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Keep Weight Off with These Healthy Sugar Alternatives

I've been asked quite often how I maintain my weight. In this era of sugar being woven into so many items on the shelves in the food stores, sugar is hard to get away from. The over consumption of sugar in this country is causing a problem with weight and health, which I'm sure a lot of you are aware of.

Let give you a little bit about my background because I have been interested in diet for quite a while—most of my life, actually. I was raised in California and I was exposed to health food in an era when health food wasn't even a term yet. It was a new expression that was being coined. In our household we became more subject to wanting to have healthy foods. We had a lot of smoothies and ate simply and naturally with lot of fruits and vegetables and grains. I remember being in elementary school and wanting to finish my lunch with a carrot because I felt it cleaned the sugar off of my teeth. All the way

back in elementary school I was aware of how food could affect our bodies.

I have maintained a pretty steady weight throughout my life fluctuating between four pounds. I'm 6 feet tall and I fluctuate between 128 and 132. There's been a couple periods in my life when I didn’t maintain my weight. Twice during my two pregnancies, of course, and once was when I was in high school. Near the time of graduation was an anxious time me. I was graduating and I didn't know where I was going to live, who I was gonna live with or what I was going to do. I was worried and I didn't have anyone to really talk to or guide me so I ate and ate. I found a lot of nourishment in feigning an emotional state that I was in. I wasn't hungry for food but I was hungry for answers. The food fed that part in my spirit which made me feel like I was being nourished on some level. I used to love consuming sandwiches made of honey and peanut butter. Well, I ate so much that I quickly went up six sizes!

I believe that when you gain weight quickly you can lose it quickly. Fortunately, that proved true for me because I didn't keep the weight on for very long. Eventually, things fell into place but I learned about emotional eating. I learned how it actually doesn’t help you feel better because you have to deal with your self-image and your self-confidence which just plummets. It's a difficult spiral to be in and it’s difficult to get out as well.

After that period I worked at a co-op that sold natural foods and I was again exposed to the health alternatives and to health foods being just the norm. I became really interested in food again, and I was wanting to write a cookbook with healthy recipes. Well, I didn't have the support but one thing led to another and I kept learning and exposing myself to foods and diets. That’s when I became very interested in macrobiotics, so much so that I flew to Switzerland and I took a course. I stayed there for a while and I learned as much as I could about macrobiotic eating and it influenced me greatly.

I raised my first child as a macrobiotic eater for the first few years of his life. He is still very aware of good eating habits just like my second child. She is also very aware of good foods and the effects it can have on our health. They're both vegans and I'm proud of them that they are taking their health into their own hands and are both very aware of what they eat. Now, back to the topic of sugar.

Sugar is one of those the foods that are is so immersed in our culture and our diet that trying to not eat it is very difficult. I once was given a blood test and my doctor who said my diabetic level was a little bit too high, so I spent one whole year trying to get it down by eliminating all sugar from my diet. I read every food label and made sure that I was not eating any sugar. It took time and effort but it was very doable. It’s amazing how fast a year can go. Once the year was over, my levels went back down to normal and I learned how difficult it is to avoid sugar. It’s included into almost every item at grocery stores. But with effort and persistence it can be avoided.

Let me share with you some sugar alternatives and if you happen to have a sweet tooth or if you wanted to cut back on sugar to gain your health or to loose weight, then these will help you. They are what I incorporate in my diet. One of them is an alternative to honey and that is brown rice syrup. It has the same consistency as honey. You use it one to one ratio but it has more nutrients and it doesn't give you that sugar rush and energy crash.

Another one that I use is stevia. If I’m traveling I’ll take some packets of powe