I eat a lot of sugar. A lot. And often.
I eat a lot of refined sugars because I have a constant craving for sugar. Every day around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., after I eat lunch, I crave candy or chocolate of sort. And usually I indulge in that craving. I figure: “I work out a lot. I’m active. I deserve to have that brownie or that piece of pie. I’ve earned it today.” The problem is I think that every day. It doesn’t help that in place of getting a raise, my boss decides to give us treats every morning in the form of chocolate croissants, sugar cookies, brownies, pies, etc. It’s kind of him to offer those things, but it doesn’t help me with my diet.
I can’t help but eat that delicious-looking chocolate croissant! Could you resist that after you just burned 400-500 calories doing Insanity in the morning? Neither could I.
I just saw this in CSPI’s (CSPInet.org) Nutrition Action newsletter the other day about sugar. There’s a study by Dr. Lustig et al that talks about getting type-2 diabetes SEPARATE from being obese. Meaning that in this instance, the type of egg you have determines what type of chicken you’ll be. Further translated to: eating refined sugar and syrups increases your chances for chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
WHICH ALL MEANS THAT: I don’t want to have diabetes!
I need to cut my sugar intake dramatically. Because I eat it every day, and despite my exercise, these foods still spike my insulin levels, creating a disruption in my endocrine system. My grandparents and members of my extended family had type-2 diabetes , so I don’t want to continue along their path. My mom and dad and I all have a sweet tooth (sweet teeth?). We love to have chocolate and little candies at hand in case we need a little energy boost. But I don’t want to have that anymore.
In order to shift myself away from this obsession and addiction to sugar, I started doing a little research on what was the most successful way to give up sugar. I did a little more research into Paleo diets which seem to be the best way for me to go in order to cut down my sugar consumption. However, the Paleo diet isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly, low-carbon-footprint diet nor is it the healthiest, sustainable diet (see this article). But, given other diets, it’s a good alternative.
However, I have an environmental problem with adopting this diet because of the high volume of meat consumed. The production and cultivation of beef, lamb, pork and cheese create the greenhouse gas emission methane, which is more detrimental than carbon dioxide in some cases. This interesting infographic from the Environmental Working Group helps you see how much of your consumption is contributing to emissions that hurt our atmosphere:
As you can see, meat has a very high carbon footprint. Even cheese, my favorite, is terrible for the environment. This then leads me to the idea, once again, that the vegan diet is key and that’s is the way to go. I appreciate that sentiment. I think being vegan is great for the environment and for the body. I still don’t think it’s right for me. I have given food up and have changed my palate, but I would rather participate in society by being social with food. Instead of having to decline many items at a dinner party or to ask at every restaurant whether or not their food was made with animal products, I’d rather be a conscious eater, aware of my environmental impact but still happy that I have choices and that I can indulge in ice cream when I want. I don’t have as much an issue with the treatment of animals and the PETA reason for giving up animal products. Mine is more environmentally-based.
What’s important to me is the amount of ingredients in a product and the process in which it’s created. Did you know that they press almonds to get the milk out of them? That seems to be taking something and unnaturally making it into a substitute. Instead of switching up the type of milk I have, I’ll just use less of the organic, local cow’s milk that I get. Instead of using one gallon every two weeks, I’ll just use 1/2 a gallon. For starters.
Back to the sugar problem. Instead of having to adhere to one strict diet, I think that I would better benefit from doing what’s best for me while using the Environmental Working Group’s chart to see what my choices do to the environment. And look at the studies on sugar consumption and its relation to diabetes. Being a more conscious eater is important because I am accountable to myself.
I shouldn’t think that because I worked out I deserve a sweet treat. I should think that BECAUSE I worked out, I should protect my body from sweets that turn it against itself. As for the other aspects of my diet – I love meat, but I just need to eat it responsibly. I should use these resources on the Meat Eaters Guide to make good diet and consumption choices.
Check out these sites:
Eat Low Carbon
Food Product Design
And this Carbon Footprint of Cheese