RESTART 2016: A Sweet Divorce from Sugar

Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Binay Curtis, nutritionist, writer and educator. Register for her 5-week "RESTART Program," an empowering combination of nutrition education, sugar detox, and support group at The Hivery in Mill Valley, noon on Friday’s beginning on January 8th. 

Did you know, according to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar per year? That means we are consuming nearly a 1/2 pound of sugar each day; more during the holiday season. It's no surprise that sugar is bad for our health and the leading cause of childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more.

Consider saying goodbye to sugar for good in 2016.  It may seem like an impossible goal, sugar appears to be in everything! However, with a busy family and kids constantly wanting sugar, getting started may seem like dragging up the Dipsea Steps on a hot day with three children under six in tow. But it's not as hard as you think. So, whether you’re busy with the kids or busy with your business, here are five simple suggestions you can do now to make 2016 just a tad bit healthier; one Dipsea Step at a time.

STEP 1: Kitchen cleanout: The start of a new year is the perfect time to clean out those cabinets and decrease – or eliminate – foods that are processed with toxins, like sugar. Clear out the items that don’t contribute to a healthy diet. Not sure what qualifies? Then keep this in mind: the more ingredients, the less healthy it will be for your digestion, blood sugar regulation and overall health. 

STEP 2: Become a label detective: As part of your kitchen clean out mission, investigate covert clues for sugar like Agave (yes, it's sugar), corn syrup, fructose, mannitol, sucrose, lactose, barley malt, glucose, dates. 

STEP 3: Shop the isles and look for the rainbow! Usually all of the healthy foods are in the isles; start there and really fill your cart with the many locally produced non-sugar options Marin has to offer. Take advantage of our local Farmer’s Markets and purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables. If your kids are with you at the grocery store, present a few games to them in order to help out with the grocery shopping. Ask your kids to pick one thing from every color of the rainbow and see what they come back with. Another challenge is to create a treasure hunt: ask the kids to find any item that has 5 ingredients or less. Trust me, this this isn’t an easy challenge!

STEP 4: Shift the focus: Focus on adding healthier choices to snacks and meals. Fill dinners with plenty of vegetable options.  Add snacks around the house such as nuts, jicama, celery sticks, radishes, hummus and carrots. Jicama is sweet and filled with Vitamin C to help boost your immune system. (Squeeze lime and sprinkle with a little chili powder for yourself - yum!). Strategically place these options front and center in the refrigerator and/or snack cabinet for a quick fix.  If the kids are hungry, ask them to go look in the refrigerator before looking in the cabinet. 

STEP 5: Ease into the process: Still can't give up the sugar laden treats? Here are some alternative options to ease into the transition:

And now you are on your way to a healthier family in 2016. If you're ready to take the next step and completely eliminate sugar (and it can be done) join my 5-week RESTART program beginning on Friday, January 8th at The Hivery in downtown Mill Valley. RESTART is a simple, powerful way to give your body a vacation from having to process toxins like sugar. With a 3-week sugar detox, built right in, the program focuses on how to use REAL FOOD to boost energy and cut sugar and carb cravings. Discover how good you can feel! 

Binay Curtis, Nutritionist, focuses on a balanced approach to health through real foods and specializes in family nutrition, food allergies and weight loss. With more than two decades of health writing, fitness, nutrition, health and biotechnology marketing at Galaxy Six Strategies, Binay leverages her experience to bring nutrition education programs to individuals and corporations through her company, Bacon + Broccoli = Nutrition in Balance.  Previously, Binay represented Life Fitness, Nordic Track and Foodily through a 20 year career in public relations and marketing. In addition, Binay worked as a contributing health and fitness writer at Muscle & Fitness Magazine and The Daily Herald.  She received a BS in Health Writing at the University of Wisconsin, and is certified as a Nutrition Consultant from the Nutritional Therapy Association. With a 15 year career in personal training and exercise instruction, she holds numerous fitness certifications through AFAA, US Yoga Association and YogaKids!. For more information, contact binay (at), visit, on Facebook at Bacon + Broccoli = Nutrition in Balance or on Twitter @baconandbroc.