I spent most of my life as most other folks do, blissfully unaware of the content of the foods that I consume and the power that it has over physical and mental wellness. One of the biggest issues that I’ve learned about is related to the amount of sugar that it in the modern day diet.
Sugar sneaks into your life and puts its claws in early on in our lives. Treats and candy were regular joys in my young life. Being the first grandbaby born to either side of my family in my generation had its sugar-coated benefits! My teenage years were spent in a dehydrated haze caused by sugary sodas and coffee with mountains of sugar stirred in. All the while, I suffered from migraines, stomach aches, itchy skin and occasionally severe acne, and couldn’t figure out why!
Sugar has a way of making you crave it, more and more. Why in the world would I want to eat something if it wasn’t sweet? Bitter or savory foods failed to impress me. I was a steak and potato kind of girl, and I abstained from most fresh veggies until my tastes changed when I turned 21.
It has only been since I began walking the herbal path that I’ve come to seriously turn my focus towards what I ingest and how it affects my health. Conscious eating has helped me quite a bit. These days I enjoy both fresh and cooked vegetables alike. I eat much less junk food and fast food than I used to. The most tangible change in my health was clear after I cut down on processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Now, I know, a lot of people don’t believe all of the hype about heavily processed sugars, and I don’t make a practice of following overblown fads of panic myself., but here are a few things that I learned when I switched from eating so much sugar and replaced it with honey.
Honey vs Sugar
Reducing the amount of processed sugars in my diet has produced the following effects:
My skin is clearer! I’ve been an itchy person my whole life. When I cut down my sugar intake, a great deal of the irritation disappeared after a few weeks! My skin is much more smooth on my face and arms. There have been fewer pimples and blackheads to glare at in the mirror, as well.
My weight decreased! Now, this one is not JUST the sugar, because I increased my physical activity around the same time as changing my diet. I still believe that both of those things contributed to losing thirty extra pounds and getting down to a comfortable weight within two years. I’m now holding steady at a healthy weight for my size with almost no extra effort – just eating healthy and moving my body has made a big difference.
My teeth squeak! I don’t have the best teeth, nor does anyone else in my family. Maintaining the health of my mouth and gums has been much easier without a film from my soda eating away at them, or having to dig out bits of candy stuck between my teeth! After a few weeks of a sugar-free diet, my normal old toothpaste tasted like candy. Wow, that stuff is sweet!
Candida begone! Anyone can get Candida overgrowth, men, women, old and young. Candida is in our bodies naturally and is normally not a problem until it starts to take over. Candida feeds on sugar. If you swing the balance in the favor of Candida overgrowth, it will bloom and grow like mad, causing yeast infections and thrush to make itchy places of anywhere warm and wet on your body: mouth, tongue, genitals, armpits…it makes life quite uncomfortable!
I knew that reducing sugar would help, but I didn’t realize how extensive the changes would be! At first, I found myself gazing wistfully at a sweet realm that was so far away…chocolate cakes, cinnamon latte, sticky buns, and pound cake tempted me during my sugar fast. Now, all my former favorites are too sweet for me to enjoy often!
There has to be a medium, a healthy balance. There was a compromise to be made. Sweet flavors have their place. I started small – instead of the usual two spoonfuls of sugar in my morning coffee, I used one spoonful of honey. (These days I use NO sugar in my coffee, just cream!) If I have a glass of fruit juice, I have to dilute it a bit with water or herbal infusion. Pasta and bread are all right, but using them in my diet sparingly feels much healthier than the normal, painful gorging that I had been doing!
Honey provides a bolder flavor and feels infinitely more fulfilling than white sugar to me now. It has flavor, body, and a fire inside…that golden glow that nurtures me in ways that processed cane just doesn’t do!
I’m won over by the bees…and so is my skin, my teeth, my health!