My relationship with sugar–well, food in general–has been twisted. Turns out I had good reasons to make bad choices, but that’s a long story for another publication. Sugar and vegetable oils are the biggest dietary contributors to most major diseases and certainly contribute to “sugar belly”.
I have always had a fascination for the 1920’s, so when we celebrated 2020 a few days ago, it set something loose in me to be courageous this year. My New Year’s intention is to replace daily sugar with daily Essentrics, either teaching, learning a new pre-choreographed routine or enjoying one of the many awesome choices on EssentricsTV.
For those who want to join me in saying NO TO SUGAR and YES TO DAILY MOVEMENT, I offer the following tips which my clinical clients and Essentrics comrades have helped me hone:
HOW TO SAY NO TO SUGAR
Choose your timing: January is perfect, the earlier in the month the better, to give you 30 days or more before…Valentine’s Day when you might be tempted more than usual by sweets. Personally, I have good results with new habits when I set aside 21 days with relatively few temptations out of my control. With sugar, the first five days of saying no will be the toughest. Reward yourself with other treats: a fun hike with the dog, a massage, or an hour with a good book are ideas.
Keep a non-judgemental food diary: awareness is helpful, whether you’re leaning toward paleo, vegetarian or something in between. And we all benefit greatly from eliminating or greatly reducing both sugar and vegetable oils (including canola, safflower, sunflower, palm oil–anything that won’t leave a grease stain under your shoe if you step on it, meaning it has to be highly processed to become an oil). Check out Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan for more details.
Replace soda with tea and/or kombucha. A mentor of mine worked with a woman whose bone break would not heal after a year or more of treatment. But when she replaced a quart ore more a day of soda with water, green tea and kombucha that bone healed up quickly.
Replace packaged snack foods with nuts and seeds–but still read ingredient lists carefully for added vegetable oils (coconut or peanut oil is ok). But enjoy those cashew or pecans one at a time, rather than by the handful..
Enjoy plenty of high-quality fats to reduce sugar cravings. They include coconut oil, pastured organic butter, olive oil and foods like organic nuts, seeds, and avocados. Adding one of these while cooking greens or other veggies will not only satisfy you and make you want to eat more veggies, but also keep your sugar in check.
Honey/Apple Cider Vinegar is considered a health tonic in many cultures; it’s a digestive aid, Ph balancing and the perfect remedy for sweet cravings. Enjoy a teaspoon of 50% raw honey and 50% raw apple cider vinegar that you keep in a jar in your kitchen. Take a teaspoon before meals, too, to aid digestion and keep those after-meal sweet cravings to a minimum.
If not ready to go cold turkey on eradicating sugar, wait until end of day to enjoy a sweet treat–after a healthy meal, and with your presence. When you limit distractions, it usually only takes 2-3 bites of a delicious dessert to be satiated.
HOW TO SAY YES TO DAILY ESSENTRICS
Part of why I encourage daily Essentrics is to rebalance our bodies for the next fun activity you love. Whether skiing, running, hiking or professional sports are your love, daily Essentrics can keep you feeling pain-free and energetic by stretching and strengthening every one of your 650 muscles.
But if you are out of the movement habit, start with shorter workouts and do the whole routine like a ragdoll. The 23-minute episodes of Classical Stretch on PBS or through your WiFi subscription on EssentricsTV are a great way for most people to start who are out of the habit of exercising.
Explore the right and available options for you; live classes (when you’re fortuante enough to live where they are offered), fitness retreats, Classical Stretch and Essentrics DVD’s, EssentricsTV wherever you have Wifi, and Classical Stretch on PBS.
Do your workout first thing in the morning; nearly everyone reports a huge increase in regularity with workouts by getting it in before life gets in the way.
Even 15 minutes counts; both for the sedentary as mentioned above and for those with a long physical day ahead. For me, the 15-minute Posture Workout with Amanda Cyr on EssentricsTV is perfect before a 9-10 hour day in ski boots as a volunteer on the mountain. Or Gail Garceau’s 20-minute sports prep workout.
For the Night Owls: For those who struggle sleeping, consider a gentle 15-25 minute stretch on EssentricsTV in the evening. One of the things I love about the newly-organized website for watching episodes is how they allow us to search by: length of workout, instructor, parts of the body focused on and more.
Treat yourself: to a walk in the woods, an hour with a book or a much-needed massage as a way to reward yourself after doing 10, 15, then 30 days in a row. This concept comes from Martha Beck’s wonderful book, The Joy Diet. Read it when you need to be inspired to get after your goals.