We hear all sorts about what we should and shouldn’t be putting in our bodies… including going sugar free.
So what is sugar. Well it is actually the basic form that makes up carbohydrates. It comes in a few different forms & vegetables are carbohydrates. Are vegetables evil? Of course not. They are amazing for our body and full of essential vitamins and minerals that actually make our bodies function.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of your diet. We need them for brain, muscle, kidney, heart function and so much more. They are a fantastic food source because they are easily metabolised which means our body can use it straight away.
Have you ever been like me, and you brain stops working, you can’t think and you know you need a sugar boost to start thinking again. Well this is when carbs come into play.
Now, not all carbohydrates are nutritional equal. Some are lower calorie full of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals – nutrition DENSE) like vegetables, while other high calories but minimal micronutrients (sometimes refered to as empty calories because they are high calorie but not much nutritional value that actually makes our body function better) such as white bread or sweets.
Carbohydrates should make up approx. 40-50% of your daily food intake. I am not a believer in calorie counting or measuring food, but nourishing your body through mindful eating. This means listening to your body, eating with the intention of caring for your body and the paying attention to the affects that all foods have in your body. Essentially you can eat EVERYTHING… IF you feel like it
BUT this doesn’t mean that we ignore nutrition labels. By education ourselves on the basic science of food, we are better equipped to make the best choices for our body.
One area that we can start to come ‘unstuck’ with mindful eating is when we eat refined sugars and those high in fructose. This is because when we eat these sugars, it sends a message to our brain that SWITCHES OFF the receptors that tell us when we are full. So we keep shovelling more and more in. This has nothing to do with ‘will power’ but our body changing because of what we have put in our mouth.
WHY? I hear you asking. Because back in cave man days, when we came across a high calorie food, we needed to eat a lot of it as we didn’t know when our next meal would be. Any excess would be quickly converted and stored as fat in the body, IE holding onto the fat for winter or famine.
The problem now is, there is an abundance of food, no famine, but all that high sugar food is readily available.
How can we be MINDFUL when our bodies are telling us not to stop eating!?!?
This comes back to eating with ATTENTION. Knowing which foods you can’t stop eating once you start. These are normally foods high in fructose or refined sugars. Start by preparing or researching other great alternatives to these foods.
The second part is that sugar is added to so many other packaged foods to enhance flavour. Try eating WHOLE FOODS. These are foods that come with minimal or no packaging & the foods are in their original form. When buying a packaged food, you can check the sugar content by reading nutritional label. Each label with show the grams of sugar per 100g. Anything that is higher than 20g per 100g is considered high in sugar and perhaps there is another product you could choose instead.
The moral of the story is, Sugar is not ‘bad’ it actually helps our bodies work. Be mindful by know what you are putting in your body & how is reacts to your body (does it make you feel good or bloated). Our bodies are talking to us all the time about what I needs, but sometimes we can’t hear it past the advertising, so start today but taking a few mindful steps in your approach to food.
Postnatal Fitness Expert & Founder of Nurtured Fitness