Is Your Gut Ready for the Sugar Season?
It’s that time of year, beginning on the 31st and lingering through Valentines or Easter, that the sugar monster attacks our sweet taste receptors. We are supposed to taste and enjoy the sweetness of foods, however, most Americans have taken this once-in-awhile-sweet-treat event to the far side of the scale––frequent cravings.
Most people don’t have a clue what all that sugar does to their body. We usually don’t give our internal “plumbing” much thought––until it malfunctions. I must confess, that even as a nutrition watch-dog of sorts, with all the different disguises sugar assumes, it is difficult to catch every bite of sugar I consume. So, I share your frustration of trying to eliminate extra sweets, and getting a dose of sugar in common foods.
A few ways to beat this sugar monster in its peak season include:
Fill your plate with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Dates make a healthy, energy producing sweet snack. Steamed apples sprinkled with cinnamon (no sugar) make a sweet Fall treat.
Strive to satisfy all 6 of your taste receptors (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent). This promotes eating from a wide variety of foods (natural, garden foods, NOT packaged processed foods, which are high in sugar or salt).
Be picky! Choose a couple of your extra-super-special candies from the trick-or-treat bowl and donate the rest! Enjoy what you’ve chosen then select a food that satisfies one of your other taste receptors. Give the sweet taste a rest.
Consider adding a potent pro-biotic to your supplement ritual to support the immune function in your gut because sugar suppresses your immune system.
A few things may surprise you about excessive sugar intake:
Sugars in excess activate the brain to produce Dopamine, the addiction hormone.
Excessive intake of sugars convert into fat that likes to sit around our belly area. This also raises cholesterol levels.
Sugar metabolism damages the collagen and elastin which keep our skin healthy and elastic. That means wrinkle potential! Yuck!
It is possible to enjoy the holiday celebrations and festivities without depleting your health. Choose wisely from the real-food selections and scare away the sugar monster!
Here’s one of my many squash recipes that is filling and sweet without harmful sugars.
Savor the sweet seasons––sans sugars!
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Prep Time: 10-minutes
Cook Time: 45-minutes
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to pkg. instructions
2-med. acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4-tsp. ground cinnamon
sesame, olive or tsp.coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350°
Lightly oil the skin of the squash. Mix warm quinoa, walnuts, cherries and cinnamon. Stuff each squash half with the mixture.
Bake in a covered dish 45-minutes or until squash is tender. Remove to serving plates.
Dried apricots or cranberries may be substituted for cherries.
Pecans, pumpkin seeds or pistachio nuts can be substituted for walnuts.