Life is sweet, even without sugar, according to Texas City health coach Oralia Acosta. Her May 14 presentation at Rosenberg Library, “Sugar: Pain or Pleasure?” delves into the science and sensation of sweetness.

“Sugar definitely brings us pleasure. We’re born in a state of absolute bliss, and tasting sugar takes us back to that state, just for a fleeting moment,” Acosta explains. “but, it can also be the source of inflammation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and foggy brain. My talk is designed to give people information so they can choose.”

As a health coach, Acosta understands the lure of sugar. “If I get into the sugar bowl, forget it, I’m not getting out,” she said. “The more sugar you eat, the more you crave.”

Instead, Acosta offers strategies for replacing sugar, ranging from food to self-care. “You can cut down the cravings for sugar by eating healthy, anti-inflammatory fats,” she noted. “The sugar industry was part of the low-fat movement that was popular in the past, but low-fat diets are often sugar-heavy.”

For some, sugary treats may just be a habit. “Sugar is a part of so many rituals in our lives, like birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and Christmas cookies,” Acosta said. “Sharing dessert with family or friends is a ritual for many of the clients I see, but I work with them to find a different ritual, something like having a cup of tea together or walking the dog.”

Acosta’s talk at Rosenberg Library will touch on some of the maladies linked to sugar consumption. “Sugar affects the brain in so many ways,” she said. “Even Alzheimer’s disease, which some doctors are starting to call ‘the third diabetes.’ The brain is 60 percent fat, and the brain needs fat to stay healthy.”

Although science plays a role in Acosta’s presentation, she is quick to stress that her expertise is in coaching, not medicine. “I do not practice medicine. I work to help people look at their health issues, and we start finding ways to counteract them,” she explained. “As a health coach, I ask, ‘Why?’ and help people find the answers.”

One of her answers involves removing many forms of sugar, even the natural sugar in fruit. “Fruit is not your friend,” Acosta declared. “Fructose, the sugar in fruit, accumulates in your liver.” Her talk will describe some of the alternatives for sweetening food, including coconut milk.

Whipping coconut milk and chilling it until it gels to a pudding-like consistency is one of her hacks. “This will be sweet enough to calm your sweet tooth,” she advises.

Coconut milk and coconut flour are also ingredients in the grain-free tortillas she makes. “These are by far the best tortillas I’ve tried using substitute ingredients,” she said. “These tortillas can be used for burritos, enchiladas, enchilada pie and to some degree, fajitas.” The crepe-like tortillas are also dairy-free.

The “Sugar: Pain or Pleasure?” presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 14 in the Wortham Auditorium at Rosenberg Library in Galveston.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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