Sugar: don’t eat it, wear it!
Last week, I caved in and bought bunnies for the girls. They’d been doing camp at Wild Island Farm and had got increasingly attached to every living thing.
I caught Belle trying to bring home a chick in her pocket and when Chloe started talking about getting a donkey, I thought I better nip all these animal-loving aspirations in the bud.
Then, the bunnies got me. Every single day I tried to ignore how cute they were but, Oh My God, it was impossible. Tiny bundles of fluff with the biggest ears you’ve ever seen. It was like Watership Down in real life.
Anyway, you should have seen my face when I realised they were going to grow into their ears. I’d grown up with bunnies and they were always small.
I’m not sure I realised how big rabbits could actually get. After all was signed, sealed and delivered, Chloe happened to mention they would get bigger than the cats.
I almost had a heart attack and mentally shelved the bunny hutch I’d had my eye on. I drove to Gorham’s instead and bought a chicken coop.
It’s shady, it’s roomy, there’s an upstairs bedroom and practically an en suite. If they outgrow it, we’re screwed. They’ll just have to have the house.
On the up side, the kids were beside themselves with excitement.
Cue the most chilled-out week in parenting history: there was no whining, no fighting … it’s been bliss. I’m sure the bubble will burst at some point but ,right now, I’ll take it.
The only minor setback has been in the naming of the bunnies. Holding their middle fingers up to their healthy eating roots, the girls called them …(are you ready?) ... Sugar Bubble and Oreo Pop.
I mean, come on! Throw me a bone here kids, could we not have called them Kale and Chips? But the sweet tooth runs strong in our house and I battle it too.
Most of the time I’m pretty good with the sweet stuff. If I eat little and often, I include lots of quality protein and stick to slow-releasing carbs, then the cravings are pretty much under control.
When I’m tired or feeling a little blue, it’s so easy to slip. Sleep deprivation is my biggest trigger of all.
When we sleep, we produce something called leptin which acts an appetite suppressant. Conversely, when we’re short on sleep, we’re short on leptin.
This leads to an appetite increase in general, but will trigger cravings for refined carbs, especially.
Understanding how it all works is often critical for making long-term changes to nutrition habits (lifestyle too).
Really getting to the “why” helps make healthy eating something we want to do, rather than just something we should do.
Sometimes I have to be a little blunt with myself too, aside from contributing to disease risk, eating lots of refined sugar makes me feel old and stupid.
Refined sugar accelerates the production of something called “age-related end products” which triggers both visible and non-visible ageing (think wrinkles and high blood pressure, for example).
If I’ve slipped down the sugary slope, I really notice the difference in the mirror. And we know that how we look is not the be all and end all, but there’s no denying that feeling our best puts a pep in our step.
In addition, sugary food and drinks age our brains long term and in the short term contribute to the blood sugar dips that trigger concentration problems and poor memory.
High insulin production (in response to a high-sugar diet) can also interfere with the uptake of Omega 3s, the precious “good” fats that nourish our nervous system. Yikes.
So, eating or drinking sugar , especially a lot of it, is a flat-out bad idea. Wearing it is another thing entirely, though.
I’m not suggesting you try and weave sugar cane together into some kind of kaftan but, instead, make it into a completely natural but totally effective body scrub!
We’re used to salt scrubs, but sugar is actually much more gentle and it’s a natural source of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxyl acid) which keeps your skin looking young (so long as you’re applying it topically instead of eating it …).
All you need to do is combine 1 cup of sugar with ½ cup melted (but very cool), coconut oil.
Then add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil. You could try lavender (relaxing, reduces redness), ginger (improves collagen production), grapefruit (helps reduce cellulite) or chamomile (anti-inflammatory).
Ideally, you would dry-skin brush first, then use the scrub in the shower and then apply oil or lotion.
Remember to drink lots of water too, which helps to move nutrients into your cells and flushes out toxins.
That’s also facilitated by supple cell walls which rely on plenty of good fats (fish, nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil) and the absence of bad fats (processed food and deep fried anything). So eat well, drink well, brush well and scrub well and you’ll see the difference in no time!
Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda