The War On Junk Food and Sugar

sugar

Food plays a huge role in our every day lives. It is the key to our survival. We obtain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins from the foods we eat in order to maintain a healthy functioning body. However, we’ve come to a point where food is viewed as more of a pleasure of the mouth rather than a means of survival. Everywhere you look, there’s food being genetically modified so that it is more appealing to the eye, and it is engineered in such a way that it keeps you coming back for more. Sugar and junk food have consumed our every day lives. We can’t get enough of it because we’ve become addicted to it. We crave a meal at a fast food restaurant instead of going to the grocery store to feel more connected to the meals we could prepare ourselves. All of the garbage we allow to enter our bodies isn’t doing us any good, and you will never be able to reach your body’s full optimization if it continues.

This past year, I really let myself go. 

I stopped working out, and I consumed anything I could lay my hands on. Sugar became a part of my daily routine. I couldn’t eat a meal if it didn’t involve drinking a soda. Sweets had to follow the meals I had for dinner. The unhealthy combination of not exercising and consuming whatever the fuck I wanted backfired on me. In a matter of 6 months, I gained over 30 pounds. I didn’t see the harm then. I just figured I’d work it all off to shed the weight. However, your body becomes accustomed to the intake of garbage when that is all you feed it, and it becomes harder and harder to put an end to it. Consequently, I continued to make unwise food choices, and I only exercised when I didn’t feel self-conscious about my body. Before I knew it, I weighed 185 pounds. To most people that doesn’t seem like much, but I weighed between 155-160 pounds before I caused this damage. Most of my pants didn’t fit anymore, and I could note the weight on my face. Rather than making a change, I continued consuming more fast food and more junk food than ever before.

During that time, I lacked energy, but most of all, I lacked mental clarity. I was at an all-time-low. I tried to make a change, but I couldn’t seem to get a handle on all of it. I attempted to workout, but I didn’t have the courage to look at myself in the mirror and try to make a real change. This cycle continued for over 6 months.

I had been into fitness most of my life, and this was one of the most difficult challenges I had ever faced when it came to my health. I couldn’t shake off the addiction for sugar and unhealthy foods.

When I finally decided to make a transition, it wasn’t easy. I battled with it every single day. To me, this wasn’t about aesthetics. I needed to make a change for my own health and mental clarity.

The first change I made was cutting down on all sugar. 

StockSnap_571D1062E7I can’t begin to explain how much sugar is in everything. From the milk we drink, to the “healthy snacks” we eat. SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING. I started becoming more conscious about how food companies add sugar to everything so it can taste better. To make it even harder for us to recognize the sugar being put into products, companies hide it under ingredients like, “sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose…”, and the list goes on and on.

You don’t ever want to shock your body by instantly withdrawing what it has been consuming for a long period of time. Instead, I began cutting down my sugar intake little by little. I started using honey as an alternative for adding sugar in my coffee. I would only drink half a can of soda rather than having the whole can. My body quickly started to realize that I wasn’t consuming as much sugar as I normally did, and it was like “Hey man, what are you doing?”. As a result, the more I tried cutting down on the sugar, the more my body craved it.

As explained by The Daily Mail, here’s why:

“The problem is that sugar is highly addictive, as study after study has shown. Just last week researchers at Yale University revealed that dramatic falls in blood sugar, which occur after eating “bad” carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits, affect the part of the brain controlling impulse. This leads to a loss of self control and a subsequent craving for more unhealthy, high-calorie foods”

I was committed to make a positive change in my life, especially after watching the Sugar Coated documentary on Netflix. I learned the real reasons behind the government approving the consumption of sugar in all our products. I watch my grandmother inject insulin every single day, and that experience alone puts everything into perspective. It’s not a path I was willing to take in the future, so I needed to make a change.

Shortly after I started cutting sugar, I got back in the gym. 

During the first couple of weeks, I was very self conscious about myself. I despised the way I looked, but I knew there was no one to blame but myself. Day in and day out, I showed up even if I didn’t have the energy. Some days I would only work out for an hour, and other days I spent almost two hours at the gym. The more consistent I was, the more I started to feel comfortable again. Little by little, I started to feel the change, not only physically, but mentally as well. After a strenuous workout, I felt the endorphins kick in which gave me an extra boost throughout the day. For the first time in my life, I started to feel good, both physically and mentally.

In previous years when I was physically fit, I lacked the mental aspect to my overall health. I wasn’t working out for the health benefits, I was doing it for superficial reasons. I didn’t have the confidence to feel comfortable with who I was, which is why I felt the need to look physically fit to make up for my flaws, or at least the flaws I thought I had. I had a twisted perception about myself, and most people probably feel that way too. Many people workout to look a certain way instead of trying to gain health benefits. In reality, that only does more damage to our mental health. We end up never feeling comfortable with who we are internally, and the damage continues until we decide to make change on the perception of ourselves.

I slowly began to notice the difference. I wanted to continue this feeling, so I kept pushing myself more and more. Eventually, I was introduced to Kombucha.

We have more organisms in our gut than there are stars in the universe. 

We have a whole ecosystem living in our gut that relies solely on the things we consume. It is basically our second brain. The bacteria in your gut controls things like mood, stress levels, cravings, memory, healing, etc. When people think of gut health, they think of digestive issues solely, but there’s more to gut health.

As stated in this article,

“The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being. Largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health.”

As I began learning more and more about the importance of gut health, I began adding probiotics to my lifestyle. One of the best forms to absorb the right amount of healthy bacteria is through Kombucha.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains living bacteria. 

IMG_4254Kombucha has been around for thousands of years and there are many benefits that come from it like balancing internal pH levels, speeds metabolism, improves fluidity movement, and increases energy levels. I’ve taken a ton of different supplements throughout my life, but nothing compares to how Kombucha has made me feel. After I stopped taking supplements a couple months back, I realized that my whole metabolism was out of sync. Kombucha helped store it back to its normal levels. Not only did Kombucha help me physically, but it also brought a mental clarity that allowed me see my vision and goals clearly. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, and you should definitely do your own research on anything before consuming it, but this is something that has really helped to transition my life.

The months went by, and I felt like I was in the best shape of my life.

Portioning my meals and cleaning up my eating habits also took my health to the next level.

As Americans, we have the tendency to overeat. Instead of eating just the right amount to satisfy the hunger, we eat until we’re full. It’s become a mouth pleasure satisfaction that only increasingly damages our overall health. According to scientific studies by the Nutrition Journal over the last 20 years our food portion sizes has increased by at least 138%. Larger portion sizes and the increase of sugar intake is the leading cause of diabetes in children. This is something that should concern everyone.

(Definitely not true)
(Definitely not true)

Overeating can have many effects on your overall health. It can increase the volume of your stomach, which can lead to overeating. It also causes your pancreas to create rising insulin levels. Additionally, your brain’s electrical pathways get stirred up from the overeating, and it will take longer to send signals to the brain to let it know your body is full. I despised feeling sluggish after every meal, so instead of filling up a large plate with food, I went to a smaller plate which required less food to fill up. This allowed me to eat smaller portions, and it eventually trained my body to eat smaller meals.

I cleaned up my eating habits and portioned my meals to make sure I wasn’t over eating. I cut out all sugar, and now I use honey and coconut sugar as a substitute. Most importantly, I began to watch everything I put into my body. I made sure that most of the food I ate was organic or didn’t contain added ingredients that could potentially harm my body. If you can’t pronounce something in the ingredients, I wouldn’t recommend eating it.

After 4-5 months I lost about 35 pounds. No special diet, no magic pills, just pure dedication and hard work. I can truly say that I’m in the best shape of my life both physically and mentally. I didn’t get here because someone pushed me to get here. I got to this point because I wanted to make a change in my own life. I found the motivation from within to make a change for myself. It’s not going to be easy to keep pushing yourself forward, especially because there will be temptations along the way. However, if you want to optimize your body’s full potential, then you have to start making changes now.

IMG_4484
The left picture I weighed 185 pounds, on the right I weighed 150.

You don’t have to become a vegan, vegetarian, or paleo to be more healthy. Just watch what you eat, and slowly make small transitions to get to where you want to be. It’s a long road, but it’s worth it. You have the strength within you, all you have to do is find the courage to start. Before you know, it you’ll be on your way to a healthier version of yourself.

About Daniel Q 69 Articles
Just a kid trying to change the world one person at a time through writing, while spreading love and positivity every step of the way.

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