What happens if you eat too much sugar?
Sugar is a primary life source, and our bodies require it for energy. The body responds quickly to sugar as a fast-acting fuel. Complex sugars in whole foods offer a balanced response to sustaining our blood sugar as they are most often nutrient-rich, and the energy is obtained by breaking down these foods in our digestive process. Refined sugar is unnatural, and gets used quickly in the body as an efficient boost when we need it most, so sometimes it comes in handy. However, the more we count on it, the more our body craves and depends on it. Sugar also triggers the pleasure hormone, dopamine, which leaves us reaching for more as part of our reward and pleasure system.
While cravings can mean many things—including the need to strengthen the adrenal system, monthly hormonal changes, food sensitivities, etc.—cravings are also directly affected by our diet and lifestyle habits. When our blood sugar is low from lack of carbohydrates, protein or fat (the energy-producing nutrients, we crave sugar to keep ourselves going.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sugar cravings are seen as a a sign of an underlying deficiency. Essentially, we are craving nourishment. Traditionally nourishing and building foods like rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, dates, etc. are all sweet in flavor, but also healing and full of substantial nutritional value.
How to curb sugar cravings:
1. Stabilize your blood sugar
Not only will this support a healthy endocrine (hormonal) system, it takes away the need for sugar […]
If you ask an herbalist, they will be sure to tell you that what you put into your body matters, and that digestion is the root of great health. Research suggests that there are over 100 trillion living bacteria organisms, making up a whole ecosystem within our body called the microbiome. We are in some sense more microbiome than we are human, which is to say, we have a greater number of microbes living inside us than we have human genes. Only recently have researchers turned their attention to the intricate microbial relationships at play in our bodies and how our microbiomes affect our moods, skin, and overall health.
A healthy gut has always been one of traditional medicine’s top priorities and is the foundation for great digestion, glowing skin, and a strong, healthy immune system.
Today, having digestive upset or an unbalanced gut is considered almost normal, and is often overlooked. A lack of education within our food system and lack of access to nutritional advice leads to years of diets containing processed foods and loads of sugar; there is also the over-prescription of antibiotics (which kill harmful bacteria, but also the good) to contend with. These recurring situations leave us with all sorts of imbalances in our bodies and show up in ways other than just digestive upset.
Science is also beginning to study the unique relationship that our gut has with neurotransmitters—the chemical messages in the brain like GABA, serotonin, or dopamine—that can influence anxiety and depression.
Feeding and supporting the gut and its bacteria is age-old knowledge that now has the backing of science, and should be at the forefront of our […]
Every spring, I dig up dandelions. When I started my first garden, this was an act of fear: “If I don’t get them out now,” I used to think, “they’ll dump seed everywhere!” These days, I still pull dandelions from our small garden in the spring. But I don’t discard them anymore – every part gets used. The roots, bitter and sour, get finely chopped and roasted in a cast iron pan until they set loose an enticing, nutty aroma. After they cool, they’re ready to mix with coffee in the French press (recipe below.) The greens, juicy and salty, go right into a big salad. And we make fritters from any early flowers we find.
If you’re gathering dandelion, either from your garden or on a foraging trip, take the root too, and bring it into your kitchen. Don’t clean that root off too much: a gentle rinse before use will spare the bitter root bark, a reminder of where our medicine comes from. Isn’t it incredible to get back outside after winter, dig into the soil, and interact with raw, living herbs again? The intimacy of working with plants is a tonic in its own right, but it also reveals how close and connected our medicine can be: we need not seek it out in wild, remote places, nor trust only that which is expensive, refined, and manufactured. The dandelion is right there, waiting. It is a safe, simple and powerful way to bring herbalism into the lives of those […]
Spring is approaching and it is the perfect time to renew and refresh our best and most beautiful selves. Our beauty rituals and routines offer a luxurious moment of calm, self-love and appreciation. What we use to nourish ourselves internally has as much of an impact as what we use externally. What we eat, where we live, and how we feed our body and soul all play a significant role in how we outwardly represent ourselves. No beauty products can replace how you are feeling on the inside. It shows on the outside when we feel good physically and mentally. Happiness and self-love are beautiful.
Tending to the Internal Garden: What you put on your skin matters, but it’s more important to pay attention to what you are putting in your body. The age old saying, “beauty starts from within” is true in many ways.
What you put into your body will also determine the health of your skin, hair, and overall physical being. It can be helpful to seek out the advice of a skilled herbalist or do research on your constitution, because often our constitution is optimally paired with specific foods or energetic qualities of plants, and this knowledge can help you work with imbalances. Gaining insight into our individual internal garden allows us to understand better what foods, plants and ingredients work best for us.
Whole foods rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins support your hair and skin. So load your plate with whole grains, leafy greens, root vegetables, berries, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, superfoods like raw cacao, turmeric, maca, and green superfoods like spirulina.