Today is Mardi Gras—in case anyone doesn’t know, Fat Tuesday is the literal meaning of the French term. It’s the final celebration before the period of Lent that culminates in Easter Sunday. Many Christians use this time to give up something they enjoy as a sacrifice. The idea is to reflect and focus on our spiritual self; no matter your beliefs, giving up something you enjoy to focus on your inner self is a good idea. This week, I’m going to talk about giving up three typical categories of food and drink: sugar, salt, and alcohol. What benefits could you gain in the 40 or so days of abstinence from these foods? What may be a healthier substitute?
Let’s start with sugar, and by that I mean cake, cookies, donuts, sweet rolls, pies, ice cream, and candy. These are the ultimate in refined carbohydrates. If you were to abstain from these foods for 40 days, several things could happen. First, your insulin levels would probably drop because you wouldn’t have high levels of sugar hitting your bloodstream. If you’re prediabetic, you might see your triglyceride and HbA1c levels decline. If you had a fatty liver, it would most likely begin to clear up.
What could you substitute that would be healthier? Berries, fresh or frozen, any type, and you could even put a tablespoon of whipped cream on them. The antioxidants and phytonutrients would be better than the refined sugar; fruit sugar is processed differently, so it would not affect your blood sugar. Second choice would be citrus, and third would be apples.
If you’re considering giving up something for the next 40 days or so, make sure it’s something you really enjoy and eat regularly. Paula has a friend from Montana whose father, years ago before every food was available year round, gave up watermelon every Lent. It has to be meaningful.
Reminder for Insiders: Conference Call at 9 p.m. tonight. First topic is dealing with weight-loss plateaus and then on to your questions.
What are you prepared to do today?