Monday, June 6, 2011

Is Sugar the Devil?

First off, welcome to my new followers! I'm happy to see new faces here.
A little bit of eating history - what I remember most about the food I ate growing up is snacks. I would eat Little Debbie Cream Pies, Ding Dongs, Pop-Tarts, Kool-Aid, pudding cups, Popsicles, pinwheels, oreos, Chips-Ahoy cookies, pixie stix, gum and anything else that had sugar in it. You could say that I was probably addicted to sugar at a young age. Most would say that sugary "food," and I use that term loosely, is all part of growing up. My dad even groans that I should be giving my kids more treats. But I believe that sugar is what made me 30 lbs overweight, makes kids behave like caged animals and is making America a sick, obese, diabetes-filled country. You might as well eat this bowl of sugar!

There's absolutely NO reason why these foods need to be a part of childhood or adulthood for that matter.
All of those items above contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and bunches of other chemicals created in a lab and labeled as food. Now, I'm not blaming my parents. I mean most of the country eats like this - why wouldn't my parents buy me this stuff? It would be fine if these items were an every-once-in-a-blue-moon treat. But my kids, who don't eat any of these things at home, are bombarded with sugary treats at school, birthday parties, playdates and even at Costco (hello free samples!). So I tell my dad not to worry, they are getting plenty of sugar!
There are ways to give your kids a treat without slowly destroying their health. I started making my own popsicles with fresh fruit (strawberries are plentiful right now!) and my new dehydrator comes today and I'll be making my own fruit leather! (More on that later)
But, since it's been 10 months since going "clean," my kids really don't have a major sweet tooth anymore. My oldest has now shunned juice and drinks only water and my youngest gets about 1 cup of juice a day. They snack on apples, organic berries, and plain yogurt with nuts and raw honey. It is possible to get your kids to eat healthy - you just have to take it slow. I just simply don't buy the stuff and tell them that it's bad for you, bad for their teeth, and after they have had diarrhea from eating too much cake, ice cream and juice at a birthday, I use the opportunity to teach them about how food affects your body.

For years now, we've all been fed the line that FAT is bad, it's evil, don't eat fat. So, for 15+ years, I bought fat-free mayo, fat-free dairy, fat-free everything I could get my hands on. Well food manufacturers have to replace that yummy fat with something, so it was sugar - mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup. I've slowly watched my waistline and hips grow larger and larger over the years. Yet I was eating low-fat everything!  Our bodies don't know how to process HFCS. The liver stores it in our fat cells. It raises our triglycerides. Do you have high cholesterol? I did, and I hardly ate beef, fast food and fried foods. So why so high? It's the chemically-made sugar and partially hydrogenated oils in processed foods.  So is sugar the devil, in my humble opinion, it is very much so!

Take some time to read ingredient labels and not the nutrition label. If it contains words that are a mile long and you can't pronounce, put it back on the shelf. When grocery shopping, take the time to compare labels on similar ingredients. I usually read 3-4 different labels on loaves of bread till I find the one that I can deal with. They're all bad, but I until I master making my own, I have to deal with a few icky ingredients.

This week's challenge: Make 1 totally CLEAN, WHOLE meal a week.  That doesn't mean tacos with seasoning packets or chicken with cans of condensed soup. Don't know where to start? Here's some suggestions:
  • Chicken Tacos (grilled chicken cut into strips, top with sauteed red & yellow bell peppers, onions, cilantro, lettuce and fresh pico - tomatoes, jalapeno, onion - on a freshly made corn tortilla)
  • Chicken or Shrimp Stir-Fry - stir fry meat, then veggies, season, top over brown rice or rice noodles
  • Baked or broiled salmon or tilapia with a fresh mango salsa, side salad with homemade dressing, steamed broccoli or sauteed zucchini
NOTE: I made homemade corn tortillas recently! They weren't pretty, but they tasted great. All you need is a little masa, lime juice, salt and water. Mix and form into balls, press into flat disc and cook over high heat in a skillet. So easy!

                Chicken Tacos with portabello mushrooms, avocado slices, lettuce, and homemade salsa!

I want to hear about your clean meal! So post your comments!
Awareness is the first step to making a change in your eating habits!

If you're ready to get clean, post a comment or message me and I can show you how!