November 2009 Newsletter
November 1, 2009 By Billy
Sugar and Your Diet . . . Important Health Information
We all have a sweet tooth! It’s only very natural. And our natural craving of sweet foods can be a friend instead of foe. First, consider that sugar is simply the most basic form of fuel for the body. Sugars require no digestion and are instantly converted into glucose for the brain. Your sugar intake can be healthy and is only a matter of balance . . . not restraining yourself.
Here’s the trick to it. It’s simply keeping your sweet tooth satisfied with natural sugars! Quite simply – FRUIT!!!
Yes, it’s that simple. By having moderate amounts of fruit on a regular basis it maintains a steady satisfaction and prevents intense sugar craving. This way when we are confronted with the plethora of processed sugar in every day life when can keep indulgence to a minimum. We all know that feeling of having just one cookie or slice of chocolate cake . . . which is often quite hopeless . . . since it generally turns into a landslide of overdoing it. We will discuss a few important details when having processed sugars, but first let’s talk about fruit.
Again, the strategy is to have MODERATE amounts of fruit on a regular basis to keep the body’s natural craving for sugar satisfied. As for what would be a “moderate” amount, it’s very much an individual thing. I am a deep believer our instinctive sense of nutrition . . . that we all have intuitive sense of instinctively knowing what feels right for our individual body type. Personally, I like to have a little fruit first thing in the morning. Early in the day at the gastrointestinal system is just warming up, so it’s good to start with easy to digest foods. And fruit is perfect for this. Also it is immediate glucose for the brain and easy fuel for the body. Also the high water content of most fruit is has a mild cleansing and alkaline forming effect for the gastrointestinal system.
The best is a fruit smoothie with some green superfoods. Now you’re metabolizing these natural sugars with all of the essential nutrients. This way it becomes a more complex carbohydrate structure and metabolizes into the bloodstream gradually. Also the aloe vera and nopal cactus in the Infinity Greens Formula have natural blood sugar balancing properties. Fruit sugars do send the blood sugar up. And what goes up, does go down. Thus blending a superfood smoothie is ideal. Otherwise having a serving of simple fruit before a meal is good, because you are then consuming slower burning fuel shortly after the fruit to pick up where the fruit sugar trails off, thus maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
Combining fruit and other foods
Fruits are best consumed alone or with other simple to digest juices and superfoods. Remember fruit digests in just a couple minutes. Grains, and vegetables can take hours. Thus why it is generally not good to combine fruit with these other foods. Nuts and yogurt, I consider to be exceptions. Fruit combines OK with these foods, thus the classic example of prunes and almonds or berries and yogurt. Combining fruit with other foods produces fermentation and gas, and on a regular basis this is weakening for the body’s digestion. Having blueberries with your cereal every once in a while is no big deal.
Are some fruits better than others? YES!
Go for the nutrient dense fruits and those that are low glycemic. A food’s glycemic index is simply a measurement of how fast it metabolizes/absorbs into the bloodstream. High glycemic foods simply send the blood sugar up and down more rapidly and have a mildly imbalancing quality on energy levels. Tropical fruits like bananas, pineapple, mango tend are the highest, and berries tend to be the lowest. Berries also tend to be the most nutritious, and so I consider berries to be the best. Pears, apples, and watermelon are also relatively low glycemic and are also high water content foods . . . so they are very good, too. The sweeter tropical fruits do have their place, however. Consider that if you are blending a frozen banana into a smoothie with nutrient dense green superfoods. These otherwise high glycemic sugars are now being metabolized with these nutrients that make it a more complex structure. Might have to make myself one . . . be right back.
OK, first order of business taken care of: using a moderate amount of fruit daily to keep the sweet tooth generally satisfied.
A closer look at processed sugar
This subject requires some special discernment, since we are bombarded with foods containing a variety of processed sugar everywhere we go. Even at the natural food store, it’s aisle after aisle of products sold as “natural” foods that contain loads of sugar (cereals, breads, baked goods, energy bars, snack foods, salad dressings, desserts, and drinks, drinks, drinks!) And sugar is often disguised under a variety of other names, like evaporated cane juice, raw cane sugar, etc. . . . and these are only marginally better. It’s not hopeless since there are wholesome products too, but extra discernment is required of food shoppers in this day and age of sugar saturation. It’s all a matter of reading the ingredients and choosing the products that are made of the most wholesome ingredients . . . and that are totally free of processed sugar.
Really the spectrum of processed sweeteners is quite wide, since using sweeteners like maple syrup and honey in moderation is perfectly fine. The other end of the spectrum is of course white cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. That “moderation” with these is really quite hopeless. The reason is simple. White sugar is tested to be chemically addicting! Yup, straight up addicting. Remember that feeling of intending to have just one cookie or one slice of cake, which generally turns into a huge landslide of sugar indulgence. This is why I am especially discerning with not consuming foods with these sweeteners, ever! OK, if you’re at a wedding or a birthday party, having these processed sugars on the rarest of rare occasions is no big deal. But I would never buy products that contain these sugars.
Making a conscientious effort to be more discerning with your sugar intake, I suspect you will feel like a different person. Just consider that you will be feeding your body with better quality fuels! This is absolutely reflected in energy levels and mood! If weight loss is a priority for you, this will be one of the most effective ingredients for your success. Avoiding white sugar equates a stronger and more balanced metabolism . . . simple law of nature. And now that you are becoming a label reader you will be able to discern which products are OK, to have in moderation. You will find treats that contain better sweeteners that you can have a small serving and then put it away without overdoing it.
Let’s talk natural sweeteners. Here are my 3 favorites:
Honey (raw and unfiltered) – Relatively high glycemic compared to fruit, but used in moderation for sweetening drinks and desserts is fine . . . light years better then white sugar. It also is known to have mildly strengthening properties for the immune system. Oh, and the honey/bee industry is totally awesome for the environment.
Maple Syrup (not talking Aunt Jemima’s . . . I’m sure she was a sweet lady, though. No pun intended) – A little more moderate on the glycemic scale. It has alkaline forming properties. I really dig it.
Stevia – This one rocks! Stevia is an herb that has a sweet flavor, but is a calorie free food. Using this one in any quantity is fine. The flavor of stevia does not work with everything. However using part stevia, part other natural sweeteners allows you to use less of whatever other sweetener you are using (example: part honey, part stevia for sweetening a beverage – I’ll include my famous Chai recipe below that utilizes this principle). There are other calorie free “natural sweeteners”. I have not seen extensive testing on them, and I am a little weary of them. I’ll let you know as I find out more.
*A quick cautionary note on “calorie free” artificial sweeteners . . . run from them as fast as you can. They are tested to be incredibly imbalancing for insulin levels and the metabolism. Use only if you want to pickle your thyroid and get fat quick . . . serious. Every week I see guests at the Asrham detoxing hard from these. I recommend skipping the unnecessary suffering.
There are a number of other natural sweeteners (agave syrup, yacon syrup, sucanat, artichoke syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar). It is fine to use these in moderation too, but bear in mind that however natural, they are still processed sweeteners. You can stock your house with these more natural sweeteners to replace white sugar, and experiment with baking, sweetening drinks, treats, etc.
Children and Sugar
Just a moment of considering children and sugar. I say “moment” because I don’t have the perfect solution for you. In most cases it appears that regardless of diet a child’s health is very resilient. Conversely I’ve seen a youngster’s health fail clearly due to poor diet. But I’ve also witnessed incredible healing due at least in part to healthier diet. We can brainstorm together on this. That’s what my blog is for . . . to share helpful information. So please share any insights that you may have on this subject. For now, I suggest doing what you can for yourself, and I feel that this will be of some influence to your children. I do believe that children are incredibly intuitive creatures, and that when you are doing things that reflect well in your own health they tend to pick up on it. It’s the whole notion of emanating a “healthy vibe” . . . simply teaching by example. Conversely trying to deliberately influence your kids to eat better seems to push them away (i.e., they go over to their friends house and get loaded on sugar drinks and Popsicles). Look at what our kids have to face every day – cafeteria food and sugary junk foods left and right. I feel that stocking a healthier pantry at home will be a helpful start. Remember, we all have an instinctive nutrition capacity that we become more in tune with as we integrate healthier ingredients into our diet. We simply notice that certain foods and lifestyles make us feel better and improve our health . . . so, naturally we gravitate toward these options more and more.
You can do it!
As we all make this shift, I feel that you will experience a tremendous improvement in your overall quality of life! Consider what you will achieve: utilizing fruit sugars that are alkaline forming and nutritious to keep your natural sweet tooth satisfied . . . then using the better quality natural sweeteners in moderation. And for when you are around white sugar junk foods they will be less desirable. And even if you do eat some, no big deal . . . it’s a rare occasion.
Believe in yourself! I know you can do it! If I did it you can do it, too. This is someone who used to eat a whole package of Oreos – like 30 cookies! – and then would eat a pint of ice cream after that (sheesh, talk about feeling sh*##y)! It’s not a matter of discipline, but rather a desire for better living. So here we go . . . yet another round of quality of life improvement. Progress is only natural. Onward and upward!
Wishing you the BEST, always ~
P.S. – I’ve included amazing new recipes to help you get started. Also check out our newsletter link for new recipe videos!
Billy’s Power Nuggets
Ingredients: Raw Chocolate Nibs, Hemp Seeds, Cold-pressed Coconut Oil, Agave Honey, Infinity Greens, Peppermint Extract
Mix dry ingredients:
2 cups chocolate nibs
2 cups hemp seeds
2 tablespoons infinity greens
3/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup coconut oil,
15 drops “Herb-Pharm Peppermint Extract
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Scoop mixture with spoon and shape into balls (1″ diameter) with fingers and then roll in bowl of hemp seeds. Coconut oil rubbed on fingers will help reduce sticking.
Refrigerate nuggets for at least one hour more. Serve and Enjoy!
Blend piece of fresh ginger approx size up thumb (skin and all) with 4 cups water. Add to pot with:
Full box (4 cups) rice milk or 2/3 cup half and half
5 – 10 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 cup yerba mate leaf
1 round tablespoon honey
1 round teaspoon stevia powder
pinch of sea salt
Optional: 1/4 cup dry spearmint leaf
Optional: round tablespoon dry chamomile flowers
Bring to near boil and steep for 5 minutes. Strain pot of chai twice with wire mesh strainer to get all the bits out. Put in thermos and find a cozy spot to watch the sunset and chill out.
Berry Yogurt Bliss
Mix sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Billy’s Sprouted Almonds into whole Greek yogurt. Add drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon for ecstatic taste bud experience.
Yup, it’s that simple.
1 cup pure water
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries berries
1 tablespoon Infinity Greens
1 tablespoon cold-pressed Coconut Oil
Delicious . . . and a total energizer!
The Ultimate Shake – a Perfect Breakfast
Blend in Blender:
1 pear, sliced and frozen (or add a handful of ice if pear not frozen)
1 cup water
2-3 round teaspoons Infinity Greens . . . enough to make a real difference!
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Optional: 1 tablespoon flax seed oil
Optional: 1 round teaspoon raw honey
Banana/Mint Shake Paradise
Add to blender:
1 ripe banana peeled and frozen
1 cup pure water
2-3 round teaspoons Infinity Greens
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
10 drops “Herb-Pharm” brand peppermint extract
This is total body nutrition refreshment!
Raw Chocolate Milk
Blend in Blender:
Water from fresh Thai Coconut
Scoop meat from inside coconut into blender (if meat is too hard, use 2 tablespoons hemp seeds)
1 round teaspoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon Infinity Greens
Optional: 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
Raw Chocolate Pudding
Ingredients: Fresh Thai Coconut, Avocado, Cacao Powder, Coconut Oil, Agave Nectar.
Blend in blender:
Thai coconut water from 1 fresh Thai coconut. Purified water is fine if coconuts are unavailable – more agave will be added.
1 avocado . . . needs to be at perfect ripeness
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons agave, or enough for desired sweetness
1 tablespoon cold-pressed coconut oil
1 teaspoon Infinity Greens (for catalyzing effects of cacao!)
Chill before serving. Totally smooth, creamy, fabulous!
More of these awesome recipes available here!