This morning I listened to Dr John Briffa talking to Chris Evans on radio 2 , I turned over from radio 1 to give it a listen as the subject was Sugar, and whether we should be eating it in the quantities we do these days. Now this is a subject I have been following now for about a year. I have bought books to read on the subject and looked at lots of pieces on the internet, all leading me to the conclusion that it would be best for my family and I to remove as much sugar as we possible could from our diets. The family have come on board with this, which has made the decision much easier.
I dont want to get into the scientific stuff about sugar, there is plenty of information about now, that you can read up on to make your own judgments. But what I found is lacking is, once you have made the decision to change, Where do you go from there!
We all need some ideas that are achievable.
We all have busy lives and have got into certain habits and ways of thinking and living and its hard to change. Let alone the fact that for many of us sugar is highly addictive.
So I thought I would share our story as a family, and how cutting the sugar has worked for us.
Firstly breakfasts, In our house, that used to be a quick bowl of cereal or porridge or a fruit flavoured yoghurt with granola. washed down with a glass of fruit juice usually orange. one of your five a day!
Now we have switched to eggs every morning usually two each with a good quality bacon or smoked salmon or a veggie or cheese omelette. We also love homemade pancakes with berries.
If we are in more of a rush we will have toast or full fat greek yoghurt with no added sugar with seasonal berries and homemade low sugar or no sugar granola. I even sometimes make savoury breakfast muffins for a treat. Porridge is still a good option if it has no hidden sugar or dried fruit and you top it with double cream or a dusting of cinnamon. Avoid dried fruit in general as all the moisture has been removed leaving the sugar. Best to have a piece of whole fruit. Raisins etc are a big no no a real shock to find out.
Now we have stopped buying fresh fruit juices or smoothies instead have a glass of water, coffee or tea without sugar and have fruit in its entirety as then the body can deal with the fructose because it also has fibre too. That was a hard change for the family but if its not in the fridge they find something else to drink.
We tend to keep our carbohydrate intake low but include lots of good fats such as butter, cheese, coconut oil etc to fill us up.
On to lunch, for most of the family lunch has to be a packed meal at work. a high protein and fat salad with chicken, fish or eggs. usually with some cheese and plenty of vegetables. The family sometimes still have bread, but only occasionally as this has hidden sugar too.
At home it is far easier to use wonderful things like avocado , seafood or make homemade pasta from courgette topped with grated cheese or a creamy sauce made from double cream. Homemade soups are delicious and healthy too.
Avoiding that sweet thing after your savoury lunch is tough especially to start with, it has become a habit for us all. But I was amazed how quickly that fades if you eat enough savoury high fat, low carb food for your lunch. I now find a pear or slice of watermelon a real treat. I actually get excited about buying fruit, because I know its a treat.
Cans of drink also tend to make an appearance at this time of the day . Giving us that sugar rush for the start of the afternoon. We no longer buy them, instead water or teas and coffee are on offer. Fruit juice and fizzy and squash drinks have a very high level of sugar and best avoided completely .
Snacks I now find I have lost the need to snack , but to begin with I was armed with almonds or other plain nuts to nibble on. Cubes of cheese work well too.
Dinner Now my family come home famished from a day at work and up until a year ago I would have made sure there was some kind of pudding on offer.Which would have been high in sugar. These days we eat a good wholesome meal, again high in protein ,good fat and healthy vegetables and low in carbohydrates like pasta, white rice and potatoes. Instead using more cauliflower, cabbage, courgettes etc and usually we don’t feel the need for anything else. When we do we will have a couple of chunks of dark chocolate I eat 85% the family prefer 70% this still all contains sugar but very little and because it is so dark you can only eat a square or two. Fresh fruit is also available or full fat greek yoghurt. For special occasions I still make low sugar or no sugar puddings. Water is on the table to drink and the family still enjoy the odd glass of red wine.
Late night snack I turn to a cube of parmesan or a few macadamia nuts which feel very indulgent.
The easiest thing for me was avoiding sugar filled drinks I have never been a huge fan of soda, fizzy drinks . We don’t have sugar in our hot drinks and I have learnt to enjoy a camomile tea too.
I did used to love a gin and tonic, but after realising how much sugar was in the tonic I’ve stopped and now find it much to sweet.
I continue to find grabbing a snack quite hard if i’m out as I am gluten intolerant and usually the only option for me is cake. I treated myself to an old favourite at the weekend and with the first bite I realised I just couldn’t eat it anymore. It honestly tasted like a mouthful of granulated sugar. I tend to be very prepared now and take a banana or apple or nuts out for emergency food.
This all might sound like eating in our house is no fun anymore. I honestly think if you asked the family they would say we eat very well and they all now really enjoyed the homemade low or no sugar things we have on offer. The granola is a big favourite as are the chocolate profiteroles made with dark chocolate and no added sugar. Great for special occasions.
I still use fresh fruit in my baking especially bananas and apples because once in a while it is still nice to have a treat and I use fruit instead of granulated sugar. This is still a form of sugar, but we only eat in moderation on special occasions.
I also occasionally use raw honey this is still sugar and I use only occasionally and in moderation. Our tastes buds have changed so much that very little is needed anyway.
I also use powdered dextrose which is good in cakes and is free from fructose.
I really hope this has been of some help to you. It really can be done without too much change. Its mainly changing how you feel about sugar. Get reading. I urge you! There is so much information out there, explaining the dangers behind sugar.
I will include a list of books and people to follow. I wish I had this information when my children were younger so that I could have put this into practise along time ago. But that isn’t possible, so we are doing the best we can now to be as healthy as possible.
All the best, You and your family Can do it!
Dr John Briffa @drbriffa
Action on Sugar @actiononsugar
Sarah Wilson @_sarahwilson_
I Quit Sugar @iquitsugar
The Sugar breakup @thesugarbreakup
David Gillespie @gillespie
Sugar free me @beadlealison
Sam Feltham @samfeltham
Sweet Poison why sugar makes you fat by David Gillespie
The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie
Pure, white and deadly by John Yudkin
Low carb high fat
Christine Cronau @christinecronau
Sam Feltham @samfeltham
More recipe ideas on my blog Fabulouslyfreefrom.net
or follow me on Twitter @nels3 gluten free Helen
Sugar is killing us
Sugar hiding in plain sight – Robert Lustig