I quit added sugar over a year ago and start using healthy sugar alternatives and with that, I first thought that sweet treats have come to an end. Once I had my digestive issues and gluten sensitivity under control though I was able to think outside the box and explore sugar alternatives.
When I say, that just because I quit added sugar and start using healthy sugar alternatives does not mean I have to miss out on the sweet stuff. You heard that right.
Being a retired “sugarholic” I still love to have a sweet treat every so often; the only difference today is that I control what kind of sweets go into my food and how much. Today it is indeed a treat and not a part of my daily diet.
Why I quit sugar;
I used to suffer from inflammation, food sensitives, digestive issues, heart palpitations, anxiety. I couldn’t control any of these conditions as with eating added sugar mostly found in processed foods, it continuedly kept adding to my inflammation and the struggles that came with it. It affected my whole wellbeing. With that, it kept me unadventurous, locked at home, and nonsocial. My digestive issues and gluten sensitivity caused me much stress as 24/7 nausea, bloating, diarrhea had become a large part of my daily life. I had no idea how much sugar played a role in my digestion.
At the time I didn’t know any better, I didn’t l know that sugar was the culprit of my sugary, unhealthy life. Sugar has not only affected me physically but also psychologically. My sweet tooth affected my mood, my decision making on top of how I felt. Needless to say, I was a mess, and looking at old pictures of myself today, shows it.
How I did it;
- I quit sugar completely (I know it sounds horrible and it is, at least in the beginning, it gets much easier after a while)
- I changed my eating habits (from the many processed foods to the mother nature kinds)
- I turned my lifestyle around (removed myself from stress, decided I deserved more than just.., moved into the direction I wanted to be in eventually)
Of course, all of this took time and patience, this did not happen overnight. Determination and commitment were some of the largest parts of this journey.
What happened next;
Once I quit added sugars and start using healthy sugar alternatives, on top of everything else my digestive system and gluten sensitivity subsided a lot. Things fell into place for me.
- My inflamed gut was able to recover,
- I was able to control my sensitivity, with that
- I could work on my courage and being more adventures again.
Now I am not saying that quitting added sugar was the only thing that got me here, no but I am saying that it was an important part of my journey. Without taking this extra step I highly believe I would still be suffering today, and I would not be sitting in my camper, taking a journey to move across the country making it a 6-week trip today.
Healthy sugar alternatives;
But let’s get to the point, as I mentioned earlier, just because I gave up added sugars did not mean I needed to give up all sweet treats. You see there are great alternatives that are natural sources to add to your food. (yes, sugar cane, sugar is a natural source as well, but it has been greatly abused by the food industry, and most times we are unaware of the sugars that are hidden in our foods.
Many sugars/sugar-substituted made from corn, rice… have names we as the normal consumers don’t even recognize, that’s what happened to me). For an expanded list on the many names of sugars and some great info grab your FREE GUIDE “The 411 on Hidden Sugars” I developed this Free Guide for people like you and me.
Before we get into my favorite healthy sugar alternatives though, I need you to know that getting to this point will take much time, work, commitment, and an open mind to change. It took me about ten months to get to this point. With that being said, during this time I learned to change my ways. I learned to take better care of myself by changing not only my diet but also my lifestyle.
I became more knowledgeable about how to shop, cook, and eat smarter and healthier. I built myself a great foundation so that eventually I was able to enjoy something sweet again.
My biggest lesson learned;
The most important thing I learned during this time though was that a sweet treat should be exactly that “a treat” not part of my daily diet. Even though I choose healthier alternatives it still fits the category of a treat.
How did I do it?
The way I can control my sugar intake the most, is by cooking, baking my own foods. 98% of all food we eat is made by me. There are great ways of doing this without having to be in the kitchen 24/7. But that’s a subject for another blog, click the link,
5 healthy sugar alternatives:
- Organic Bananas (the riper they are the sweeter), I like to mush them into my oatmeal, things I bake, or smoothies to sweeten things up.
- Organic Fruit in general I find it a great sweet treat, and a great alternative to eating candy, cookies, granola bars…
- Organic brown coconut sugar, this sugar I use mostly while baking, or making my gluten-free pancakes. This sugar is quite low on the glycemic index and comes from the coconut plant which makes this a wholesome and nutritious alternative.
- Honey, now when it comes to honey the only kind I ever suggest is the local kind, as with other foods at your grocery store honey can be imported from as far as China, and with that, it has no nutritional values anymore. Honey needs to be a local source, so it has all the goodness of your local pollen to deliver the nutrients in making this a valuable nutritional sweetener.
- Local Maple Syrup, I love using it for anything sweet such as baking, roasting my variety of nuts and seeds for my breakfast, in my homemade granola, on my pancakes or waffles ( remember these are treats, which means I only eat them once in a while, not on a daily or weekly basis). Again, I find it is super important to have your syrup be local and pure, many store-bought syrups I don’t believe should be called syrup as there are no maple syrup-like ingredients in it. Pure local Maple syrup actually has anti-inflammatory properties, I love this sweetener so much I wrote a blog about it, click this link to read:
Not a boring life after all;
As you can see, life does not have to be boring or just sour after giving up added sugars, we like to forget that there are many natural alternatives mother nature has already given to us with lots of nutritional values. We don’t need to live off the added and hidden sugars in our daily foods we can do without them. With these 5 favorites of mine, life can be much healthier, less painful, and more energetic. A life like this can bring much more focus, awareness, and perspective to our life. Let’s enjoy a treat and let it be one.
What’s the difference;
What makes fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, and honey, the healthier choice is that the difference between corn syrup, rice syrup, cane sugar….and these natural choices are healthier and better as these have nutritional values such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, polyphenols…where any of the sugars do not have any of these nutritional benefits.
Where am I today;
Having recovered from my digestive issues and gluten sensitivity has given me the possibility to take on this journey of moving across the country, in a camper with my husband and our two poor dogs Little Bear and Diesel. We are taking this journey the long way around by traveling for 6 weeks and seeing some cool sights. Join us on our journey click this link and follow me/us on Facebook
Thanks for stopping in and reading my blog, I hope that this blog gave you some hope when it comes to your healthier diet.
Until next time, lots of love;