Ok, the holidays are coming and I have a huge sweet tooth. I love See’s California brittle (yes, this is on my Christmas wish list for those of you looking for gift ideas). I make fudge and delicious buckeyes (peanut butter balls dunked in chocolate – my family prefers them frozen and with super chunk peanut butter, but that’s a story for a later date). I love cookies, and pumpkin pie (I make this from scratch), and cheesecake, and 7-up salad (another family favorite). For me, holidays are a lot about the desserts, well, the sweets, well, the food really, but the sweets in particular.
In preparation for mindful eating over the holidays (note, I WILL mindfully eat all of the above during the holidays), today I’m starting a 5 Day Sugar Coma Detox facilitated by my friend Lori Vaughn who is a Beachbody.com consultant (you can find her on Facebook). I do have a sweet tooth, but don’t really eat a lot of sweets. Well, I don’t eat a lot of sweets ALL the time. Hmmm… getting mindful already. I do regularly eat dark chocolate (because it’s good for my heart…) ((and because it’s yummy)). I have been eating very mindfully since I’ve been in Italy, but I have fallen into a bit of a morning habit recently of enjoying a cappuccino (with 3 sugars). Cappuccino is bitter and if it’s really strong, I need 3 sugars to compliment the bitterness – if it’s a bit more mild, I only need 2 sugars. Ok, maybe I do have a bit of a sugar issue, even here.
So, because I’m a researcher, once I made this decision, I hopped on the internet to,… well,… research. Specifically I was interested in how much sugar there is in, as it turns out, everything. I consulted my girl Siri (yes, I know she and I fight all the time, but sometimes she is helpful) and this is what I learned.
It is impossible to eliminate all sugars from your diet, well, unless you eat only salmon,… all the time… Almost everything we put in our mouths will contain at least some natural, if not artificial or processed, sugar. Sometimes only very small amounts, but sugar nonetheless.
I knew that I didn’t want to substitute natural sugars with artificial sweeteners. Most contain neuro-toxins and are simply not healthy. My next decision was to eliminate all processed and added sugars from my diet. In Italy, I eat very healthy anyway, no processed food, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh pastas, so I think I have that one.
Ok, I’m getting there.
Then I wondered if it was possible to eliminate natural sugars as well. As I noted above, I learned that there are naturally occurring sugars in everything. There are sugars in fruits: A serving of grapes can have 24 grams of sugar; an apple can have 18.68 grams; a serving of cherries, 16.4 grams; a serving of blueberries, 14.7 grams; a banana, 14.4 grams; a peach, 12.6 grams. Double digit fruits seem like something I will want to avoid in these next 5 days.
As I continued to research, I learned that some berries have a much smaller amount of sugar per serving. A serving of strawberries, for example, has 6.85 grams of sugar, while a serving of raspberries has 6.9 grams.
I had this nagging feeling that vegetables also contain natural sugars. Here’s what I found. They do. A tomato has an average of 3.88 grams of sugar; a green pepper has 2.86 grams. An avocado has 2.41 grams of sugar while a serving of broccoli or zucchini has 1.45 grams. A serving of cucumber has 1.3 grams of sugar. Even a serving of head lettuce has .981 milligrams of sugar.
I decided to look at starches just for fun, knowing that even if they didn’t have sugar, our bodies transform starches into sugars. A sweet potato has 10.3 grams of sugar, about what I expected. I was surprised by other starches. Corn has only 3.22 grams of sugar per serving. A potato has 1.9 grams per serving. A serving of squash has 1.87 grams of sugar, while a serving of pumpkin has 1.84 grams.
Now Siri and I were on a roll and I wondered if there is sugar in protein. There is!!!! Well, at least in meats. Not much, but still sugar. A chicken egg has (253 milligrams), a serving of pork (376 milligrams), a serving of beef (26.9 milligrams).
Then I found it, the one natural food group with no sugar, fish (and shellfish). I should note now that I am not really a fan of fish. I can eat it once in a while, if it’s salmon or swordfish and it doesn’t taste, well, fishy. After a particularly bad meal I had here in Italy, I may never be able to look at a shrimp again. (Don’t ask!) and no one can eat a lot of lobster. A serving of salmon, swordfish, shrimp, or lobster have 0 grams of sugar. A serving of trout, .02 grams. Ooops! Tilapia has 4 grams of sugar per serving! (Sometimes I like tilapia.)
So, what about nuts and seeds? Sugar there as well – but not much.
Cashews contain about 1.56 grams of sugar per serving; Almonds have 1.37 grams per serving, Seeds are better with sunflower seeds containing around 876 milligrams of sugar per serving.
Ok, my research has led me to realize that almost everything has at least some natural sugars present. So, my decision is to cut out refined and processed sugars for the next 5 days. I will also eliminate anything from the list above with double digit grams of sugar.
I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m going to go make a big pot of veggie soup and grab some berries at the shop. Wish me luck! Caio for now!