Your hormones, taste buds and brain chemistry have been hijacked by the food industry. Not metaphorically, but biologically.
Sugar is an addiction. The above article opens by stating: Sugar is the new tobacco. Wow. That couldn’t be more true. It is extremely hard to avoid sugar even when trying. But who tries? Sugar hides in most foods on the market & tastes insanely good! Excess sugar in the diet contributes to headaches, mood swings, anxiety, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, & obesity, not to mention chronic inflammation which is at the root of many other difficult health conditions. Check out this article on America’s Sugar Addiction for some shocking facts about sugar consumption.
Despite my love for all things sweet, alas, sugar is no good for the body, mind or soul. All my education, research & experimentation support this truth. I must say goodbye to sugar. Up until this point in my life, I have never been able to approach sugar in moderation. I always end up back at excess. So while some people can learn moderation, I believe I am an addict & must get clean. 100%. All in. Struggling with sugar has brought a new respect for those battling addictions to other drugs. Abstinence is hard. So hard.
I have had many nights of sneaky snacking, baking & eating entire batches of cookies (that’s normal right?), finishing off the ice cream at breakfast & repeatedly seeking comfort from food during the ups & downs of life. As someone who values preventative wellness & knows healthy eating is the foundation for a vibrant life, these cycles of overindulgence have come with guilt, self-loathing & predictable sugar craving/binge cycles. And let’s not forget the irritability, anxiety, low energy & lack of motivation that accompanies too much sugar in the body.
There is good news though! We can take back control over our physical, mental & emotional health. I am proud to say I have been clean 10 days! That means no regular ol’ sugar, added sugar, processed foods, natural sugars (like honey, agave, maple), or grains that quickly turn to sugar. Phew! It’s hard but awesome. I don’t know why this particular detox is working, but I am feeling stronger & more empowered each day. I don’t want to go back. I will complete this 30 day challenge (part of my Thirty before 30 goals) on Tuesday, November 4th & then assess my long term plan.
Check out this women’s health magazine article about cutting sugar out in 5 phases if you want to try it out in smaller steps. For a more immediate detox, try completing a Whole 30 (thirty days of clean eating). Mark’s Daily Apple is also a great resource for cleaning up the diet & eliminating processed foods & sugar. Check out the before & after stories and photos for inspiration!
If you have a feisty sweet tooth like me… try this chocolate chia pudding recipe I whipped up tonight. It’s a great reminder that there are ways to include treats without the added sugar & junk! This turned out so delicious that I ate some for dessert & the rest will be breakfast!
Chocolate Chia Pudding (AKA Easy Chia Breakfast Bowl)
- 4 T chia seeds
- 1 c full fat, organic, canned coconut milk (less milk = thicker consistency)
- 1 mashed banana
- 1 T pure vanilla extract
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (opt)
- 1/4 c organic pumpkin puree (opt)
- optional mix-ins: raisins, unsweetened coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, almond butter, frozen raspberries, cocoa nibs, unsweetened cocoa powder, dash sea salt
- Mix chia & milk in a bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients & stir until well mixed.
- Refrigerate at least one hour (or overnight for thicker pudding).
- Add mix-ins of choice (I actually mixed in all the items listed above before refrigerating).
- Serve chilled. Yum!
Easy peasy. The fun thing about this recipe is it can be adapted to all tastes. Plus, it packs such a health punch that it can be eaten for breakfast or dessert as party of a healthy diet. Use your milk of choice. Perfect your bowl by adding in or leaving out ingredients – nuts, nut/seed butters, spices, dry/fresh fruits coconut & cocoa/nibs. You can try an apple or blueberry pie theme. I went for a cross between chocolate pudding & pumpkin pie. The options are endless!
Hope you enjoy the recipe. Much love & strength on your wellness journey!