Beware of the Pumpkin:
The Sugar Season Begins Now!
The Season of Temptation is ready and waiting for you in the Halloween candy aisle. It begins innocently enough. The candy in the bowl at the office and in our cabinets at home trigger our sweet tooth with a little piece here and there…and then we’re on our way to a slow end-of-year weight gain and other problems. Ugh.
The first issue is that we cannot immediately burn off this type and quantity of sugar, so it is stored as fat. We may have been led to believe that it is the fat in our food that puts fat on our body, however, it is really the sugar that is the culprit.
Moreover, when sugar enters your bloodstream, you experience a boost of energy but it creates a roller coaster effect. Once the blood sugar level drops, you can feel tired, depressed or have difficulty concentrating. The quickest and easiest way to counteract these effects is to consume more sugar, which can lead to a craving every day, making it difficult to control the habit.
Finally, an additional concern for people with SVT, is the indirect effect sugar has on your heart health. In general, sugar weakens the immune system through the loss of essential vitamins and minerals in the digestion process. It takes a complicated and delicate balancing act for the body to maintain a healthy mineral level and heart rhythm, and too much sugar can disrupt that.
Take this to Heart: Managing the Ubiquitous Sugar
- SVT Lifestyle Rule: Eat three substantial meals. Skipping meals actually works against you. It slows down your metabolism AND it sets you up to snack on packaged food. Make sure all three meals contain protein, a healthy fat and fiber, (my winning combo) and especially vegetables at lunch and dinner to keep you fuller, longer, and less dependent on sweet treats and snacking in general. (You will hear me talk about Protein + Fat + Fiber in the new upcoming e-guide The SVT Prevention Diet: The Power of Food and Self-Care to Control Your SVT and Transform Your Health Due out in November 2017 Learn more HERE)
During Halloween Season: Never eat candy on an empty stomach. Before you and the kids sample the Halloween booty or attend a Halloween party, eat a healthy, substantial meal. It will reduce the amount of subsequent treats that you take, and the protein and fat will slow down the amount of sugar that is absorbed in the bloodstream. You know not to drink alcohol on an empty stomach, and the same rule applies here.
- SVT Lifestyle Rule: Reduce sugar cravings by adding naturally-sweet foods to your diet. The taste buds become less demanding for sweetness when they know they’re getting their daily fix. So think fruit for breakfast or snacks, but also cooked root vegetables like yams, winter squash and beets at lunch and dinner. These foods will help to crowd out the unhealthy sugar, providing a satisfying alternative. One of my favorite sweet snack is Flat rice crackers, a smear of almond butter, sliced apple on top and drizzled with honey or cinnamon.
During Halloween Season: Get creative and think of ways to sweeten up healthy food, such as frozen bananas or fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate; caramel apples, celery sticks with almond butter and mini chocolate chips.
- SVT Lifestyle Rule: Keep a stash of healthy snacks to work and at home so you won’t be tempted to consume more sugar than you really need or want.
During Halloween Season: Think of creative things to give out as Halloween Treats instead of candy. Some of the newest ideas are play-dough, or mini bags of non-gmo popcorn. At home I put stored Halloween candy in the basement or I purchase only candy that I do not like! After Halloween give your children some options to get rid of all the candy—buy it back from them or donate it to a nursing home, or just throw it out. And lastly, how about a fun activity for the whole family like carving out the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin and roasting them as a healthy snack or topping for salads or homemade muffins.
- SVT Lifestyle Rule: There are no holidays from a gluten-free diet! Here is a link to, gluten-free Halloween candy, to be eaten in moderation, of course. Click here.
Satisfying Another Craving
How else can we tame the sweet monster? After you’ve added sweet foods to your daily diet, and are sure to drink plenty of water, look for ways to add sweetness to your life. We often settle for sweet foods when what we really want is a hug, a nap, a hot bath, a walk or a laugh with a good friend. This is particularly true at night. If you find your sweet tooth consistently talking to you around 8:00 pm, it may be rearing its head to cover up feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or exhaustion. Or it may become a habit to help you relax, or to reward yourself after a hard day. The next time your evening craving hits, ask yourself what you truly need. At least make that connection for yourself and think about non-food ways to satisfy the monster.
The SVT Prevention Diet is a 60 + Page comprehensive guide on Digestive Health, an SVT food Plan, and ways to support your transition to healthy diet. Learn more about the guide HERE