Happy Valentine’s Day – Sugar… yes, it is still a treat!

Happy Valentine’s Day but…
Remember when sugar was a treat?

Remember, you’d get if when you were good at the doctor’s office.
You got chocolate treats for the holidays.
On special occasions, we’d get dessert!
Now, sugar has inched its way into every meal. It’s at the counter at the CVS store for free when you check out. It’s hidden in our foods. Dessert seems to be at every gathering.
We repeat the same activity that makes us feel good. Sugar can make people feel good. It releases endorphins or other chemicals in the brain that make us feel that pleasure. We repeat that activity and the pattern is reinforced and the brain asks for more. A bad habit or addiction can come in a lot of different forms.
Registered dietician Schritchfield says, “Sugar actually lights up the pleasure and reward center of our brain the same way when someone’s giving you a smile or a mother-and-child bond, or even falling in love. So it makes perfect sense that when we eat sugar, we want more of it.”
What we eat affects our moods, bodies, and brain chemistry.
Down to the nitty gritty of it all is we need to eat less simple sugar. It can negatively affect the immune system for up to 5 hours after eating it by diminishing the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria.
The American Heart Association says the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
Men: 150 calories (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) – one single (2 inch) brownie
Women: 100 calories (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) – two small (2 inch across) chocolate chip cookies
So go ahead and enjoy the wonderful Valentine chocolate gift you received but remember that it is a treat and not an every meal, every day event. It’s a pleasurable activity that has its place and time. Just remember, not all the time!

Challenge: Try not eating simple (added) sugar for a week. If successful, try another week. Mark this on your calendar each day you are successful. At the end of two weeks, try a small amount of simple sugar – small piece of chocolate or one (go small) of something you really enjoy. I can almost guarantee that you will notice how sweet it tastes. This shows you the power of not eating it for a while and making it a treat again.

Thanksgiving Strategy

How to enjoy/survive the Thanksgiving meal…

First piece of strategy is to know your weakness. Are you a butter person? Are you a gravy person? Are you an appetizer lover? Are you a dessert person? Are you an imbiber of alcoholic and/or sugary beverages?

If the answer is yes to all the above then enjoy all but have a limit going in. The key is knowing this about yourself and then making a plan.

How about: Butter on the bread but nothing else. One to two appetizers only and then step away from the area where it is served. Small plate for dessert and take one small taste (a spoonful or a mini slice) of each. Drink water between each caloric beverage and have a limit. Make yourself the designated driver and not drink!

The point is to enjoy the holidays but not make yourself regret the gathering around food. Make a plan.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, safe, loving Thanksgiving!