Friday, February 11, 2011

Featured Blogger: The Organic Blonde

 I would like to welcome The Organic Blonde to Between the Lines.  The Organic Blonde explores the hidden dangers in our food, cosmetics products, and households and giving natural, healthier and sometimes even cheaper alternatives to improve our health and the health of those we love.I explore alternative health treatment, holistic therapies and remedies, and even give tips and tricks to maintain beauty in a natural but effective way.   This is not your ordinary health and beauty blog.  This is a lifestyle with the aim of making you, those you love healthier and happier and doing our part to make Mother Earth greener.  After reading this wonderful post written by Jacqueline, please show her some love by visiting her blog and reading more of her wonderful articles.

Sugar...the Sweet Poison

I realize these days we ALL have heard about the dangers of processed foods. I know we have all gotten tired of hearing that we have to give up white sugar. The fact is, people, the average American eats 158 POUNDS of sugar a year. Now before you go saying. "I don't eat that much sugar" bear in mind that though only roughly 30 pounds of that is actually from the sugar bowl, think of all the "hidden" sugars in your food.

For every regular soda you drink, that is 8 ounces of simple sugar. There is, more than likely, sugar in the cereal you have for breakfast, in the crackers you snack on at a party, in the ketchup you have with your fries, in the reduced fat cookies you with which you innocently stuff your face thinking they are the virtuous choice, instead actually being loaded with up to four times more sugar to make up for the fat they don't contain. In fact, I picked up a can of Swanson's Chicken broth the other day to find that the third ingredient was sugar. In chicken broth people!!!

Now forget for awhile the obesity epidemic. We all know now that sugar makes you fat. But it can also do the following:
1) Interferes with calcium and magnesium absorption, which weakens bones
2) Raises bad cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers good cholesterol
3) Causes loss of connective tissue elasticity
4) Feeds cancer cells and has been connected with breast, prostate, stomach, and ovarian cancer
5) Makes children anxious, hyperactive, cranky, and causes difficulty concentrating
6) Causes premature aging
7) Causes alcoholism (it's already addictive so if you add alcohol, also a sugar, it can make THAT addictive!)
8) Causes varicose veins
9) Can contribute to osteoporosis
10) Interferes with absorption of protein
11) Causes food allergies
12) Can cause nearsightedness and cataracts
13) Can cause emphysema
14) Causes fluid retention
15) Can cause kidney stones
16) Can cause problems with bowel movements
17) Can cause headaches, including migraines
18) Can cause gum disease
19) Can promote emotional instability

If the above reasons aren't enough there are plenty more to make you want to throw out the sugar bowl or anything with the suffixes "-ose or -ase", ie. dextrose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, and let's not forget corn syrup and it's evil offspring high fructose corn syrup which deserves a post all its own and is one of the most prevalent ingredients in foods today. But I hope you saw the biggest reason for dramatically reducing your refined sugar intake...

Sugar causes premature aging!!!! It actually causes the collagen in the skin to break down which leads loss of tone and sagging. It acidifies the body making the eyes dull, the skin blotchy and lifeless, and even can cause the nails to be weak and peel. Now I know every woman, and even some of the men, are going to be cringing in their seats over that fact. I know that fact, and that fact alone made me start doing my research on how to cut back on my sugar usage. When I finally was successful at curbing my "sweet tooth" I realized my skin perked back up and looked much more radiant, and it even toned right back up. No more pudgy jaw line for me! And what was more wonderful was I had more energy than ever before and I didn't crave sugar!

Now before you go thinking I am ever so virtuous, please bear in mind that I do eat "sweet" now and again and I have found alternatives that actually still have the trace minerals from the source. I eat these in moderation mind you, but these are what I feed my family with balance with little to no guilt.

1) Coconut palm sugar. Originally made from the sugary sap of the Palmyra palm , the date palm or sugar date palm (Phoenix sylvestris). It's also made from the sap of coconut palms. With a relatively low glycemic index, Cocnut palm sugar is the new rage among health nuts. It's often called "coconut nectar sugar" or "coconut sugar". It is also called jaggery or panela in other parts of the world and is widely used in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. This is a relatively low glycemic ingredient. It comes in granulated form, a block that would need to be grated, and even a sticky paste. I have used it in pretty much anything I bake in a 1:1 ratio and have even cut it down by half with postive outcomes. I used it the other night to make creme brulee and my dear husband said remarked that I had done something different and whatever it was I needed to keep doing it! He couldn't tell it was actually the source of the sweetness.
2) Raw honey. A Healthy Sugar Alternative in moderation
With antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients, raw, unprocessed honey is considered a superfood by many alternative health care practitioners and a remedy for many health ailments. Choose your honey wisely. There is nothing beneficial about processed honey. I do not use this is anything that is going to be cooked with high heat but I love it drizzled over greek yoghurt and use it as a sweetener when I make my homemade banana, coconut, or vanilla ice creams.
3) Succanat This is just pure unadulterated cane juice, evaporated and dried. I use it in recipes when only cane sugar will do and have put it in the food processor to make "powdered" sugar with success. I do not use this often, but I do use it.
I also use, in very small quantities, blackstrap molasses, barley malt syrup and occassionally stevia. Stevia is considered a good alternative but it has estrogenic qualities and I tend to use it sparingly. Many people use agave nectar and it is, indeed, low glycemic, but has the same amount of fructose as HFCS and most experts, including the American Diabetes Association, believe that consuming fructose in higher amounts than a few pieces of fruit a day overload the body's ability to process not only the fructose but any other sugar consumed for that day. A little goes a long way.

Remember, your body needs a little sugar every day in the form of fruit and a little high nutritive sweetener is better than any of the processed sugars overloading the foods eaten today. So eat healthy and think sweet thoughts! Your body and your beauty will thank you for it!


blueviolet said...

I didn't know sugar interfered with absorption of calcium and magnesium. YIKES! Plus varicose veins??? GEEZ!

Jennifer V. said...

Wow! What an excellent post. Especially as I sit here eating M & M's. Sugar is so horrible and even knowing that, I have a very hard time staying away! I notice an enormous difference in my skin, too, when I avoid it. Thank you for this valuable info!!!