When de­cid­ing to make a change like this I al­ways rec­om­mend start­ing with a kitchen cleanse. Look through your cup­boards and fridge and get rid of the things that no longer serve you in this health­ier way of life. A fresh start can be re­ally mo­ti­vat­ing. I know it can be dif­fi­cult to throw food away – I hate to waste. If you have non-per­ish­able items to get rid of I rec­om­mend do­nat­ing them to a lo­cal food bank. What can­not be saved is a small sac­ri­fice to make in the name of good health – just go for it!

What fol­lows is a ba­sic starter guide meant to help you iden­tify what needs to go in the trash and what items should have a new home in your health­ier kitchen! SUGAR AND SIM­PLE CARBS About two years ago, I was work­ing to cut high fruc­tose corn syrup out of my diet and I was blown away by how many ev­ery­day prod­ucts con­tain it. It made me re­al­ize how much added sugar - mean­ing not nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring like in fruit (fruc­tose) and milk (lac­tose) - we are con­sum­ing on a daily ba­sis that we’re not even aware of. I’m all for in­dulging in the oc­ca­sional sug­ary treat, it’s all about bal­ance! But on an ev­ery­day ba­sis, it’s best to limit this. I think you’ll be sur­prised to learn that added sugar is sneaky and it goes by many dif­fer­ent names – in fact it has over 50 dif­fer­ent aliases that ap­pear on food la­bels! When you re­ally take a hard look at the prod­ucts in your pantry, I think you’ll be shocked too.

Re­gard­less of the name of the added sugar, it all has the same neg­a­tive ef­fect on the body in high quan­ti­ties, in­clud­ing weight gain. Sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates like white bread, white flours and white rice break down into sug­ars in the body, so you’ll want to avoid those when pos­si­ble as well.

When you’re look­ing at food la­bels, look for how many grams of sugar there are per serv­ing. A serv­ing may be much smaller than you think! A good vis­ual to help you un­der­stand how much added sugar you’re eat­ing is to re­late grams to tea­spoons. Four grams of sugar is equal to one tea­spoon. So for ev­ery four grams of sugar you eat, you are lit­er­ally eat­ing a spoon of it! Those are all empty calo­ries that of­fer no nu­tri­tion for your body.

Aside from the ob­vi­ous cul­prits like candy, soda, baked goods and sug­ary juices – a lot of sugar hides in breakfast foods, pro­cessed or frozen foods, and condi­ments.

WHAT TO DITCH Sug­ary ce­re­als, fla­vored yo­gurts, frosted breakfast bars, frozen baked goods, high sugar dress­ings, white rice, white breads, white flours and white starch pas­tas.

WHAT TO STOCK UP ON: Gluten-free oat­meal like Bob’s Red­mill Quick Cook­ing Gluten-free Oats. Ready in just a few min­utes, you can top it with a scoop of al­mond but­ter, cin­na­mon and fresh fruit for a fiber rich, en­er­giz­ing breakfast. If you can tol­er­ate dairy,

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