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Holistically Fed BLOG

Why You Crave Sugar

Way back in a land before cheap and artificially sweetened sodas, sweets and all of the sugary things, the only sweetness we knew was that of a piece of fresh fruit or maybe some natural honey if one was so lucky to even find any.

At one point in time, we used to have to hunt and gather our food. There was no one to tell us what foods were the best for our health. We simply ate what we could find and was available to us to survive. We are lucky enough now to have science and research tell us that fresh fruits are a safe source of energy full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Back then, all we had to rely on were neutrotransmitters in our brain that would help us remember that these foods were good choices by sending us signals of pleasure and reward. These signals were hard wired in our brain from the beginning of time to help us choose the best foods for our health. The same applies for both salty and fatty foods as well.

So, the fact that you crave sugar is quite normal. The problem is, we were never designed for our desire for sweets to lead us to a 32 oz. soda with almost a cup of concentrated sugar or to cookies, candy bars, cereals, and basically all of the processed foods you find in grocery stores aisles today. It was designed to lead us to the most nutrient dense food.

Unlike raw fruit, these extremely stimulating and often artificially sweetened foods are void of any nutrition. They are nothing but empty calories with zero benefit to your health. The only benefit they bring is pleasure and reward, and this is only temporary as your blood sugar will come crashing back down after the huge sugar rush, leaving you craving even more sugar. It is an endless cycle.

So, when you crave sugar now, do you think to grab an apple or some fresh berries?  I can bet probably never. You most likely go straight to the chocolate chips in your freezer (that is my guilty pleasure I will admit), the leftover piece of cake on your counter, or the soda in your fridge, or you fill in the blank for your sugar cravings. Why do we do that??

Well, the same signals that led us to nutrient dense foods  from the beginning of time still apply today. The overly sweet foods (I mean “food-like” substances)  that are abundant in the Standard American Diet, light up pleasure and reward centers in the brain just the same as a piece of fruit would. However, it is for different reasons than nature intended.  These processed, highly concentrated sources of sugar provide zero health benefit to us and lead us to crave more, overeat, and lucky for the manufactures, spend more money on the foods we are now addicted to!

If you’re thinking, “Well I only eat foods that are sweetened with 0 calorie sweeteners like splenda or sweet-n-low. I probably am ok right?”

Absolutely not.

Artificial Sweeteners are anywhere from 200-600 times sweeter than table sugar, stimulating your brain even more resulting in even greater cravings/addiction. On top of that, they are filled with toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health.

So, I say all of this to let you know that your cravings for sugar are not your fault. You were designed to crave sweet foods, just not the overstimulating sweet foods that we over consume today.

Fruit is most likely not on your radar as being a dessert or sweet treat. When this was the only sweet food available, fruit was considered a delicacy. We sadly have lost the ability to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fruit because of how overstimulating and overly concentrated our foods are with sugar. I always have to laugh at when I go to my sweet grandma’s house and she is cutting up beautiful fresh strawberries only to pour a cup full of sugar over them because well, they just weren’t sweet enough already I suppose. I can only assume she isn’t the only one that does this. Do you see the fault in this?

The fact that added sugar (sugar that was not originally a part of the food) has an unhealthy psychological response in our bodies is only one of the major reasons we should eliminate it from our diet completely. The other major reasons we should avoid it will have to be saved for another post on another day.

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Too Obsessed With Wellness?

With the information that is available to us these days, more and more people are becoming aware of how important it is to take care of their bodies through nutrient dense whole foods and supportive lifestyle habits. There is an abundance of information that pushes to eat this not that, get more greens, avoid commercialized foods, buy local and organic, get your vitamin D, take your fish oil, eliminate toxins, and to exercise, but not too hard. The list goes on. In fact, I personally contribute to many of these posts. I’m not here to tell you that none of these things are important. They are 100% important to your overall health and well being.

The problem is, we can become so obsessed with wellness we end up eating out of a place of fear rather than a place of wanting to fully nourish our body.  When we are obsessed with wellness we also may have the tendency to judge those around us that aren’t as “healthy” as we are.

We must remember that we are each on our own unique journey towards wellness. Judging others for not eating as much kale as you or not buying organic does not help the situation. If you do this, ask yourself why? Most of the time we judge others stems from a deeper issue of insecurity within ourselves.

Here are some major signs that you might be too obsessed with wellness:

  • Think about how you feel after you indulge in some ice cream, your mom’s famous chocolate pie, or when your budget forces you to buy commercial raised foods instead of grass-fed, pastured and organic foods? Do these things stress you out? Do you feel guilty? Anxious?
  • Do you avoid or dread social gatherings where you know there will be no healthy options for you to eat?
  • Do you eliminate certain food groups for reasons other than your body actually feels better without it?

These are just a few examples, but all of them point to an unhealthy relationship with food. I am not by any means saying that you should not strive to increase the amounts of nutrient dense whole foods and eliminate processed, refined, nutrient poor foods. What I am saying is food, whether good or bad should not have control over you.

When food is something that controls you, it becomes a source of anxiety rather than a source of pleasure and fuel for your body. When you are stressed or anxious, your body cannot properly digest food. To manage any type of stress, your body diverts blood away from the digestive system to your heart and skeletal muscles. Poorly digested food can lead to a host of issues including nutrient deficiencies and chronic inflammation in the body, especially when undigested proteins enter into the bloodstream. So, you may not even be getting all the wonderful benefits out of your healthy foods if you are constantly stressed and anxious about what you eat. Relax. You will not die if you did not get at least 3 servings of vegetables or greens today. Take time to enjoy the food in front of you and more importantly the people you may be sharing it with.

If your goal is overall wellness, it is important to realize that food is just one piece of the puzzle. If you are so obsessed with food you may neglect other important areas of your life such as relationships, your spiritual health, and your mental health.

Learn to breath and give yourself a break when it comes to discovering health through food. It is a wonderful healing tool, but if you are not careful, it can become an idol and a source of stress and anxiety. Eat a piece of cake for dinner every once in awhile just because you want to, but be honest with yourself about why you did it.  Don’t eat it because it was sugar free, low-fat or low-carb. Accept and acknowledge the fact that this food is not making you healthier but you are eating it because plain and simple: you want to or it is culturally relevant.

Here me out before you go and tell everyone I said you can eat cake for dinner. I by no means am encouraging you to eat unhealthy foods, rather I am encouraging you to seek balance in all areas of your life. This is where true health is found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauteed Shrimp with Veggies over Quinoa

If you want an easy recipe that doesn’t lack in deliciousness this recipe is for you. This recipe takes probably a total of 20 minutes if you make it all right then, but if you do a little prep work the night before or at the beginning of the week, this meal could take you less than 10 minutes tops!

Trust me when I say I understand being busy. Who isn’t busy these days? I am not someone who spends an hour every single night making delicious gourmet dinners. Far from that. I am all about quick, easy, convenient, but definitely not boring meals! Healthy nutrient rich whole foods meals can not only taste fantastic but also be super simple if you find the right recipes and spend a little time thinking ahead.

And might I add, eating healthy makes your meals a lot prettier too? Your plate or bowl will be filled with so many more natural beautiful colors from nature when you incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your lifestyle.

photo (4)

 

Here is the recipe. Make sure to read to the end to get my time saving tips.

 

Sauteed Shrimp with Veggies over Quinoa
Author:
Serves: 2
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. large frozen shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. spice blend
  • 2-3 tbsp favorite fat (olive oil, coconut, or ghee)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lime (I used a lemon in this picture b/c that's what I had, but tastes better with lime)
Instructions
  1. Cook ½ a cup of quinoa according to the package directions
  2. While quinoa is cooking, place the dethawed and peeled shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle seasoning over them
  3. In a skillet on medium heat, add your fat, onions, and bell pepper and saute until soft
  4. Add the tomatoes and then cook them until they are nice and warm
  5. Remove your vegetables from the pan and place them aside in a bowl
  6. Saute the shrimp (about 2-3 minutes each side).
  7. When they are done, top ½ cup -1 cup quinoa with shrimp and vegetables and fresh squeezed lime juice

 

Time saving tips:

  • Cook your quinoa the night before or at the beginning of the week. If you make more than the recipe calls for it’s an easy side to add to other meals for added protein and nutrient density. Quinoa is a gluten free grain and one of the only grains that is a complete protein.
  • Chop up your onion and bell pepper ahead of time and store them in zip lock baggies in your fridge. This will save you time when it comes time to actually cooking the meal. All you have to do is pull them out and throw them on the skillet.
  • Don’t forget to set your shrimp out at least an hour before to let them dethaw! If you forget, place them in a bowl of warm water and they will dethaw in a couple of minutes.

Hope these tips help. You can do this for many other recipes as well. As long as you think ahead, cooking can be simple and easy. Enjoy the recipe!

 

 

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