Matters of the Heart!

It’s February, and we are just a few days away from valentines day. It seems as with any celebratory time in the United States , Valentines day people are apt to consume an unhealthy amount of sugar. In January, many have set their resolutions to better and healthier lifestyles. People  commit to a healthier diet and they commit to working out.  Come January gyms are packed and weight loss programs are raking it in!  Then comes February ,resolve seems to diminish on Super Bowl Sunday, as the party trays with all sorts of goodies come out. You swear you will get back on track , that is , until Valentines day hits and along with it sweets from your sweetheart, a delicious cupcake or two, AND OF COURSE you have to support the girl-scouts.  There it is, that sugar monster has once again has  reared it’s head and wormed its way into our stomachs but is it also  affecting our hearts?

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association ,studies have suggested that higher intake of sugar is associated with increase risk cardiovascular disease risk factors even for those who are not over weight. Some estimates claim that Americans consume and average 150-170 lbs of sugar per person in a year. YIKES.,and that is not to mention the empty white carbs in breads and pasta that have nearly the same impact on the body as pure sugar. It is very simple , sugar is a thief of our health and vitality. Like any good thief it has many disguises ,here are just a few of the many names sugar can go by ,dextrose, brown sugar, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup ,fructose, lactose and maltose.. I sure I missed a few.

Now an occasional treat is not going to derail your wellness goals but when I work with clients they often realize that their treats are more then just occasional ,that hidden sugars are everywhere , and that it all adds up. Here are a few tips to help you put that sugar monster in its place!

1) Learn to read labels! I am still trying to figure out how when the third ingredient listed on the jar of peanuts at my sisters house is sugar, how is there possibly zero grams of sugar in the jar? It all has to do with labeling laws and what manufacturers can get away with. Then there is the clear added sugars to “healthy” foods such as yogurts and cereals.
2) Think about what you drink! Soda’s are obviously full of sugars, whether it is pure cane or high fructose corn syrup it is going to have the same impact. Juices are not much better as far as sugar since the fiber , designed by nature to slow sugar impact is now gone. Of course alcoholic beverages are another source of drinkable sugars.
3) Choose fresh fruit over dried! As fruit drys the sugar concentrates making it much higher in sugar content.Snack and sports bars are another place where high amounts of sugar can impact our health. Other high fiber foods that can help with your sweet tooth are sweet potatoes and some squashes.

4) Use sweet spices and essential oils ! Cinnamon and Fennel can be used either in their dried form or as and essential oils to help with sweet cravings . The smell of Citrus especially grapefruit has been shown to curb appetite and sweet cravings

5) Move it!  Exercise produces Serotonin  our wonderful happy hormone. When you are feeling positive and happy it is just easier to say no to that sugar monster!

So  here is to a Happy and Sugar Free Valentines day, smell the roses to uplift your  mood and avoid that sugar monster!