Because the point of this series is to give you information that will set your child up for success in school, with a hearty breakfast, I want to focus my nutritional topics to just this. If you would like more information on general child nutrition, please take a look at my Lunchbox Series.
Today, I want to start the talk of balancing meals. In the next couple of days, I am going to work through Macronutrients. They are all important to the mental and physical health of our children, but knowing how to balance them has become a lost art.
Differentiating "Natural" & Alternative Sugars
I want to address the number of different natural sugar options out there. Many believe that if it is natural, it is good...but that is not the case. Many also believe that ALL sugar is the enemy...but that, also, is not the case.
As with fats, there are good an bad sweeteners, and there is a difference in quality within these sweeteners.
Sugar's Effect on Your Neurotransmitters
Here is the deal on adding in sweeteners. We use too much, as I have mentioned. These should not be eaten daily. "On occasion" occasion means 1-3 times per week, and in super small doses. Notice the granola I made had 1 TBSP for 5 cups of granola.
Part of the process of removing and reducing sugars in the diet, is having to change your palate for sweets. For many people who are consuming vast amounts of sugars at every meal, in high concentrations, your palate has weakened. Sweet isn't sweet anymore, you need high amounts of refined sugar to taste any presence of sugar. This needs to change.
When you can take a bite out of an apple, and say to yourself, "Wow, that's sweet." You are there.
Sugar Perpetuates Chronic Inflammation
I love sugar just as much as the next person. In the evenings I crave something sweet after dinner, most nights. I have an addiction to Brownies (when I was pregnant, I ate a batch a week, no lie, and I don't recommend this. It was a nutritional low point, I admit it). There are biological, nutritional, emotional and primitive reasons that we crave and need sugar. The problem with the modern diet and sugar is that we are often consuming our sugars in extremely high amounts and from nutritionally poor sources. We consume much more than we need for it's necessary biological roles in the body, we are not active, and this excess sugar becomes a health problem.
More and more research is linking sugar as the the primary cause of degenerative diseases in the body. It promotes excessive weight gain and inflammation. It hyper stimulates the brain, and is more addictive than many illegal drugs.
It is extremely important to find a balance with the normal needs of sugar for cellular energy. This all starts with choosing clean and natural sugar choices, and limiting the amount we consume based on our realistic energy consumption.
In today's post, we are going to dive deep into sugar, the good the bad and the super ugly. My goal is to help you achieve balance, and understand the how sugar affects our bodies. I want you to leave this post with the knowledge to look at your sugar consumption realistically.
Basic Dietary Principles to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the root of many different diseases, including; auto-immune disease, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, IBS, etc… Because of this, the principles and guidelines in this blog series are basic and fundamental. I will do my best to talk about the individual conditions as they arise, but this is a generalized diet. In upcoming blog series, we will take a deeper look into some of these individual conditions, and how even more detailed nutrition can help in these specific cases.
After talking sugars yesterday, I though this would be a nice roll into the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. These are two values that many with PCOS, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes have heard about. There is actually quite a bit of confusion and controversy around these two, and honestly I am a bit torn on their benefits.
Excessive amounts of sugar are a significant component to every degenerative disease. The high amount of processed sugars in our diets; soda, cookies, cereal, chips, baked goods, etc…are affecting us at younger ages. How many children do we each know with issues of excessive weight gain, hormone disruption, or even heart disease? It's a staggering amount, in my opinion, and something that can be prevented…but that's another soap box (see my kid's lunchbox post series for more).
Sugars are complicated, I know! Kind of like trying to differentiate dietary fats, differentiating dietary sugars is a little bumpy. Hopefully, I can do a good job of helping you navigate this.