Goal 1: Eliminate sugar (including artificial sweeteners) and white/simple carbs (which your body treats like sugar!)
Why eliminate sugar?
The health of your body is determined by the health of your gut. If your gut is healthy, you are healthy and if your gut is not, well, that’s when a whole host of problems start. It starts small, like with digestive issues or acne. But then it progresses to some pretty serious stuff if nothing is done to fix the problem. And what’s the problem? An imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria in your gut. Sugar is a key promoter of the growth of bad bacteria while hampering the growth of good bacteria.
Are you ready for this? Sugar has been linked to:
Memory and learning inhibition
Fried reward signals in the brain
It is also linked to inflammation, which is then linked to:
And the list keeps going!
If that isn’t enough to convince you that this is one bad dude, go without it for a month and see how much better you feel!
Take your time with this step because it is a big one! You will go through a detox and withdrawal period. Scientists have found sugar to be 8 times more addictive to the brain than cocaine. That’s just another good reason to break it down into steps and take it slowly. If you’re the type to do it all at once, more power to you! But if not, that’s ok too. Doing it slowly will also allow your tastebuds, your habits and your cravings to adjust. Whether it’s fast or slow, just do it!
Five Mini Goals
This is a big one so I’ve broken it down into five mini goals.
Mini goal 1: Start by eliminating desserts unless they are sweetened with fruit, honey, or maple syrup. Even better, make a big batch of yummy honey and maple syrup sweetened cocoa clusters to have on hand for when the craving strikes. Make it your new rule that you will never have sugar sweetened desserts again. You will start to appreciate the more complex flavors of honey, maple syrup, dates, and fruit.
Mini goal 2: Replace all white carbs with whole grain alternatives. Better yet, buy sprouted! This includes all breads and pastas.
Mini goal 3: Eliminate sugar in beverages. Soda, sweetened tea, lemonade, and coffee. You get the picture. Have iced tea with lemon, bulletproof coffee, kombucha, sparkling water (La Croix, pellegrino with lime) and lots of water. If you don’t like unsweetened sparkling beverages like La Croix now, give it some time and try again later on because once your taste buds adjust to less sugar, you will start to appreciate more subtle flavors. Your taste buds have been overloaded with a highly sweetened processed sugar that is completely unnatural. Consider them fried. Give them time to adjust.
Mini goal 4: Start reading the ingredients of every item you buy. If something contains sugar, corn syrup, or any word ending in “-ose”, it’s time to find a substitute. Avoid going overboard on artificial sweeteners, since I haven’t yet heard of one with no side effects. Better yet, grab a piece of fruit!
Mini goal 5: Start cutting back on the natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. You can do this all at once, or over a period of a few weeks.
At this point sugar should be completely out of your life. Once you have gone through the detox period, congratulate yourself! You should be feeling better already, have improved your mood, lost a few pounds, and probably added a few years to your life.
I would recommend giving each mini goal at least a week. If you cut sugar out all at once, wait two weeks before moving to the next goal. It takes that long to eliminate it from your body and stop cravings.