How to Fight Sugar Cravings This Holiday Season

Holiday Sugar Guide

First it’s Halloween. Bowls of candy begin to cloak your office’s kitchen counters like a captivating costume. As you’re working through a tough project or a mundane weekly task, your mind is thinking candy, and perhaps your hands start to follow.

Then comes November. Aunt Jane, Cousin Joey, coworker Christy – they’re all making pie. There’s apple and pumpkin, soon to be followed by December’s 12+ days of cookies. Pretty soon, you feel your pants are fitting a bit snugger, and you’re energy is flying up and down like a reindeer sleigh running out of steam.

As sugar season (aka, the holidays) nears full swing, temptations are bound to show up frequently, which is why we’re bringing you a game plan to keep your health on track. Remember, a healthier you = a better feeling you = a happier you. Avoid reaching for the candy bowl, and you’ll keep your energy levels from crashing and all those empty calories from packing on the pounds.

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We’ve got 5 sweet, sugar-free escapes in the printout* above, so whenever the sugar fairy tries to cast its spell, you can turn away towards an even better alternative. Print it out and hang it by your desk or kitchen.

When temptation arises, turn to this guide and choose the option that feels most appealing to you. Go in with the mindset of each being a pleasant experience (or “sweet escape”, as we at LifeVest like to call it). This will set yourself up to enjoy each choice, and also make it so you won’t feel deprived.

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5 “Healthy” Foods with Hidden Sugar

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There’s no way to sugarcoat it – sugar is bad & we’re eating too much of it.

On average, Americans consume 156 pounds – or 31 five-pound bags – of sugar per year. Yikes! When considering its linked to everything from diabetes to high blood pressure to heart disease, that’s some Sour Patch Kid news right there. In fact, many experts believe our collective sweet tooth may not just be making us fat, but bringing us to our death. Poison alert, poison alert!

Some of you might be thinking, “I’m no Cookie Monster. I don’t eat candy or drink soda, so I’m fine.” It’s a thought that some of us here at the LifeVest have held, too. Yet, according to the latest guidelines from the World Health Organization, no more than 100 daily calories (25 grams) should come from sugar, and with it often lurking in unexpected places, that’s a number that can add up quickly.

From bread to breakfast to salad dressing, here are five hidden sources of sugar that could be taking a toll on your health without you even knowing it, along with the best options to keep these “healthy” foods actually beneficial to your health.

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The Skinny on Coconut Water

By Jen Hazen, Designed by Gabriela Alford, Originally Posted on Refinery29.

Mmm, coconut water. Super-hydrating! Potassium-rich! All natural! There’s no shortage of talk about Mother Nature’s tropical cocktail these days, but any “healthy” drink that gets so much buzz — and is soridiculously tasty — makes us wonder if it’s too good to be true. Depending on who you ask, coconut water is a miracle beverage…or barely better than soda. So before you reach for another bottle of Zico or Vita Coco, here are the facts on coconut water.

Not to be confused with coconut milk (a concoction of coconut water and freshly grated coconut), coconut water is all-natural carbs, straight up. A clear, sweet liquid with a nutty taste, it’s found inside young, green coconuts; the sterile water is usually harvested at the nine-month point. If you’re lucky enough to have access, fresh is best, says Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS, a NYC-based nutritionist and registered pharmacist. “Fresh coconut water has not been pasteurized, therefore it contains enzymes that help to detoxify and repair the body,” she explains. Most of what you’ll find in stores is pasteurized or from concentrate. (“It’s still a great way to hydrate yourself and it will still contain minerals, but it’s pasteurized, therefore, not raw,” she adds.)

Devotees of coconut water frequently praise its ability to keep the body well-hydrated. “Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, such as potassium, necessary for proper hydration,” Mendez states. “Electrolytes are also necessary for proper muscle contraction and to generate energy in the body.” And, she adds, even if you’re a Bugles-munching couch potato, the potassium in coconut water can counteract the potential hazards — hypertension, for instance — of a high-sodium diet of processed and refined foods. (If you medically need to restrict your potassium intake, however, avoid coconut water.)

Camille Eroy-Reveles, a Brooklyn-based fitness trainer, gives coconut water a thumbs-up, too. “It’s been used in tropical climates for ages to rehydrate the body,” she explains. “Some of my clients prefer the naturally occurring coconut water to sports drinks, as it doesn’t have the added sugar and artificial flavoring and colors that other sports drinks have.” Yet, marathon runners and strenuous exercisers may want to keep nursing their neon Gatorade. “Sports drinks typically have more sodium, which is extremely important for maintaining water balance. They also have a greater carbohydrate content,” Eroy-Reveles adds.

So, what’s the catch?

Continue reading to see what the skinny is on coconut water

Interested in learning more about health? Check out LifeVest Health where you can get paid to get healthy! No gimmicks, just cold hard cash.

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Are Health Foods Even Healthy?

Sugar is in everything. It’s hard to avoid, but even some of the ‘healthy’ options aren’t ‘feeding’ us the full truth. Be careful about these healthy options, that won’t seem so ‘sweet’ after all.

1. Nutrient-enhanced waters. You aren’t really enhancing your body with much, except for sugar. Some of these drinks have as much sugar as sodas do! And they claim to be ‘water’…

2. Energy bars. Now, we say this with caution because we are guilty of throwing a bar in our bag when we are in a rush. The problem is that a lot of these are packed with sugar, too! Some of the serious energy bars are loaded with protein, which may sound great. But if you aren’t working out it may not be a good idea to chow down on these everyday.

3. Fast food ‘Health’ choices. They definitely know how to sell convenience, taste and apparently, healthy choice. Don’t be a victim to the solid advertising, do a little research the next time you want something healthy from the drive thru. McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers bar. Yikes. And a health meal staple, salad, from BK could have as much as 22 g of fat and over 1,000 mg of sodium.So while everyone is trying to take a step in a healthier direction, we still might not be there. Just make sure to read the labels so you are making GOOD health choices.

Want to learn more about improving your health? Check out LifeVest Health and see how you can get paid to get healthy.
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Image courtesy of UrbanTaster: http://urbantaster.com/2010/01/12/healthy-food-disguised-as-unhealthy/