Sugar high- part 3

After reading Part 1 and 2 of this article, you have probably noticed that sugar is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. One of my clients who is drastically changing her diet and kicking some serious boo-tay at it, said to me " Sugar is in everything! I could not believe when I started to take it out of my diet how it was showing up everywhere." And this is so true. Once you make the commitment to leave sugar behind, you will see, like any good drug with a masterful dealer like the commercialized food industry, they will not let you go quietly into the night. It will whisper to you in the forms you would not suspect: rice, soup, pasta sauce, peanut butter. I mean does peanut butter really need to be sweeter than it already is?

Let's do a little experiment. Go to your pantry right now and grab three packaged items...I will wait. Ok, do you have them? Now turn them over and read the list of ingredients. My guess is at least 1 out of the 3 have some sort of sugar in it. And more likely it is 2 out of 3. Not sure of the other names sugar hides behind? Here is a list : Aspartame, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanant, xylitol.

So here are my top 5 steps to leaving sugar behind: 

1. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

2. Stop eating out of a box and/ or a can

3. Stop eating out of a box and/ or a can

4. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

5. ...( you get the picture) 

I know this seems redundant to say and probably most of you are like "duh" but it is a lot harder than it seems. Most people have very full lives and unfortunately meal planning and cooking from scratch does not a make the cut. But this has got to change. In order for us to live the lives we so desire, feeling the way we want to feel, we have got to take back control of the food that we eat. Period. And the best way to do that is at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

Here really are my steps to  leaving sugar behind: 

1. Stop eating out of a box and/or a can

2. Make a meal plan (check out my post here for a step by step guide to start this transformative practice)  so eating at home is a breeze

3. Eat by the 80/20 rule where 80 % of your food is whole foods free of all sugars (minus fruit)

4. Always eat vegetables with your starches

5. When you do choose sweet treats, make sure they are made with the best possible sugar choices (see below) 

Now that you have a good foundation on what sugar really is, how it effects your metabolism and how to reduce it, lets get you up to speed on the best sugars to consume when baking and cooking.

One of the easiest ways to release the sugar from your day or at least reduce it , is to choose sweet treats that contain only natural sugars like honey, maple, molasses, coconut sugar, dates, date sugar, fruit and stevia.  You may notice agave is not on my approved sugar list. Yes, I do not believe agave is a healthy sugar. After years of research around the production of agave, my opinion is it contains more fructose than even high fructose corn syrup. And fructose is not the kind of of sugar we want to ingest on the regular, remember why? But if you need more than my word for it, check out this article by Dr. Mercola.

Here is a great recipe for a seasonal pumpkin bread that is delicious and made without refined sugar, gluten and dairy! And you can feel good about eating it and giving it to your kids. 

Spiced pumpkin bread

Adapted from Mind Body Green 

2 1/2 cup Pamela's gluten free baking mix

2/3 cup date (or coconut) sugar

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

15 ounces of organic pureed pumpkin

1 cup fresh ginger tea, warm not hot

*if you do not know how to make fresh ginger tea, peel fresh ginger and add about an inch to 1 cup of water. Let it come to a boil, turn off heat and cover for 10 minutes. Strain the ginger and use the tea for the recipe.

1/3 cup melted coconut or grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup nuts or cacao nibs ( I like a combo of both!)


  • Preheat oven to 350º and grease a loaf pan with coconut or grapeseed oil . 
  • In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and pass through a sieve. If you do not have a sieve , mix with a hand mixer or whisk.
  • In another small bowl, mix all wet ingredients together and add the dry ingredients in thirds to the wet, combining as you go. If you are adding the nuts or cacao, go ahead and add them.
  • Pour into your prepared loaf pan and set on the middle rack in your oven. Bake bread for about 50 minutes to an hour. cook until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let rest in pan for 10-15 minutes then enjoy! 


And remember, sign up for my newsletter below for a chance to win a tin of homemade holiday cookies made by me! Winner will be chosen by December 1st!




Sugar high- Part 2

Fructose vs Glucose

We left off in the first part of this article talking about fructose. Fructose over the past decade has gotten a pretty rotten (and well deserved) rap mostly because of the creation and overuse of high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is made synthetically, meaning it does not occur in nature. The process to make HFCS goes like this. You take corn syrup, which is highly likely made from GMO corn, and it goes through a process where the glucose is turned into fructose. The reason this is done is to make the product sweeter. The glucose is turned into fructose and if you remember from the first part of this article, sugar is made up of half glucose and half fructose. Basically they are stripping out the glucose which is much less damaging to the body and replacing it with more fructose which creates more cravings for sweets. Not only are you spiking your insulin levels more than you normally would eating regular table sugar but you are creating a deeper dependency on a cellular level.

And if you have noticed, these days you would be hard pressed to find candy, soft drinks or the like without HFCS. Anytime my husband and I go on a road trip, we pack the refrigerator that is built into his truck. But usually on the way back, we are down on supplies. And every time, we stop at a gas station, truck stop, convenient store, I find no drinks outside of water that do not contain HFCS. Regular sugar is disappearing from products to make way for its cheaper step cousin.  HFCS generates a higher blood fructose level in the body which when over consumed, can have damaging effects on the metabolic system. But again, fructose is not the only enemy. It has been put on steroids in the form of HFCS but other sugars in the forms of carbohydrates and fruit sugars can create substantial albeit less damage to our systems as well.

Let's talk about carbohydrates, in regards to sugar, as glucose. As all things in life, carbohydrates are not created equal. And in my humble opinion, when people are trying to lose weight and are only counting calories and not where their calories are coming, what foods they are eating together and at what times of day, weight loss can be a tricky and an uphill battle. But glucose as a carbohydrate is an essential part of life.

When glucose does not contain its counterpart fructose, it is called a starch. Starches produce empty calories that are fantastic for burning and or storing energy. Diets like the Atkins or Paleo diet that restrict all starches will tell you that eating starches is what causes weight gain. And this is half true. Glucose does raise insulin in the body which triggers it to store energy into fat cells. And an imbalance of starches without other main components to a healthy diet like fats and proteins can create weight gain especially in certain metabolic types. And if your body does not convert glucose into glycogen which is a natural process of the liver, the extra glucose is converted to triglycerides. And when your body has high levels of triglycerides in the blood stream, cardiovascular imbalance can occur.

Everyone has a metabolic type of either protein, mixed or carb and knowing this about yourself will ultimately help your heath, well-being and optimal weight for your body.  Completely trying to avoid starches can be damaging to certain metabolic types. Blanket diets like Atkins, do not work for everyone because we all have different ways our metabolism functions optimally.

This is the half that Atkins avoided to address. When glucose is combined with fiber, it limits the insulin response in the body and is an essential component to a nourishing diet. Eating an organic brown rice pasta with a heap of vegetables is much better and easier for the body to process than eating a plain bowl of white rice. One will spike insulin levels very quickly and the other will burn slower and sustain levels, and lessen the load on the liver.  For those of you who feel you are holding more weight than you would like, limit your starches, choose whole grains only like brown rice or quinoa and combine them (when you do have them) with high fiber foods like beans and vegetables. And to go deeper, work with a practitioner who utilizes the benefit of metabolic nutrition as I do.

Now we have had a brief look at both glucose and fructose. As you gathered, fructose is much more damaging than glucose. But in too high of quantity without combining it properly with fiber, glucose can over time, cause potential weight gain and cardiovascular imbalance.


Whole fruits and veggies? Or juice? 

Whole fruits and veggies? Or juice? 

This will be an unpopular concept to most health foodies. If we think about what happens when we strip fiber from glucose, we realize it can have adverse effects on the body. So what does obsessive juicing do to the metabolism? Juicing has become a super health trend in the last handful of years. And while juicing in moderation, especially green juices made up of mostly vegetables can be a beneficial part of a health regime, drinking juices green or fruit has a similar effect on the body as consuming sugar. Fruit contains fructose but it also has insoluble fiber. And the reason the fructose in fruit doesn't cause major damage is because of the fiber that makes up the solid part of the fruit. When you eat an apple, as a whole food, the fiber slows down the journey to the liver, which allows the liver to keep up with the processing of the fructose.

When people are on a  "juice only" cleanse they always "feel better." You know people, who will praise the song of the juice, and it is because they are high on sugar. And yes I know your digestion gets a rest, your body is flooded with nutrients but it also flooded with fructose. No matter where fructose comes from, without fiber, it wreaks havoc on your metabolism.

Like David Wolfe says "chew your juice." For my dollar, I blend my "juices" into what are called green smoothies. I use a ratio of 2-1 vegetables to fruit and I add super greens and super herbs to round out the smoothie. I use water or coconut water, tea, or nut milk as a base. (If you need some ideas for smoothies check out my pinterest page.) But even when blending, you still lose some of the cellulose and insoluble fiber. And we need both the soluble and insoluble fiber to make things just right. There is no replacement for foods in the form Nature created. So eat your vegetables!

In the final part of Sugar High, I will talk to you about what sugars are the best for your body to consume when cooking and (mostly) baking. Because after all, we are human and deserve la dolce vida!

And don't forget to sign up for my newsletter below to have a chance to win a homemade tin of holiday cookies made by yours truly! These will be organic, gluten and refined sugar free! Sign up below!