Kicking the sugar blues….…gently
“It is as addictive as nicotine or heroine..and it is poisonous.”
William Duffy author of “Sugar Blues”
The first of the year rolls around and the sugar dries up. All those lovely sugar cookies, pecan brittle and sugar plums must stop somewhere and New Year’s Day seems to be the expiration date. Our bodies, used to a constant injection of America’s number one drug, begin to go into withdrawal and it’s not pretty.
Some of the symptoms of sugar withdrawal can be frustrated fanning of the cupboards and fridge, desperately drinking Hersey’s chocolate syrup from the bottle, and sneaking sugar by the spoonfuls right out of the bag. Yes, we have all been there and there is a reason why. It is because sugar is a drug not a food.
The process that makes sugar is actually the same way poppies are made into heroine. The moment you eat sugar your body galvanizes into action to process the sucrose before anything else, due to the ease in which it is burned. The body also recognizes that the sugar needs to be processed quickly or your system could be in grave danger from too high of blood sugar levels. If you aren’t running a marathon at the time, your body dutifully converts all that surplus of energy into fat, for safe storage ya know.
Once the body gets use using this quick and dirty energy, it wants more more MORE! There is one significant problem with all of this. Sugar, in all its forms, has been processed to the point that it has absolutely no nutrient value, none, zip, zero. So that means that our bodies have to borrow vital nutrients from other resources around, like our bones, to process this drug. Consequently, osteoporosis along with a many other diseases, has been linked to our national addition.
There are about 168 reasons not to eat sugary foods and only two reasons to; it tastes good and our bodies get hooked on it. Fake sugars, such as aspartame aka “nutra sweet” are actually worse for you, so don’t even go there. Aspartame breaks down into methanol which is a neurotoxin. This leads to a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.
So what do we do? Can we avoid sucrose all together in this jacked up sugar culture? Not likely, but there are some ways we can significantly reduce it. It is recommended by nutritionists to try and limit sugar consumption to three or four times a week. Cutting out all soft drinks and candy is a great start to a healthy change. Choose sugars that have some nutritional value to them such as whole grain, nut and fruit desserts.
I have put together a few recipes so that you can find an alternative way to feed the need for sugar without the hefty price. Most of these recipes can be put together in a jiffy, so when the desire hits you can satisfy it quickly!
Cinnamon sugar popcorn
8 cups of air popped popcorn
Or low fat microwave popcorn
1 ½ tablespoon of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of salt
Pop your corn and dump in a generous bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn tossing to coat as well as possible. Next, mix the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle over the popcorn, tossing well to coat all the popcorn. Lick your fingers and crunch away.
Nutritional information for a 2 cup serving; calories 124, 4 grams of fat, fiber 4 grams
Caramel pecan baked apples
¼ cup of water
2 baking apples, like Rome or Braeburn
1 tablespoon chopped dates
1 tablespoon of dried cranberries
1 tablespoon of chopped pecans
1 packed tablespoon of brown sugar
Or maple syrup
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of cardamom
1 teaspoon of butter, cold
2 tablespoons of fat free caramel sauce
(Smucker’s makes a good one)
Or 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Heat up the oven to 375 and take out a small square baking dish and add the ¼ cup of water to it. In a small bowl toss together the dried fruit through the cardamom. I like to use my hands to smoosh it all together. Wash your apples and core them with a tiny knife. Dig out a well in the center so there will be room for all the yummy filling. Set the apples in the baking dish and then stuff them. Dot the top of the filling with tiny pieces of butter. Bake for about 40 minutes till bubbly and aromatic. Plate them on a nice dish and drizzle with the caramel sauce or maple syrup. Enjoy!