Worksheet Here:
sugar-diary <—- right click and “save-as” to your desktop
If you have any questions or comments please do get in touch in the blog comments or on Facebook.
If you want to go sugar-free, it only takes 4 sessions of Hypnotherapy so get in touch for your appointment in person in Sussex or Worldwide on Skype.
Our third guest blogger is Claire Hunt from Worthing. Claire is at Breathing Spaces Garden Therapy which is a Community Interest Company in Worthing. Here Claire shares healthy eating that works for her.
Healthy Eating – 10 Things That Work for Me by Claire Hunt
1. Start the day with a home-made probiotic smoothie
Pictured – kefir
My digestion and health has improved massively since I started eating milk kefir for breakfast. It’s quick and easy to make your own from a starter culture of probiotic bacteria and yeast. Just add whole milk, leave for 24 hours, strain and top up again with fresh milk. I add seasonal or frozen fruit, green leaves, ground seeds like hemp, linseed or chia, bee pollen, coconut oil and almond butter. A great start to the day for your gut. I have been known to take it with me when I am away, but you can rest it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You pass on some kefir grains to other people as they multiply. (People with a lactose intolerance would need to take advice.)
2. Reduce sugar intake
Pictured – plate of fruit
I had to do this because of recurrent candida but it is increasingly accepted that sugar is bad for your health, addictive and makes us put on weight. It’s added to so many foodstuffs, even savoury ones. Refined sugar is worse, but all sugar, even naturally occurring ones, have the same effect on your brain and body, so go easy on all forms. I eat mainly low-sugar fruits, like berries and apples, and over time your sweet tooth loosens its grip. I occasionally relax the rule for something special or an occasion but I don’t enjoy really sweet things now.
3. Take a break from wheat and gluten
Pictured – My ‘superfood bread’
The debate about gluten intolerance rumbles on, but I found that when I stopped eating wheat and gluten grains I felt better, my digestion improved, I had more energy, and I stopped having arthritis-like pain in my hands. I love bread, pizza and pasta, so it has been hard. I sometimes eat home-baked spelt bread and quality sourdough but mainly make a substitute ‘Superfood Bread’ from ground almonds, brown rice flour and seeds (‘Deliciously Ella’). Brown rice pasta is not too bad, but on the whole I prefer to eat something else rather than feel disappointed. Beware gluten-free ready-made products, they can contain a lot of sugar, and starch that quickly turns to sugar. For reference, read ‘Wheat Belly’ and ‘Gut’.
4. Do more cooking
Pictured – tray baked code with vegetables and pizzas going into a cob oven
If you want to avoid sugar, wheat and gluten it becomes inevitable that you have to do more cooking and baking so you can control what you eat. You have to find ingredients and some recipes that you love, get into a mindset that enjoys and makes time for cooking as a priority, rather than feel it is a chore. There are some great books available – Deliciously Ella, Eat Nourish Glow, Medicinal Chef. By Ella Woodward, Dale Pinnock and Amelia Freer
5. Find some go-to treats
Pictured – energy balls
You need some things up your sleeve for when you need a treat. Mine are home-made muffins (Wheat Belly), fruity flapjack (Medicinal Cook)., raw cacao energy bombs and homemade almond butter (Deliciously Ella).
6. Grow and eat a rainbow
Pictured – homegrown vegetables and apples
I am not vegetarian but I eat a lot of veg, when it is in its season, and trying to get as much of the rainbow into each meal as possible to cover all the different nutrients that those colours represent. I use a local veg box scheme and I try to grow some of my own. Growing, cooking and eating well go satisfyingly together and each complements the other. Mental Health Awareness Week, Offington Park Church, has a Gardening and Health theme on Monday 10th October and a Food and Mood theme on Wednesday 12th October.
7. Embrace different grains
Pictured – quinoa
Quinoa is tasty once you learn to cook and flavour it well and it is full of protein not gluten. Use cold water, twice as much water as grain, and cook until all the water has gone (about 10 mins). I mix in tahini, lemon and olive oil when it has cooled and you can add herbs, spices etc to taste. I make a batch that will last three days so it is ready cooked when I need it. Buckwheat flour makes great pancakes, and you can toast the grains and then cook like rice.
8. Eat more mindfully
Instead of eating on the move, watching TV, reading a book or chatting, try eating at least one meal a day when you are fully present and doing nothing else than experiencing eating. Really notice what is happening, the smell, taste, texture. Also notice what effect different foods might have on your body and mood. Read ‘The De-Stress Effect’, Charlotte Watts.
9. Explore fermented food
Pictured – Making sauerkraut
Kefir and sourdough are fermented food but there are lots of others to try and the health benefits are well documented. I am currently making and drinking beetroot kvass by fermenting beetroots in salt water for 6 days. I have started brewing kombucha, a delicious fizzy drink made from tea. Sauerkraut and kimchi are easy to make, probiotic and tasty alternatives to pickles and chutney. Apple cider vinegar is a great way to use windfall apples and retains the goodness of the fermentation process, the ‘mother’.
10. Enjoy food
I mostly don’t feel it’s a sacrifice or that I am denying myself to avoid food that isn’t good for me. I enjoy food and drink made from good quality ingredients with time, care and passion. For more ideas about gardening therapy, food and wellness, come and see Breathing Spaces We Are Food Pioneers and other foodies and growers at Green Dreams, October 2nd, Field Place.
A note from Honey….
Thank you Claire for those fantastic ideas and pictures.
What this blog is:
- This is a 30 day blog about health eating where different people will share their thoughts and experience
- This is a non-judgmental place of inspiration
- This is a place to learn, pick up tips and think about your own eating
What this blog isn’t:
- This isn’t a weight loss plan. Although losing weight is often a by-product of eating a healthier diet! I do help people lose weight with Hypnotherapy but that is not the purpose of this blog.
- It isn’t a place to feel regret about the situation of your health right now. Today is a chance to make changes!
Do you know what you are eating?
Yesterday’s product was caramel digestives.
Can you guess today’s product from it’s ingredients?
Let us know in the blog or facebook comments! I will let you know the answer here tomorrow.
Here’s the plan:
- Read the blog each day. Get involved. comment, share your thoughts and wisdom
- If you want to be accountable and use this as an opportunity to improve your diet and see how much better you can feel in just 30 days then go for it
- Find me on Facebook, my website, on twitter
- Sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of this blog for a free relaxing download and special offers
See you tomorrow.
Healthy hug 🙂