This is my third post in my health and workout series. (Here are posts 1 and 2). As I stated in March I'm on the final countdown to the big 4-0 this year and am doing a series of posts focused on health and fitness, from the perspective of someone who is not a health or fitness expert. This is not about weight loss or achieving a "bikini body." After spending a year and a half with debilitating back pain and recently returning to pain-free living I have a new found love for my body and feel grateful for all it allows me to do. Honestly, working out at all feels like such a privilege to me these days. The one goal is do have to be able to do 10 pull-ups by my 40th birthday. Thanks for following along!
While I've always had a sweet tooth I trace the uptick of this sugar habit to those early baby days with PSP. In between all the crying and trying to get my baby back to sleep, I found myself binging on Dove chocolates as if was the secret to happiness. Which, to be fair, at the time it was. My days were long and tiring and the only break I could give myself day in and day out came in that little blue foil wrapper. 9 years later and I realize that I have now trained myself to look forward to these daily treats where I chill out during nap time and eat something sweet. It's definitely a habit.
Listen, no ones perfect, we all have our vices and mine happens to be white sugar. I don't feel the need to completely eliminate white sugar from my life, but I do feel the need to loosen it's grip on me a little. I have a treat in some form everyday and I want to change that. Additionally, I feel like a huge hypocrite as a while ago we instituted 'treat days' on Wednesday and Sunday with the kids so that they would get out of the habit of expecting and eating sugar everyday. Meanwhile, mom and dad ride the train to sugar town each and every day when they're in bed or at school. It's a little ridiculous.
So today I'd like to share my best tips for cutting down on white sugar. I'm not a health expert--which kinda makes in more legit because this is not my job and I actually find this hard to do!--but these tips have been really helpful to me in the past and will hopefully be helpful now. Good luck to us all.
3 Strategies to Help Cut Down on White Sugar
1. Make it a goal. As in, write it down or tell someone else that you're cutting down, or temporarily eliminating sugar, so that you're accountable. If I commit to even going 1-2 weeks without sugar, I crave it less and less on a daily basis. Once I cut down my sugar intake, even a little bit of sugar starts to taste too rich and I'm much more content having a treat every other day or every few days.
2. Try a different sort of treat. I like to "treat" myself. Most often that treat is sugar related, because ice cream, chocolate, all of that feels special. Therefore if I have something else that feels special but is not sugary, I still feel treated. My husband could happily eat a PB&J everyday and feel satisfied. Not me. I want good, delicious food. It doesn't have to be fancy, but as long as it feels a little elevated from say, kid food, it helps a lot to ease the craving for something else special and treat-like. So a nice salad, my favorite homemade salsa recipe, and a snack plate that is filled with delicious and healthy choices is one way my treat feels like a treat.
Berries, nuts, and Lorissa's Kitchen premium protein snacks are some of my favorite alternatives to a sweet treat. I especially love Lorissa's Kitchen for providing more protein in my diet right now as that's an important element in building more muscle. There are 11 grams of protein in every serving and 4 delicious flavors to choose from including Korean BBQ, Ginger Teriyaki, Sweet Chili and Szechuan Peppercorn.
3. Whole Food Based Desserts. This last one is tricky. We've all tried those whole food treats where someone claims "these taste exactly like real cookie dough bites!" Uh, no they don't. I'm sorry but almond flour, honey and bee pollen are never going to taste like flour, sugar and butter. They just don't. BUT whole food based desserts can still be delicious and have a great flavor all their own...just don't expect that Nestle Toll House taste. Of course these desserts still have sugar--just not refined, white sugar--and should still be eaten in moderation.
I recently tried a Date Based Chocolate Mousse and liked it so much I wanted to share the recipe. Original recipe here. There are only 4 ingredients and the results were surprisingly good! (And rich.)
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder (I bought this raw organic cocoa powder)
1 cup (approx. 18) dried and pitted dates
Dash of vanilla
--Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight so that the solid separates from the liquid. Turn the can over and open it and scrape out all solids. Put in a bowl (or food processor) with your dried and pitted dates. Take a hand held held blender and blend until smooth. Takes a while, but it will be pretty smooth. You can also add some of the liquid from your coconut powder to make a little lighter consistency.
--This next step is optional, but you can then strain your date paste through a fine, mesh sieve to get rid of all those little date skin piece that won't blend. You don't have to do it, but I prefer to do the extra step for a little smoother mousse.
--Then add the cocoa power and vanilla and blend well. Put into 4 ramekins and chill in fridge for a couple hours before serving.
Would also be a great substitution for chocolate frosting!
Thanks for following along in my workout/health journey. As of right now I still can't do a pull up, but I'm getting closer! And definitely stronger. It's really been exciting to see my strength increase. Anyone else trying to cut down on the white sugar in their diet? Any tried and true tips? What other whole food dessert recipes do you swear by?