Navigating the Cold, Sugary Waters of the Holiday Season

Navigating the Cold, Sugary Waters of the Holiday Season

The harvest is in, the plants are going dormant, the days fly by and now we’re softly slipping into the darkness that is Early Winter.

When you think about it that way, it’s no wonder that this is the season of festive lights, parties and gatherings, the exchanging of gifts. The outdoor world is contracting and preparing to sleep off the winter, and we humans know we have several months of cold ahead of us. Those living off the land have the abundance they have gathered which they are eager to share, in the form of feasts and gifts, before it goes bad. It’s the perfect time to think of others and stave off loneliness though generosity and fellowship.

It is also a time to be careful not to substitute artificial sweetness for the real thing. Our bodies are craving to curl up in front of the fire with a loved one and a home baked treat, enjoying the sweetness of whole grains and preserved fruits with the nutrition of real butter and eggs. If there’s candy around, it’s easy to think that will satisfy our souls. But it never will.

Because sugar causes so many problems for so many people, we followed some leads into the Research Realm. It turns out that people have been using herbs to regulate blood sugar for centuries, and that even medical science has recognized the efficacy of some of these herbs.

A Homegrown Helper for Blood Sugar Stability

Based on our research, we have blended a special tincture to help our bodies re-learn how to process sugar. Barberry, Tulsi and Cinnamon combine to create Slow Down Sweetness, which may help increase insulin sensitivity, decrease cravings and slow the release of sugar into the blood stream. This may help our bodies release more of what we eat, rather than storing it as fat, and may help even out blood cholesterol levels. It may also help combat overall inflammation issues.

But back to the underlying issue: how can you bring real sweetness into your life? What does sweetness look like to you? Is it a phone call with a far away loved one? A night out with a friend or spouse? Is it re-reading a favorite book, or dancing in the kitchen to a record you haven’t pulled out in too long?

If you find you really need treats, can you take time to bake honest, hearty, nourishing ones that will feed your body and your soul? Don’t have the time or touch to make what you want? There may be a local business, like Mary’s Vegetarian Cafe in Berkeley Springs or Motzi Bread and Harmony Bakery in Baltimore, from which you can source such goodness, knowing that your purchase is helping real people live their dreams. The higher price tag helps to act as a check against overdoing it, and the nutritionally dense ingredients will make it much more satisfying than that candy cane or plastic-wrapped ginger bread dude.

Millions of Americans have Diabetes or Pre-diabetes, and sugar addiction is a very easy trap to fall into. It’s added to so many foods these days, in so many forms. And the more processed a food is, the less expensive and the easier to grab on the go, which means working people pay the highest toll.

Sugar quickly sets off an inflammatory response in our bodies. You may notice that your joints or old injuries hurt, your gums may be sore, you may be irritable or not sleep as well…and you’re very likely to crave more sugar. The more you have, the more your body gets used to, and eventually, you stop making enough insulin, which escorts the sugar out. This means the sugar keeps circulating, keeps throwing of your system, and eventually gets stored as fat. InsideOut Wholeness is vehemently body-positive, but we promise you that’s not the kind of fat you want.

Hidden Sugar Sources

It bears mentioning that alcohol is fermented from sugar. A reasonable amount of beer brewed from whole grains or cider and wine from organic (or at least unsprayed) real fruit is fine for most people. Beers, wines and ciders with additives, “country wines” brewed with lots of cane sugar, and liquors should be handled like candy—less is much, much more.

And a slice of white bread is almost as bad as a cookie, as far as blood sugar goes. Refined grains—like those in white rice, breads, rolls, bagels, pretzels, crackers, popcorn, white potatoes and pasta—break down into simple carbohydrates very quickly. Whole grains (really whole grains, that is, not white flour with bran added back into it, a la “whole wheat” bread or pasta) are whole nourishment, and most bodies need them, especially coming into the winter. Don’t be fooled by “grain free;” if it’s made of tapioca starch and potatoes, it’s just a simple carb.

So go fill your plate with well-cooked veggies, drizzled with Olive Oil or topped with melted, grass-fed butter. Eat that Free Range Turkey and be grateful. And by all means, have some pie, made with real fruit, sweetened with maple syrup, with a whole grain, real butter crust (yum!).

When you count your blessings, be sure to count your digestive system among them. And if it’s not living up to your expectations, send me an email so we can get to the bottom of it, and get you feeling great and loving your whole self!

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