Jamila Owens-Todd, N.D.

Keeping Up with Naturopathic Doctor, Jamila Owens-Todd, N.D.

7 weeks to wellness: the sugar challenge

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Switch the sugars:

Our sugar consumption has become a growing issue due to the many sources of sugars that we find in our foods these days. There is the basic white sugar, brown sugar (white sugar with molasses), high fructose corn syrup (hfcs), dextrose (corn) and artificial sweeteners (chemicals). Sugar (and the likes) can depress our immune systems and increase obesity due to their high calorie content as well as serve as one of the most inflammatory food items widely available to us. Inflammation leads to many unfortunate disease processes. Avoiding sugar can improve immune function, decrease pain and decrease the overall acidity/inflammation in the body. Sugar is also a stimulant, which triggers a brain/hormone response similar to heroin and cocaine. Our lovely addiction to sugar is simply that – an addiction. As I casually mention that this is a food item to avoid, I am also aware of the strength that is required (for some of us) in order to completely eliminate this from our daily menus.

How do I avoid sugar, it is in everything? The first rule would be to read labels. If you see sugar, hfcs, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin etc. added to a food, then avoid it. What if I am not sure if it has sugar? Then avoid it. We do not have to question the sugar in carrots, lettuce, brown rice or almonds. As we know that these foods all contain their natural sugars, we are also aware that there are no artificial sugars added. If you are buying a box of cookies and you do not see the word sugar, please understand, that there are some sugars present, simply in a different, synthetic form. Therefore, the second rule would be to avoid overly, pre-packaged foods. Rice, pasta, beans, nuts and seeds are all acceptable, as these can be sold in a package. Consider a food that has more than one ingredient. If there is a list of ingredients, then this would be a food to avoid as well. The third rule would be to substitute. Sugar consumption is a real issue for many, therefore you have to wean off as if it were a Schedule I narcotic. Replace sugar and sugary foods with fresh fruits and some vegetables (carrots). Drink freshly juiced vegetables and consider using dried fruits (unsweetened and unsulphured), stevia and honey are also acceptable alternatives.

The fourth and the last rule would be to keep it simple. The more thought and anticipation surrounding omitting sugar, actually makes this challenge more challenging. Sugar is unfortunately a comfort for many. Therefore, to be told to “cut it out”, already triggers emotions of lost, lack, suffering, grief, deprivation, anger, fear and resentment. If this occurs, know that the answer is NOT to eat something sweet. The solution would be to move into a new space of release, freedom and self-acceptance. Yes, it gets deep with sugar intake, as this has become the drug of choice. We have to be highly considerate of the current plans of self-medication all involving sugar. It is an easily accessible drug with little to no cost (free at office parties and any Holiday that occurs on a weekday). A stealth-like strategy must be applied when removing an old vice for a new one. What will my new vice be? I say health, as it is the real sweetness of life.

Author: Jamila Owens-Todd, N.D.

Naturopathic Doctor

One thought on “7 weeks to wellness: the sugar challenge

  1. When I’m craving for something sweet i mostly eat a fruit and I use a bit of stevia in my home-made kefir : ) but a little exception once in a while is okay too, just not everyday!

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