I have known about the evils of sugar for a very long time. Despite the knowledge, the addiction has been pervasive for as long as I can remember. Sugar was generally banned in our household growing up. We were allowed a “Friday night treat” which consisted of a soft drink (pop). That was about it. I would binge on Frosted Flakes when I went to my friend Sharon’s house and devour bowls of Beeferoni and white bread (also unheard of at my house).
I remember secretly buying and making Jello and hiding it in our cold storage. It went mouldy before it actually set because I didn’t take the time to read the instructions properly! My sisters and I would go to the corner store and buy candy with our allowance (I made 25 cents a week for making the salad each night). When my mom did make Nanaimo bars for special occasions (her trademark sweet), I would binge and eat 7 at a time!
When I had my first job in Toronto (after 4 years as a starving student in Guelph) the stress of having a horrible boss was relieved by nights out binging on sugar. I gained 25 pounds in a short time, which is a lot considering my tiny frame.
After a year of the big city lifestyle I quit my job and moved to Montreal to become a ‘starving artist’. Of course I couldn’t afford to eat out as I did before. My diet completely changed and I become hyper aware of my food intake. I don’t even remember if it was because of a desire to lose weight or a control issue, but I began writing down every ounce of food that I would eat during the day. This obsession lasted two years. I became alarmingly thin, but my boyfriend liked slim women, so he never expressed concerns.
When I would visit my family in Ottawa, my mother and my sister would tell me how great I looked (having lost all my Toronto weight). When I look at photos of that time, I looked emaciated and anorexic.
I stopped having my period for several years and even thought I was pregnant at one point! Finally, as I became successful with my work and happier in my life, my obsession diminished and I stopped focusing on what I was eating. I allowed myself to eat regularly, but continued to have an addiction to sugar. I believed I had a sweet tooth. I had a reputation amongst my friends for having a sweet tooth.
In the last year I have been dabbling with healthier options. I have met a lot of women through my network that promote healthy eating and lifestyle. I have been exploring and experimenting with healthy recipes. I gradually started filling my cupboards with wholesome foods and eliminating the processed and sugary foods.
I now have a totally different view of food. When I go to Tim Hortons and look under the counter NOTHING appeals to me. It doesn’t even look like food anymore. It may be age (I’ll be 50 this year) or having educated myself about healthy alternatives, but I am very GRATEFUL for my new mentality.
1 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup ground hemp seeds
1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground chia seeds
2 Tablespoons raw Maca powder
2 teaspoons organic ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 cup Magic Mix
1 egg OR 1 TBS chia seeds with (for vegan alternative)
1/3 to 1/2 cup almond milk
Whisk until combined. Allow to sit a few minutes to thicken. Melt neutral tasting coconut oil in a pan. Add scoop of mix and cook on both sides until brown and cooked through. Serve with sliced bananas and fresh or frozen berries and maple syrup.
I’m inspired by many vegan Instagram users that post photos of their healthy breakfast bowls!
I’m loving my naturopath friend Sue-Anne Hickey’s new cookbook featuring this zucchini crust pizza:
When I do have a sweet craving, I avoid processed sugar and opt for maple syrup, honey or agave:
I LOVE the Oh She Glows vegan cookbook given to me by a friend.
I have recently taken a couple healthy cooking classes at my grocer Provigo in Pierrefonds, Quebec.
Start by StARTing Tip:
STOP telling yourself that you have a sweet tooth and START exploring some healthier options. There are tons of online resources to find healthy recipes, cooking classes, on-line tutorials on Youtube, etc. Follow some healthy lifestyle gurus on social media and fill your newsfeed with healthy options!