Sugar is a major detriment to health in a variety of ways. It increases inflammation in the body, cancer risk, and can lead to obesity & insulin resistance (both of which are risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes). Consuming too much refined sugar can also cause skin issues like acne and premature aging. And don’t get me started on the cavities. The good news is, it’s never too late to make positive dietary changes to prevent and/or reverse disease.
In a Standard Western Diet, it’s easy to overlook how much sugar we are having each day. Even plant-based folks can overload on sugar! Don’t get me wrong – I love enjoying my boyfriend’s delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies sparingly… but my body definitely starts screaming at me after indulging. In fact, I recently learned that sugar may be contributing to my horrendous period cramps. I was never big on eating things heavy in sugar to begin with, but am now actively putting in extra effort to further cut down on sugar (convenient breakfast bars that claim to be healthy, gummy bears, processed snacks, etc) in hopes of naturally getting to the root of the problem (possible endometriosis 🙁 ?!).
How can we limit sugar intake, or at least be more mindful of it?
One of my favorite ways to reduce sugar is eliminating or at least cutting down on processed drinks, and learning to enjoy naturally sweetened fruit juices instead. These are budget friendly AND easy to make at home, fresh! What’s there not to love?
This refreshing berry lemonade has been my go-to whenever I’m craving a sweet drink and needs very few ingredients. You likely have all of them already! The following makes 1 serving, so feel free to adjust as needed.
- 1 cup purified water
- 1 cup organic berries of choice (or mixed berries… or just about any fruit you like, really!)
- a squeeze of lemon juice (to your liking)
- chia seeds, ice cubes, and or mint leaves for garnishing (optional)
Simply add everything into a blender and blend until you reach smooth consistency. Garnish with your favorite healthy toppings and sip away! This is perfect pool-side for those who are experiencing warmer weather already like I am here in Palm Springs. Otherwise, it’s yummy regardless 🙂
What’s better than staying on top of our water intake, while getting a serving of fruit in for the day? Now I wouldn’t recommend making this a complete replacement for water per se, but it’s a nice refresher to have once a day. If you are the type who has trouble drinking plain water, I recommend infusing with mint leaves or fruit of choice to make it a little more tasty, but not necessarily sweet.
With that said, instead of reaching for candy mid-day when I feel like having something sweet, I’ll slice up a Fuji apple and enjoy that. Some may prefer dipping apple slices in peanut butter for an extra oomph 😉 Call me a boring health snob all you want… but my body is loving me for this and as a result, I feel great! I hate to say it but it’s true – at the end of the day, we can’t “YOLO” through life without a healthy body.