I’ve been lucky a couple of times in life. In my teens and twenties, I had some big weight loss years by only focusing on exercise. I remember that during my last semester in college, I remember even losing weight when I was eating things like Honey Buns and drinking Sprite late at night.
I think that it was some time in my late twenties where that all began to end. I was exercising harder than I ever had before and I was gaining weight. I think that it was time, even then, to begin to focus on my eating.
Sugar is my vice, it has been for as long as I remember. Cookies and soda pop, in particular, have a stranglehold on my life. There have been many periods where having dinner without a Coke or having an evening without at least a half dozen cookies would seem unlikely at best.
It’s not as difficult as it seems. Using the framework below, I’m finding a healthier lifestyle. I have sparking water and whole wheat pizza crust, which seem like bogus stand-ins, but they’re not. They are little things that give me an edge and help me to stay within the framework.
Presented below is one of a series of posts about the Sugar Crash Diet. I’ll start to collect them on a page, too (link), so that you can get a quick reference for what this diet is all about.
What is a ‘sugar crash’ diet?
The Sugar Crash Diet is a whole food-centric diet, focusing on products using whole foods like whole grains, meats, fruits and vegetables.
The Framework: The Foods
Do not use any refined sweeteners of any kind.
The diet begins with not using refined sugar, hence the name ‘sugar crash. The aversion to sweetneers does not stop there and includes using brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, stevia, aspartame or any manufactured sweetener of any kind.
It doesn’t stop there, either. A large number of processed foods also include sugar or other sweeteners as an ingredient, so reading food labels is key. The goal is to eliminate refined sugar products in all foods, even as a supplemental ingredient.
Grains should be consumed as whole grains, refined grains should be used sparingly.
So many diets discourage the consumption of carbohydrates, and with good reason. So many of the carbohydrates that we consume have had the fiber removed from them, and with that, much of what makes those foods so good for us (and for our appetites). The goal with the Sugar Crash diet isn’t to eliminate carbohydrates from our diet, it’s to keep them in their whole form so that all the healthy fiber that fills us up and keeps us healthy comes along.
Make sure that fruit products include their fiber.
Fruit juices are packed with sugar. Think about it—you are taking a piece of fruit, removing all its juice and leaving the fibrous material behind. What you have left is essentially water and sugar. Yes, that sugar may have other nutritional value when it comes to some added nutrients, but what really separates it from soda pop?
Whole fruits are a great source of sweetness, especially when we include the fiber along the way. So, as part of establishing our framework, we seek to keep fruits in their whole form and try to sparingly use fruit juices. In order to best leverage the power of fruit juices, we focus on culinary technique to liberate the sweetness in these ingredients.
Cautiously use dairy products.
Dairy products are tricky. They are full of wonderful fats and proteins that can be great for our diets; however, at the same time, they can also be full of sugars, which aren’t so great for diets. As a result, we have to be cautious about the dairy products that we use.
When choosing dairy products to use, pick ones that are high in protein. A couple of high protein dairy products that are okay to keep around are Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt. Dairy also gives us some flavorful cooking fats in Butter and Ghee. These are free for the taking, as well, but remember to use them sparingly.
Cautiously approach meat products.
Meat products can be deceptive. Most people would think that their meat wouldn’t contain any sugar. You’d be right if you were to think of raw cut chicken or a nice steak. Consider sausage, bacon, and lunch meat, though, and realize that sugar or some kind of sugar-like additive is used in each of those products. Be sure to read those packages and don’t assume that meat products don’t also contain sugar!