Fruit: Friend or Foe?
Let me first preface this post by saying that I love fruit, and it is a perfectly healthy food!
However, there is a line that a lot of us cross when it comes to fruit - a line where fruit becomes more of a priority or regular occurrence in our diet compared to vegetables.
Now, this wouldn't be too much of an issue if it weren't for the fact that fruit is sweet and does contain sugar. Yes, the sugar in fruit is natural and an awesome option when it comes to eating something sweet. But, when eaten in excess, that sweetness changes our taste buds and the sugars (although natural) still affect our blood sugars.
When our taste buds are geared towards consuming sweet foods, we can find ourselves in trouble with an addiction to sugar and caught in the vicious cycle of the blood sugar roller coaster.
The blood sugar roller coaster is a reference I use when discussing blood sugar levels that are constantly rising and falling throughout the day due to eating too much sugar or carbohydrates. When we do this, our blood sugar rises pretty high, subsequently falls or crashes, and then we find ourselves reaching for something sweet again to bring our blood sugar levels back up. It's a vicious cycle that leads to cravings, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, afternoon crashes, and more!
However, when we treat fruit as a secondary food when compared to vegetables, we can fix the blood sugar roller coaster effect. Vegetables contain a ton of vitamins and minerals like fruit, but don't contain the same amount of sugar or carbohydrates. Plus, eating enough vegetables is healing to the body, especially one that is (most likely) confronted with stress and other toxins on a regular basis.
It isn't easy making the switch from primarily fruit in our diet to primarily vegetables, but it can be done! Start slowly and try the vegetables that are natural more sweet to start (carrots, sweet potatoes, jicama) or try roasting your vegetables to bring our their natural sweetness.
Another option is to choose lower sugar fruit options (berries, citrus fruits, slightly under-ripe bananas) and to always pair fruit with a source of protein and/or fat. This will ensure that your blood sugar levels don't rise up as high as they might if the piece of fruit was eaten along. For example, pair a banana or apple with almond butter or a hard-boiled egg.
Although fruit is a wonderful travel option and a healthy food, remember that it can be overdone. Take a look at your fruit consumption compared to your vegetable consumption - does one overpower the other (and is it the right one??!!)? Or do both seem to be missing from your diet...Either way, it's time to add those vegetables into your lifestyle - your body, brain, metabolism, and blood sugar levels will thank you!