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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters

Articles From the Winter 1998 Newsletter

Reaching Out With Roberta

Sugar Cravings - You Can Tame Them In Your Kitchen

Sugar is one of the most highly refined foods. A cup of sugar bears no resemblance to a stalk of sugar cane or a sugar beet. All the fiber, vitamins and minerals are gone. Many "natural sugars" are marketed today such as fructose, dehydrated cane juice and turbinado sugar. These are not much different than white sugar. Also an excess of sweet flavor from any source, even fruit juice, upsets the balance of protein and carbohydrates.This depletes minerals, such as calcium, and weakens the kidney and adrenal functions. The adrenals are the backup system for many body functions, when they are stressed by a high sugar diet they can't help out the other organs.

When sugar is eaten regularly the blood sugar level is thrown out of balance. Eating sugar raises blood sugar quickly, followed by a crash. When complex carbohydrates are consumed the blood sugar level stays more constant. Eating sugar regularly causes cravings for more. This is especially true if the rest of the diet is heavy with refined and processed foods such as white flour products and canned, packaged and fast foods.

Are you ready to break the pattern? Here is what to do. It takes three weeks to create a new habit or break a long-standing one. Sitting on your hands and saying "I will not consume sugar" will not work. Forget willpower. Instead eat more unrefined complex carbohydrate foods (whole grains, fresh vegetables and whole fruits). If what you want is a soft drink or ice cream, a cup of tea or a bowl of rice will not satisfy the immediate craving. However as more whole foods are added to your diet, cravings will be reduced naturally. Because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is low in complex carbohydrates many people yo-yo back and forth between very sweet and very spicy or salty foods. Have a donut - chow down some cheese - reach for juice - chomp some chips - eat a cookie - next a few pretzels - then a soda. The body is striving for balance but is being fed only extremes. Here is your basic shopping list so that you can eat in a way that will reduce sugar cravings.

Grains: brown rice, barley, polenta, quinoa, millet bulgur and oats.

Cereals: processed cereals are not really whole grains, but if you use them choose shredded wheat and others without added sweeteners. Read the labels.

Breads: Look for whole wheat as the first ingredient on the label. Eliminate or greatly reduce white flour products.

Vegetables: Here are some really strong allies in your battle against sugar cravings. Buy and use lots of sweet vegetables, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions. Turnips, beets and parsnips are good too. These sweet vegetables satisfy our bodies' desire for sweet flavor. Eat a lot of them for three weeks and you will want less refined sugar products. Many people find they taste too sweet after a while. The green vegetables are important too, especially the leafy ones.

The versatile onion becomes sweeter the longer it is cooked. Try this: Dice an onion and place it in a skillet with some water. Saute slowly, when onions are soft add a few drops of cold pressed olive or sesame oil. Add these to grain dishes, soups and any other cooked vegetables. Make a soup with carrots, squash, yams or sweet potatoes (any two or three of these.) Cook the vegetables in water with a bit of sea salt. Puree then add cooked onions as above. Some grated ginger is good in this also.

Fruits: Buy and eat whole fruit, preferably those that are in season. When sugar is consumed as part of whole fruit, we eat less and it is more balancing as fiber vitamins and minerals are present. Juice has more concentrated sugar than whole fruit.

During this transition period concentrate on eating as many whole foods as possible. When you do consume sugar, limit the amount. As the days progress you will find the cravings diminishing naturally.

Eat at home as much as possible during the three week period. Take a simple meal of grains and vegetables to work for lunch. Make vegetable soups, they are satisfying.

Chewing your food thoroughly is important for good digestion and will also help reduce cravings. Yes, your grandmother was right!

For more natural sweeteners use all fruit jams, rice syrup or barley malt or maple syrup. Try some amazake, a sweet drink made from rice, it comes in several flavors.

Have you been using artificial sweeteners? They make our bodies think they are getting sugar, but don't deliver. Instead of satisfying a craving, they make it worse. Instead try stevia a whole herbal food with 30 times the sweetness of sugar and negligible calories. It is available as a powder or liquid extract. The liquid comes in a small dropper bottle that is easy to carry with you. It is quite concentrated. Stevia does not upset blood sugar level.

Here are some conditions you are preventing by greatly reducing or eliminating refined sugar. Obesity, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Anemia, Immune Deficiency, Tooth Decay, Yeast Infections and emotional upsets. If these are not reasons enough to stop sugar, here is what you will be gaining. You will have fewer mood swings, higher spirits, restful sleep, fewer colds, more endurance and concentration and improved general health.

As the TV commercial for consolidating your debts says "No time like the present". Starting to eat less sugar now and during the holidays will bring you to January 1st in good health and spirits, and no resolution to break in that cold bleak first week of the year.

Return to Winter 1998 Newsletter

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