As you may know, I have recently quit refined sugar and I truly believe it is one of the BEST things you can do for your health. The other day at work I was researching sugar and the role it plays in our health. I came across a recent study from Boston University School of Medicine that found that drinking just one soft drink a day can decrease the chances of conceiving – for both men and women. The study contained almost 4,000 women and around 1,000 of their male partners. They found that sugar-sweetened beverages, particularly sodas and energy drinks, substantially lowered the chances of falling pregnant. In fact, women who drink at least one soft drink per day have a 25 percent lower chance of falling pregnant! Whether or not you're trying to support healthy fertility, I'm sure you can appreciate the scary effects that sugar is having on our bodies.
What bothers me most is how sugar is hidden in SO much of our food. It’s led us to develop palates that expect our food to taste sweeter than it actually is. Then when we try cooking food from scratch (instead of just buying pre-packaged at the grocery store), we often discover that it actually tastes quite different and there are so many amazing natural flavours & sweetnesses to be found. Needless to say, I'm all for learning how to cook more from scratch.
So how am I feeling since I quit sugar? Well it’s been almost a month now since I’ve had any refined sugar and I feel fantastic. I’m sleeping so well and waking up really early ready for the day (trust me, this is a huge improvement for me! I usually struggle big time when the alarm goes off). My skin is by far the best it’s been.... ever. This is really important to me because my confidence is completely different when my skin is clear and glowing, versus dull and pimple-prone. I also feel more balanced emotionally. I can often feel like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster, but lately I've been feeling really calm and better able to handle lifes' ups & downs (this is good news for Matt!)
With all that being said, I'd like to inspire you guys to do the same: try quitting sugar or even just slowly cutting back. I put up a poll on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, asking if anyone would be interested in taking part in a #SugarFreeMay Challenge, and 77% of you said YES PLEASE! So we’re doing it! You can join in by following The Glorious Kitchen on Instagram or Facebook.
And to help you get started, I thought I’d share with you my 10 staples I couldn't live without while sugar detoxing and continuing to keep off the white stuff.
10 Staples I Couldn't Live Without
Oats. Stock up on large flake rolled oats. These are perfect for cooked oatmeal breakfasts (it really doesn't take as long as you think!), or sprinkling on a smoothie bowl or making really delicious & easy homemade granola bars.
Nut and seed butters. My personal favourite is Tahini (sesame seed butter) because I can use it to make dips like hummus or sun-dried tomato & white bean dip. I also put it on oatmeal bowls, in smoothies and in granola bars. Other good choices are almond, cashew or pumpkin seed butter.
Frozen berries. Okay, not quite in the pantry, but I always have mixed berries in the freezer such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries & cranberries. They are deliciously full of antioxidants and so easy to throw into smoothies or heat up with your oatmeal.
Dried fruits like figs, raisins & dates. When you're craving something sweet, these will do the trick plus they are full of fibre to help keep you regular (which is really important for healthy skin!). I also throw raisins into my granola bars and dates into energy balls. Just don't go overboard, although natural they are still high in sugars. So I do enjoy them sparingly.
Sweet potato. Roasted sweet potato fries are hands-down one of my favourite foods. They have such a natural sweetness, plus they are packed with Vitamin A, one of the most important vitamins & antioxidants for healthy skin. I'll serve sweet potato fries with dinner or add them to a buddha bowl or even make sweet potato "french toast" for Sunday breakfast!
Raw honey. A little honey in a turmeric latte or on coconut yogurt or on an oatmeal bowl is the BEST. I prefer raw honey because it's still full of incredible anti-bacterial properties and amazing antioxidants & enzymes that make honey such a superfood. Most of the honey you buy from the grocery store has been pasteurised & filtered, meaning it has been heated up to very high temperatures and removing all of the incredible medicinal properties. Just like dried fruit, honey is still sugar to our bodies so I also enjoy it sparingly.
Cinnamon. This amazing spice has such an amazing natural sweetness, and you really notice it once you've stopped eating refined sugar. I add it to my turmeric latte, in my oatmeal bowls, on sliced apple & nut butter... pretty much everywhere! Cinnamon is also a natural blood sugar balancer, so it's really helpful if you sprinkle it on when you're enjoy honey or dried fruits.
Herbal Tea. As mentioned in my how to quit sugar blog post, making a cup of tea is one of my favourite ways to deal with sugar cravings. Often just getting up and doing something, and then enjoy a warming cup will do the trick to kick the craving. I've been loving Pukka teas, my favourites are Peppermint & Licorice, Womankind and Three Ginger.
Chickpeas. I always keep a few box or cans of chickpeas in my cupboard because I love making homemade hummus. It is super quick to make and grocery store versions often have added sugar. I find hummus & raw veggies makes a really substantial snack to help curb cravings.
Seeds & seed oils. Personally, I much prefer seeds over nuts, especially pumpkin seeds & hemp seeds. They are great sources of protein, Omega 3s and really important minerals for healthy skin, like Zinc. I also love good quality seed oils like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil. I sprinkle or drizzle them on everyyyyything... my oatmeal, in my smoothies, on salads and in soups.
So there you have it, my favourite staples to help with sugar detoxing. I hope this post helps you pack your pantry with all the good stuff!
Are you up for the #SugarFreeMay Challenge? Join me over at The Glorious Kitchen on Instagram and Facebook. And please share this for anyone else who may want to join in!