Do you want clearer skin, to feel light on your feet, or your eyes to sparkle? It really comes down to one thing: what you’re putting in your body. If you’re looking for a simple change or a quick fix to look and feel better, either cut WAY back on sugar or stop eating it altogether.
This one small (but significant) difference changed a lot for me… as if by magic. About 5 years ago, I was putting sugar in my coffee in the morning, and again in the afternoon. I was eating gluten-free breads, pastas and pastries filled with added refined sugars—which is anything BUT healthy. I was a busy mom and did the easy thing with grab-and-go packaged foods. However, I’ve since learned from experience that it was the culprit of a lot of my troubles. Food is supposed to make you feel good.
Getting rid of gluten changed my life, but cutting way back on sugar was surprisingly drastic and dramatic.
I felt overwhelming relief and enjoyed the initial health benefits from eliminating gluten when first diagnosed, but in my mission to adjust to a gluten free lifestyle, I searched for replacements for what I was used to eating. I eventually began to feel worse on this new gluten free, high-carb diet than when I was pre-celiac.
Desperate situations call for drastic actions, and drastic action is what I took.
I found a book that completely changed how I ate and felt: Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint. Around the same time, a physician friend said he had switched to a no carb, no sugar, and mostly meats and vegetables diet, and how this made a tremendous difference for him. I made my own version of this diet using the 80/20 rule: 80 percent veggies and lean protein and 20 percent carbs. All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars in the body, so my 20% includes fruit, alcohol, and the occasional dessert. It’s now how I live my life everyday and feel energized and GREAT.
Always strive to have at least 80 percent of your choices be healthy. Yes, it’s hard. But if you can work toward eating clean the 80% of the time, you are going to see a difference in your body and in how you feel.
If you have low energy, lack of focus and mental clarity and and generally just don’t feel well, possibly try the Elimination Diet. So what is an elimination diet? You eliminate certain foods for a period of time, usually three or four weeks, then slowly reintroduce specific foods while keeping a food journal and monitoring your symptoms for possible reactions. (Precision Nutrition)
When you are mindful of what you reintroduce and how it makes you feel, you can make such a POSITIVE change to your life. It can be as simple as removing soft drinks, your daily frappéccino, or skipping the 2 cookies during your 3pm snack attack. Just watch the change in how you feel unfold right in front of your eyes. It’s easy to see the difference in someone’s face when they are cutting back on sweets! Their eyes are brighter. They have pep in their step. It’s obvious to me what kind of diet someone has by their skin and energy level.
Sugar can take the power right out of your power walk or suck the glee right out of your freestyle. It can make you drop instead of pop. Lag instead of shag. And trance instead of dance!
There’s always going to be temptation from dining out, cocktail parties, birthday celebrations, holiday parties, office snacks, cookouts, pot-lucks, travel… all those things make eating clean and cutting sugar really hard to do. You don’t have to go cold turkey and feel like you’re missing out during these social situations. You can share, or split, or get the kids size. Or you can do as my friend Ellen does (I love this!). She uses an espresso cup and demitasse spoon to eat her ice cream. Sweet and petite!
If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, here’s a link to 15 Simple Hacks For Eating Less Sugar from Kristina LaRue, a sports dietitian and co-author of the Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies. Try it… Most likely you’ll be incredibly happy you did! You’ll see your reflection in a window and think, who is that standing up tall and straight and FEELING great?!
Yes, sugar is delicious… but you’re sweet enough already. 😍