The average American consumes 22 teaspoons (355 calories worth) of sugar daily. Sugar is inflammatory, elevates triglycerides, blood sugar, and adrenaline. It promotes cancer growth, diabetes, excess weight and obesity, metabolic syndrome, gastrointestinal illnesses, premature aging, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, tooth and gum decay, gout, and acne. Most importantly, it is physiologically addictive.
As a transformed cookie and candy junky and as someone who has worked with dozens, if not hundreds, of people professionally, I can tell you that stopping the cycle of sugar addiction is possible. Your taste buds are constantly regenerating, so you have a continuous opportunity to modify your diet and end cravings.
Here are the 5 steps to liberating yourself from sugar addiction:
1. Choose a three-week period where you can dedicate yourself to revolutionizing your diet. Enlist your loved ones as support and prepare activities and non-food rewards to indulge in during that period (especially the first week).
2. Completely eliminate the following ingredients from every food and beverage you consume:
- refined sugars: white sugar, sugar in the raw, invert sugar, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, palm sugar, corn syrup, agave, cane juice, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup
- sugar alcohols: sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, glycerol, mannitol, sorbital, xylitol
- non-nutritive (non-caloric) sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, neotame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia
3. Choose only whole food sweeteners like fruit and vegetable purees, dates, date paste*, date syrup, pure maple syrup and use fruit or whole food-sweetened desserts only.
4. Be physically active every day and get adequate sleep so your body is in fighting mode, strong and sharp to make healthful choices.
5. Eat a well-rounded, whole food, plant-based diet, limiting or eliminating all processed foods for optimal nutrient intake and to avoid addiction.
1 cup pitted dates
2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk or water
1. Soak dates in liquid for several hours to soften. Add only enough liquid to cover dates so the paste is not too thin.
2. When dates appear flaky and swollen, pour off a little liquid. In a blender or food processor, process remaining liquid with dates for 1 or 2 minutes or until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days,