My Sweetened Taste Buds: Regaining Control

Where or where do I begin? I feel like I have so much to share with you. I may end up all over the place so just bear with me please.

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETSY!! Love you peanut!

betsy and melanie

Second of all, it is -11°F outside right now but feels like -34°F. Is that not insane? I wish I didn’t have to go anywhere today but unfortunately that isn’t so. It’s a good thing I have all of the appropriate winter weather gear–thermal insulated coat, insulated boots, hat, gloves, scarves. I’ll be needing it today.

This weekend we didn’t have too many plans except for Friday night’s birthday celebration, so I took the liberty of getting creative in the kitchen.

A quick snap shot of breakfast yesterday: FAGE Greek yogurt honey with blackberries, strawberries, and homemade granola (recipe below).

greek yogurt with fruit and granola

I am on a mission-get-rid-of-sugars around my house, but wanted to have something sweet and fun in the cupboards, so I got bakin’. The product: Sweet and Nutty Bites.

sweet and nutty bites

In a bowl I mixed together chopped pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, and chopped dates. In a small saucepan I melted together 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and 1/4 cup (or so) of honey. Once melted, I mixed the honey mix into the nuts and then pressed it into a 9 x 9 baking dish. I baked these gems for about 20 minutes. I let them cool on the counter for a good hour or two, and then attempted to cut them into bite size pieces but they were too sticky so they just turned into misshapen bites.

DSCN6355

These are not low-calorie or low-fat by any means, but they do provide healthy fats from the nuts and the only sugar in the recipe is natural sugar from the honey, so I do feel better feeding my body this dessert than I do say two handfuls of chocolate (that’s okay some days too though!). Just a bite does a great job of satisfying my sweet cravings.

I wasn’t going to go in this direction today, but since I am already on track for it, I’m going to go for it. It’s time to talk about my “sweetened taste buds” and my mission to eliminate added sugars to my diet.

I can comfortably admit that I have a large sweet tooth.

Everyone has their “thing” and that is mine. I love sweets. I always have and I always will. Growing up I would ask my mom if we could make cookies together only to wind up leaving her in the dust after the dough was made (sorry mom!). I didn’t do it on purpose, but I loved the dough and then got tired when it came to rolling the dough balls. To this day, I enjoy licking the mixers when making brownies, and helping myself to a few bites of cookie dough in the cookie baking process.

I am okay with having a sweet tooth, but ever since the holidays rolled around, my sweet tooth has spiraled out of control after one-too-many cookies. It’s time to regain control. I noticed that my gut didn’t appreciate the added sweets either, and this is something that I was fully aware of. Every day I would say I’m going to cut out the chocolate and the sweets, but sure enough another piece would present itself in front of me and I would cave. Okay, tomorrow I’ll start that shenanigans.

After reminding myself of my education, motivating myself by reading up on holistic living, and whole-heartedly knowing exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to feel well, I cleared all of the chocolates and candies out of the house. I wanted and needed to curb this sweet tooth. I got my husband on board too which helps immensely.

The hardest part of “cleaning up my act” wasn’t the chocolate, but my coffee creamer. I adore a cup of coffee in the morning with hazelnut creamer and stevia. Sweet on sweet. It had to go. I don’t like the ingredients on the label, and never have, but talked myself into using it just for a short while longer. No more my friends, no more. It’s gone.

If I do want to use a little sweetener it is going to be stevia which is a natural sweetener from the stevia plant. However, I am hoping to wean myself off of sweeteners all together.

Some may ask why I don’t just switch to regular sugar because that’s natural too, and they’re right it is, but the thing about sugars (carbohydrates included) is they are not digested well by the body. A lot of the starch from the sugar gets trapped inside of the intestines causing gas, bloating and irritability, and for someone who deals with irritable bowel, this isn’t a good option.

So how is the sugar wean going? 

To be perfectly honest, NOT BAD at all. The first couple of days I could have gone for a piece of chocolate, but I had other options in the house like dates, berries, and the sweet and nutty bites mentioned above, and they have really helped the process and satisfied my cravings. Another thing that helps is having a cup of tea with a touch of honey. I am now on day 4 of “no sugars added” lifestyle, and I have no sweet cravings. This may sound like a small fete but it is something I am very proud of.

My morning coffee…

At first I had told myself that I was just going to give up coffee because I really don’t enjoy coffee without cream, but I have gone back on that statement. I bought a product called Sweet Drops by Sweet Leaf. It is a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant that adds a subtle sweetness to your coffee, tea, or other beverages. This is what I am using in my coffee now along with a tablespoon of coconut milk.

sweet leaf drops

Do I really think I can keep up with this lifestyle? Am I cutting out sugars forever?

Yes and no. I am learning more and more about my body, the science of food and digestion, and know ways I can help to keep myself in tip-top shape. Cutting down on sugars will help me in so many ways and it is a lifestyle that I want to adapt for the health of myself.

I am NOT saying that I am cutting out sugars forever, but for now, I HAVE GOT to get this colitis under control. This has been going on for way too long. Needless to say there are other things going on with my health that may be contributing to this current “flare” but knowing that I can possibly help the situation through diet encourages me to maintain this lifestyle forever. I WILL be eating chocolate again once I get my health under control, but I will be moderate in my intake; one small piece of dark chocolate a day, a piece of birthday cake on special occasions, etc.

Some other natural remedies I am trying…

I am also taking a multivitamin in the morning along with probiotics. In the evening I am taking calcium plus vitamin D. I am incorporating coconut oil into my daily routine because studies have shown it can help heal the gut and sooth IBD symptoms.

Wow, I really opened up a can of worms with this one, huh?

As a Registered Dietitian it is sometimes hard to admit that I have “sweetened taste buds” and that I need to regain control of the issue. Shouldn’t a dietitian know what to do? It’s hard because I know exactly what I need to do in order to control it, but my stubborn self fought back for so long along with every excuse in the book. None of us are perfect, so why is it so hard for us to share our weaknesses?

Even though it has only been four days without “sweets” I already feel better. I have control already. I just feel better all around.

This turned from me sharing a recipe into divulging a weakness. The important thing to remember: we are given one body, and we have control over what goes into it, the activity it gets, and the decisions we make for it. Take care of your body and remember, no two people are the same, so do what’s best for YOU.

I have much more to share but it’s going to have to wait! Have a GREAT day my friends. xoxoxo

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