Most New Year’s resolutions somehow involve nutrition, health, or weight. A common resolution is to eat less sugar. For vegans, this can be especially difficult. You’re already avoiding so many common food items like dairy, meat, and even honey. Do you really want to add another restriction to that list?
While sugar is technically vegan, there are plenty of good reasons to eliminate it from your diet. Whether you’re looking to improve your smile, ward off wrinkles, or avoid the many other nasty effects of sugar, it’s a great resolution to stick to. In this article, we’ll teach you how to succeed in your resolutions and how to wean yourself off sugar for good.
How to Succeed at Your New Year’s Resolution
Committing to less sugar in your life is a great way to start a new year. After a couple months of Christmas cookies and treats, we could all use a little discipline in that area. But resolutions are always tough to stick to. Here are a few tips to ensure success.
- Keep it simple and specific.
- Plan each step.
- Write down your resolutions. (You’re 42 percent more likely to succeed if your goals are written down.)
- Track your progress and reward yourself.
If your New Year’s resolution is to eat less sugar, why not piggyback on that and make another resolution to improve your oral health in 2018? No doubt, eating less sugar will lead to healthier teeth and fewer cavities. So it’s a win-win!
Why Avoid Sugar
Some vegans may struggle to avoid sugar, as it is technically vegan. So I applaud your efforts to eat less sugar among the many other healthy habits you probably already employ. If you’re struggling to stick to your resolution to eat less sugar, it might help to get a refresher on the negative effects sugar has on your body.
Writer Ian Lecklinter quoted holistic wellness coach Erin Clifford, who said: “... sugar attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules.” These attach to your collagen fibers (the stuff that makes your skin elastic) resulting in skin that is less elastic, more prone to wrinkles, and even sun damage.
To fight against wrinkles eat blueberries, acai, and goji berries. They’re packed with antioxidants that protect your beautiful skin.
Cancer and Disease
Not only does sugar add calories to your meal, it sends your body into a metabolic state. Lecklinter also quoted dietician Liz Weinandy, who stated: “This shift creates a state of overall low-grade inflammation within our bodies that is known to cause cancer.” It also spikes your blood sugar, leading to increased insulin levels that contribute to disease and diabetes.
Try your best to keep your sugar intake below 10 percent of your daily calories; below 5 percent is ideal. The average American consumes a lot more sugar than this, and it can be really hard to eliminate from your diet. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
How to Wean Yourself off Sugar
Cutting sugar cold turkey is daunting, if not impossible, for most people. Being a New Year’s resolution, you might have been tempted to cut it completely the morning of the first. How did that go for you? I’m betting it was tough. It’s better to wean yourself off sugar gradually. This way, you’re more likely to succeed and minimize your own personal torture.
Remember that not all sugars are bad. Natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods are A-OK!
Even though we try to avoid processed foods, we find ourselves reaching for them in a pinch. When you do, read the ingredients list looking for added sugars. Avoid ingredients ending in -ose and -rin, as they are usually another name for sugar. Be sure to examine snacks like granola bars, bread and pasta products, crackers, and drinks since they often contain added sugars.
When the inevitable sugar cravings hit you, make sure you have a plan to successfully fight them off. Try eating fruit, taking a walk, making yourself a cup of tea, or drinking a big glass of lemon water. Make sure you have plenty of healthy and wholesome foods at home and work to help curb cravings and use savvy food storage tips to keep them fresh longer.
Even as a vegan, there are plenty of good reasons to eat less sugar. If you’re struggling to kick your dessert habit, check out these recipes for sugarless date and walnut cake and sugar free cinnamon almond coconut balls. Good luck with your healthy resolutions!
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash.