It sure tastes good. And it feels good, too. Sugar is addictive as cocaine, lighting up dopamine receptors in the brain (think of a Christmas tree. Inside your HEAD.)
So, even though we know it's not good for us, we dive in for more, eager for another hit. What's more troublesome is that we don't even realize we are addicted, and that most people are literally eating it from sun up to sun down.
Nearly 152 POUNDS of added sugar find it's way into the average American's diet each year. That is equivalent to an average size HUMAN. The problem is that it is everything, from the culprits we'd expect (cookies, candy, soda) to the not-so obvious (sauces, crackers, meal replacement shakes, bars, salad dressings, frozen dinners and the majority of all processed foods).
Your main task is to GET YOUR LABEL READING ON. And no, not the nutritional label that breaks down calories, grams of fat, fiber, etc. This is IS important. But what is more important is the list of INGREDIENTS. Do you know what you are actually putting IN your body?
I didn't. Not for a really long time. This process was really eye opening for me, and it likely will be for you, too.
Below, find five foods, many pantry staples, that include processed sugar, as well as other sh*t that probably aren't interested in putting inside your body!
The majority of flavored yogurts contain added sugars, thickeners and artificial colors. Trade out fat free conventional yogurts for grass fed, plain 2% of full fat. Add a tsp of raw honey and fresh fruit to give a punch of natural sweetness.
2. GRANOLA/PROTEIN BARS
You know, healthy, fit people enjoying a granola bar in the fresh air after a glorious hike. It HAS to be healthy! Trade out a processed bar for a 1/2 cup of homemade trail mix using raw nuts, unsweetened dry fruit and 75% dark cocoa chips.
Did you know there are ELEVEN varieties of Cheerios? Yup, just Cheerios! Most grocery stores have an entire aisle dedicated to this fortified, sugar packed, shelf stable American favorite--CEREAL! Swap out your bowl of cold cereal for a serving of rolled oats. Top with your favorite unsweetened milk, a tsp of real maple syrup, and fresh fruit for a well rounded, nutrient packed breakfast.
4. PEANUT BUTTER
Did you know that nut butters are supposed to have a pool of oil sitting on top when you open the jar? It's true. As a dedicated JIF eater for most of my life, I was shocked to see this when I opened my first jar of "natural" nut butter. But, be on the lookout. Even natural nut butters have added sugar, added oils, added salt and other funk. Be on the lookout for one with ORGANIC PEANUTS as the only ingredient.
5. TOMATO SAUCES AND SOUPS
Have you ever eaten a summer tomato right off the vine? You know, sunk into its divine sweetness. Like candy!! <3 Not all jarred/canned tomato products have added sugar or funk (think pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, salsa, tomato paste), just be sure to get in the habit of reading those labels! Check out my favorite marinara sauce here! I add new soup recipes weekly on my blog as well.
It's a lot to take in, right?!
ASSIGNMENT: Take a look in your fridge/pantry/freezer, and take a look at the ingredient labels of some of your kitchen staples. The KEY is to do this with CURIOSITY, not judgement. So, you find all of your food is full of sugar, fillers and other crap? No probs! Now you know what to get rid of, or what to avoid next time.
Feeling overwhelmed? I've got you girl. Be in touch with questions about where to start. You DESERVE to live a healthy, vibrant life, from the inside out!