Hi! Hope you all are well today! For those of you still interested in learning about sugars (the kind we ADD to our foods & the kind that are naturally occurring in foods), please read on! :) (Thank you for all of the great comments and emails regarding sugar/agave!)
I just wanted to add a bit more to the agave post and follow up with a book that I have found really useful. First off, for those of you who were as concerned as I was when learning that agave is just as processed as the rest of those bags of white sugar in the supermarket, I hear you! While I know sugars are not something that should be added to my diet anyway, I did feel like the slight stir of liquidy nectar into my foods was at least coming from a less processed source - especially when I purchased the 'raw' agave nectar. Well, not so much! We learn something new everyday!
Since bringing up sugars, I just wanted to re-post my opinions on adding them to our diet, to give you some more info to work with on sugars, and to clarify just what those 'raw sugars' are that you buy in the store. First, sugars, the kind we add to our foods that aren't naturally occurring (like the fructose in an apple) - in my opinion (and that of many health gurus) - ARE an addiction. In addition, they wreak havoc on our bodies and cause all sorts of health issues (which we EDSers and POTsy people don't need any more of). From hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) to diabetes (yes, type 2 can be brought on by eating sugar year after year), along with many others, we should definitely not be putting added sugars into our bodies. The only sugars we should be using are those from whole fruits, or by consuming glyconutrients (more on these later).
If you are like me, and have any sort of addictive personality problems, giving up sugars is certainly not an easy task. I mean, over the years I gave up meat, dairy, eggs - then gluten & nightshades (to see if it will help me), and also anything artificial and any preservatives - BUT - I still considered using sugars - even agave? I mean, look at the juxtaposition: vegan health nut curls up with added sugars! - it just doesn't seem right! Ha! Well, that is the problem - it isn't. But, I, like many of you, shivered at the thought of giving up this highly addictive substance, thereby accepting agave as a healthy alternative. Well, I think I am ready to face the truth. If I am really going to do what is best for my body, I just need to give them up. Take it on like I took on giving up alcohol, gluten, or processed sugar (umm..wait...agave is processed, too!). I am trying to take on my health issues by consuming what will help and not hinder; therefore, I cannot eat added sugars - especially ones that 'claim' to be healthier, but really are just as processed (heated, enzymes added to them, etc.). I mean, to be basic, sugars raise blood sugar. Raised blood sugar can cause inflammation. Isn't inflammation some of what I am trying to reduce? What about those spasmed muscles? The red hot pain that accompanies them? Giving up sugars has the potential to help this. And, if it doesn't, at least it will help prevent many long term health issues that can arise from consuming them. If agave can cause diabetes as equally as white sugar can, it is out. That is where I currently stand. (I can't say I won't miss it - since I seriously have an addiction to sugar and my favorite food group is dessert, but I can't eat them if I truly want to eat healthy.)
For those of you who want to get healthy - you should ponder this, too! Do your own research. Read, read, read. Explore. Try. For those of you not interested, at least take into consideration what you are putting into your body. If you are eating it, you should know what it is. If you do still choose to eat sugars, just beware that you may be misled by marketing (as we all know!) - there is no such thing on the shelves as raw sugar. Raw sugar contains contaminates and it is illegal to be sold in the U.S. Sugar in the Raw brand sugar is not raw at all. It is just sugar crystals that are sprayed with molasses to turn them brown. There is nothing raw about that, and nothing healthy either. You could eat white sugar and it would give you the same benefits - none. Maple syrup is highly processed and can actually contain many toxins. Agave is processed. Honey, at least, is a naturally occurring substance; but, may be against your ethics to consume it - and it still is an added sugar with a high amount of glucose (so very high on the glycemic index).
I found a fantastic article on agave and many other sweeteners. I definitely recommend reading it in its entirety: The Truth About Agave Syrup by John Kohler. In it, Kohler writes about agave, sucanat, stevia (and why you shouldn't use the white powder, but the green dried herb, powdered, instead) maple syrup, yacon, etc. It is a raw food article, and so it does mention a lot about the cooking temperatures of foods (raw foods are those which are not cooked, or cooked below 118 degrees F to maintain their enzymes and nutrients) with reference to these sweeteners. It does make a great case against consuming added sugars, and instead eating whole, fresh fruits and dried fruits. He even mentions making a syrup out of dried fruits which is something I do and love. If I am going to make a smoothie in the morning and I want it extra sweet, I will soak a date or two in water the night before - then, I add the date and water to the blender - this is a great sweetener for other things as well.
I found an older, but very relevant posting from Renegade Health, part of the original discussion on agave from them - if you watched the other two videos, you should watch this one too. Also, he mentions the knees, connective tissue, etc. He says that adding things like vitamin C and sulfur to your diet are important - pay attention! - this is already something I do and firmly believe in. You can see my list of supplements for this info. MSM (which is sulfur) and vitamin C are part of my daily regimen.
If you are interested in good sugars, you should check out a book called Sugars that Heal: The New Healing Science of Glyconutrients by Emil I. Mondoa, M.D. and Mindy Kitei. It is fantastic! I am about halfway through it, and when I am done, I will be doing a post on it - check back! It is based on the eight essential sugars (saccharides) that are needed for our bodies to function properly, fight disease, heal, etc. I know - sounds like the opposite of what I talk about in this post! But, when you read, you will see just how different this is. Things like polysaccharides found in some mushrooms can do wonders for our bodies. Great book so far!
Okay - that is all my talk on sugar for now. :) As always, do what you feel is right for you - but continue to learn and grow. We beings are so amazing - and we can always keep doing more and doing better. Have a pain-free day (as pain-free as it can be!) and enjoy your weekend!!
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