In my article on the health hazards of refined carbohydrates, I told you how refined carbohydrates deplete nutrient reserves, mess up your mind, and spike insulin production. You and your body deserve better than that. So, here’s a three step battle plan for overcoming this destructive influence on our health.
1. Think Substitution Instead of Avoidance
You’ll never kick the sugar and white carbohydrate habit by trying to avoid all sweets and starchy foods. Forget it. We need carbohydrates. They give us energy, and we crave sweets because our senses were designed to look for natural foods that contain the carbohydrates we need.
So, instead of just trying to avoid the white guys, start consciously seeking out the brown guys. Yep, when it comes to carbohydrates, brown is beautiful.
This means we need to start using whole natural sugars such as freeze-dried sugar cane juice, genuine raw sugar, raw honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. We also need to use whole grains.
These brown “good guys” are all natural sources of sugar that also contain other nutrients that help you utilize the carbohydrates properly. In my experience this results in a greater sense of satisfaction, which automatically makes you eat less of the sweet stuff. Also, once your body is used to getting whole natural sugars, it becomes easier to avoid the refined stuff because you start noticing how bad it actually makes you feel.
Another strategy to defeating the white carbohydrates is to use xylitol. This naturally-occurring “sugar-alcohol” is another great alternative to refined sugar. Although it is a refined product itself, it has some very positive benefits refined sugar doesn’t. For one, it not only won’t rot your teeth, it actually helps re-mineralize bones and teeth.
Xylitol is both antifungal and antibacterial, so it fights gum disease, tooth decay, sinus, strep and yeast infections. It has less calories than sugar and doesn’t spike blood sugar levels.
However, I think one of the best things about xylitol is that it actually helps reduce cravings for sugar. So, if you use it, you’ll get your sweet “fix” and a cure for the addiction at the same time.
The only problem with xylitol is that some people have a hard time getting their digestive tract to adjust to it. That is, it can cause loose stools in some people, probably because it alters the balance of their friendly flora. So, start slowly with it and give yourself time to adjust.
Another great thing about xylitol is that it has the same sweetness as sugar so it can be substituted one to one for sugar in recipes. This makes it a good option for baking.
Xylitol will not work for candies or bread however. This is because it won’t crystallize and it kills, rather than feeds, the yeast in the bread dough.
Another option for a natural sugar substitute is stevia. Stevia contains glycosides that are 50 times sweeter than sugar, so an extract of stevia also makes a good natural sweetener. Because it balances blood sugar levels, it also takes away carbohydrate cravings.
I like stevia best for sweetening my herbal tea or herbal “coffee.” It has a slight aftertaste and is hard to use in baking because you have to really make major adjustments to recipes.
Finally, don’t overlook the carbohydrates that your body is really looking for. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. They’ll not only provide you with natural sugars and the nutrients your body needs to process them, they’re also loaded with antioxidants that protect you against degenerative disease.
2. Start the Day with Fat and Protein at Breakfast
The second strategy for defeating the white horse of refined carbohydrates is to eat a good breakfast. Your blood sugar level is going to be a little low in the morning because you’ve been fasting all night. That’s why we call the first meal of the day, break fast.
If you break your fast by eating simple carbohydrates, such as pastry, donuts, toast and breakfast cereals (even whole grain varieties), you trigger an insulin reaction that starts you on the blood sugar roller coaster ride all day. Conversely, when you break your fast with high protein foods, you stimulate the release of glucagon, which mobilizes stored reserves of sugar and lowers insulin production.
So, eating protein for breakfast, not only stabilizes your blood sugar level, it also helps you burn fat and lose weight. Eating some good quality fat for breakfast also helps this process.
Since hydrochloric acid production is highest in the morning, and lowest in the evening, it makes sense that we should eat our heavier proteins early in the day rather than later. I find that I digest high protein foods better in the morning, but when I eat meat late at night, I don’t do so well.
Organic eggs, meat, shakes made with protein powders, plain whole milk yoghurt, organic cheese and believe it or not, beans, all make great breakfast foods. Organic eggs, avocados, organic cheese and whole milk yoghurt, coconut oil and organic meat will also supply good fats to further stabilize your blood sugar.
If you crave carbohydrates and sugar, avoid eating fruit, fruit juice or even whole grain cereal at breakfast until your metabolism stabilizes. Once you don’t crave these simple sugars anymore, it’s good to eat some of these foods for breakfast, too.
3. Take Supplements to Balance Blood Sugar
The final step in my three part program for defeating the white horse of simple carbohydrates is to use supplements that help to balance your blood sugar. Licorice Root is another great herb to stabilize blood sugar levels. I’ve used it for years with great results in both children and adults. For adults, the dose is two capsules at breakfast, two at lunch and two more in the mid-afternoon.
Super Algae is another good supplement for hypoglycemia and sugar cravings. Its high content of amino acids works to stabilize both energy and blood sugar. Take two at breakfast, two at lunch and two more anytime you feel an energy slump. It can be used with Licorice Root, which makes it even more effective.
Other supplements that may help with sugar cravings include Target Endurance, B-Complex vitamins and chromium. The B-vitamins and GTF chromium help the body utilize sugar properly.
About Steven Horne, RH (AHG)
Steven Horne is a Registered Herbalist with and a past president of the American Herbalist Guild (AHG). He is the author of numerous books and courses on herbs and natural healing and has lectured on this subject all over the world. He is the father of five children, who were all raised on natural remedies. Because he's learned how to provide primary health care to his children in the home, he's only had to make three visits to a medical doctor for illnesses with his five children.
Copyright Steven H. Horne