How sweet it is … or isn’t?

This past weekend, I took my children to see the new Mary Poppins Returns movie. As I watched Emily Blunt play the role of Mary Poppins, I reminisced about the original movie I saw many years ago in which Julie Andrews sang the favorite, “A spoonful of sugar”.

Emily Blunt did not sing this song in the new movie. Nevertheless, the memory reminded me of all the sweets I consumed over the holiday — cheesecake, a chocolate Santa, Hershey’s kisses from my stocking, candy canes and, oh lord, all of the cookies. I thoroughly enjoyed them even though I know how damaging the sugar can be for my body.

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but once it’s inside your body it can wreak havoc. I’m not saying we shouldn’t enjoy a sugary sweet now and then, but we should be mindful of the kinds of foods we eat and how much sugar we consume daily. On the Nutrition Facts label, keep an eye out for grams of sugar, especially any “added sugar”, as well as calories, total fat, saturated and trans fat.

A sweet glance

Glucose, sucrose and fructose are simple sugars that taste the same but are used differently in the body.

  • Glucose, or blood sugar, circulates in the blood and is used immediately by the body for energy. Glucose is added to processed foods and is found in carbohydrate-rich foods.
  • Sucrose, or table sugar, is also found in fruits and vegetables such as pineapple and apricots. The body changes sucrose into glucose and fructose.
  • Fructose, or plant sugar, is metabolized in the liver. It is found in honey, flowers, berries and most root vegetables and is included in condiments, soups, cereals, frozen and canned foods and crackers and breads.

Sugar and your body

  • Your brain – Fructose affects the brain’s reward center, increasing your desire for food. Long-term fructose consumption can make it harder to learn and remember things.1
  • Your skinA study published in Science Daily showed that fructose can accelerate aging of the skin by reducing the skin’s elasticity and softness. A steady diet of sugary treats can result in reduced elasticity and premature wrinkles.2
  • Your weight – The liver can get overloaded if you eat too much sugar. Any leftover sugar that the liver can’t convert into energy is stored as fat. Eating refined carbohydrates and sugary sweets may promote overeating.3
  • Your cells – Our cells naturally oxidate, death from stress, but fructose can accelerate the process and harm organs, tissues and proteins.
  • Stress – I know that when I’m stressed, I tend to snack on sweets. Well, sugar stresses your body from the inside, elevating your risk of insulin resistance. Instead, exercise! Moving is the best way to reduce stress as it makes you feel good and reduces cortisol, your stress hormone.
  • Energy – Refined carbohydrates, like those in white bread and pasta, quickly cause a rise in glucose in the bloodstream, giving you quick energy. But this short-term fix can leave you more sluggish later. Instead, opt for protein-rich snacks between meals, such as Greek yogurt with fresh berries or fresh veggies and hummus. They help stabilize blood sugar and keep you going longer.
  • According to data published online in the journal Nature Communications, a high-sugar diet might make cancerous tumors more aggressive since cancerous cells feed on sugar.4

It’s not a pretty picture, but there are healthier alternatives to a donut for breakfast or a candy bar for your afternoon snack.

Craving sweets? Sip and savor a cup of PURE Cafe, a coffee drink with a delicious mocha flavor. Or prepare a glass of ENERGY in your choice of five fruity flavors, without the added sugar.

Indulge your sweet tooth with fruit. Try dipping a banana in melted dark chocolate and let it freeze. Top yogurt, cottage cheese or cereal with fruit and nuts or honey. Natural agave is a good idea, too! Sprinkle a baked apple with cinnamon. Freeze grapes for a sweet treat. Snack on trail mix with dark chocolate pieces. Enjoy Animal Crackers which have only 120 calories and 7 grams of sugar per handful.

What healthy ways do you have to satisfy your sweet tooth?

 

1 http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/fructose-alters-hundreds-of-brain-genes-which-can-lead-to-a-wide-range-of-diseases

2 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981126103305.htm

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23280226

4 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01019-z

Vacation at your healthiest

It’s officially summer and that means it’s time to pack your bags and explore the world, or your own backyard!

Whether you are a weekend warrior or an international traveler, the adventure is good for your health. Traveling relaxes your body, challenges your mind and broadens your horizons. Travel also comes with its stressors, so it’s a good idea to take care of yourself while you’re away.

Take control of your health while traveling.

Hydration: Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so the importance of drinking water cannot be stressed enough. Water flushes out toxins and provides cushioning for our joints. Being in the dry air of a plane, combined with the increase in altitude, contributes to a loss of moisture levels and dehydration. Drink at least eight ounces of water per hour and avoid alcohol and caffeine as they both dehydrate your body. Try adding a Hydrate stick to plain or coconut water for B vitamins, potassium and electrolytes.

Extra Activity: Don’t stray from your fitness routine while you travel. If you have an afternoon flight, get up early and squeeze in a walk or extra workout. Since you’ll be sitting on your flight, wear comfortable shoes and walk the terminal to make sure you get your steps in. Whether your flight is four or 18 hours, make sure you get up and walk the aisle during your flight. After landing and settling in, visit the hotel gym.

Sunscreen: Don’t leave home without it. Look for sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection. When selecting one, buy a minimum of SPF 30+. If you are going to be in the sun, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure, and be sure to reapply every two hours.1

Stress Management: Allowing time for the commute to the airport, long security lines and potential flight delays can add stress which weakens our immune systems. It can be difficult waiting around, but practicing a bit of patience goes a long way.

  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport and be prepared for long lines.
  • Check the weather and keep an eye on your flight to ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, such as delays and gate changes.
  • Remember to focus on deep belly breaths when you feel tensions rise.
  • Pack GoYin On the Go to help bring your body into balance and enhance your well-being*
  • Listen to music, get lost in a good book, pack plenty of activities for the kids, and remember, sometimes things just come up, so allow for some flexibility.
  • And if you’re ever stuck wondering how to make the most out of a difficult travel situation, this guy got stuck in the airport overnight and made a music video. Enjoy the laughs, which also relieve tension.

Plan meals in advance: Travel with your own food. Not only can you save money but you can watch your calorie intake while making sure you eat the most nourishing foods. Bring some low sugar, high protein bars, jerky, raw nuts, dried fruit and an apple and peanut butter. Pack a sandwich with chicken or turkey on a gluten-free wrap and plenty of veggies. Eat before your flight, too.

Sleep: Don’t wait to pack the night before. You need a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. Research has shown that skimping on sleep makes you even more susceptible to catching a virus. When you’re on the plane, take a pillow and eye mask to catch up on some sleep. Bring along some SleepTrim  capsules to help relax your body mentally and physically.* This is best when taken at night.

Take Your Vitamins: Daily Build is a must. With 23 essential vitamins and minerals, Daily Build provides broad spectrum antioxidant protection as well as cardiovascular, blood glucose, brain and nervous system and immune support.*

One more tip: Wash your hands regularly and sanitize your area often. Travel with wipes to clean off the tray table, head rest and arm rest on the plane. Carry our travel-size, 2 oz. bottle of Skin Defense to spray on your hands to keep them clean. Also, bring your own pillow and/or blanket as germs tend to lurk on the ones provided on the plane.

Staying on top of your health will ensure that you’re not spending your hard-earned vacation fighting off a cold and missing time with your family.

Everyone has their own tips and tricks, so let us know on Facebook how you stay healthy when traveling during the summer.

1https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/how-to-apply-sunscreen

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.