Now that you’ve almost completed our No sugar, More Sleep September challenge, I’m sure a lot of you at this point are ready to go pile your face into a box of powdered donuts. Or maybe you’re feeling absolutely fantastic, have never felt better and are ready to go 100% sugar free for the rest of your life because you’ve finally realized that sugar is the devil… right?
In order to make sure that you don’t regret any drastic decisions come Monday morning, I’ve put together 6 great reasons to keep sugar in your diet and feel good about it. Whether you find yourself feeling guilty from eating too much sugar all the time, or you think that sugar is going to kill you at first contact with the lips, here’s some middle ground.
1 – Sugar in it’s natural form.
Sugar addicts – Sugar naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and dairy. Curb your sweet tooth with some raspberries or blueberries (natures candy) or add in some Stevia to your yogurt. There are tons of ways to curb that sweet tooth without resorting to processed, refined sugars.
Anti-Sugar – Sugar’s contribution to conditions like obesity and heart disease has more to do with it’s abundance in diets filled with highly processed foods. It also includes many other factors like physical activity, smoking etc. It’s not black and white. If you’re trying to eat foods in their natural forms (whole fruits instead of juice), you’re exposing yourself to tons of amazing vitamins.
2- Make it a minority
Sugar Addicts – Crave something sweet every morning? Instead of reaching for a donut and some coffee with your sugar, try making some overnight oats with a little brown sugar and dried fruit.
Anti-Sugar – Adding a little honey to your tea or maple syrup to your coffee might just do more good than harm. If you’re thinking that sugars and sweeteners will make you fat, think of it this way – a warm beverage like coffee or tea is known to suppress hunger. If you’re one of those people who seem like they’re hungry all the time, drink a little sweet tea or coffee. Your caloric intake will decrease even though you’ve added a sweetener to your diet.
3 – It makes things taste better.
Sugar Addicts – So you hear that vegetables are good for you, but you can’t bring yourself to eat any ‘cause… gross. Add honey to your dressing for your salad. Add some dates to a veggie green smoothie or make a brown sugar balsamic glaze for your baked green beans or asparagus.
Anti-Sugar – If it makes you eat your kale and raw broccoli a little less reluctantly (because I don’t care how healthy you are, no one likes a dry kale and raw broccoli salad and I care about your happiness and well-being) add those dried cranberries and honey balsamic glaze.
4- Great quick fuel.
Sugar Addicts – Maybe eating that chocolate chip muffin with the sugar crystals on top (you know which one’s I’m talking about…mmm) isn’t the best choice for a boost mid workout or pre-workout. But having some coconut, cashew date balls that you made in 5 minutes at home are a better option!
Anti-Sugar – Any modern-day folk who engage in physical activity, whether it be a marathon or a family bike ride for a couple hours, need something quick and easily digestible for some energy. You want things that are easily digestible while staying active. Chicken and carrots are going to sit in your stomach and even some fruits can be too fibrous to digest comfortably. No ones bringing a packet of dry oats and boiled water with them on a hike.
5 – You had a bad day
Both Sugar addicts and the Anti-sugar – No one is reaching for a boiled potato when they feel sad. Practice mindful eating and realize why you’re eating that cookie or cupcake. Knowing when to stop is a great way to stay consistent and practise healthy portion control. A cupcake a day isn’t the answer. And purposely making yourself sad for a slice of pity pie isn’t the answer either.
6 – Enjoy the experience, make a memory
Sugar addicts – Structure your lifestyle so that you can enjoy weekends away with friends while you indulge on sundaes and strawberry rhubarb pie without feeling the guilt. If 80% of your life is filled with nutritious whole foods, save the 20% to create memories. When you feel guilty for eating an extra slice of Mom’s pie at thanksgiving, it’s probably because you did the same thing 3 days earlier.
Anti-Sugar – Licking an ice cream cone with your kid at the beach, going to Ribfest with some co-workers, eating that delicious cinnamon raisin bread your roommate made you. These are things that will give you a healthy, joyful life with meaningful relationships. Isn’t that why you decided to become so healthy in the first place – to enjoy life more?
Hopefully through reading this, you realize that there’s a nice, happy, manageable middle ground when it comes to sugar. I know you’re heard the term “everything in moderation” and that really couldn’t be more true when it comes to sugar in the diet. Keep it in there to create some happiness, balance and a positive relationship with food. If this challenge has done anything, I hope it’s created some awareness about how much sugar (or how little sugar) you ate before and how you can make some adjustments moving forward to become more happy and healthy.
Really, this couldn’t be easier.
What You’ll Need
2 slices about 1/4 inch thick sweet potato, cut lengthwise
All natural peanut butter
What to do:
Toast sweet potato slices for about 10-15 minutes on high, flipping every 4-5 seconds until tender in the centre
Top it up!!
There’s still time to take advantage of our fresh Ontario produce and pick up some ripe peaches. Their natural sweetness will replace the usual sugary culprits found in a fruity dessert.
Makes 1 serving
- 1 peach – cut up into slices
- 1 tsp butter or fat equivalent
- ¾ cup 0% plain greek yogurt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- dash cinnamon
- Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat
- Place slices of peach in pan. Lightly pan fry until golden brown.
- Place yogurt in bowl and blend in vanilla extract
- Place peaches on top of yogurt. Add dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!
Protein 19 g
Sugar is a main component of the food we consume. However, too much sugar can negatively impact our physique, stress, cravings and overall health. What is sugar? Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate and occurs naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Despite the accusations, carbohydrates are vital to your health for several reasons. They are your body’s main fuel source, fibre (also in the carbohydrate family) protects against disease, and carbs can help with weight control. The selection of carbohydrates is important as you should eat plenty of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables along with whole grains. The issue is surrounding refined carbohydrates such as pastries, sodas, and other highly processed foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to overeating, weight gain and promote diabetes and other diseases. Refined carbs have almost all their fibre and vitamins removed thus being considered “empty” calories. However, it is crucial to understand the importance of quality carbohydrates. The controversies surrounding carbohydrates arise from added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
In times of stress, we typically favour food high in sugar content such as snacks and fast food. These comfort foods may act as a form of self-medication to avoid unwanted stress. During stress, we release a hormone called cortisol. High cortisol levels, in combination with increased blood sugar and insulin may be responsible for increased intake of foods high in sugar. This is because sugar is associated with dopamine release in the reward areas of our brain. Dopamine is a “feel good” hormone, which counteracts stress and promotes further consumption of these foods. Since fruits and vegetables don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to want more sugar in the form of junk food to receive the same feelings of pleasure. Stress not only causes over-eating but also is associated with fatigue, less exercise, and more alcohol consumption, all of which contributes to excess weight gain.
Research reveals that significant amounts of sugar, specifically high fructose can interfere with feelings of satiety. This means that you will still feel hungry, which will contribute to increased food intake. This can cause possible weight gain and risk of type two diabetes.
The concerns of excess sugar intake have translated into an attraction to low-calorie artificial sweeteners. These sugar substitutes are food additives that duplicate the effect of sugar in taste but are often low-calorie. There are some benefits to using artificial sweeteners. They give people the opportunity to eat the same foods they would normally consume, while allowing them to lose weight due to a low-calorie intake. In relation to overall health, those with diabetes often substitute for these sweeteners to avoid difficult regulating their blood sugar. However, there is controversy on whether the usage poses health risks. Research has shown that sweeteners cause increased body weight because they contribute to increased food intake as a response to the sweet taste without the contribution of calories to reduce hunger. Ultimately, the goal is a well-balanced diet. These controversies prove that excessive intake of sugar or artificial sweeteners can contribute to weight gain and pose health risks.
Exercise is one of the best treatments for stress. A long-term commitment to exercise reduces cortisol levels over time. Meditation in the form of exercise, such as yoga, may help to reduce stress and help people become more mindful of food choices. Frequent exercise helps regulate body weight, reduce stress, avoid cravings and contributes to a reduction in disease risk. Overall, it is essential to know the importance of carbohydrates in a balanced diet and to be informed of the difference between refined carbohydrates along with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
What You’ll Need
1 Tbs Butter or Coconut Oil
2 sweet apples, sliced
Dash sea salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbs arrowroot
1 tsp vanilla extract
What to do:
Heat the butter or oil in a medium non stick pan
Add the apple slices and salt
Saute the apples over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until soft
In a small cup, whisk water with arrowroot and vanilla
One apples have softened, add arrowroot mixture
Raise the heat a little bit and stir apples until thickened
Remove from the pan and heat
Stir in cinnamon and pie spike as desired
Top on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, whatever!
Nicole Daniel’s Success Story
Nicole Daniel has been following our 416Life template for just over two months. It’s safe to say that it’s working and Nicole looks absolutely amazing. Here’s what she has to say:
I started doing Crossfit at a smaller gym in February 2015. I had always liked strength training but hated cardio, so I feel in love with Crossfit immediately because I could combine both and have fun doing it. After about 6 months I was starting to get into pretty good shape, but then I started my first year of law school. Very quickly, my intense schedule and long commute wore me down and I stopped going to the gym. Then with the growing stress and a depressing winter, my nutrition spiralled out of control and I ate a lot of junk food for comfort. By the spring, I had put on about 20lbs and felt really uncomfortable in my body.
In March 2016 I knew I owed it to myself to feel better, so I made fitness a priority again and started going back to Crossfit classes. At first it was a difficult transition back, and it was frustrating that I was lifting much less than I used to. But eventually my strength started coming back and I made it my mission to improve my endurance and get really serious about training.
I had taken several classes with Derya and found that with her guidance I could understand and perform movements I never had before. I knew that she was the perfect person to help me reach my goals and help me take my fitness to the next level. I look forward to meeting with her weekly because every time she comes up with new and interesting tasks that push me to my limits. My meetings with her are always my best workout of the week because her energy is infectious and her own fitness is such an inspiration. With her strength training programming, I saw almost immediate improvements in all my lifts and I’m stronger than I ever thought possible. Now I’m doing things I never even dreamed of, like rope climbs and sled pulls, and I’ve accomplished my goal of doing a strict pull up.
Once I started training with Derya, I stopped stress-eating and began to eat healthy again … or at least what seemed healthy. I thought carbs were the enemy and loaded up on protein. But as the intensity of my training increased, I was exhausted and though I was putting on muscle, I wasn’t losing fat as much as I had hoped. I finally realized that just eating “healthy” food and counting calories wasn’t enough, and I needed some guidance to understand my specific body’s nutritional needs. At the end of June 2017, I had a 416Life Nutrition consultation with Emilie, who gave me a macros template. It turns out I was consuming way more protein than I needed but not getting close to enough carbs. With my new template, I was actually eating more than I had been and it felt soooo good to eat carbs again! Knowing my macros has made it much easier to stay on track with my nutrition, and I was recovering so much faster. Now I’m always telling my friends that I don’t diet, I just make sure my body gets exactly what it needs to perform. All the amazing information Emilie gave me has also taught me so much about how foods affect blood sugar and the timing of what I eat. The best part of working from the template is that it fits in so well with my life; I can go out with friends, or occasionally have my favourite ice cream and my weight doesn’t spike up like it used to when I “cheated.”
Since getting my template, the weight has practically been falling off and my endurance has improved so much—before, 30 seconds on the assault bike was hell, now I love the AB and go into beast mode. I’ve followed 416Life’s cutting program for about 3 months and I’ve lost the 20lbs I put on last winter while still gaining more muscle than I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve completely changed my lifestyle, but with Derya’s help and the 416Life template, it was easier and more fun than I thought it could be. Now I don’t worry about my weight or care about the scale, and soon I will have another consultation with Emilie for a new template to help take my performance and strength to the next level.