Sugar has positioned itself as the core of western culture, offered as the solution for everything. Its original form was actually quite nutrient-dense, containing vital vitamins and minerals including most B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. However, over the course of time, sugar’s addictive grip on nations led to the colonization and slavery of the countries its crops flourished the most. From there, sugar was manipulated into a cheaper, more addictive, and dangerous substance, losing its nutrients along the way.
Westernized sugar habits positioned the wealthiest nations at the top making them also the sickest nations. Sugar makes us some of the top runners for:
- Mental Illness (depression, bipolar, anxiety, etc.)
- Autoimmune Diseases (Crohn’s, IBS, leaky gut, etc.)
- Weakened Immune Systems
- Sleep Disorders
- Heart Disease
The list is endless. Why? Because sugar is inflammatory. Disease is a gracious host to sickness in our bodies.
Surprising sources of sugar.
Sugar is more than cubes, granules, and candy. We’re talking drinks, dressings, bready foods, cereals, sauces and seasonings. It goes by over 200 names like syrup, concentrate, nectar, juice, and “-ose” ingredients. It’s as simple as selecting the sugar-free items, right? Wrong. Sugar-free labels mean the products don’t contain certain kinds of sugar, but there are still sneaky “sugar substitutes” that are chemically modified and worse for you than plain granulated sugar. Simply by dropping the sugar you drink and sticking to water, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
How can you lower your sugar intake?
Glad you asked!
First, remember that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. This is scientifically proven. Featured in our blog on The Dark History of Sugar, we featured a study from The Public Library of Science. They “performed an experiment where they put rats in a controlled environment. Eight times a day, they were given sugar, cocaine, or both. Ninety-four percent of the rats choose sugar over cocaine. The rats already addicted to cocaine wound up switching to sugar and were willing to work harder to get to it.”
Sugar meets each qualification for a drug:
- The need for increased intake
- Cravings that can lead to relapse
- Dangerous withdrawals
Why does this matter?
Sugar is advertised to us almost all day every day – even when sugar isn’t the advertisement. Happy families bake cookies together. The put-together girl has her laptop…and coffee with cream and sugar. The gym buff gets their agility from sports drinks. Sugary cereals are “part of a nutritious breakfast” – yeah okay, sure. Somehow Subway managed to convince us that eating entire footlongs of bread, which turns into sugar, is health-conscious. The colors, the stickers, the storylines that accompany food in our culture are complete lies.
From childhood, we’ve been groomed to make food the center of everything we do. We soothe with ice cream, we treat ourselves to a cheeseburger and fries, we gather around food, at thanksgiving we add sugar to the already sweetened foods…when you have so many memories tied to one thing, it feels wrong to let it go. That’s been the plan all along.
Stepping into freedom.
Lowering sugar intake doesn’t have to be aggressive and ceremonious. You do not have to punish yourself by throwing out every sugar-packed food in your pantry. In fact, don’t. Let’s take this step by step.
First, I want you to assess your environment. Your social media, whether you’re on it a lot or not still influences more of your thought patterns than you may realize. You know how they say “you’re the closest 5 people to you?” Well the same goes for your social feeds. Unfollow the regular foodie pages and follow new foodie pages that specialize in making whole foods. By the way, let’s be instagram and facebook friends! Peek at what I’m eating and tag me in your meals. I’m supporting you 100%!
Second, find friends who have the same goals as you! Make shopping lists together, share meal ideas, and tell each other about your new finds at the grocery store. Instead of struggling through meetups at another brunch spot that’s basically just a dessert factory with eggs and bacon, find friends who are prioritizing building a legacy of wealth in health. Food is bound to play a dominant role in your social life, so make it fun!
Third, instead of throwing away your pantry and getting all the “healthiest” foods you can find, save your money and avoid the “healthy” section of the store. My daughter used to work in a grocery store and decided to pay a whole mortgage payment for some of their “healthy snacks” and let me tell you, those things had NO flavor. She was choking on dust in the name of “getting healthy” and I’m glad I learned my lesson through her FOR FREE! Stick with me sistah love, and you’ll continue to find delicious healthy snacks that burst with texture and flavor – and are not $500 per box.
Incorporate fresh, organic fruits and veggies into your normal meals so you’re shaking things up without feeling deprived. Don’t be afraid to try out the foods you see others whipping up on the food accounts you follow. Often those recipes can be complicated, so to speed things up and simplify, understand the concept of the dish, andwork around it. For example, if they’re making a wrap with 10 ingredients that takes an hour to make, take that as inspiration, use lettuce or a round tortilla as a wrap, and then stuff random things you think you’d like into it. Voila! You’ve made a 5 minute masterpiece.
Fourth, which is more like three and a half, keep your prepackaged buys to a minimum. You can buy individual seasonings – paprika, onion, garlic, turmeric, pepper, etc. – instead of the seasoning blends. Almost every blend has added sugar not to mention random ingredients like woodchips and beetle dung…you read that right! Instead of buying salad dressing, you can add seasonings to a base like mayo or vinegar. Instead of buying pre-formed burger patties, buy the ground meat, then season it yourself and throw them in your air fryer. If you don’t have an air fryer, you’ll thank me when you get it. You would not believe how much better you will feel by making these simple changes in your habits.
If you’re looking for a community to walk you through the process of cooking quick, flavorful, healthy meals check out our iHeal community. We are women building legacies of wealth in health for generations to come! You’ll receive:
- Cooking Classes
- Health Coaching
- Delicious Recipes
- Friendships with Likeminded Women
- Q&A Sessions with Certified Health Coach Sakinah B.
Hope to see you there!
Bringing the family back to the table,
Sakinah is an Army Veteran, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Advocate, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Home Grown Chef.
After the untimely death of her husband and business partner and autoimmune complications suffered by her daughter, Sakinah realized life was no longer business as usual. She made the collective decision to redefine how she and her family approached health and healthcare.
She has a passion for helping families come back to the table by restoring healthy relationships with food, others, and self. Sakinah believes when women, the cornerstone of the family, learn to restore healthy relationships with food, others, and themselves, it creates a ripple effect for the entire family and generations to come.
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