I have never been one to set New Year’s resolutions. The whole “new year, new me” thing? Well, I never bought into it.
Now, I don’t want to come off as complacent or as if I don’t believe in actively working on myself, either to reverse unhealthy habits or pick up new, healthier ones. On the contrary, actually. I just think that such changes can take place at any time of the year rather than just January 1 at midnight. I don’t know about you, but the other 364 days of the year seem like equally awesome opportunities to set some goals, don’t you think?
If anything, all of the hype surrounding the infamous “New Year’s Resolution” fosters an exorbitant amount of pressure to follow through with oftentimes unrealistic goals set half-heartedly because people feel like they should. If you are making smart, rational, specific, and challenging yet realistic goals for yourself that happen to correspond with the new year, great! But don’t decide on such things simply because it’s the end of the calendar year. These sorts of goals, I believe, are bound to fail.
In the spirit of being self-aware and proactive throughout the year, I want to tell you all about something I started working on a little over a month ago.
**Spoiler alert: it’s not so sweet.
Over the past few weeks, I have started to become more aware and honest with myself about the amount of refined sugar that creeps its way onto my plate.
I have a pretty bad sweet tooth. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m never one to say no to ice cream, especially chocolate chip. And when it comes to nutella, there’s literally no stopping me unless my mom hides it in the pantry (Hi, Mom!).
However, a summer interning at Rodale, a week working and subsisting off of an organic farm, and a lot of time spent reading articles is enough to convince me that all of the sweets I go weak at the knees for are, in fact, toxic for my body.
I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but *hint hint* the dangerous effects of sugar include fat buildup in the liver, cognitive impairment, accelerated aging, increased risk of cancer, and poor circulation.
No, thank you.
I haven’t completely eliminated everything sweet from my diet because doing so, especially while living in France, would not be something I could see myself realistically following through with. When consciously indulging in sweet treats, however, I am trying to steer clear of refined sources of sugar. Better yet, I opt for naturally sweet and wholesome foods to satisfy my cravings such as sweet potatoes, apples (shoutout to the apple/pear compote I am LOVING right now), bananas, and coconut. Raw cacao is a go-to as well.
There’s really no sugarcoating the fact that this is really, really difficult (pun absolutely intended) because, if you look closely, a lot of savory foods have added sugar in them. Plus, sugar can appear in the ingredients list in many different forms, making it that much harder to recognize.
“Pasta sauces, chicken nuggets, cured meats, ketchup, even almond milk often contain added sugar,” explains Pooja Mottl in an article on womenshealthmag.com. “Another misstep happens when people don’t know the various terms that refer to sugar on ingredients lists,” adds Mootl, author of The 3-Day Reset. These include high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, fructose, and other terms ending in “ose.”
Let me be clear: this is very much so a work in progress and, as always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. In the meantime, feel free to comment or share ways you have tried to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and follow one taste at a time’s instagram to see what’s cooking in my sugar-free kitchen.