There is so much sugar in the food Americans eat, that our taste buds have been hijacked. It’s not that healthy, whole food lacks flavor. Food manufacturers have spent decades optimizing their products for the right mix of fat, sugar and salt to reach a “bliss point” that keeps us hooked. You can break free of the processed food chains, and liberate your taste buds. It’s not easy, but the health benefits are worth it. Here are some suggestions that can help you reduce your sodium and sugar dependency.
Tip #1 Eat more home cooked meals About 70 percent of the sodium in a Western diet comes from processed food (restaurants, fast food, snacks and prepared supermarket food). The rest is found naturally in some foods or is added when cooking or serving. If you really want to cut down on your sodium, just eat food you prepare.
Tip #2 Choose frozen, not canned Salt and freezers are both food “preservers”. Choose frozen over canned veggies because they don’t need the salt to protect the food. They usually have a higher level of the original vitamins preserved, compared to canned. When you do use canned vegetables, try rinsing them to remove some of the salt.
Tip #3 Wait with the salt When cooking, add salt just before serving, and in a smaller amount than called for in the recipe. Each diner can then add salt to taste from a shaker at the table.
Tip #4 Gradual salt detox Train your taste buds to enjoy less salty foods. Over the course of weeks and months, slowly reduce the amount of salt you add to food. Your salt comfort zone will adjust. If you keep at it, within a few months, you’ll actually start to dislike fast foods because they will taste too salty!
Tip #5 Gradual sugar detox You can train your taste buds to crave less sweet. Do it with your coffee / tea. Reach zero sugar in your coffee as follows: At the start of a new week, add just one quarter teaspoon less sugar to your drink than you normally do. The difference in flavor will barely be noticeable. After a week, it will even feel normal. The next week, try to reduce another quarter teaspoon, and so forth. Within a few months, you’ll discover you are drinking your coffee without any added sugar! If you are used to drinking 3 cups a day with 2 teaspoons of sugar, your daily saving of 6 teaspoons of sugar is worth 100 calories. That’s the equivalent of one pound of weight loss every 5 weeks!!!
Tip #6 Chew gum Low calorie chewing gum may help you resist the urge for sweet calories. Choose gums that don’t include artificial sweeteners. We like Glee and Pür brands because they don’t use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame-k.
Tip #7 Eat before you get too hungry If you wait too long between meals (or snacks), your brain will signal that it craving a fat / sugar / salt combo; your willpower won’t be strong enough to say no. If you never get to that stage, you’ll have an easier time making the healthier choices. For some people this means eating every 3 hours, and that’s perfectly fine.
Tip #8 Get more sleep A well rested person has better chances of refusing the many food temptations she comes across during the day.