Challenges are just that, challenging. If they were easy everyone would do it and it wouldn't be a challenge. Outside of talking about good, functional movement I've spent the most time talking to you about sugar. More specifically the hidden sugars often if not always found in processed carbohydrates. As we've previously discussed, when grains are processed they lose their germ component. The germ is what is loaded with flavor and nutrients, but it is also what spoils. By removing the germ layer products can be shipped and stored for exponentially longer than in their virgin state, thus increasing their shelf life. The problem with this is twofold. Losing the germ equals loss of nutrient value, specifically micro nutrients i.e vitamins and minerals. This is what brought about "fortified food". More later. The second problem is flavor. This applies to all "fat free or reduced fat foods" as well as grains. No germ, no fat, no flavor. What is an easy, cost efficient additive that is found in abundance and makes our taste buds go nuts? Corn syrup. Liquid, processed sugar. Sugar tastes great, gives us short bursts of energy and typically is the cheapest thing in the aisle. Sounds harmless, cheap and tasty, whats not to like. As with most anything, moderation is key. The World Health Organization recommends 30 grams on average per day. Plus or minus for male/female and body size. A Coke has 70 grams per 20 ounces. That one soda for a morning pick me up or during an afternoon slump has 2 1/2 times the recommended daily intake. The quick and dirty is this. Sugar enters the blood, energy goes up, insulin responds to the sugar (glucose and fructose) pushing it into our cells for future energy storage. Guess what future energy is stored as? Yup. Fat. This is great from a hunter gatherer stand point. Fat is metabolically converted into energy quickly and stores just as easy in case you didn't come across a good source for several days or weeks. Not so great when you get two, three or ten times the amount you need for your daily energy requirements. The body continues to store this extra fuel as fat and the waist line grows. Believe it or not this storage problem is only the tip of the iceberg that over consumption of sugar causes. I will go in to this in great detail in many posts to come. For now I challenge you to go 15 days with 30 grams or less of sugar in your daily intake. Moreover, I challenge you to purposely eat sugar. What I mean by that is to eat your 30 grams in something you know has sugar. Ice cream, cookies, bite size candy bars ect. This will require you to read all the labels of everything you eat that comes in package form. Here is a way to cheat, if it doesn't come in a package then it probably doesn't have added sugar. Pretty easy. If sugar, any type, organic or not, is in the top 5 ingredients then expect it to contribute heavily to your daily limit. Sugar hides in everything, especially processed carbohydrates. Snack bars, fast food burger buns, BBQ sauce, dressing. The list is endless.
A couple of pit falls to watch out for. 1. Sugar is addictive. The brain desires high energy sources that are easily stored. This is innate to most if not all mammals. Rats will actually leaver press for sugar over cocaine, even after they have been exposed to cocaine. Balancing your nutrition, carb/protein/fat every meal can help mitigate your afternoon crash and curb those cravings. 2. Be prepared with snacks. Small amounts of unsweetened coconut flakes, dried fruits ( make sure they don't have added sugar) or whole fruits, sparkling water or seltzer can all help. For the most part juices and juicing are not a good substitute because the fiber has been removed. 3. Get people in your life involved. Challenges are a whole lot easier when temptations aren't staring you in the face at home or in the office. I mean whats 15 days without sugar. Our ancestors went months and sometimes years without sugar, surely we can go 2 weeks. 4. Keep track on your phone and the calendar. Circle the 16th and the 1st. X out the dates you're successful. Circle the ones you slip up on. If a slip happens, start over, make a goal to get one more day than last time. We can learn from our breaking points or be controlled by them. It's your choice. 5. Pay attention to how your body feels. If you notice changes in your skin, energy levels, feelings about your body composition write them down, share them, be amazed. 6. Hold yourself accountable. Respond to this post, tell a friend or family member what you're doing, mark the calendar. Anything that adds value to your commitment will help.
Please don't hesitate to ask questions either here or in class. See you soon. DRP