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In this episode, Stacy and Sarah are helping you prepare for America’s sugar holiday, Halloween! Find out Stacy’s and Sarah’s strategies for empowering their kids to make good choices around trick-or-treating candy, mindset tips for navigating sugar cravings and getting back on track after overindulging, and why raw honey is such a unique and powerful natural sweetener!
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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 323: Cheat or Treat, Let’s Talk Sweets!
- (0:00) Intro
- (0:40) Today’s topic: how to successfully navigate the sugar holiday, Halloween!
- Let’s change the way we think about Halloween and focus on how we treat ourselves (self care) versus how we treat ourselves (sugar) to get rid of the guilt and shame mentality.
- This topic goes beyond just Halloween. Halloween kicks off a two month stretch of indulgent holidays!
- Think “I’m choosing to treat myself” versus “I’m cheating on my diet.”
- Sugar, in small doses, doesn’t have to be detrimental to your health and it can offer some benefits like social comfort and enjoyment.
- Paleo Treats is this week’s podcast sponsor!
- Paleo Treats “changed Sarah’s world!”
- They were one of the first paleo desserts on the scene.
- Sarah’s and Stacy’s favorite Paleo Treat is the Bandito. It’s like a peanut butter cup — but paleo!
- In addition to the Bandito, Paleo Treats has a number of delicious treats including the Cacao Now (açaí and chocolate), the Mac Attack (coconut cookie), the Mustang Bar (oatmeal cookie), the Rocket (espresso brownie), and the Brownie Bar (flourless chocolate cake).
- The Bandito is a great options for those seeking a low sugar option because it only has 7g of sugar from honey!
- Try these delicious treats for yourself: www.paleotreats.com/thepaleoview and use code PALEOVIEW for 10% off!
- One strategy Sarah uses to be mindful of her dessert intake is that she’ll freeze cookies or sweets. Then, when a craving strikes, she must defrost the treat, which allows time for her craving to lessen or go away. Paleo Treats are great for this because they’re stored frozen!
- (19:38) Natural Sweeteners
- Paleo Treats uses honey to sweeten their treats (no refined sugar!).
- In researching her new book about the microbiome, Sarah has discovered really cool research about honey, which separates it from any other sugar.
- Before we get to honey though, Blackstrap molasses is definitely on a pedestal. One tablespoon has just 42 calories, 20% of your RDA of calcium and iron, most B vitamins, and is a great source of chromium. It has more iron per calorie than steak and more calcium per calorie than cheese.
- Honey is non diabetogenic. For some reason that researchers are still trying to figure out, it doesn’t elicit the insulin response you’d expect and doesn’t seem to contribute to insulin resistance the way you’d expect.
- Studies show that diabetics can sweeten with honey which dysregulating their blood sugar. Honey doesn’t create the same response as cane sugar or maple syrup, two sweeteners that have a very similar saccharide breakdown.
- Honey has incredible anti-microbial properties.
- Raw honey has fermentable substrate in it, which feeds our gut bacteria. It increases microbial diversities and selectively feeds probiotic stains that are very desirable. It’s incredibly beneficial to the gut microbiome! So Sarah puts honey on an equally high, but different pedestal as blackstrap molasses.
- (24:26) Honey versus raw honey
- There are certain properties of honey that are lost when it’s pasteurized or cooked. It has unique compounds that are similar to phytochemicals that we haven’t completely characterized. There really isn’t another food like honey! But when you heat things, chemical structures tend to unravel which can change their function.
- Raw honey is antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. It’s cardio protective, gastro protective, and can promote wound healing.
- If you make cookies with raw honey or put a spoonful of raw honey in a cup of tea, you’re going to lose some of these properties, but it’s still going to be fermentable (things the gut bacteria will eat), which still benefits your microbiome.
- Stacy’s strategy to maximize the benefits of raw honey in hot tea is to let the tea cool to drinking temperature and then add the honey.
- Honey has been shown to improve IBS both with chronic constipation and chronic diarrhea.
- Honey is also a cough suppressant and is very soothing for the throat.
- (30:27) Defining what a treat is
- Stacy defines treats as anything outside the scope of a nutrient dense healing food, or what Mark Sisson would call “the 20%.”
- Sarah agrees, defining treats as anything that’s not adding nutritive value to her diet, for example, gluten-free burger buns, popcorn, and rice (unless it’s made with broth).
- In her house, the most common treat foods are popcorn (once a week, maybe twice) or a sweet treat (once a week).
- Stacy agrees, saying her family usually has a sweet treat twice a week and they try to focus on recipes that are naturally low in sugar. One of their favorites is this Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding, which has a lot of nutrient density!
- If you’re experiencing a craving, it’s often because you need something. If you’re craving sugar, it might be a sign that you need vitamin C, more sleep, some downtime (reducing stress), healthy fats, magnesium, calcium, etc.
- Sometimes when Stacy has a sugar craving, she eats a clementine or an orange to get a dose of vitamin C.
- (37:12) Approaching Halloween and making treats a choice
- Stacy makes an agreement with her kids that they can keep a few pieces of trick-or-treating candy and they’ll exchange the rest for legos or pennies – whatever they negotiate. Then Stacy removes the “exchanged candy” from their house and brings it to share at her office.
- Sarah’s kids love the ritual of trick-or-treating! Sarah goes through the candy with her kids and separates out the candy that will make them sick. Her kids will then pick the treats they want and amazingly, have the self control to eat them over an extended period of time (versus all in one sitting).
- It’s important to figure out what works for you treat-wise – what fulfills you and makes you happy! If you don’t define a limit yourself, that’s where temptation can creep in, leaving you feeling ashamed and guilty.
- If you overindulge, don’t dwell on it. It’s over and done with so don’t decide to throw in the towel and eat that other bag of candy. Move forward and start fresh!
- If you get stuck on the “sugar rollercoaster,” and have a hard time going cold turkey to reset your palette, Stacy recommends weaning yourself off sugar by upgrading your sweets to clean ingredients by making paleo cookies or eating Paleo Treats.
- Sarah has totally experienced the slippery slope of eating one sweet and it creating a domino effect to eat the whole bag – more than once!
- Mindset is very important when it comes to treats. Sarah recommends viewing treats as an indulgence and as a choice. If things start to unravel, there are foods she won’t touch like gluten, dairy, or soy, but there are plenty of delicious treats that can be made with paleo ingredients that will set her up for a sugar rollercoaster. What’s true of those days is that it stops being a choice and starts becoming a compulsion.
- One thing Sarah has found really useful when things start to unravel is that she consciously chooses to eat the treat and be very present. She makes it a real, intentional moment, savoring the flavors, the texture, and the experience.
- She also notices that this compulsion is a symptom of not getting enough sleep or being overly stressed and comes up with a plan for taking action to address those imbalances so the compulsions stop.
- Dark chocolate and sometimes fruit is Sarah’s go-to for a treat when she’s trying to reset her compulsions.
- (51:24) Alternative sweeteners
- Be a mindful consumer when it comes to the new, no calorie sweeteners on the market. Think through what the ingredients are and if that’s what will set you up for success.
- Google these products, look up the ingredients and how it’s made. Check the sources and read multiple articles with varying view points.
- There is now a conclusive study in humans that stevia can disrupt progesterone and testosterone signaling.
- Low calorie sweeteners, low glycemic sweeteners, and keto sweeteners all have problems. They either disrupt the gut microbiome, increase leaky gut, or mess with hormones.
- The body has a far greater capacity to process a moderate and occasional amount of real sugar (honey, maple sugar, cane sugar). We can process and detox those better than sugar substitutes (even plant-derived sweeteners) like stevia.
- If you overindulge this holiday season, eat fish, drink broth, and sleep! And check out these recovery-themed episodes:
- Get your questions in! We want to hear from you! And there’s no end to questions we can answer and topics we can address!
- Engage on social media! That’s how we get feedback!
- Thank you for listening
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