Here is a Guide to What To Eat and What To Avoid When Following a Sugar-Free Lifestyle
(More sugar-free tips and recipes in my cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.)
- Don’t go from eating sugar non-stop to completely eliminating it in 24 hours because it will most likely backfire. Take a gradual process and try reducing your sugar intake each day. Cut out the sugar in your coffee or tea and look at your condiments such as honey mustard and ketchup, which may have added sugars in them.
- What is added sugar? Added sugar is when the word “SUGAR” or any form of sugar is listed on the ingredient list of the foods you are eating. Here is a simple example: You have two jars of salsa in your hands: One jar lists tomatoes, peppers, onions, salt, spices and water while the other, let’s say it’s ‘organic’ salsa lists tomatoes, sugar, peppers, onions, salt, spices and water. So, what is the difference? Even though the second jar of salsa is organic, it has ADDED sugar (think of taking a teaspoon of white sugar and adding it to the jar of salsa). That is what the manufacturer did to the organic salsa. Now, the non-organic salsa has no added sugar. But the confusing part is that it may list sugars as 4 grams on the nutritional label, whereas the organic (sugar added) salsa may list sugars as 2 grams on it’s label. Why is that? Isn’t that confusing? That’s because the salsa without added sugar, made from whole ingredients (tomatoes, peppers, onions, salt, spices and water) contains more natural sugars (sugars coming from tomatoes and vegetables) which are higher in some cases than added white sugar. This is why it is SO important to read labels. Just because the amount of sugar on the nutrition facts is lower on one jar of salsa compared to another does not mean it is the better choice. You must look at the INGREDIENT LIST on each salsa to confirm that no added sugar is listed.
- Replace sugars with stevia, a calorie-free sugar substitute made from a plant.
- What is stevia? Stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than regular cane sugar. Stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar; it has no calories or sugar because it is an herb. It’s an herb from a plant that grows in Brazil and Paraguay. A little bit of stevia goes a long way; it’s sold in powder and liquid form. Store stevia in your pantry.
- Use stevia in baking recipes for breads, cookies, pudding, pies, ice cream, pancakes, etc.
- Stay away from processed sugar substitutes such as aspartame and Splenda.
- Use fresh fruit: fresh fruit adds such a natural sweetness to recipes without the refined added sugar.
- Try using pureed pumpkin or sweet potato and no-sugar added applesauce in recipes in place of the sugar for a sweet taste without the sugar rush.
- Sugar comes in many forms included (but not limited to): maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
- Eat naturally sweet fruits and vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, fennel, leeks, onions, scallions, oranges, berries, bananas, apples, pomegranates, etc.
- Eating green vegetables, alkalizes the body and detoxes it of unwanted toxins. Greens are filled with minerals and nutrients that are vital for cellular regeneration.
- Use fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, mint and marjoram.
- Whole foods are what belong inside your body! Try these naturally sugar-free foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, organic eggs, organic turkey, organic chicken, low-mercury fish, beans, legumes, whole grains such as brown rice, millet, quinoa or buckwheat (all gluten-free).
- Remember, sugar is still sugar in any form and if your body is inflamed then sugar will fuel your inflammation.
It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.