Yes, I may have mentioned sugar once or twice before. No apologies for that; it’s taken centre stage in the last few years as the pantomime villain in the greathealth drama. Like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, it seduces you with sweetness, fattens you up and then, suddenly, you’re the one being devoured.
It’s easy to see yourself as the helpless victim of your genes, or your culture, or your addictions, but the cost to all of us is much too high. So how can we avoid the lure of the gingerbread cottage?
Instead of beating ourselves – or others – up, let’s talk about solutions.
The first one is breakfast. A good substantial breakfast with protein included. Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, pulses, nuts…whatever suits you. That will sustain you through until lunchtime, and you won’t need elevenses or sugar in your mid-morning coffee – though, of course, you can still choose to have them. That’s up to you.
Lunch, too, should be more than just a sandwich at your desk. Protein, vegetables or fruit and not too much carbohydrate is a good balance, and that will see you through the afternoon without needing to snack or fall asleep. And an evening meal, not too late, not too big, based on vegetables with some protein. A moderate amount of alcohol, not every day.
And that’s it
Sounds simple, but we also use sugar to sedate ourselves when we’re anxious, reward ourselves after effort, prop ourselves up when we’re tired…It’s a very complicated relationship, and it can’t be straightened out overnight. Here’s where the herbs come in, to address those needs in a different and much more useful way: remedies like lemon balm and limeflowers for anxiety, rosemary and borage to combat fatigue, and so on.
And they go much further than that. Bitter herbs like dandelion root and chicory, aromatics like cinnamon and garlic, will help to even out your blood sugar levels so that you don’t get those cravings for cake or chocolate. They help you stay clear-headed, so that you make more sensible choices. And over time, they re-educate your palate, so that too much sweetness is no longer attractive.