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Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.

by | Aug 21, 2019 | Nutrition | 0 comments

I always get asked at some point in the Nutritional Consultation process, “so, how much can I cheat?”

Recently, a client that I am working with, let’s call her Mary, eventually started cheating on her food choices and added back in lots of sweets and sugar into her diet. She definitely had the cookie jar gene (see my last blog post). She would come home from the gym or come back from visiting with her mom and want just a bite of something sweet. Once she took that first bite, she could not stop herself for the rest of the day. When I first started working with Mary, we developed a strict food plan to help her body fight the inflammation that was causing her discomfort, reduce her joint pain, and have more energy. Do you know the main food that causes that? SUGAR!

So, I removed all sugar from her diet to help her eliminate the symptoms which were causing her discomfort, brain fog, and low energy. She did well for 10-12 weeks and was feeling better than she had in years. Once Mary started feeling better, she told herself that she could add a little sugar back and wanted to see how much she could “cheat” before she saw the side effects. It took her weeks to admit to me that she had been eating sugar. Mary wanted her cake and to eat it too (pun intended), just like we all do. Mary wanted to eat just enough sugar without causing the same issues that she once suffered from. What this told me is that she had a mindset around food that she needed sugar each day or she could not be happy. She also could not stop eating it once she started each day. All her inflammation, joint pain, and fatigue came back within a month of her slowly letting it back into her diet. Once she admitted to me what she was doing and together we got her back on track, all the inflammation, joint pain, and fatigue were gone once again.


You see, we all have hang-ups around food. Food manufacturers and food scientists make sure that you become addicted to these foods. Sugar in particular. Sugar actually fuels every cell in our brains. Many of us also view sugar as a reward, which keeps us wanting more of it. If we eat a lot of sugar, we are actually reinforcing that reward, which ultimately makes it tough to “break the habit”. That means you come back time and time again to purchase and consume more. Processed foods are full of sugar and most are intentionally hidden by fancy names like fruit juice, dextrose, hydrolyzed starch, corn syrup, agave, syrup, caramel, or Florida crystals. The advertisers and the big corporations know that people do not want to see the word sugar on the ingredients label, thus, they might think it does not have any. Processed foods make it eat to cheat because of how addicting they are. In rat studies, the rats can be addicted to cocaine and given a choice between cocaine and sugar; rats choose sugar over cocaine! This is why researchers say that sugar is more addicting than cocaine. I’m telling you this to help you understand that it is not your fault that you crave sugar, especially if you have the cookie jar gene. Food companies can make it almost impossible for us to eliminate the toxicity of refined sugars. So what can you do? Let me throw one more study at you and then I will tell you.

Recently scientists have created tiny cameras which fit inside veggie capsules that people swallow to see how the digestive tract works. One study took two groups and gave one of the groups homemade noodles made from scratch with homemade vegetable broth poured over it and water to drink. The other group received store-bought noodles with a flavor packet that required boiling water to mix together with a blue sports drink as the beverage. Then they swallowed the camera to see how each group digested the foods that they were given. Hours later in the group that had been given the store-bought noodle mix, the camera could still see the teeth marks in the noodles indicating that the noodles were not being properly digested. Substances in the store-bought processed noodles were not breaking down for digestion to take place! The blue dye in the sports drink had also colored the noodles blue. Blue dye is made from petroleum which our bodies cannot digest. Gross. Now, in the group which took the homemade noodles, during the same digestion time frame looked like white fluff in the digestive tract like it should. The digestive enzymes that the body produces were able to break it down for proper digestion and absorption. The other mixture was not able to be broken down by enzymes. This is just one food example, but, how many of us are eating food-like substances that the body does not recognize therefore making it impossible for our bodies to digest? So, what’s the problem? The problem is that the body does not receive any vitamins and minerals when we eat processed food. Ultimately, we are an overfed but undernourished society. Our bodies are riddled with inflammation, aches, and pains, we go through our days experiencing “Brain Fog” and we have no energy.

So how do we combat this? How can we fight back and keep our bodies and our minds operating in tip-top condition? One thing you can do (shameless plug coming) is hire me as your Nutritional and Epigenetics coach – or someone else. The truth is, each one of us needs a coach at some point in his or her life. It is so easy to get off track in life and it truly happens to all of us at some point. It’s not a weakness to admit that we need someone in our corner rooting for us, to help us dig deep and find our inner samurai, even if it is just for accountability. Understanding our mindset’s and our beliefs around food, such as if you have the cookie jar gene, for example, can help us find success and end our struggles around nutrition and living within our authenticity. Even if you are not sold on seeking the help of an Epigenetic or Nutrition Coach, spend some time educating yourself about how food is made and how what we eat can affect you. We live in a world full of information at our fingertips. Some of that information was paid for by large companies trying to sell you something so be aware of who funded the information and what the intentions are. And finally, keeping it simple, just eat real food. If it was created in a lab to sit on a shelf for years, it is not real food. If you feel like you need help with changing or sticking to a more consistently rewarding diet, or perhaps you need someone in your corner helping you stay accountable to yourself, reach out. I have been there and I understand. I would love to help you find your inner Rock Star!

Author: Karey Spear, BS, MS, DCN Candidate