Christmas was tough! I was away from my kitchen and all of my stuff. All of the grass-fed beef in my freezer was calling to me. I’m happy to be home and back in charge of the menu. The first thing I did when I got home was grab a steak out of the freezer and put a plan together for dinner. Yum.
My family has been very supportive of the lifestyle that my husband, kid(s) and I are trying to lead. They don’t quite buy into the whole primal/paleo lifestyle for themselves but they certainly tried to make it work for us while we were visiting for the holiday. My Mother converted her “secret” family Christmas cookie recipe to a gluten-free recipe. They weren’t the same but they were delicious! My brother is the baker in the family and he made sure to make a gluten-free version of every goody he baked. Everything was yummy. The only problem with gluten-free food and especially gluten-free goodies is the sugar. This goes for the gluten-free processed foods you buy at the grocery store too (actually, even more so).
I make a point of NOT buying gluten-free (processed) food. I think it’s actually worse than non-gluten free junk food. It’s all sugar. When people ask me one simple thing they can do to move toward a more primal/paleo eating style I tell them to drop the grains (they always wince and say they could NEVER do that) and then I tell them to drop the sugar. Asking people to drop the sugar from their diet doesn’t usually give them as much pause as asking them to drop the grains. That’s probably because they really don’t know how much sugar they eat. In any case, if grains seem too hard, start with the sugar. Sugar is the root of many problems. The grains cause all kinds of trouble including converting to sugar calories as soon as you eat them. See, we are back to sugar.
Please read the following articles to understand just how terrible grains are: Why Grains Are Unhealthy, Gluten Sensitivity: Celiac Disease is the Tip of the Iceberg, and Are Traditionally Prepared Grains Healthy?
Now back to sugar and all of the holiday indulgence. It was fun. It was delicious. Most of it, for my family, was gluten-free. As I mentioned gluten-free is not sugar-free (in our case, white table sugar). A lot of (if not all) primal/paleo “treat” recipes do use alternatives to white table sugar. They tend to use honey, and maple syrup as the primary sweeteners. This is still sugar and really sweet sugar at that – Love it! Treats are fun. It’s good to enjoy tasty treats now and then but at holiday times the focus tends to be on treats. At least in my family. I don’t think I’m alone because I noticed a sugar detox plan floating around the paleo blogosphere. Seeing the sugar detox plan within the paleo community actually stopped me from going into a total funk about my sugar indulgences over the holidays. Turns out, everyone did it! People that I follow and think of as primal/paleo gods, the ones who I think have it totally dialed in, indulged and are planning to do the sugar detox. What a relief! This says to me, you can have it dialed in and still go a bit crazy now and then. We’re only human.
Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites wrote an e-book called The 21-Day Sugar Detox. I bought the book and gave it a quick look through. If you are pretty hardcore Primal/Paleo I think you can probably skip the book. You already know what to do. If you are still working on you Primal/Paleo lifestyle I think you might like the book. Diane does a nice job breaking things down so it’s simple to understand the WHY behind the sugar detox. It’s much easier to commit to something if you understand why you should do it. She gives some information about why sugar is bad for the body, and how much sugar you really should have in your body. She also includes some nice recipes at the end of the e-book. The sugar detox program is based on food lists – what to eat and what not to eat. There are different food lists for different levels of the detox program. Level 1, level 2, and level 3. Level 3 being the most strict. The link above will take you to her e-book page. She outlines a lot more about what is in the book on that page. My family and I are going to do it. I suspect that my husband, daughter and I will all do different levels of the detox program. It should be interesting. One thing that I really like is the 21 Days. Somehow that seems easier than the standard 30 days that everyone normally uses – “just try it for 30 days”. 30 days is a long time.
Just a little bit more about sugar. While I was visiting my family I had time to do some “pleasure” reading. One of the books I read was Suicide by Sugar written by Nancy Appleton, PhD. I didn’t eat any sugar cookies the days that I was reading this book. Nancy Appleton believes that sugar is THE BIG EVIL. She has a list on her website (and in the book) 143 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health. She goes into detail about the list in the book. It’s pretty scary stuff. She has lots of studies to back up her claims.
This post is already running a little long. I’ll go into detail about the book Suicide by Sugar in my next post. It couldn’t hurt to give you more information about the evils of sugar in preparation for a New Years Sugar Detox.
Eat Well, Feel Good and above all else HAVE FUN!
Amy White MS NC
I'm a restorative nutritional therapist and believe real food is the true path to wellness. If you are interested in learning more about me and how I can help you please see my story.
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