Eagerly awaiting “Jump Day” for the baby wood ducks.  Just peeked in the box while momma duck was on a nest break. The eggs are all covered with downy feathers.  There at least a dozen eggs.  No hatchlings yet, but according to my calculations we are T-minus 7 days!

Once again, nature is so amazing in the fact that the momma duck knows exactly what the babies will need to be fed.  She doesn’t fly into the local convenience store to pick up some prepackaged, processed food like substance.  And I know that this spring time season fills the shelves at the stores with all kinds of sugary treats to fill baskets that “some bunny” is supposed to deliver. But wake up people, no living creature in nature would purposely serve their children something that

mimicked a nutritious food.  Just cruise down the aisle of your local supermarket or “drug” store and look at all the options of “egg like” candy!  I counted ten different types from jelly bean eggs to malted milk eggs.  That’s enough to send anyone into a diabetic coma.  Your pancreas would pass out from the information overload of the thoughts of sugar.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have a treat every once and a while, but they start marketing this stuff just as the Christmas holiday is ending.

One Degree of Change #20: Get rid of all Processed Products with more than 10 grams of Sugar!

Since it is Easter candy time, I thought it would be fun to pick on those 600 million cute, little chicks and bunnies that Americans eat every year.  Here’s the lowdown on these sugar treats:

  • 32 calories per peep (chick or bunny).
  • Box of five = 160 calories (because who eats just one).
  • Fat free (not really, because sugar is converted into fat for the most part).
  • There are 8 grams of sugar in each peep.
  • That’s 2 teaspoons of sugar per peep, the box of five equals 10 teaspoons.
  • No cholesterol, no fiber, no protein, absolutely no nutrition!
  • Contain 13% of you daily carbohydrates.
  • Ingredients for a yellow chick or bunny: Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, contains less than 0.5% of the following ingredients: yellow #5 (Tartrazine), potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural flavors, carnauba wax (in case you wanted to wax your car).
  • Because of the gelatin, they are not considered vegan.
  • Gluten-free, if the package states that it is, depends on the factory in which they are produced.

With all those yummy ingredients, who can resist? Some body is eating my share of the 600 million peeps! So how many carbohydrates/sugar should you have in a day?  Here is how I calculate the number of calories an individual patient should have per day to maintain weight:

Multiply your body weight — in pounds — by 13 if you’re sedentary,
                                                                                 16 if you’re moderately active and
                                                                                 18 if you exercise regularly.

Example: My bodyweight is 130 lbs. X 16 = 2080 calories.  If I wanted to lose weight, I would decrease my number to 13, which would decrease my caloric intake to 1690 calories per day.

Now you need to calculate the number of grams of carbohydrates that you need in a day.  Here is the formula that I use:

Total caloric intake X 45-65%, then divide by 4 = grams of carbohydrates.

Example: My total calories for the day are 2080 x .45 = 936 / 4 = 234 grams of carbs per day. 

So that means I could have 29.25 peeps for the day! Not!  I choose to partake in nutrition rich and fiber dense carbohydrates.  Here is your 10 step approach to decreasing your processed sugar intake:

1.  Now go through your pantry and cabinets.
2.  Look at the boxes, bags, and don’t forget the cans and jars of processed food (if it was made in a plant or factory, it is processed) in your possession.
3. Take just one cabinet.
4. Pull everything out and read the labels.
5. If it has more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, make it go bye bye!
6. Donate unopened packages to a food shelter like Lake Cares Pantry in Eustis or find an organization in your area. **See below
7.  Empty open containers and put into garbage.
8.  Rinse and Recycle the empty containers.
9.  Make a shopping list with healthy alternatives.
10. Cross your heart and promise to be good to it!

Can you make some changes in your shopping habits?  At least if you are going to have a sweet treat, purchase some fair trade chocolate to fill that basket the bunny brings to your house.  Equal Exchange carries Fair Trade chocolates and cocoas, which are delicious treats that support small-scale farmers and their families, made with organic chocolate and sugar from co-ops in Central and South America. They are always organic, always small-farmer grown! It is a win-win!  But you still have to watch your sugars!

The great thing about your “One Degree of Change” is that it makes you a healthier person and

the planet a healthier place to live! 

Come on, it’s only one degree!

**Addendum: After having a discussion on Facebook with one of my patients, I agreed to change #6 in the steps to decreasing sugar in your diet.  It was discussed that donating the bad food to the pantry should not be done as those are the folks who can least afford the sickness that comes from those kinds of foods. She suggested throwing it away in the garbage and leaving it for aliens! I suggested using it as a fire starter. She followed up with “Maybe leaving  it for the aliens will explain to them why we became extinct??”  What more could I say, but “That’s awesome”!  What do you think we should do?

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