Blog - Not Your Intimate Friend

Not Your Intimate Friend

I proposed a few weeks ago that Sugar needs to be defended rather than simply vilified.  But then I explained how “She” is being held increasingly responsible by some very credible sources for some of the most serious health problems we live with and die from like diabetes and heart disease, internal inflammation and even cancer.  So how can we enjoy her joyful personality in our lives without getting burned by her dark side?  I suggest that we take a more honest and careful assessment of how much she is already in our lives and then work out a healthier relationship.  We can enjoy her sometimes, but for most of us she is like a guest who has been invited over just a bit too much.  It’s time to draw some healthy boundaries for the good of all.

Last week I gave you some ideas for healthier drinks, so today let’s talk about breakfast. It’s kind of a sweet meal anyhow because we seem to like simple carbohydrates like fruit, pancakes, toast or cereal along with syrup or jam, presweetened oatmeal packets, concentrated fruit juices and boxed cereals like granola. Many servings of these things end up using most or all of the sugar we should eat in an whole day!  If you throw in some sweetened yogurt or a fruit shake, then sociable Sugar easily becomes the VIP.  But your palette craves excitement she provides, so satisfy it instead with a interesting variety of other flavors.  Here are a few ideas that work at Orange Tree Lane.

- YOGURT Buy unsweetened yogurt and add a teaspoon of mineral rich honey.  Top with natural and nutritious sweeteners like raisins and dates along with omega 3 rich walnuts.  If you really like fruit flavors like strawberry and blueberry,  then add it fresh.  Cinnamon is great here sprinkled on top and has great nutritent qualities of its own.

- PANCAKES   Replace syrup with fresh fruit, cinnamon, apple sauce or molasses. It’s still a great compromise if you add just a few teaspoons of maple syrup forthat great   flavor.

-    OATMEAL   Instead of sugar-soaked oatmeal, dress it up with the same things like nutritious honey and fresh fruit, but it is particularly good with the addition of dried fruit such as raisins and nuts like almonds, sunflower seeds or walnuts.

- JUICE   Replace fruit juices with fresh fruit… always.  The juice has an incredible amount of sugar without any fiber to slow it down, and this leads to a destructive spike in our blood insulin levels.  I buy juice for company only and end up making it into soda with sparkling water, or if we do squeeze some OTL oranges I cut the juice by 50% with water.  Usually though, I just cut them in wedges and put them on the table.

- EGGS   Plan ahead and make the time to cook some Sugar-free eggs.  Setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier gives you plenty of time to chop some flavor like parsley, cilantro, mushrooms, avocado, or whatever you like to make the eggs interesting and different. Sometimes I add just a few teaspoons of salsa and then mash some black beans with the back of a fork in the egg pan and sprinkle with cumin and garlic salt. I spread the beans on a plate, top with the flavorful eggs and a bit of cheese. That particular breakfast keeps me full for hours!

We have to kick Sugar out of snacks too and save her for that special dessert later on.

- Say no to sugary drinks and find alternatives like the ones I mentioned last week.

-Snack on whole fruits, and put your munchie urge to work consuming vegetables instead of empty sugar calories.  One of my favorites is English cucumber dipped in hummus, and red bell peppers, cherry tomaotes or carrots will take the power out of your urge for something sweet.

I know its not what we are used to, but it is possible to transition into new, healthy habits that eventually become your new normal! And if you have kids they can learn too. I’ve been cutting these kinds of things up and leaving them on the counter for years and they always disappear.

Cooking your own food will greatly reduce your sugar intake because processed foods use it constantly to add flavor. I hope this discussion gets you thinking about how often my/our friend Sugar is actually your guest when you don’t even realize it.  I also hope that you are encouraged to find healthy ways to satisfy that sweet tooth.  Sugar mingles great at a party, livens it up for everyone and you can count on her to put a smile on every face so it is hard to close the door on her completely.  With that in mind, I believe we can all figure out how to create and maintain a healthier relationship with this sweet friend by making her a special treat rather than a constant companion.

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