February’s the month of love with Valentines Day just around the corner. This often means more chocolate and sweet treats.
We all know that sugar is bad for our bodies. It contains empty calories, provides no nutritional value, and is highly addictive. High amounts of sugar can also wreak havoc on our immune systems, hormones, gut health and digestion. Some of the other negative effects are premature aging, weight gain, fatigue, bone loss, mental fatigue, depression, and it is a major contributing factor to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. My mission is not to scare you into never eating sugar again; it’s to shed light on how to create healthier alternatives. So you can have your cake and eat it too and still stick to your healthy lifestyle. I work with a lot of women who struggle to break up with sugar so if you are nodding your head right now this post is for you.
1. Stop fluctuating and start balancing: Get your blood sugar levels steady first by eating breakfast within a half hour of waking and then eat smaller meals more often or make sure you have healthy snacks every couple of hours. Eating a balanced meal while sitting down calmly is very important. Mindful eating is SO important.
2. Start combining: Eat simple carbohydrates with fat and protein at each meal and snack. When sugary foods are eaten on their own, it can quickly satisfy hunger and lift energy, but it leaves room for future cravings when energy begins to slump a few hours later.
3. Plan your day: Meal planning and grocery shopping might seem like an added stress, but it can be a lifesaver. This way you can control your sugar on a meal to meal, daily, or weekly basis. If you have a packed lunch and snacks ready to go, it is a lot harder to fall off the wagon.
4. Make a list: Why do you want to quit sugar? Make a thorough list of why it is important to you and then refer back to it when a craving hits.
5. Address underlying health issues: When sugar addiction is out of control, it might be your body’s cry for attention. Some issues that manifest as sugar cravings are stress/adrenal fatigue, yeast overgrowth, hypothyroid, unbalanced hormones or a slow thyroid. A lot of people also link sugar with both positive and negative emotions.
6. Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement: Sometimes it is not just a sugar craving but a craving for missing nutrients, like magnesium in chocolate or chromium in oatmeal cookies. B vitamins are especially critical. If you feel like this might be you, it might be a good idea to book an appointment with your Naturopath.
7. Get a good night’s sleep: Your cravings for sugar might be a cycle of needing the instant pick-me-up that sugar can give. The cycle is set in motion by not getting enough quality sleep, requiring an artificial energy boost by mid-morning.
8. Avoid triggers: Just like a substance abuse problem, sugar addiction can be perpetuated by constantly following the same patterns, like going to the same coffee shop or watching late night TV.
9. Do something else: Take your mind off sugar by finding a new activity to pursue – walking, reading, yoga, board games – the sky’s the limit.
10. Get support: When things get tough call up a friend to talk things out. Better yet, get a friend, colleague or loved one to do the challenge with you!
Sometimes it can sound easier said than done so here are a few tips to help you ride out the sugar cravings, keep reading to grab 5 new healthy snack recipes to curb that sweet tooth.
What To Do When You Feel the Craving
Cravings usually only last between 10 to 20 minutes, and if you can try just to let it pass, it usually will. Try thinking of it like riding a wave. But when you feel like you need Sugar NOW, you can try these helpful steps:
1. Drink some water. Often when you are thirsty, your body interprets it as hunger. Try drinking a large glass of water, then wait 10 or 15 minutes and see how you feel.
2. Assess your hunger. Are you actually hungry? The sugar craving is usually your first thought when you are hungry as it will provide you with energy the fastest. Take time to prepare some food to address the hunger.
3. Go for a walk. Take your mind off the craving by changing the scenery for 15 minutes; the craving should take care of itself by the time you get back. If you walk briskly, you will increase the release of endorphins, which will squash your craving.
4. Take a hot shower. The heat and steam in a hot shower will help you relax and give you perspective on your craving.
5. Eat a piece of fruit or a healthy snack. Snacks can include nuts, seeds, avocado, vegetable sticks with hummus or natural nut butter, or smoothies made with fruit only (no added sugar).
6. Chew some gum. Make sure it is sweetened with Xylitol. Some good brands are Pür Gum, Glee Gum, and Xyla.
7. Assess your mood. Are you feeling unsupported, tired, angry, or overwhelmed? Try to find ways of dealing with these issues before you reach for the sweets. For a quick fix take three deep breaths – it has been clinically shown to reduce stress.
8. Eat a bit of what you are craving. Keep it under 150 calories and combine it with a healthy fat and protein combination like almonds. Don’t feel guilty! Savor it. Then go re-read why you want to quit sugar and get back on the horse
If you are looking to do a Sugar Detox check out my Sugar Detox in 10 Days Cookbook with lots of healthy delicious recipes that will help make this new lifestyle easy. Grab your copy below to begin your journey to better health.
If you’re not ready to grab a copy of the book I still wanted to share some new recipes for you. Enjoy 3 New Healthy Snack Recipes below.
Lemon Vanilla Chia Pudding
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup whole chia seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or a better option is the seeds of 1 vanilla bean.
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
- Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined.
- Place the bowl in the fridge covered in plastic wrap or foil and allow to set for a minimum of 4 hours but up to 12 hours (overnight) is preferred.
Blueberry Coconut Flour Pancakes
Makes: 2 servings
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
¼ cup coconut flour, sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons almond butter, natural unsweetened
½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup blueberries
coconut oil for cooking the pancakes
- In a small bowl combine milk, flour, eggs, nut butter, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk until blended. Stir in the blueberries. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it is hot enough for a spritz of water to sizzle on it. Pour batter in ½ cup dollops onto skillet.
- Cook 2 minutes until bubbles form on top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook two more minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1.5 tablespoons of natural unsweetened peanut butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth. Top with flaked coconut (unsweetened) or additional cinnamon for extra blood sugar balancing effects.
If you found this blog post helpful I would love to know what you think in the comments below, or if I missed a great tip I would love to hear.
As always sharing is caring, if you know someone who would love this information regarding sugar and ways to break up with sugar I would so appreciate you sharing this blog post with them. Giving up sugar is hard but it is easier when when you do it with a friend.
In love and light,