This week marks the beginning of Lent – a 40-day period where many Catholics “give up” things as sacrifices. (Last year, I gave up Facebook and it was awesome.) This year I’ve decided to give up two things. The first thing I plan to give up is good ‘ole refined sugar (I’ll tell you about the second later this week). Sugar may be delicious, but it’s one of the worst things you can put into your body. It offers no nutritional value, is addictive, and can create a whole host of health problems.
The health dangers of sugar are numerous (read here for a list – EW), but I’m giving up sugar for a couple main reasons:
- I feel better. No highs and lows from sugar crashes.
- My skin is beautiful. When I lay off the sugar, my skin glows and glows and glows. It’s crazy, but it really works!
- Sugar promotes weight gain. Nobody likes that.
- It’s addictive! Try avoiding sugar for a couple days … chances are you’ll get a headache or become irritable.
Of course, some sugar is good for you. I’ll never give up natural sugar like you find in fruits (….. translation: wine) or vegetables.
Things like cookies, donuts, cake, ice cream, candy, chocolate, pastries, frozen yogurt (what a bummer) and the like are all off limits for 40 days (starting Wednesday). I’ve generally been avoiding these things to get in shape for the wedding, but I do cheat and splurge on sugary foods sometimes. Not gonna happen during Lent.
What about “fake” sugars? I know the whole fake sugars debate is controversial, but here’s my take on it: it’s okay in moderation and if you opt for the natural sugars. I usually try to use stevia or a derivative of stevia, since it’s supposed to be the best fake sugar out there. I also don’t have any side effects from stevia like those that I listed above (mood, weight, addictiveness, etc.). For now, I’m only sacrificing refined, white sugar.
(Try my favorite all natural sweetener, Steviva. No chemicals, all natural, no calories. Tastes AWESOME!)
I think a diet low in refined sugar is part of a well-balanced, good-for-you diet, anyway. G and I don’t have any sugars in the house. The only time we have them is at parties or when we’re out to dinner, so we don’t eat too much of anyway. But we do like to enjoy dessert sometimes on the weekends when we’re out to dinner. I always look forward to that, so this Lenten sacrifice will serve it’s purpose of withholding something that I enjoy. (Stay tuned for my other sacrifice later this week … it’s more of a good-for-the-soul sacrifice.)
Do you eat, avoid, or limit refined sugars in your diet?