Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Keeping Up With the Jonesin'

by Kris Pitcher

When we make changes to our eating plan sometimes we miss the things that don't quite fit in. Instead of saying our goodbyes, casting them away in ceremonial fashion...we replace them.

From sugar-free desserts to flavored water there's a world of what I would call "fake food" out there. Now, don't get yourself in a bunch just yet. These items have their place, and this will be neither a rant nor a bash.

You know when you just get that craving...nothing can quite satisfy it? You MUST have it. I hear people say it all the time, "I'm craving [fill in the blank]!" And virtually nothing will suffice until you get that thing. Not to throw anyone under the bus here, but it's usually our friend the fork-tonged carb.

The challenge with the sugar-free items is two-fold. First, is the chemical messages the artificial sugar sends in our system. A similar insulin response occurs as when we eat actual sugar. Insulin comes along to move sugar out of our blood into storage for later. Our blood sugar drops, we're hungry. It's a bad cycle.

To go along with that, artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar - setting us up for stronger taste cravings. So, we've set ourselves up for a taste, and a physiological craving.

The second issue with keeping up with the Jonesin' is we are perpetuating behaviors which won't get us to our goals. This is all relative. Utilizing these items in moderation is a good thing. But having a "fake" dessert with every meal every day...probably overboard. You have to decide where you are in your "use" of this stuff.

Finally, I'll remind you that these products are not calorie free. Your sugar-free gum, crystal light, and all those other items are not calorie free, and they do have sugar in them. They contain sugar alcohols.

We have a joke in my family that fruit is "nature's dessert". When we were in Vegas for the Nationals, we ate out. Sashimi is a legal diet meal so that was our indulgence. After the meal the owner brought us our check and a beautiful slice of orange delicately peeled. I looked at Jacques and said, "Can I eat that?!" (I don't get fruit on my diet.)

"Sure," he said. I slowly took the toothpick pointed toward me and put the slice of orange in my mouth. Saliva rushed from the sides of my tongue as I let the small section roll around. I felt every one of little cells of that orange as the sweetness spread through my mouth. It was as if I'd never tasted an orange before.

What are you missing by keeping up with the Jonesin' eating a bunch of garbage that is supposed to resemble something else? It's easy to get rid of the cravings. Kick the habit and you'll find a whole new experience with food.  

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