By Nicole Ohebshalom, Radiant Living Wellness
sugar_sm.jpgThe average American consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year. A bit scary? The USDA recommends we get no more than 10 teaspoons per day, yet most of us eat about 30 teaspoons per day. That’s three times the recommended daily value. This got me thinking about how much we, as humans, love sweet things. It makes perfect sense; our fist experience of taste comes from the sweetness of our mother’s milk.
So, why do you hear from health experts that sugar is harmful for you?
When we play around with Mother Nature to create refined table sugar then it becomes a very different story. Refined sugar lacks vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as requires extra effort from the body to digest. The body must deplete its own store of minerals and enzymes to absorb the sugar properly. That is when the body creates deficiency instead of providing nutrition to support optimal functioning to your organs.
But sugar isn’t the problem. The problem is the vicious, addictive cycle we have created by eating processed sugar, feeling the rush, crashing, and then having to take more sugar to begin the vicious cycle again. If we are on a healthy, balanced diet, nourishing ourselves with milder forms of sweet vegetables, we don’t need a big sugar hit from a candy bar or soda to boost our energy level.
As I work with clients that have underlining sugar and caffeine addicted diets, they gain tools that are individualized for their lifestyle to easily find ways to use alternatives to sugar. We begin adding foods such as grains, vegetables, beans and fruits. When unprocessed, sugar contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and proteins. When these foods are chewed and then enter the bloodstream, then they are burned smoothly and evenly, allowing your body to absorb all the good stuff.
Which sweetener should you choose? All common natural sweeteners are available on the shelves of most health-food stores and many supermarkets.
Agave Nectar is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It is sweeter than refined sugar, but does not create a sugar roller coaster, and has an easier effect on the body’s blood sugar level.
Stevia is used in cooking, backing and beverages and does not affect blood sugar levels. Make sugar you get the green or brown form because the white and clear versions are highly refined.
Raw Honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners. Raw honey contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Everyone seems to love honey. It is sweeter than sugar, with different flavors depending on the plant source.
100% Pure Maple Syrup adds a nice flavor to foods and is great for baking.
Brown Rice Syrup tastes like butterscotch and is delicious in recipes. It consists of brown rice that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose.
Organic Molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener derived from sugar cane. Different types of molasses have different flavors, but most of them impart a very distinctive taste. Use less molasses than you would sugar.
Keep it simple: Enjoy sweeteners given to you from Mother Earth!
Nicole Ohebshalom, RN,CHHC, AADP
Radiant Living Wellness