The 12 Step Program to Beating Sugar
Addiction, By James Keller
Most of us don't realize it, but we are drug addicts. Our drug
comes in a pure, white crystal or powder form. We use it even when we don't know
we're doing it. It's in salad dressing, peanut butter, soup, pickles, bread,
jam, yogurt, canned fruits and vegetables... We crave it after every meal. On an
average, each of us consumes about 130 lbs. per year. What is this controversial
drug, you ask. It goes by many names, but the most common is sugar.
This deliciously sweet substance is also deliciously devoid of
any nutritional value. Sugar passes through the wall of the stomach so quickly
that it causes blood sugar levels to skyrocket, then plummet just as rapidly.
I'm sure you are familiar with the feeling.
The problem that arises in coping with sugar addiction is that
sugar is in so many common foods now, it's practically impossible to cut it out
completely. You can't eat a sandwich without getting sugar from the bread or the
mayo. You can't eat a salad without getting sugar from the dressing.
Beating sugar addiction may seem like a hopeless battle, but
just like any drug addiction, you have to have a structured plan to win the war.
I make no claims that it will be an easy battle. You won't be vomiting in back
alleys or shivering in bed all night, but you will have the uncontrollable
desire for something, anything that will give you your sugar fix.
Here is your twelve step program to beating sugar addiction.
It won't be easy, but it will be worth it:
1. Stick to foods that are closest to their original form.
Instead of eating corn from a can, eat corn on the cob. Banish white bread and
embrace wheat bread. Forget fruit juices; go for the actual fruit. The closer a
food is to it's original form, then less processed sugar it will contain.
2. Eat protein with breakfast. Breakfast is the most important
meal of the day, but do you know why? Breakfast is the meal that will make or
break you for the rest of the day. Your first meal must create blood sugar
stability that will carry you to the next meal without sugar cravings.
3. Eat protein with every meal. As soon as your blood sugar is
thrown out of whack, you will be off the wagon again. Eating protein with each
meal prepares your body for the increase of seratonin production and keeps your
blood sugar stable throughout the day.
4. Read Labels! It's incredible how many things we put into
our mouths without the slightest idea what is in them. The longer the list of
ingredients, the more likely sugar is going to be included on that list.
5. Don't starve yourself in order to reward your restraint
with a donut or a Twix. Not only is this bad for your body, but you won't lose
weight. Your body will just go into starvation mode, storing all your calories
as fat. So that slice of chocolate cake you eat after a seven hour fast is going
straight to fat.
6. Keep a journal of what you eat. You will be surprised, and
probably shocked, by the amount of sugar-filled snacks and extras involved in
your diet. Write down everything, down to those five M&Ms or that tablespoon
of teriyaki sauce.
7. Brown is beautiful: brown rice, wheat bread, brown cereals,
etc... Brown foods give your body the positive effects of carbohydrates without
unbalancing your blood sugar and creating cravings.
8. Be active and keep busy. Most of us snack the most when we
are bored and inactive. Go for a walk. Go shopping. Organize your entire house.
Anything to keep your hands busy and away from the cookie jar.
9. Eat a potato before bed. Before your head explodes from the
thought of eating a starchy, carbohydrate-filled potato right before bed,
consider this: when taken with the right vitamins, that spud will increase your
production of seratonin, balancing your blood sugar levels. Besides, it's better
than eating ice cream before bed.
10. Try a detox program. Detoxing isn't just for yoga yogis
and Enya junkies anymore. There are dozens of detox programs designed for health
enthusiasts of all levels. Some last two days, some last two months. But they
all have one thing in common: after the initial overwhelming sugar cravings,
your body adjusts and you won't even want the sugar anymore.
11. Drink water constantly. The more water you drink, the more
your body will be fooled into thinking it is not hungry. Plus, you can rest
assured that there is not a grain of sugar in water.
12. Don't get down on yourself if you slip and eat a desert
every once in a while. It's okay to reward yourself, just don't start the
addiction all over again. There are always healthier options for deserts. Eat
berries with some low-calorie whipped topping. Snack on a couple of graham
crackers. Maybe you would be healthier if you cut out sugar altogether forever,
but people who do things in moderation get the best of both worlds. Enjoy your
life, but don't overdo it.
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