How To Teach Yourself and Your Children To get Comfortable Without Sugar
In this long article, you’ll prepare wonderfully delicious granola chock-full of anti-inflammatory cinnamon and cardamom, coconut flakes, and chopped almond and walnut. Why this recipe is so great:
1) It’s super tasty, and 2) it doesn’t contain any insulin-raising sugar (which is a change from so many other granolas). Just as coconut, nuts, and spices are treats for the good bacteria in the colon, sugar is fuel for the nasty bacteria. Sugar feeds Darth Vader’s army and creates inflammation in the body. But you don’t have to worry about that, so long as you follow this recipe.
LUKE SKYWALKER’S GRANOLA
4/5 cup (200 ml) buckwheat groats
2/5 cup (100 ml) pumpkin seeds
1/5 cup (50 ml) crushed flaxseeds
1/5 cup (50 ml) white sesame seeds
1/5 cup (50 ml) grated coconut flakes
2/5 cup (100 ml) sweet almonds, chopped
2/5 cup (100 ml) walnuts, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbsp coconut oil, softened
We always lower the oven ’s temperature when we make granola. It takes a bit of time to cook, but it ’s infinitely kinder on the raw ingredients and intestinal flora.
Soak the buckwheat groats for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 160°F (70°C).
Mix the ingredients and spread them over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let it bake for a few hours in the oven, stirring the contents from time to time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven when the granola feels dry and the whole kitchen smells of cinnamon.
WHAT EFFECT DOES SUGAR HAVE ON THE BODY?
We will not delve too deeply into molecular biology in this book, but there are two important things to know if you want to stay healthy and free of inflammation. Those two things are 1) blood sugar, and 2) the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin.
If raw vegetables are yummy for the good bacteria in the colon, then sugar is an absolute delicacy for the nasty bacteria.
Breaking it down, we can say that sugar assists nasty bacteria in encouraging our desire to vacuum up every trace of sugar that comes our way. The more sugar we eat, the louder bad bacteria shouts to our brain that they want more sugar. At this point, we need Jane Fonda–like strength and discipline to resist all the candy bowls, sweetened yogurts, office- meeting pastries, sugary drinks, and frequent coffee breaks that are part of
our everyday lives.
Unlike fiber, which is processed by the good, protective bacteria in the colon, sugar will head straight into the bloodstream from the small intestine, leaving our army of hungry, good bacteria in the colon in a lurch.
Blood sugar levels will spike, which causes the pancreas to begin pumping out more insulin than necessary. When the level of insulin in the body rises, the immune system goes into overdrive, which in turn exhausts the intestinal flora, resulting in inflammation in the body.
Does that mean that the body doesn’t need any sugar at all, ever? Not quite. The body needs sugar, but it depends entirely on which area of the intestine it is being absorbed from, what kind of sugar we’re talking about,
and what types of foods we’re getting it from. When the common white table
sugar ends up in the body, half of it is broken down into what is called fructose and the other half into glucose. Studies show that it is primarily fructose that is instrumental to poor health. We can summarize it this way:
fructose (found in abundance in soft drinks and candy, among other things) is anything but good for us, while glucose (also plentiful in soft drinks and candy, but in vegetables, too) is something we need to ensure good health. In the right amount, glucose is the body’s most important source of energy—not least for the proper working of the brain—so long as you make sure to get it from vegetables and not from sweet rolls. What is important here is how quickly the glucose is processed by the body.
Glucose that is absorbed in the small intestine washes over our inner organs and the body like a tsunami, while glucose that is processed by the colon flows like a calm stream in the time it takes the bacteria to break it
Leafy greens and other vegetables are good sources of glucose. In spinach, for instance, the level of sugar is low while the level of fiber is high. This is close to being optimal, since the small intestine lacks enzymes to break down the fibers and release the sugar. In contrast to sugar from a cinnamon roll, spinach will continue to make its way all the way down into the colon, unobstructed, where the good bacteria will break it down, and mete out the glucose slowly, which protects the internal organs from receiving more sugar than they can cope with, all at once and at the same time. The body gleans energy from the sugar without a dramatic spike in blood sugar.
The WHO considers that for good health, our total daily intake of energy from sugar should not exceed 5 percent of the total energy intake (this is half of what is officially recommended by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines 2015–2020).
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION POINTS TO SUGAR AS THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR HEALTH
We still consume far more sugar than we should, despite current scientific research telling us that sugar is detrimental to our health. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that women eat no more than
100 calories (25 g or 6 teaspoons of sugar) per day, and men no more than 150 calories (38 g or 9 teaspoons) per day. In America, we eat on average 92 g or 22 teaspoons per day, two to three times the recommended amount.
We eat, on average, 150 lb of sugar per person, per year. This is total madness, considering that the WHO points to sugar as the greatest threat to health in the world and the most significant factor in obesity. Research shows that if a child drinks one can of soft drink per day, the likelihood that this child will be overweight later in life is increased by 60 percent.
In America, about 34 percent of all adults have consumed so much sugar that their bodies’ natural system for breaking it down is ready to quit. (In Sweden, the number is 15 to 20 percent .) This is called metabolic syndrome, which is the precursor to illness, specifically to type 2 diabetes.
Simply put, having constantly elevated blood sugar levels eventually leads to a decreased reaction to the insulin pumped out by the body. This, in turn, leads to a pancreas that needs to produce even more insulin, which brings on a further rise in blood sugar. If this cycle keeps going for too long, the body becomes exhausted and the system for regulating blood sugar is wrecked. When the body’s system is upset, the good bacteria in the colon
says “thanks, but no thanks.” They turn over operations to the Darth Vaders, which we know by now is the primary reason for inflammation and chronic illness.
Excess abdominal fat is an important sign of metabolic syndrome, but even slim people can suffer from metabolic syndrome.
BANANA MILKSHAKE WITH BERRY SWIRL
(makes 2 glasses)
4/5 cup (200 ml) mixed summer berries
4 tbsp chia seeds
2/5 cup (100 ml) water
4/5 tsp (4 ml) vanilla powder, divided
2 cups (500 ml) milk of your choice
2 small green bananas
This recipe has everything two sweet-toothed children (and their parents) could wish for: four different type s of berries, spiced vanilla, and yummy banana.
Defrost the berries if they are frozen, and blend them with chia seeds, water, and half of the vanilla powder. Blend the milk, bananas, and remaining vanilla powder separately in another container. Divide the chia seed mixture into two glasses, and add in the banana milk.
PROJECT SUGAR DETOX BACKUP PLAN
Studies show that the following activities can help when sugar cravings
1 Drink a cup of green tea (this will stabilize your blood sugar).
2 Brush your teeth.
3 Make a green smoothie or eat some grapefruit (green vegetables and citrus fruits are effective at quashing sugar cravings).
4 Get out and move.
5 Call a friend and ask her or him to give you a pep talk to remind you why you should not eat sugar.
LIFE AFTER A SUGAR DETOX
We plowed through pretty much all available pregnancy literature when we were expecting. Once in the delivery room, we knew everything—what type of pain relief we needed, how we wanted to give birth, and that we did not care to eat the placenta. However, what we didn’t know was how life
was going to turn out after the delivery. Suddenly, there we were, each of us with a baby in our arms, with no clue how to handle our new reality.
Why hadn’t anyone prepared us for all the things that were going to happen after giving birth? After all, this is when things get hard.
Today, one in ten American children suffer from a condition called fatty liver disease—formerly only seen in alcoholics.
We feel that the same applies to detox from sugar. Giving up sweets for a certain amount of time is one thing, but what do you do once the detox period is over?
At first, we thought that our new life after the detox would never be the same, but we soon discovered to our great delight that we could still enjoy treats every day. The best source of sweetness is in fruit and berries (both fresh and dried) since their sugar is different from white table sugar. Fruit sugar contains antioxidants and fiber, which help slow the sugar ’s absorption into the bloodstream.
However, we need to raise a tiny red flag here because this doesn’t mean you can pig out on baked goods, even if they’re made with honey instead of table sugar. Though we stopped using white sugar, we continued to bake many treats using dried figs, apricots,
and dates as sweeteners instead, and while they were much better for our intestinal flora, they, unfortunately, kept triggering our sweet cravings. It wasn’t until we cooled things off—even with alternative sweetening agents—that we managed to control our sweet tooth more effectively for the first time.
Therefore, the following applies in the ideal world:
1 Save those date truffles for special occasions.
2 Add flavor with anti-inflammatory spices such as cardamom, cocoa,
and cinnamon, which all have the nifty ability to lower blood sugar.
3 Add in some coconut oil, since fat also keeps blood sugar from rising too much (more on this later on).
Avoid sweeteners, at least during your period of sugar detox, since they only bring on sugar cravings.
To satisfy your senses, you can try to focus on treats that won’t fire up inflammation but provide healthy nutrients instead. You’ll find lots of
1 Frozen green banana on a stick, dipped in melted dark chocolate (85
percent cocoa or higher)
2 Mixed natural nuts and coconut flakes
3 Seed crackers
4 Kale chips
5 Smoothies made with avocados and berries
6 Ice cream made with frozen berries, frozen sliced banana, coconut
cream, and anti-inflammatory spices
7 Frozen grapes
You can enjoy many of the snacks listed above on a daily basis. A coffee break with raspberries, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and cardamom contains fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory spices, which won’t just make homework easier but will also boost intestinal flora. And those banana muffins on the following page—don’t even get us started! They are only sweeteners are three green bananas, which allows even those of you who are diabetic to enjoy them without your insulin going nuts. We could almost say it ’d be crazy to eat just one, knowing how many good fats and anti-inflammatory ingredients they contain, such as coconut oil, green bananas, walnuts, cinnamon, and lingonberries.