Sugar Should Be a Treat {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 15}

31 Days 300

The day we started pouring sugar on our salads is the day um…salads became, you know, less healthy.  (Now, that’s a brilliant quote worth sharing if I ever saw one.)

Sugar on our salads?  Surely not!  Why would anyone do that?  Just read a bottle of salad dressing from the store.  Almost every single one contains a lot of sugar – except for the ones that contain high fructose corn syrup, which is, of course, even worse.  If I want sugar, I’ll have chocolate, not a salad.

Salad Dressing

Sugar is in almost everything – especially processed foods…and salad dressing.  But somehow, saturated fat gets blamed for causing obesity and heart disease.  We interrupt this post for a fatty, sugary history lesson:

Before 1910, many people ate lots of meat, eggs, butter, cream – and very little sugar.  People worked hard and were rarely sedentary.  Heart disease was almost non-existent. Then, between 1910 and 1970, animal fats and protein consumption took a huge dive – because experts began to tell people that they were bad.  These experts had “research” to back up their claims, which many additional researchers found to be flawed.  Nonetheless, the concept of cutting out animal fats and protein gained publicity (and that was before Facebook – amazing).

At the same time, sugar and processed food consumption increased by 60 percent.  Also during that time, while the amount of butter people ate was dramatically reduced, the percentage of vegetable oils in the form of margarine and shortening increased by (wait for it) 400%.  Guess what else happened?  Heart disease, which was almost non-existent before 1920, became the leading cause of death among Americans.  (source)  And we blamed the saturated fat in butter?  I’m speechless.  (Not really.  I have more to say.)

So back to drizzling sugar on our tossed salads…

The simple truth is that we have to cut back on our sugar intake in order to be healthier.  The issues our bodies have as a result of eating too much sugar go way beyond cavities and hyperactivity.

Cutting back on sugar has been one of the most difficult adjustments for me to make personally.  (Remember my Pepsi addiction?)  I have always loved my sugar.  Who doesn’t?  Sugar tastes really, really good!

Since beginning our healthy eating journey, I’ve tried to at least stay away from most refined sugars, and instead stick with raw honey, real maple syrup, and sucanat.  You can read more about those natural sugars here.  I notice a big difference in how I feel after eating white sugar as opposed to one of the healthier sugars mentioned.  Yet while these choices are much better than white sugar and corn syrup, they are still sugars and they still effect our bodies negatively if eaten in too large a quantity.  Remember, we’re going for nourishment here - not just trying to fill a hole.  Sugar offers so little in the way of nourishment.  When we eat more than just a little bit of sugar, our bodies simply don’t know what to do with it.  Therefore, it stores it away and it becomes extra pounds on our hips – or wreaks havoc in many other ways in our body.

Here is what has worked for me as I’ve cut back on sugar for my family:

  • Stop drinking your sugar.  If I can do it, you can do it.
  • Cut back on the sugar called for in recipes – yes even in my recipes.  I now cut the sugar in half in my recipes.  They’re still plenty sweet.  Cut back gradually if you need to.
  • Eat fruit – it has natural sugar, but it also has loads of nutrients!
  • Watch the white flour, white rice, and white pasta.  They offer few nutrients and turn to sugar in our systems.
  • Make sweets a treat instead of consuming sugary foods all day long.

And for certain, my most important advice in an effort to cut back on sugar:  Pray. I am a sugar lover.  The fact that I have been able to cut way back on sugar is only possible with the Lord’s power, not my own will-power.

And as for putting sugar on our salads – I have several real food, no sugar or low sugar dressing recipes here that are delicious!

Do you struggle with eating too much sugar?  What are some habits you can begin in an effort to cut back?

 

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Comments

  1. Danielle says

    Oh, I really need to learn to like my coffee black.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve gotten to where I love my coffee with just a shot of whole milk. The milk is a little sweet, naturally…mmmmmm!

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    I use stevia in my coffee :)

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    I’ve yet to find a stevia that doesn’t put me in kind of artificial sweeteners with a bitter aftertaste….can you recommend a good one?

    [Reply]

    Danielle Reply:

    *in MIND of artificial sweeteners

    amanda Reply:

    I like Truvia (granules) and SweetLeaf (liquid)

    Lisa Reply:

    Liquid stevia drops from Trader Joes – so yummy in coffee and no after taste!!!

  2. Tara H says

    I definitely struggle with wanting sugar. My best defense so far is prayer and knowing that I want to break the sugar habit in my boys as well. That really helps me; knowing that I want them to see me saying no to myself AND to them! I love this post!
    I have a question about rice. What do you think about basmati rice? My husband hates brown rice and I’ve read that basmati was ok. Thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    As far as I know, basmati rice is a good choice!

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    If your husband hates brown rice, I’m guessing it is because he has not had truly GOOD brown rice. I used to buy the regular short grain brown rice available at my local (non-specialty) grocery store. I ate it because it was healthy, but still preferred the taste of white. Then a friend turned me on to Trader Joe’s Brown Jasmine Rice. What a world of difference! I can honestly say my family and I now eat brown rice because we LIKE it.

    [Reply]

    Tara H Reply:

    Thanks, Kristin! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that!

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    As Kristin said, TJ’s brown jasmine rice is really good! Also try alton browns recipe for baking brown rice. We like it both ways, but prefer the baked version just a little bit more.

    [Reply]

    Tara H Reply:

    Thanks, Kristina! :)

    [Reply]

  3. Rachel says

    Thank you for this post! Can’t tell you how much this “idea” has been coming to my husband and me as of late! He is a type 1 diabetic ( with a “dead” pancreas) We have spent the past 4 years changing over how we eat & still he struggles to loose ANY weight. The last thing we have is: sugar. We don’t consume it in sweet treats & the such too much, but now that we have started looking into what things we still have in our fridge that are “processed’ it is shocking to see how much sugar is still in our diets! * sigh* Still: we are healthier than we have ever been in our life & are eating about a 75% real food diet… slow and steady! Thanks to people like you!! :o)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yay, sounds like you’re doing great. :)

    [Reply]

  4. Sheila H. says

    I eat a real food diet and your site was the beginning of my journey, but I was still having lots of health problems. I am 42 and weigh 120 but my skin and energy are poor. I went to a doctor and discovered that I have a yeast overgrowth in my intestines and the answer is to cut out sugar. No dairy (because it has too much sugar), no fruit for 6 weeks, and no grains for at least 3 months, preferably longer. I am eating lots of soup, even for breakfast, and stews and simple casseroles of meat and veggies. My skin and energy are already improving after 2 weeks.

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    What test did they do to find the yeast overgrowth? I’ve had Rosacea for 10 years and it keeps getting worse in spite of my very good diet. All the doctors ever tell me is “you have Rosacea, it’s incurable, take this antibiotic for an indefinite amount of time”

    [Reply]

  5. Shelby Foreman says

    I am just in the beginning of this whole food journey. I know sugar is bad, but man is it hard to cut out! We have made significant strides in the past year, but have so far yet to go! Thanks for all your encouragement. It really helps!!

    [Reply]

  6. Grace says

    We were doing better until the holiday season! Other sources of sugar are so expensive and when you have have to bring sweet treats for all kinds of activities, it breaks the budget….

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Typically when I take treats to a group, I use regular ol’ brown sugar. Saves cost and at least it’s still “real food.”

    [Reply]

    Angela Reply:

    I have found an all natural sugar at Wal-Mart in the foreign food aisle. It is called Zulka Morena sugar. It is actually less expensive than processed white sugar. I just add a little molasses to make my own brown sugar ( brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses added back in). It is still not as good as sucanat, but it is a lot more affordable and a better alternative than white processed sugar.

    [Reply]

  7. T.Ruth says

    I would rec’d eating lots of lightly cooked vegetables, no sugar(of any kind), no grains, healthy fats ,naturally raised meat(no processed meats). Also, stay away from all processed foods & fruit. Get back to your natural ancestral diet..
    Within 2 weeks of doing this diet I went from 131lbs to 115 I’m 5’4
    Remember cancer & candida lives off of sugar…
    T.Ruth-Nutritional Consultant

    [Reply]

  8. Bethany says

    Thank you for this post, Laura! My family eats mostly whole foods, but we are struggling with the sugar and white flour. I definitely needed to hear what you said as its so true and I want my family to live long and healthy lives!

    [Reply]

  9. Elizabeth G. says

    Hi Laura,
    What are your thoughts on Coconut Sugar? I don’t think I’ve seen anything about it here and was just curious!
    Thanks, Elizabeth

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve only looked into this a little bit, but from what I’ve seen, coconut sugar is not as natural as other sugars.

    [Reply]

  10. carly says

    In your recipes that call for honey. Do you use raw honey?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes, but you don’t have to. :)

    [Reply]

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