Eat less sugar.
If you asked me 5 years ago, I would have told you that I didn’t eat much sugar. My nutrition books told me not to eat sugar. My doctor told me not to eat sugar. I didn’t eat sugar—or so I thought. And my PMS raged on.
It wasn’t until I took the advice I had so often told others to do (read labels) that I realized how much “hidden” sugar I was eating. I’m not talking about the obvious –cookies, or cake or soda. That’s a given. I’m talking about foods we don’t associate with “sugar”.
Places where you would least expect it– salad dressing, bread and ketchup. Even yogurt, which often comes with as much sugar as you’d find in candy. The problem is sugar is everywhere. Then there are foods that are naturally rich in sugar — such as fruit – but the difference here is fruit contains lots of fiber and other nutrients, which really reduces the impact the sugar has on the body.
So what’s so bad about this “added” sugar villain?
A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, for that matter, make all our premenopausal problems WORSE because of the adverse effect on… drum roll please…hormone balance. When we eat sugar, our insulin levels rise (which is normal) but too much sugar makes too much of this fat storage hormone and we quickly gain more weight around our middles. Over time we can develop a resistance to insulin. Which means our body needs to release even more of it to work.
The problem with PMS, heavy bleeding, cramps, overeating, bloating—all are affected by a diet that keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels stable. We keep blood sugar and insulin stable by eating less sugar (and refined carbohydrates).
This concept hit me like a truck during the holidays. Pumpkin bread, candy, hot cocoa, cookies lined my kitchen counters. Normally, I would never have these foods in my house but I kept them for my kids/husband—or so I told myself. I had the WORSE PMS ever!! Now I know why. And darn it, sugar is addicting too.
But… cutting out sugar doesn’t mean you have to give up all sweetness. Just make it real.
Maple syrup, honey, molasses, and date sugar provide sweetness and contain important vitamins and minerals. What’s the healthiest sweetener on the planet? DATE SUGAR. Date sugar is not sugar, it’s just whole dried dates pulverized into powder. Its actually a whole food. It’s the only thing I ever use in baking. Because it’s a whole plant food it even has fiber. But because it actually thickens foods, you may not want to add it to your coffee or tea. Bottom line, we still need to use all sugars sparingly.
Artificial sweeteners like Splenda, NutraSweet, saccharine, and even Stevia should be off the menu because they cause our body to crave even more sugar—they should be completely avoided.
Eve and her forbidden fruit—sugar!