Face it… you know you do it. Whether stealthily reaching for a lollipop from the doctor’s office candy jar (come to think of it… why is the doctor promoting candy?), “visiting” your co-worker who has candy overflowing out of a witch’s cauldron from last Halloween, or simply purchasing that “impulse sugary buy” at the register at the gas station, we are all guilty of said acts. And why not? Candy makes us feel good… right? A sudden burst of energy, sweet taste and bright colors? Who would not enjoy sweets?
Sugar Buzz... Sugar Crash.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, symptoms associated with sugar crashes include: fatigue, headaches, irritability, confusion, anxiety and difficulty concentrating on daily tasks. All similar to hypoglycemia effects, though not as severe. In order to eliminate such wretched symptoms, the following 5 options are healthier alternatives to their sugary counterparts:
Fruits and Vegetables, Nuts, Whole Grains, Low-Fat Dairy and Dark Chocolate.
|Dark Chocolate - 6g Per Day|
Chocolate you say? Now I am not granting you permission to run to the snack machine and purchase a King-Size Dark Chocolate candy bar… but in consuming a small amount – 6 g, or 1 small square (about 30 calories - MayoClinic.com), per day allows one to experience the benefits of said chocolate , which reduces C-reactive protein levels in the blood. Consuming more than this amount negates the benefit by adding unnecessary calories and fat to an individual’s diet. That being said… allow yourself a 5 minute break in the day to stop what you are doing, relax, breathe, close your eyes, savor your chocolate… then resume your 1,000mph work-day. You will be rejuvenated to begin a new task eliminate at hand with enthusiasm and a clear mind.
|Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt - Different Flavors (Plain as well)|
Low-fat dairy… my favorite is 0% Greek Yogurt. I often consume said yogurt in two manners: 1) mixed with fresh fruits, nuts and a dusting of coconut or 2) a dollop atop home-made soups. I prefer 0% Greek yogurt because it has a dense, creamy flavor… similar to full-fat. Another calorie-saver is replacing full-fat mayo with a combination of lite-mayo/fat-free cottage cheese to tuna salad. Just 1,000 milligrams of calcium are needed per day in order to maintain a strong bone mass. Skim milk, Almond milk, fat-free/lo-fat cheeses, sour cream and yogurts are healthy options.
|Whole Wheat Bread|
No carbs? Personally, I cannot function without consuming carbs. So how does one maintain a healthy physique while enjoying carbs? By knowing the healthy carbs to consume. Did you know that an individual actually needs at least 130 grams of carbs each day in order to maintain a sharp concentration and ability to focus on daily tasks? If one does not consume enough carbs, then the ability to study, work efficiently and to concentrate become increasingly more difficult. Whole grains are not only higher in fiber, but are packed fuel to energize your body. By consuming at least 5 servings of whole grains per day, one can lose belly fat and lower level of C-reactive proteins in the body (predictor of heart disease, diabetes and strokes). If carbs are your vice, then choose healthy options: oatmeal, whole-wheat bread (look at the label to verify that it is truly whole wheat!), whole wheat quinoa, couscous and pastas.
|Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans, Brazil Nuts|
Monounsaturated fats, found in a plethora of nuts, help to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels in your body. By toasting almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashew nuts, one can simply throw the crunchy snacks atop salads, yogurt, or alone as a mid-day treat. (Place nuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes – may freeze extra roasted nuts in order to save time). The fat and protein in nuts allows an individual to maintain a feeling of satiation – feeling fuller and satisfied throughout the day in order to prevent mindless snacking. Limit your consumption to a healthy handful. (If you have massive hands as I, then you may want to consume not quite a handful… just sayin).
|Mango's were priced at 2 for $1 |
at the Grocery Store Last Week...
I was Excited!
Last, but certainly not least, fruit and vegetables. My favorite… typical. I consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables because my body craves such foods. I was blessed in having a mother who cooked for our family. Growing up, our dinner table popped with vibrant colors of fruit plates, casseroles laden with vegetables, lean proteins, lentil soups and milk. Adding more fruits and vegetables is EASY to do… but the majority of Americans simply do not do it! Why? I generally purchase my fruits and vegetables in bulk (saves money the more that you purchase). Upon arriving home, I take time to cut and prepare all veggies, then store in Tupperware. Not only does the life of the vegetable extend when stored properly, but it makes snacking much easier. Everything is already prepared. I simply reach for a healthy fruit or vegetable, instead of loading my blood sugar with candy or breads.
Maintaining a healthy diet is not easy. Of course it is hard work. But an individual has to ask him or herself whether their health and performance on a daily basis is worth the effort. Would I rather sleep better, have clean skin, be more efficient at work, have more energy and maintain an enthusiasm for life? Or feel lethargic, drained, unable to exercise and sleep-deprived. You are what you eat. Exercising is important, but diet far outweighs any work-out. Quoting Bon Jovi, “It’s your life… it’s now or never.”
Something to think about.
All my love from DALLAS, y’all,