Who doesn’t love Halloween? Dressing up, haunted houses, and of course, all the candy. Hmmmm, Sugar - the word itself causes both the mouth to water and the pancreas to shiver. It doesn’t have to be terrible though.
There are numerous types of sugars on the market, almost too many to count and certainly too many to recognize unless you happen to be an avid label reader. And the vast majority of them wreak nothing but sheer havoc on the average adult body, let alone a growing child’s body. Rather than go into the painful details of sugar consumption, let’s look at some ways to indulge shamelessly.
1. Gymnema Sylvestre- the Sugar Savior. This wonderful herb looks just like sugar to your cells, and it fills the sugar receptors so that actual sugar is prevented from doing so. It also latches onto sugar in your body, binds it, and prevents it from hooking up with any cells on its way out. Both the liver and the pancreas benefit from this herb; it even dispels sugar cravings! Look for it in tablet form, or in certain dieter’s teas. One of the better ones on the market comes from a company called MAPI and the tea is called “Be Trim.” Having a cup of this tea makes sweet indulgence so much nicer.
2. Use a natural sweetener. Highly processed, genetically-modified, refined sugars cause more than their fair share of imbalances in the body. While natural sugars can still be harmful and consumed in excess, they aren’t nearly as hard on the body, nor do they lodge toxic residues deep in the body’s tissues. Use organic, unrefined cane sugar, molasses, raw honey, or the crowd favorite - Coconut Palm Sugar. This little gem has the lowest glycemic index of any other sugar -in fact in some cases, it is safe for diabetics to consume. (However, if you are diabetic, please check with your doctor before trying it.) Coconut Palm Sugar can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for regular sugar in any recipe.
Agave nectar is popular these days, as it too has a low glucose index. However, it is highly processed and the fructose levels in Agave exceed those in High Fructose Corn Syrup.*
Date sugar is also fun to try. It is quite sweet, but the nice thing about date sugar is that it has a sustained release, so the body doesn’t go into such a drastic sugar shock.
3. Make your own treats! Try candied nuts or “date balls”. This gives you control over what goes into your body and is every bit as satisfying as a Twix Bar or Reese’s Cup. Date balls are simple and easy to make. Combine dates and walnuts in a blender and roll into balls. Add some almond nut butter and dried currents for extra goodness, protein, and nutrients. Try one or two of those and you won’t need to grab a Snickers.
In all cases, counter your sweet tooth with green leafy vegetables like spinach, chard, or kale. Indulge equally in broccoli, artichoke, bok choy, sprouts, wheat grass, and other green juices. Moderation is always the key. In this way, those sweet treats don’t have to turn into scary biological tricks!
*These facts came from http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1203, and http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-agave?page=2.