Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Confessions of a Secret Sugar Addict

Over the past month I have started working pretty seriously with a Holistic Nutritionist. This was a pretty scary leap of faith for me - because the truth is I like Food! And on occasion I like to celebrate with yummy food - aka food that might not rank really high from a nutritionist’s stand point.

I run a lot, and if I am being really honest one of the reasons I run as much as I do is so I can eat the things I want without stressing too much. I believe in everything in moderation, so I would happily enjoy a nice glass of wine, a good piece of cheese, or a healthy serving of pasta. But after months of tummy troubles I decided it was time to take a good hard look at what I was eating, as scary as that was.
One of the questions she asked during my initial consultation was “What was my sugar intake like?”. I responded that I thought "it was pretty low". And I really and truly did. I don’t generally eat sweets or desserts. I am not a soda drinker. And I very rarely drink alcohol. So I thought my sugar pitfalls were negated.

But when processed sugar was one of the things she asked me to eliminate I was in for a huge wake up call. Sugar is in pretty much everything! And I was in serious sugar withdrawal. Sugar was creeping into my diet without me even realizing it. And I was shocked by how much I had come to rely on it for energy. So for WIAW I have a confession to make...


Here are my Top 3 Sugar-filled Offenders and the swaps I have made to ex-nay the processed sugar from my life.  

Coffee and Lattes
It is no secret that I am a coffee addict. But I had never considered the amount of sugar I was taking in along with my caffeine fix. My regular Venti Lattes from Starbucks have a whopping 41 grams of sugar – which is equivalent to 10 teaspoons. I would never put 10 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee on my own! And on a long day – filled with running, studying, and work – I might have 2 of these! GAH!

For 3 weeks I cut out caffeine all together. But now I have added it back in in moderation. Instead of my usual lattes and coffee creamer I am just having a cup of coffee with almond milk in the morning, or a homemade matcha latte also made with almond milk. (** I will on occasion use soy if I am out and about, but I try to stay away because most commercial soy products are not organic and GMO soy can be dangerous, especially for us BRCA-gals )

Fruit Juice
I very rarely had a cup of juice in the morning, but I did regularly add it to my morning smoothies. Smoothies have become a staple for me this year. And while my smoothies are always full of fresh fruits and greens, they often included a ½ cup to a cup of prepared fruit juice and water. I thought I was buying “healthy” juices, supposedly with no sugar added, just 100% juice, etc. But the sugar count in them was 27 grams a serving – aka 6 teaspoons.

Instead of using prepared juice to spruce up my morning smoothies I have started juicing a whole orange or a lemon instead. It still gives my morning smoothies some zing, but without the extra sugar.

Granola Bars and Protein Bars 
Because I am often here there and everywhere these little bars were always stuffed in my bag for an easy snack on the run. I was always snacking on granola bars when I had to go too long in between meals or grabbing protein bar for boost post-workout. But when my nutritionist assessment my food diary she said my quick fixes were adding up to 10-15 extra teaspoons of sugar a day. 

That is a lot of extra sugar for a girl who thought her intake was low. So I have given up the bars and swapped them for a handful of raw nuts or just a nice piece of fruit

Kicking my sugar habit was tough. I really had rethink a lot of my habits and easy go-to solutions. But my stomach has been improving since I started making these changes. It has forced me to take a good hard look at what I was really eating. And I think I am making changes for the better, so here goes nothing!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,