First – Happy Halloween! And, happy kick-off to Holiday Food Challenges! If you are like me, you have staved off the desire to eat all of the Halloween candy and didn’t have to run to the store and get more for tonight. Of course, I was able to do that because I only bought candy that I hate and will probably elicit “yucky” faces from all of the kiddies tonight when I’m tossing it into their bags. Oh, well—a hormonal, insulin resistant gal like me has to do what I have to do.
But…the battle is not over. The hard part for me is the Halloween aftermath—specifically, not eating all of the “good” candy that my two kids will bring home by the pillowcases. That’s going to take this sugar-addict some real discipline. To get through it, the first thing I will probably do is ask my kids to just pick out a few things they want to eat over the next week. I would ask them to hide all of the candy in their rooms, but a ton of candy is not good for them either. Second, I’ll ask them to sort out what they really want to keep and then stick it in the freezer. This has worked in the past as a good rationing tool. If we are lucky, we will forget about it until it’s freezer burnt and then we won’t eat it at all. What the kids don’t like, I’ll get rid of completely. It kills me to throw away good candy, but I know it’s for the best.
Why should women like me be throwing away candy? Well, first—it’s my addiction. More importantly, research also shows that some foods, such as those containing concentrated sugars, can affect the levels of metabolic hormones in women. Candies and other sweets tend to have very high levels of sucrose, or table sugar. Once ingested, this sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, triggering the release of insulin from the pancreas.
As a result, women who eat candy or sweets on a regular basis develop unusually high levels of insulin in their bloodstream, leading to insulin sensitivity—a decreased effectiveness of insulin in the body—and even diabetes. Vanderbilt University recommends eating foods that are lower on the gylcemic index, such as vegetables or whole grains, to help restore insulin to normal levels. The glycemic index is a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. Since I am already insulin resistant, all of this applies to me and probably a lot of you.
Holidays are hard. Eating yummy things has been as much a part of my holidays growing up as Santa, the Easter Bunny and the traditional food-centric gatherings. I’m sure Heidi will be filling us in on some great holiday eating tips as we head into the “eating season.” But, for now—I’m going to take it one step at a time and try to get through the weekend surrounded by Snickers and Milky Ways.