5 Reasons Why You Should Go Sugar-Free

brownie

Most of us can’t resist chocolate and cake. They are our comfort foods when the stresses of the day take over. Personally, I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of girl. Give me a box of Quality Street or Celebrations and I would think nothing of ploughing through at least half of it in one go! Shameful, I know!

Last year I gave up refined sugar for 6 months. It was not as hard as I thought and, once I got out of bad habits, like a few biscuits watching TV (affectionately known as ‘ninesies’ by my hubby and I) I started to feel the benefits. Sadly, I had a relapse on holiday and slipped into bad ways again. I’m determined to do it again and keep going this time.

There are many ways living a sugar-free life can help you. Here are a few I experienced:


1. Blood Pressure Reduction

My blood pressure was never really high, but it had started to just cross the ‘normal’ line. It is believed that sugar may affect the hypothalamus. This is an area of the brain that helps to maintain equilibrium in the body. It helps to keep blood pressure at a stable point.


2. Weight Loss

In three months I lost two stone. Admittedly, I was exercising quite a bit too, but the sugar reduction helped reduce puffiness in my body.

Sugar also creates blood sugar spikes, which will trick your body into thinking it needs more food, once it has crashed, following the initial high.


3. Lower Cholesterol

My cholesterol dropped from 5.4 to 4.5. This was pretty significant and I found this was the most surprising health benefit for me.

Sugar can raise levels of triglycerides. These are a type of fat that can clog up arteries and may contribute to heart disease.


4. Clearer Skin

My skin became clearer and not as dry. Sugar has a dehydrating effect on the body. That would explain why my skin became less dry when I gave it up. It can also upset hormonal balance in the body. Hormonal imbalance can contribute to outbreaks of spots. I have never really suffered with spots but my skin felt smoother.


5.More Energy

We tend to associate sugar with giving us energy. Carbohydrates give us energy. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate so it is released quickly, causing blood sugar spikes. This is great, initially, but does not last long and the inevitable crash makes us feel sluggish again.

 

In Conclusion

Giving up sugar really made a difference to my health. Since my relapse I have since had health checks and my cholesterol has gone up again, along with my weight, not by a huge amount but enough to make me realise I need to jump off that sugar wagon again. It’s time to get back all the benefits I listed above.

Are you ready to go sugar-free? Are you already sugar-free? I’d love to know your stories. Please comment and let’s help each other.

 

If you want extra support with living a healthy lifestyle why not ‘Like’ my Facebook page, Beetroot Face

Posted in Healthy Eating

New Year, New You

Healthy Breakfast

Have you started those resolutions yet?

Have you given up on your resolutions yet?

A lot of people feel it is a fresh start for their health and wellbeing. Numerous diets come out of the woodwork. Adverts promoting slimming aids are promoted more. Shopping channels have beetroot-faced (I had to get that in!) presenters showing off new exercise equipment to shape you like Jessica Rabbit or Magic Mike, wherever your preference lies.

I went back to the gym after Christmas to find it heaving with sweaty bodies, all hoping to attain that magazine cover physique. A week later, I return to the gym to find less heaving bodies. Why is this? I think the answer lies in lack of structure and support.

People who attend slimming clubs tend to stick at it for longer than the lone slimmer. This is mainly due to support from like-minded individuals who are all striving for a similar goal.

I’m not a fan of slimming clubs. I don’t deny they help people lose weight but the constant calorie and syn counting is not my thing. I worry that the saving of syns so that you can indulge at the weekend encourages a binge mentality. This is just my opinion and, if it works for you, then that is great. We are all different. The clue is in that last sentence. We are all different.

Each of us has a unique physiological design, so why would one size fits all diets suit everyone? Well, the answer is, they don’t!

Another thing to think about is your medical history. Most slimming clubs and diets I hear of do not ask a single question about your medical history. The fact is, some food properties may hinder the effectiveness of some drugs that you may be prescribed. The diet may be helping you slim, but may not be completely healthy for you.

If you are prescribed any drugs, a good way to check which foods are ok is to type this into Google: “<name of drug> contraindications food”. The NHS website often displays which food may be best avoided or eaten in moderation, when taking a particular drug. These can include healthy foods.

My personal goal is to reduce sugar in my diet. I am armed with various cookbooks to help me decide on meals that would help me do this. I am also searching for Facebook groups to have a support network. There goes that structure and support thing again.

If you need extra advice why not ‘Like’ the Beetroot Face Facebook page .

 

Which healthy lifestyle resolutions have you made?

 

 

Photo Credit: Arya Ziai via Compfight cc

Posted in Healthy Eating

Beetroot Face – The Beginning

BFC

Welcome to the Beetroot Face blog.

This blog is about living a healthy lifestyle. It will cover what we eat, how we exercise and toxins in our lives. I have a Diploma in Optimum Nutritional Therapy and I have always had an interest in the subject, although I maybe haven’t always followed my own lead. I’m only human and I don’t think you should beat (beet – sorry, I couldn’t resist) yourself up about going to the dark side of beige food now and again. As long as it is just now and again.

I know what you’re thinking. Why Beetroot Face? Well, it’s quite a simple explanation. I had been pondering on a name for the blog for a while, but nothing really struck me. Then, as I was leaving the gym one evening, I looked in my rear view mirror and there it was. My hour of exhaustion had produced my regular beetroot post exercise complexion.

As a result of my flash of inspiration, I feel there can only be one topic of conversation for this first post – Beetroots.

Beetroot Juice
Beetroot Fashion

No, I don’t mean vegetable based dresses to rival Lady Ga Ga’s meat ensemble. This is to do with how we have been encouraged to use beetroot in a less conventional way.

I am sure most of you will be pulling a face by now. Beetroot has not always been a favourite vegetable for our fussy palates. However, we have recently been shown how to use it in ways we could not initially comprehend.

Beetroot in chocolate cake! What! Vegetables and chocolate – together! Whatever next? Well we already had carrots in cake, so it was just a natural progression.

Juices have also become very fashionable. Their benefits are highlighted by eager shopping channel presenters, keen to sell the latest gadget that will pulverise a fruit or vegetable to within an inch of its life.


High Blood Pressure

The beetroot is a powerhouse of nutrients. In a study on a small group of people, funded by The British Heart Foundation, Scientists from Queen Mary University of London recently found that high blood pressure can be significantly reduced by drinking beetroot juice on a daily basis. This is to do with the beetroot containing high levels of the substance, ‘inorganic nitrate’. This converts to nitric oxide in the body and can help reduce stiffness in the blood vessels.

A daily cup of beetroot juice may be a small price to pay if this is one of the benefits.

Benefits for Athletes

Findings by Sport and Health Sciences at University of Exeter have also shown it may help improve athletic performance. This, again, is down to the high levels of nitrates. These nitrates mean that you need to use less energy during exercise.

In Conclusion

Whatever you think about the humble beetroot you cannot deny its amazing properties. Another bonus is that it is in season from July to January, which usually makes it cheaper.

Have you tried any weird beetroot recipes? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about them.

 

Photo Credit: hepp via Compfight cc

Posted in Healthy Eating

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