The food I tend to focus on eating fits into the middle or lower side of the glycemic index. Low Glycemic eating basically means you don’t eat foods that jack up your blood sugar level by being processed too quickly in your body. The faster your body processes foods with high sugars or starches can make your insulin production to get out of whack and cause the “lows and highs” of your day. Now, I’m not a doctor and my explanation isn’t super detailed, so do your own research to decide if I’m nuts or not. Basically you need to eat like a Diabetic so you don’t end up becoming one.
As I go through my day, my goal is to keep my blood sugar level as even as possible. There’s a sweet spot where your body becomes a fat burning machine and your goal should be to keep it there by eating good, high fiber foods regularly through the day as much as possible. Keeping the balance of your blood sugar level allows you to have your body work for you instead of against you.
This philosophy of Glycemic eating makes it so I cringe a bit when someone tells me they are trying to “lose a few pounds” by not eating food. To me it sounds like someone saying they’re trying to get better gas mileage in their car by not filling up the tank. Your body is a machine that requires regular fuel and if you neglect it, then it just doesn’t work right. So yes, eat often and eat until you’re full, but make sure the food you choose will help you instead of hurt you.
I know this makes it seem like you have a lot to keep track of as you pick out your meals for the day, but trust me that it gets easier after a little practice and research. I don’t think twice anymore about grabbing sweet potatoes at the grocery store instead of the bag of white ones. Sweet potatoes have more fiber and are just a better choice. You can still slice them, mash them, and enjoy them as much as the white, so it’s an easy choice.
The same thing goes for grabbing some Quinoa or Cous Cous versus the white rice. I’ve found that you can still pour the sauce or meat chunks over either and the taste is similar. The white rice just isn’t as good of a choice every meal. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying white potatoes or rice are evil and should be avoided, in fact, I’ve enjoyed both during these past months and felt no guilt. The key has become to not depend too much on a particular food, so you mix it up a bit. Would I rather eat mashed white potatoes with every meal? You bet. Do I need to eat them with every meal? Not at all, so I have other options to help me minimize the impact.
When I started this experiment in March, I had a friend mention that he’d been doing the same thing for almost six months and I remember thinking to myself that it would be impossible to go without sugar and flour for that period of time. Now I’m halfway through the third month and think to myself that six months is very possible. What I didn’t realize at the beginning is a secret that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – it gets easier to live without sugar, the longer you go without it. Much like any drug, the longer you’re “clean”, the easier it is to make better choices. Is it easy in the beginning? No. Can you get through it? Yes. Once you do get through the initial pain of giving up sugar, you find a rhythm and move on.
In the two and a half months that I’ve done this experiment, I’ve had people I know start “diets” the incorporated eating better and trying to exercise, but they kept their sugar “vices”. Most of those folks have stopped during these same months and shifted back to their old eating habits, simply because the hold that sugar had on them drew them back into the web of sweetness. Once they started back down the sugary path, it didn’t take much to slip all the way down.
I’m not saying I’m perfect and I’m definitely not saying that I’ll never have sugar again, but if you want to truly make a change in your eating habits, you have to purge the sugar from your system. Going without sugar for a prolonged period of time helps you see things more clearly and understand how much your life revolved around it. It allows you to watch shows about the power of sugar and realized they might just be on to something instead of just being “crackpots” who are trying to take your cookies away.
Give yourself two weeks or a month without sugar and flour and see what I’m talking about. If you don’t see things differently after 30 days, or if you think that day 30 is still as hard as day 1, then find me and smack me around for lying to you. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be “smacked free” at the end of the month and you’ll be trying to convince others to go without sugar for the same amount of time.
Keep in mind that my book is available for free, you just need to ask for a link. I’ve been very happy to hear from some folks that have taken the “no sugar” plunge in recent weeks and the positive health impacts they are already enjoying. Stop listening to the sugar in your brain telling you that it would be terrible for you to give it up. I can hear it’s little voice now telling you that Summertime would be just too challenging to abandon it, especially since it’s coming up on picnic and barbeque season. Trust me, that voice will talk you into waiting for “a little longer” for the rest of your life because to sugar, it’s never a good time for you to quit. Make the decision and start your own experiment today.