Hello Reader. Simple, that’s always helpful! If there are too many steps, too long, or it’s too complicated, many of us might not follow through. But simple, yeah we can do that!
So this week I bring you 1 simple fix you to improve your counseling experience!
Ready? Here it is: simply cut out sugar and caffeine. Hmm, I think I hear the sound of eyes rolling, a guffaw or two, and a cynical laugh. I know what I’m asking here and how cutting out sugar and caffeine is not simple. Truly it is simple, but it is not easy!
I will tell you both personal and professional reasons why this simply must be done.
Personally I wouldn’t be here walking alongside you, providing quality content and connecting you to brilliant resources if I hadn’t simply cut out the majority of sugar and caffeine the majority of the time. Most days of the week I do not consume refined sugars, period. A couple of years ago I started experiencing intense panic, anxiety, major cravings, and poor sleep so I visited with a couple of doctors and some alternative medical professionals. All of them confirmed my body was over-stressed by my diet of refined sugars found in the desserts, smoothies, chocolate, and drinks I enjoyed daily. I took their advice after seeing my results in black and white and made some this simple change to remove all sugars and strip away the caffeine. Around the 3rd day I truly was feeling the detox, then the next week was very difficult to rewire the cravings around healthy options. It became easier to resist and redirect when I mindfully noticed the panic, anxiety, stress, and physical tension was lessening. Nowadays I don’t crave sugary items, but I do enjoy one on the rare occasion and when in a really good coffee region I will have a cup. More often than not, sugar and caffeine do not get into my belly.
Professionally 98% of the people I have worked with over the years had problems with sugar and/or caffeine intake. So only 2% of the people I have worked with in my years were already experiencing health in these areas.
The 2% that were already experiencing life without sugar and caffeine on a daily basis advanced more quickly through their counseling goals. They also reported feeling less frustrated with making changes and more confident throughout the process. If you simply cut out sugar and caffeine I can tell you your body will thank you and your counseling will be a more fruitful experience.
Why all the huff and puff about sugar?
- A diet with consistent servings of sugar, especially high fructose sugar, impacts your brain through unhealthy levels of insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function. “Because insulin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss. In other words, eating too much fructose could interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar, which is necessary for processing thoughts and emotions.”, said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
- Those whose diets included more processed foods and sugary products were associated with an increased risk of depression. This study shows that our brains care about what we are putting into our bodies and that we can change our brain chemistry through what we eat.
- Cut out the sugar from your diet and add in exercise and healthy naturally sweet foods and drinks*. Also Add these twelve smart carbohydrates to your diet to boost serotonin and lower your levels of depression: Sweet potatoes, Hummus, Apples, Peaches, Bananas, Figs, Pineapples, Oranges or tangerines, Grapes, Blueberries, Pears, Mangoes *Naturally, please visit with your medical doctor, nutritionist, allergist, etc. before changing foods.
Why all the buzz about caffeine?
- Caffeine dehydrates you. What is most of your body comprised of? Water! But when we consume caffeine our cells release the water and we can become dehydrated. When this happens, our brains function slower and less effectively.
- Caffeine triggers hormonal rushes, which increase your stress level, which then can cause fatigue. So no wonder you need the multiple cups of drinks with caffeine throughout the day. Caffeine is a chemical that triggers your brain to release hydration and signals your stress responses giving you short-term, false energy.
- Instead get real energy from nutrition. Slowly switch out the highest forms of caffeine for lower levels of caffeine until you can get by without caffeine. The simple way to do this is with nutrition and supplements. Check out last weeks blog about boosting your gut health to a super-gut for some nutritional and supplement possibilities. Or visit with your local functional medicine doc, your nutritionally trained doctor, or if you are in Austin, try the professionals at Peoples Pharmacy.
Simple? Sure it’s a simple idea and simple in concept but truly challenging in application.
You can do it though! And you don’t have to do it alone. Visit with a trusted and skilled health professional to help you make the changes and identity the nutritional supplements your body needs right now to help it renew and refresh. Then connect with me or another counselor who can help you take the steps to the change you want to see in your life or in the life of your family.
What’s your first next step after reading:
- Given your current health, do you need to visit with your doctor before cutting out sugar and caffeine?
- What’s current in your home that is refined sugar or high caffeine that you can give away or consume over time and not buy again?
- What’s one sugary item you can say, “not today”?
- Which of your caffeinated drinks or snacks will you forgo today?
- What’s your plan for trading the sugar and caffeine for healthy, energy sustaining nutrition?
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva