Weighty Matters

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Cutting Out Sweeteners

on March 26, 2016

Although I’ve stayed away from white sugar (except for the allowed small amount in dark chocolate and that single brownie), I haven’t given up the artificial sweetener that I use in my tea.  I usually drink four cups of hot tea a day.  I figured that four measily yellow packets didn’t amount to much and wouldn’t derail my efforts.  I don’t drink diet soda or any diet beverage and I’m not substituting in any other foods that have artificial sweetener, so I figured I’m okay.

Yesterday I decided to stop using the yellow packets of sweetener too.  At this point on the plan, I can have up to three teaspoons of honey or pure maple syrup a day.  I can also have stevia in small amounts but, to be honest, I don’t love it that much.  A tablespoon of honey or syrup a day isn’t much when spread out over mugs of tea, particularly if I want to use some over chickpea pancakes too, but I have this “going all in” mindset right now.

I was also home from work yesterday afternoon and ended up watching the Dr. Oz show.  I’m not a big fan but it was on so I watched, particularly because most of the show was dedicated to battling bloat.  (Not to go into TMI but I’m having some digestive sluggishness and bloating, so it caught my interest.)  At one point someone asked a guest expert about artificial sweeteners.  The woman responded, “Always choose calories over chemicals”.

That hit me.  As much as the manufacturer tries to sell us on the “natural” roots of the stuff since it’s derived from sugar, it still feels like a chemical product to me.  Even if it wasn’t, it still wouldn’t be as truly natural as honey or maple syrup.  So, why put it into my body when I have other choices?

Here’s one of those weird contrasts in my history.  No matter how badly I was binge eating or compulsively eating, I never used actual sugar in my tea.

To some extent, I think my habit was/is mental.  I’m used to how my tea tastes with the fake stuff and think it won’t taste as good with anything else.  Well, for sure it won’t taste the same, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good.

Today I actually forgot with the first mug.  I ripped open the packet and dumped it in without thinking about it.  Then I told myself that as long as it was made, I might as well drink it.  I caught myself each of the three other times that I brewed a mug and used honey instead.  I was right.  It does taste different and my reflex is to not like it as much.  I’m pretty sure that really is a mental block; sure enough that I’m not listening to my head and continuing on with the honey tomorrow.

Unlike my failed experiment and efforts to retrain my palate to like seafood, I’m pretty confident that I can teach my taste buds to like tea with honey in it.  After all, I like honey a lot in other uses.

All around this feels like a healthier, win-able effort.  I’ll keep you posted.

4 responses to “Cutting Out Sweeteners

  1. Cathy M says:

    I’m with you on stevia. To me it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. On the other hand, my husband likes it and uses it in his tea. I have cut way back on my sugar intake – primarily because I wanted to cut back on things that might cause inflammation. I do still use regular white sugar in my tea, but only about a quarter teaspoon per cup. I’ve taught my tastebuds to like that amount. I’m using that amount in my regular green/black tea combo and in hibiscus tea.

    I hope you have success in reeducating your palate. It takes time, but I think you’ll get to the point where you wonder how you ever preferred so much sweetener in your tea.

    • Mary Stella says:

      I think you’re right that it might take time but it will happen. For inflammation, have you tried Curcumin (turmeric)? My friend at the health food store raves about its benefits.

      • Cathy M says:

        I’ve not tried it, although I’ve read of its benefits. I don’t at this time have any problems, but as I’m aging, I’m trying to take sensible steps to avoid issues. Hence the attention to the amount of sugar, fat, salt, etc. that I eat.

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