Like everyone else this time of year, I am thinking about how to improve my health. I like to keep my health resolutions pretty simple. Move more, cook it yourself. Drink H2O.
But every January I feel the need to kick sugar to the curb. I have learned over the years that I am very sensitive to sugar's seduction and it doesn't take much to get me hooked. The holidays present endless opportunities to over indulge and it is tough to limit sugar - it is in everything. When I resort to a Starbuck's cinnamon dolce latte sometime in December (it just fits with the season) I know I am in a sugar rut. I feel sluggish and unhealthy and out of sorts.
Every New Year's Eve we have a blow out dinner party with friends - amazing and excellent food courses, all paired with wine and spirits. It is fantastic! And it puts me over the edge of the holiday food cliff. I can't wait until January when I can get back to consistent, healthy eating.
There is no need to diet or do anything drastic really, we just need to get back to our normal eating habits. We aim to eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein every day (I wrote about one of my favorite cookbooks for family meals here). We have pizza almost once a week, but we make a whole wheat crust from scratch and pile on the veggies. I don't buy sodas or processed foods like crackers, chips and cookies. If I crave a cookie, I have to make it myself. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like.
A typical weeknight dinner for us is grilled salmon, roasted vegetables (Brussel Sprouts, radishes, parsnips and onion) and brown rice. Iz will trade her parsnips for Charlie's Brussel sprouts but they otherwise clean their plates. Banana ice cream is a favorite guilt-free dessert - frozen bananas whipped up with a little almond milk in a blender - so good and so easy!
My surefire way of kicking the sugar habit and getting back on track in January is to juice. (I've written about my love of juicing previously). Call it a modified juice cleanse or my January Sugar Cure, either way, it does the trick. For 5 days I have juice for both breakfast and lunch and then a healthy dinner of lean protein, veggies and whole grains. The juices taste amazing, I feel less full and my digestive system gets a break. After only a day or two I feel energized rather than sluggish, and I crave healthy foods again - not sugar.
This strategy works for me throughout the year. If I slide back down the sugar hole, I juice for just a day or two and all is right with the world again. I couldn't juice all the time, nor would I recommend it. It is a temporary fix. It makes me feel light and energized, and the after effect is that I really appreciate and crave healthy, whole foods. It is a win-win.