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Sugar high!

Giving young children lollies or soft drink is a surefire way to get them zooming around the room, squealing and generally running amok. I am sure we all remember the good old sugar high!

Of course, giving our grandkids lollies and cakes is one of the basic rules of being a nanna. It is expected and, when timed just right, sees our little grand darlings leaving our care with a bag of goodies to eat. Kudos to us (as far as our grandkids are concerned) and woe to their poor parents who will have to cope with their hyped up munchkins for the next few hours.

I find it really strange that many people accept the above scenario as true, yet fail to see how food continues to affect a person throughout the rest of their lives. I wonder, do people think there comes an age when the wrong types of food cease stimulating and/or potentially causing damage to their minds and bodies? That somehow, as if by magic, these foods become benign and harmless?

Many people find it hard to get to sleep yet they drink tea and coffee right up until the time they retire for the night. Even good old hot chocolate contains stimulants and drinking it; on top of all the tea and coffee they have consumed throughout the day, just adds fuel to the fire and makes getting to sleep so much harder. Why not try drinking herbal tea before you hit the sack? In fact, why not try drinking nothing after dinner and you might find that you don’t need to get up and go to the loo in the middle of the night! Dr Cabot has written a great book called Tired of Not Sleeping? that offers practical strategies for 68 things that stop you sleeping. Well worth a read!

Anyway, back to what I was saying about the food and drink we put in our mouths and how it affects our health . . .

For many years we have been led to believe that saturated fats (butter, red meats, eggs etc.) are bad and we should not eat them. Our trusted doctors and academics have told us that saturated fats clog our arteries and will lead to heart attacks and strokes. People have been encouraged to eat margarine and to always go for the low fat versions of everything and anything. Thank god this misinformation has been disproven and the true negative cost of eating junk food and food with high sugar content is what is making the news these days.

Refined sugar is often touted as the most addictive, and certainly one of the most destructive, substances of modern times. These days it is found in just about every kind of processed food and, when combined in just the right quantities, will have you clambering for more. The CC’s slogan of “you can’t say no” is not an idle threat . . . these corn chips have been scientifically developed to ensure you can’t stop at one.

Food manufacturers offer finely tuned combinations of fat, salt and sugar which will trigger your appetite and cause you to eat more than you may have intended. Find it hard to believe that this much science goes into “tricking” you into eating more of the kinds of foods that do you harm? Here is something to think about . . . when is the last time you went and scooped up a spoonful of sugar and just ate it? How about a big gulp of vegetable oil? I am sure you agree that even a bit of salt on its own, licked off your finger, is enough to stop you from eating more yet when you add starchy potatoes and vegetable oil  you find yourself heaping salt all over it and find it hard to stop until you’ve finished the whole bag of hot chips.

The point I am trying to make is that food affects all of us – not just little kids who eat lollies and get the manic sugar rush.

If you are keen on staying as fit and healthy (body and mind) as you can for as long as you can, then ease up on eating processed foods and consuming refined sugar. You will not only give yourself the best chance you can of being able to keep up with your grandkids, you will be setting an awesome example for them and potentially changing their eating habits for life.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, it is part of a nanna’s job to give their grandchildren sweets and cakes etc. I think it is written in the Secret Nanna’s Business Charter! Even so, I urge you to be a smart nanna and find some recipes which taste great but are not so naughty.

Why not try using raw honey or rice malt syrup or organic coconut nectar when you need to sweeten your baked goods? These types of sweeteners have a lower glycemic index which means the energy from them will not spike the blood sugar levels like processed sugar will. Oh, and please don’t use artificial anything – you don’t want to poison your grandbabies with a chemical concoction!

Always try and choose real food which has minimal processing.

Make your cupcakes with gluten free flour and never, ever use margarine – use real butter or coconut oil; both taste so delicious and are healthy saturated fats that are really good for their growing brains (and your brain too).

Above all, remember that we really are what we eat . . . so eating the very best and most natural foods gives you all the best chance for a long, healthy and happy life together.    

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