Did you know, that some countries are in the process of passing legislation, to have statutory warning labels on foods containing sugar? These are the same kinds of messages we see on cigarette packets.
Messages that say, “not safe for children” or “Sugar kills” or Simply “Warning: contains sugar”. This is a brave brave step. Especially with strong sugar lobbies. Sugar is so prevalent in the foods we eat. It surrounds us in the supermarket aisles.
Companies have become super smart at disguising sugar with different names! So unless you educate yourself with regards to the different names of sugar, chances are you will get duped. The 101 names of sugar, reminds me of 101 names of various gods.
So today we are going to deep dive into part two of dealing with sugar. The first step was to get rid of all things that contain sugar from your home and gift it to that neighbour you do not like.
If you are like me, my first time giving up sugar was bloody hard. That need for sweet drove me insane. Giving up cold turkey was impossible! It was easily the hardest thing I had done back then.
Unfortunately, I did not have a guide, taking me through this “sugarless” life, journey. Like you have me to guide you. So I did the obvious, I simply replaced sugar with sugar-free, splenda, saccharine, aspartame, sweet-n-low, etc. I moved from Soft drinks to diet soft drinks. I added honey and date paste to everything. Made super sweet food desserts. Gorged on fruits; banana ice-creams were an everyday phenomenon.
Now however I have identified better ways to deal with it.
Step 1 is getting used to the taste of stevia. Remember nothing will taste as good as sugar. NOTHING! That is why it is so addictive. But you have to try to wean yourself off the sugar and onto a more natural substitute. As of now stevia is the best alternative we have.
Stevia is made from a plant. So you can use the actual dried leaves of the stevia plant. Or you can use the powder which is processed.
I add the leaves to things like teas, where the leaves can be strained out. It will take a little practice before you get the hang of how many leaves to add. Stevia is in-fact a critical ingredient to Yerba Mate tea. A good substitute for green tea.
The stevia powders need a little more scrutiny. Many companies claim their powders or pills have stevia. But fail to mention the other artificial sweeteners added as well. So when buying stevia always always read the label and buy a good brand.
Here is a Pro-tip for you: Many people do not like the flavour of stevia because they add too much of it. Stevia is a thousand times sweeter than sugar and can leave a bitter after taste. So if this happens to you halve the quantity added and try again.
Since it is so sweet, some companies add fillers to make the stevia work in the same ratio as sugar. Do not buy these that mention “same sweetness as sugar”.
Xylitol is another good substitute for sugar especially if you are baking. This is because Xylitol has the same bulk and sweetness as sugar so you can make an easy swap while cooking. Don’t get scared of the super chemically sounding name. On a side note, too much Xylitol can have a laxative effect.
Lastly, the natural sugars like honey and date paste. These are ok to use as you start the sugar free journey but slowly start cutting them down as you progress in the weeks and months.
I recommend using the mentioned natural and artificial sweeteners for the first month of getting off sugar. After the first month try giving these up as well.
The goal is to get away from sweet as a flavour. Move from sweet fresh lime sodas to just salty. Move from using tonic water to using plain soda. Move from fruit juices to vegetable juices.
Be patient with this transition, don’t rush it and try to make too many changes at once.
So your second simple habit to the get over your sugar addiction is to go and buy dried stevia leaves, good quality stevia powder and xylitol. Start experimenting with them each day. Give it sometime to get used to the flavour.
Carry some stevia with you, so you have it handy when you are out for a coffee.
Get used to using these particular sugar replacements, with the end goal of not relying on them either.