We are happy to introduce Ella Leché the popular food blogger behind Pure Ella and author of Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough! Ella stumbled into blogging as a creative outlet for her depression from dealing with a rare and difficult neuromuscular autoimmune disease. From being unable to walk on her own strength and holding her baby, Ella’s come a long way in her healing journey. She is now a vibrantly healthy mom of two and owes her success to a balanced healthy lifestyle. Her approach to sugar and food in general is to eat with balance and reach for foods that are not only good, but also good-for-you! And Ella always leaves room for a little sweetness in her life! Yup, she’s not even anti-sugar! Isn’t that sweet? Read for 3 tips she’s sharing from her book…
Many people struggle with sugar cravings and tend to give into their temptations. I used to be a sugar junkie and relied on sugar so much to keep my energy up – boy did I have it all wrong – turns out it’s the sugar spikes and crashes that deprive you of energy not to mention mess with your focus, mental clarity and overall health. My approach isn’t to necessarily stop eating sugar and label it evil. Sugar is actually a source of energy your body needs! It’s all about adopting healthy sugar habits that don’t make you feel deprived but nourish your body and keep your blood sugar in balance throughout the day. When I talk about sugar that is healthier, I’m referring to unrefined, preferably low-glycemic sugar that is naturally sourced and/ or ideally found in fruit and grains.
All carbohydrates are sugar because they convert to glucose in your body, so something to keep in mind is also how you combine your total carb intake during a meal. Just as an example; if you’re having a big bowl of pasta for lunch, you should hold off on that granola bar right after and eat it as a snack 2-3 hours later or choose a lunch with less carbs (think paleo) and/ or low-glycemic carbs (like sweet potatoes vs. white) because they digest slower and don’t spike your blood sugar as much.
Just replacing refined sugar in your diet with healthier forms of sugar is not the healthiest habit! It’s basically about the quality AND quantity of carbohydrates/ sugar you eat throughout the day that matters and determines a healthy blood sugar and healthy body.
And although it is true that unrefined sweeteners are better for you, there’s several huge factors that affect your health when sugar is concerned. It’s all about just planning ahead and making better choices for yourself that will give you consistent energy without the rollercoaster mood-swings and emotional side of cravings. Food has an incredible power that affects your overall wellbeing and health. Eating nourishing foods is a form of self-love and respect for yourself. Sticking to a few sweet rules can be life changing and nourishing to your body and brain health.
Here are 3 tips from the Cut the Sugar book that will help you to cut the sugar properly:
1. Don’t Skip Meals
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy and keep your blood sugar in balance is to eat healthy meals at regular intervals. This is so simple, yet I keep seeing people delaying their meals because they’re ‘too busy’ to eat or trying to skip meals on purpose because they are trying to loose weight or keep their body slim. It’s so sad when this happens because food is meant to be nourishment. We don’t always see the immediate side effects either so sometimes it’s really hard to learn from these mistakes. A few things that happen is that we become easily irritable, have difficulty concentrating on tasks and become incredibly moody and/ or anxious.
• If you don’t eat regularly, you’re more likely to binge and overeat next time. When that happens, you let your cravings decide and you could easily ‘overdose’ on carbohydrates which impact your total ‘glycemic load’. Over the long run, this can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
• Meals should include healthy proteins and fats, vegetables, and whole low-glycemic grains such as quinoa or buckwheat. Between meals, snack on a handful of nuts and seeds to avoid sugar crashes. Or eat a serving of fruit if you have a sweet craving.
• Eat 3 healthy meals a day and 3 healthy snacks in between (about 2 hours after each meal).
2. Eat Healthy Fats
Fat has a bad reputation, but not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats are essential for proper digestion and metabolism. Whenever we eat healthy fats with carbohydrates, for example, the fat slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and prevents sugar highs and sugar crashes. Fat also helps us feel satiated and fuller longer so we’re not urged to eat more. And healthy fats also actually help us maintain a healthy weight.
Humans are programmed to eat fat. Our brain, literally grows and develops on fat, starting with breastmilk which is 50% fat. A healthy high fat diet has amazing health properties. So next time you see a ‘fat-free’ recipe just shake your head and put some coconut oil on it!
• Include healthy fats with every meal—they help our body absorb nutrients better.
• Drizzle salads, baked and steamed foods with cold unrefined oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, pumpkin oil, and flax oil.
• Add coconut oil to oatmeal and porridge, or even coffee and tea.
• Add healthy oils such as coconut oil and flax oil to smoothies.
• Nuts and seeds make great snacks and they are loaded with healthy fats.
• Eat avocados, of course!
3. Eat Healthy Protein
• Add sunflower, pumpkin, and chia seeds to oatmeal, smoothies, and salads.
• Eat beans and legumes such as lentils, adzuki beans, chickpeas, black beans, etc.
• Eat high-protein whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, wild rice, and brown rice.
• Organic soy products such as tofu, edamame and soy milk are great when not eaten in high quantities. (I rotate them so if I’m eating edamame beans in a salad, I won’t have tofu for dinner.)
• Natural and organic protein powders are great when you don’t feel full after a meal. (I include them in smoothies, desserts and even pancakes or waffles).
What are the most difficult hurdles you’ve faced cutting sugar from your life? Do you have any tips of your own to share?
Related Reads: 10 Foods Nutritionist McKel Hill Always Keeps in Her Fridge, 6 Ingredients for Naturally Flawless Skin and Longevity, and A Lesson in the Healing Properties of Plants with a Side of Crunchy Thai Salad.