Notes on Nutrition: Two Simple Yet Inspiring Ways to Manage Your Sweet Tooth
Not to sugar coat it but the more sweets you eat, the more you’ll want them — I know it all too well
The sweet, sweet determination to fully turn your back on cakes, cookies, and pies — yummy — calls for a tough 180, eliminating almost a happy half of what you already enjoy eating. And it takes monumental efforts to climb one of life’s tallest and toughest mountains when it comes to food and health.
Personally, I have reached the summit — only to come crashing down the other side, more than once. Truth is, I’ve always liked the sweeter things in life—and I always will. But I’ve also learned to keep the cravings and the splurges under reasonable control.
Perhaps, you’re in the same boat. Beyond muttering the “everything in moderation” mantra, which is too often vague-sounding and loose-fitting, the following lifestyle tips will help you and me to together keep our boat afloat.
1 | Half and Half: Divide and Conquer With and Without Sugar
It’s a funny proposition to continue with sugar at half capacity in the grand scheme of “exiling” it far, far away from your life. But it’s honestly a great way to do so without going cold turkey on sugary things.
Interestingly, I give my father full credit for this life lesson. As a kid, he indirectly taught me this trick through apple juice, of all things.
For a figure who safely and sensibly admired his whiskies and his wines — witnessing him dramatically dilute his apple juice never quite sat well with me.
He would, in effect, add just a splash of the apple juice, which is already, technically, a diluted product from concentrate, to cold iced water.
Besides the fact of beating the tropical heat, my ten-year-old brain could not process the actual adulteration of one of my favourite drinks — it wasn’t because he was the adult in the situation.
Ironically, I was probably dehydrated and my brain was equally fried. Yet I watched in dismay: What rationale was behind such bizarre bartending skills? To solve this mystery, I snuck a sip.
The verdict: It was refreshing.
And it’s refreshing to think about how I am now picking up on this, once again, as a method to help manage my sugar levels and calorie count.
These days, I mix together all kinds of fruit juices — pineapple, cranberry, and so on — in equal parts of water and juice. It’s simple but it works. Moreover, it’s satisfying.
Similarly, you can mix a sweet carbonated beverage with plain soda water for a nice hint of flavour. Squeeze in some lime or lemon and it’s even healthier and refreshing.
For things to eat, at breakfast time, you can start your day off on the right foot by mixing plain, unsweetened yogurt with a flavoured variety.
This is what I do, especially if both of them are on sale at the grocery store. Top your yogurt off with fresh fruit, and you’ve got a nutritious meal.
2 | Reducing Your Sugar Intake: Move Slowly but Surely
Making basic and incremental modifications to your overall diet with sugar is more sustainable and sensible than making bold statements, tall orders, and quick sprints.
As sugar has been well studied and talked about as an addiction — behavioural or chemical — taking things slowly and steadily puts you at a better pace and place to win the race.
While the popular adage is a cookie-cutter cliché, it makes a lot of sense when it’s considered within the framework of coping with food-based addictions and dietary restrictions.
To reiterate the metaphor of the mountain climb, this approach carefully considers and constructs your short- and long-term goals of reducing your overall sugar intake as part of your journey.
Your taste receptors will remarkably have more time to learn to accept not only new flavours but less sugary ones — it’s about small and nuanced changes and getting used to a new pattern.
Needless to say, quick and sudden changes can certainly stress you out, which can very quickly rob you of your best intentions and ambitions. And they can crush your motivations. The worst part is that such dramatic changes can put you at risk of a relapse.
Above all, there’s such a thing as a sugar rush — followed by a crash. And this is exactly what happens to your energy levels when you gobble too much sugar in one go. With that, it perfectly illustrates the need to pace yourself.
To set off on the right path, identify the primary places where sugar makes a clear and regular appearance in your life.
Think about the sweetest food products — snacks, desserts, and drinks — that you usually consume every day and cut them by half for the first week.
Following this general rule, you will have already reduced your sugar consumption by a terrific amount.
And you’ll find it encouraging and rewarding. Indeed, you’ll notice a huge change in the way that you feel and think.
In a matter of time, by the second week, you can very well be on track to limit your sweet treat to one special day of the week.
At the end of the day, you will appreciate sugar more in a positive light. Better yet, you will be at a more splendid peace with your relationship of both desserts and highly processed, sugar-laden foods.
While the trade-off can feel bittersweet at first, you’ll be off to a good start with these two integral steps for your life’s journey with sugar.