Sugar: The Legal Drug
We all know excess sugar (especially the devilish white stuff) robs your bod of minerals, lowers your precious PH, rots your teeth, wigs out your pancreas, feeds candida, fires up inflammation, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer; stresses your nervous system and adrenal glands, and screws with hormone function.
Not only does sugar tax our immune system and is highly addictive (lights up your brain in the same way as heroine or cocaine), but is also found in 80% of all packaged foods!
And it doesn’t stop there! The labs decided to tinker with our beautiful carbs by refining, bleaching and blasting out all their goodness and starlight – and what was once remotely real became fake in a deceptively pretty package with marketing labels and gimmicks to get you buying!
As if we don’t get enough of the white crack found in ALL our foods, when Old Cane started to get a bad rap and people became aware of the need to find alternatives, the chemical companies began cranking one artificial sweetener after another. Aspartame and saccharin found in “diet” soft drinks, nutrasweet, equal, sweet ’n’ low and splenda, are linked to serious health problems and are SO toxic for the brain that they should never have been approved for human consumption!
Dr Ginger Southall from the Hippocrates Health Institute sums it up perfectly: “Artificial sweeteners are potent nerve toxins that have the potential to freak out and damage your nervous system leading to a variety of symptoms from migraine headaches to unexplained seizures, dizziness, depression and vision problems. They even lead to cancer, obesity and diabetes. They hide out in thousands of your favourite foods, including “diet” meals and drinks, flavoured ”vitamin” waters, popular drink mixes, canned goods, many commercial salad dressings, even medication, toothpastes, vitamins and chewing gum! Even the stuff that says no added sugar – highly processed and laced with chlorine!”
Brands that claim “no added sugar”, “contains only natural sugars”and “fat-free” are all weasel words and marketing ploys used to trick you!
Let it be said right here that I am by no means pandering to dogma, however some alternative sweeteners out there are not so cool either, guys.
Here are popular alternatives to be aware of:
- Agave: There are many companies selling raw treats for you built around agave and you may be blown away at how delicious the foods are… don’t worry, I’ve been there too. Like me, if you are one of the many people who love raw desserts, because it’s ‘sugar free’, then this is something you want to be highly aware of. Agave is a super sweet liquid that is often touted as the “healthy” or “low GI” alternative to sugar. But according to Dr Joseph Mercola, it’s hardly any better than high fructose corn syrup. It’s highly processed, and the fructose content in agave syrup is in fact higher than in refined table sugar and is even higher than high fructose corn syrup!
- Brown rice syrup: Recent studies have just come out that brown rice syrup may contain high levels of arsenic. Contrary to popular opinions and information out there, brown rice syrup may not be so good an alternative after all. Sorry to disappoint guys!
- Xylitol: Words like acid hydrolysing, hydrogenation, powdered nickel aluminium alloy, acetic acid, hydrolysing acid and ethanol (angry emoticon), are the main ones. Enough said here, so I’ll let you decide.
- Stevia: This USED to be the natural go to – but it is now very hard to find in its natural pure state. Nowadays, there are more often than not many that use chemicals, solvents, bulking agents and other additives to bring a product to market. The bulking agents are made using highly processed food additives that come from corn and wheat. Have a look at some of the labels: if you see erythritol, dextrose, isomaltulose and maltodextrine listed, chances are you are consuming a highly refined food made from corn syrup, corn starch, wheat stack and loads of chemistry! Aaaahhh!!
Phew! Bad News Betty hat is coming off! Let’s clear away those dark clouds looming over a potentially unsweetened life. So, what should we use instead? Put simply, I use what comes straight from nature and not a lab. It’s as simple as that really!
Here is a list of awesome choices and alternatives to use instead:
- Raw local Honey: One of the oldest natural sweeteners, honey is an exceptional food with so many wonderful health benefits. Raw local honey contains enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Superfood expert, David Avocado Wolfe says to look for wild honey because it is lower in free fructose and higher in trace mineral content. Tip: Consuming local honey can help build up your immunity to common allergens in your area by introducing your body to the bee pollen. (Read more here.)
- Coconut Palm Sugar: Made from the sweet nectar of flower buds of the coconut palm, Coconut palm sugar is low GI, producing more stable and a slow energy release of glucose into the blood, which sustains the body without regular sugar “highs” and “lows”. The coconut nectar is heated until the water evaporates and then the caramelised nectar is dried and ground into granules. Coconut palm sugar is a good source of potassium, iron and vitamins. (Read more here.)
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup is my favourite sweetener when I’m baking cookies or a certain cake, and it is divine over baked fruit. It is also full of super beneficial minerals. However, be sure to buy authentic organic maple syrup. The conventional stuff is usually fake coloured sugar water and not at all healthy!
- Molasses: Molasses is a star among the sweeteners as it doesn’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike, as per the effect of refined white sugar. If you can handle its rich flavour, it’s a super healthy addition to your diet. There are three grades of molasses: sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap. Blackstrap molasses is the most concentrated and most nutrient dense of the three grades and has a low glycemic index. While regular ol’ white sugar actually depletes your body of nutrients, blackstrap molasses will provide you with a whole host of important minerals. Being high in iron, folic acid and B vitamins means it is great for your blood. It is high in calcium and magnesium, which is important for bone production and energy. It is also among the list of alkaline foods, while white sugar is highly acidic.
- Rapadura Sugar: Also one of my fave’s, this is made from a process of extracting juice from the sugar cane plant, evaporating the water from the juice and then grinding the results into a fine powdery texture. Rapadura is organic, unrefined and rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and vitamin C. It retains high nutritional value because unlike other sugar, it is not separated from the nutrient dense molasses part of the sugar cane during the pressing and drying process.
- Dates (or date paste): Dates ARE very sweet, but they are great because they are packed with fibre. If using whole, fresh Medjool dates are the best. If paste is required, make your own by blending or cooking them with a little water over low heat.
These natural sweeteners can be found in health food stores. Please use organic sweeteners where possible. Get the sugar out – too much (and not even that much) of this habit-forming substance wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, mood and weight. That goes for the artificial stuff, too.
You are sweet enough.
Your natural state is so more than enough… keep it clean and lean, sweet friends and dump the crack!
Love and sweetness,