Foods you think are healthy but aren't

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Elissa Goodman is a LA-based holistic nutritionist and cleanse expert.  She is famous for her wildly popular 5-Day “S.O.U.P. Cleanse” available in LA. 
 
She shared with us tips on foods we may think are healthy, but are not.
  • GRANOLA: Nature Valley Granola Peanut Butter ’n Dark Chocolate 1 cup = 30 grams/ 7.5 teaspoons 
  • BAR: Cliff Pumpkin Pie Bar 25 grams/ 6.25 teaspoons
  • YOGURT: Stony field Vanilla Yogurt 1 cup = 29 grams/ 7.25 teaspoons
  • BOTTLED SMOOTHIE: Naked Juice Green Machine Smoothie (no sugar added) 1 serving = 53 grams/ 13.25 teaspoons
  • SALAD DRESSING: Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette 3 tablespoons = 21 grams/ 5.25 spoons
Evidence now shows that sugar causes cravings and reward, similar to that of addictive drugs; reporting that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
 
It’s believed that this rush of pleasure and reward is based on receptors that evolved in our ancestors. Our ancestor’s diets were low in sugar, so a little bit went a long way.  Biologically, our brains have not yet evolved to the overwhelming consumption we are exposed to today.
 
Refined sugars are everywhere. It is so accessible that it makes it challenging to recognize the severity of its effects. Sugar is added to tomato sauces, yogurt, salad dressing, canned fruit, ketchup, and thousands of other processed products and like any addiction, significant changes need to occur to break it.
 
To start, being more aware of it, will allow you to beat your sugar addiction.
  • Start by eliminating processed and unhealthy high-carbohydrates, and stop eating sugar!  This habit alone (force yourself to stick with it until your breakthrough your cravings) can reduce sugar cravings.  The less you eat, the less you're you crave it. Add in whole, nutrient dense foods, and in a short time you will notice cravings diminish - my cleansers notice that cravings begin to diminish on days 4 & 5 of their cleanse week.
  • Take a probiotic. There are bacterial strains which feed on the sugar in our bodies, causing an imbalance in the gut. When you reduce this bacteria, you will help reduce sugar cravings and your body’s dependence on sugar.
  • Include an L-glutamine supplement. Sugar cravings can be powerful, however, they can be reduced. L-glutamine is an amino acid that supports numerous functions, especially within the gut. When blood sugar levels drop, this amino acid can easily be converted into glucose. This helps to curve sugar cravings without exposing your body to harmful sugar.
  • Drink a green juice or smoothie without sugar every morning. Swap your morning donut or white toast for a green smoothie. When you have a green smoothie each morning, you obtain antioxidants, phytonutrients, and live enzymes. The more greens you incorporate into your diet, the less you’ll crave sugar and the more you’ll crave the nutrients your body truly requires. By having a smoothie or juice each morning, you will slowly change poor habits.
  • Eat sour foods. When you crave sugar, eat foods that are sour and bitter. This helps to counteract sweet cravings. When making your green smoothies, include bitter ingredients like endive and kale. Lemon-infused water is also recommended daily.
  • Eat fermented food. I cannot get enough of fermented foods. Not only are they sour, helping to curve cravings, but they also offer your body additional probiotic support. Foods like kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchee, all help counteract the bacteria that thrives on sugar and contributes to sugar addictions.
  • Use stevia. This low-carb, all-natural sweetener can be used as a sugar substitute. It provides sweetness, without spiking your blood sugar. If you feel like something sweet, have a warm glass of almond milk with a pinch of cinnamon and stevia.
  • Improve your sleepA study found that daytime sleepiness may affect your control over high-calorie foods. If you do not get enough sleep, you will be more prone to reach for foods that support your sugar addiction. Lack of sleep is also believed to strengthen the brain’s reward center, making it much more challenging to stay away from sweets. 
  • Reduce stress. When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, we often comfort ourselves with foods that tend to be high in sugar. These foods actually worsen levels of stress and anxiety. A rapid boost of energy follows, affecting your blood sugar and hormone levels. Crush cravings by managing stress levels. Practice yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or whatever helps to personally calm and relax your mind.
  • Increase protein. The initial rush of sugar is quickly followed by a crash, resulting in low energy levels and poor mood. This cycle of highs and lows puts your health at risk. Protein-rich foods, such as beans, nuts, eggs, quinoa, and pastured meat provide a more balanced and steady source of energy. You will feel more satisfied, reducing the effects of brain chemicals that cause you to seek out food, even when you’re not hungry.

 

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