Sugar Kicker #4: Read Your Labels

Alright friends –

It’s been two weeks since I posted – If you’re itchy to get to the part about the sugar, scroll down.

I’ve been reflecting on change a lot this past week, as I had a death in the family. We lost my 94-yr-old grandmother. As to be expected, there’s been all kinds of photos and stories coming out about my very creative, very progressive-for-her-time grandma, and I’m very much feeling the winds of change this week, as one chapter closes, and I have begun two new ones –  I’m working with Laurel Van Matre to plan her first 200-hr teacher training track through yoga alliance this coming winter at Yoga Garden (!!!), and I’ve started my first round of voice lessons out of my brand new Entertainment Jill Studio for this fall in NE Minneapolis. (!!!!)

It’s the season for change – the cold weather came blasting in this week in Minneapolis, and my students seemed to be feeling the slow down that is inevitable with this process. Leaves are turning, temperatures are dropping, animals are stockpiling or leaving in preparation for the winter, for hibernating. It’s appropriate that we would also be feeling the effects of these changes, and so you can expect some extra time in lengthy floor poses, stretching out, and really taking the time to sink into some deeper versions of poses. It’s also a perfect time to prep your system for the cold, and kick a sugar habit.

So here’s my #4 trick for kicking sugar: read your labels. You’ve been good to not drink soda, and not eat dessert. Here’s the next step where things can reeeeally start to feel different.

But a forewarning, this is an under-taking. If you have never been a label-reader, you might get a little overwhelmed. May I attempt to ease your mind, and remind you to take things one step at a time. Change one food per week, or per shopping trip.

Sugar has been snuck into just about any pre-packaged food you can find these days. (Unless of course, the product is jumping on the sugar free bandwagon.) Bread. Crackers. Sauces. Dried Fruit. Bottled juices and smoothies. Yogurt. Soup, for crying out loud. Why is this? Well, I’ll bring up my favorite article from WebMD about how addictive sugar is. Those food companies are a business, and when you buy more, they win. So putting a slightly addictive substance in their product is more likely to get you to eat it more often. It’s a primal response to a substance our brains are wired to like a whole whole lot. It also does just make things taste better.

Now, I’m not saying all food companies are evil. (Ok, if you talk to me, I’ll say some of them are evil, alas I digress from a rant.) But I am saying that eating sugar in small amounts of ALL food ALL day long…. well, it doesn’t take a food scientist to know that it’s not good for you.

So one way to help boost your energy level – and I mean a LOT – is to start buying foods that don’t add sugar to your day-to-day meals and snacks. That way when you want dessert, you JUST have dessert, and your body doesn’t just become a sugar-processing factory.

Aaaaaaaaaaand end soap box.  Happy label reading!!

P.S. tip #4.5 – this is why I shop at co-ops. There are many more brand options that subscribe to a “no added sugar” ideal when making their products.

P.S. tip #4.75 – changing your taste habits takes as much effort and will as not eating dessert, or any other change. Give yourself time. Try for brands you actually like eating. Allow change to happen slowly, and go for one item at a time.

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