Junior Golf: Healthy Sweet Options

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will continue down the path of taking control of your family’s health. Knowing some healthy options for sweeteners is a big step in a positive direction. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

There are times that something sweet really can be satisfying; cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, a shake or even a soda can just taste soooo good! Among our health challenges today are the negative issues associated with improper eating habits, including too much carb intake. These include heart disease, high blood pressure and blood sugar situations such as diabetes, among others.

So how do you help yourself, your spouse and kids satisfy that sweet tooth? The long-term answer is changing your complete food regimen to a healthy-fat diet, more on that in subsequent posts. The short-term answer is 2-fold: reduce the total number of carbohydrates-sugars, white flour, white potatoes, etc, that are eaten and find healthy sweeteners to calm down those sweet cravings. A corollary is to not eat any artificial sweeteners.

Please keep in mind that Linda and I are not medical professionals, sports psychologists or PGA Professionals. We are the parents of a college graduate who started playing golf at age 5 and went to college on a golf scholarship. The information we are passing on to you includes many things that have been helpful to us and that we believe to be true.

Where on earth does a parent find sweet things that are healthy? 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day are plenty for your junior golfer and you too. Locally grown fruit is probably best, organic is next best and so on. Fruit juice is not healthy unless you juiced it yourself and it has the whole fruit, including the fiber, in it. Otherwise it is all sugar! Not good!

Next on the list is locally grown organic, unfiltered, raw-meaning unpasteurized honey. Now all honey must be heated a little bit to get the honey to flow and go through a strainer to take out certain unattractive chunks. Once it gets up to a temperature of 120-degrees Fahrenheit most of the really good ingredients are degraded. That’s why you want raw, meaning unpasteurized. Raw organic unfiltered honey has antifungal, antibacterial, and more healing properties that put it in the miracle healer category. There is a ton of documentation online. In fact the military here in San Antonio is testing and in some cases using this type of honey for a number of different applications including burn treatment, wound healing and MRSA.

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More healthy sweet choices are stevia, a sweetener made from the plant of the same name. It is sometimes combined with other sugars or fillers to make it taste more like something you are familiar with. Stevia has a different taste, but not a bad taste. Only get 100% stevia. And xylitol is a wood sugar that actually has a number of health benefits. It can be tricky to bake with, tastes pretty good and it is actually in some chewing gum, healthy chewing gum, really! (image: Healthy with Honey)

Cane sugar is the last resort because while it is not really healthy, it is so much better than any artificial sweetener and in small quantities it is not the worst thing in the world.

Mom and Dad just a reminder that everything in the world of health, nutrition, supplementation and fitness seems to be controversial. There are a million opinions on everything. That’s why Linda and I encourage you to take control of your family’s health. Do your own research. When in doubt go with the unprocessed or the least processed food item. Eat lean and green. Less carbohydrates and more healthy fats. More to come!

See you on #1 tee looking fit… Sam

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