A main issue with which my clients struggle is sugar addiction and wicked sugar cravings. Think your willpower’s no match for sugar? Think again. You can overcome cravings and avoid falling victim to the dessert tray or the 3pm vending machine itch with these easy tips.
First off, to get you motivated, let’s look at the ways sugar wrongs us.
Suppresses your immune system
Is linked to cancers
Promotes weight gain and obesity
Disrupts the body’s mineral balance
Contributes to depression, anxiety and mood swings
Promotes gut dysbiosis or overgrowth of bad bacteria, such as candida, in the gut
Contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes
Can cause hormonal imbalances
Increases risk for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Can cause hypoglycemia
Will reduce good HDL cholesterol and increase bad LDL cholesterol
Prohibits weight loss
You know how it is. Once you start in on the sweets, you can’t stop at one. You have another and another, then you crave sugar and think about it all day. It’s an evil roller coaster. Stay off it. Here’s how.
Stop Sugar from Ruining Your Life
1. Start your day with protein and good fats. Avoid refined foods such as cereals, bagels, croissants, or pastries. These foods contain refined sugars or break down quickly into sugar, causing an initial blood glucose spike followed by a crash. When your blood glucose drops too low and you crave sugar, what you actually need is protein.
For breakfast, have an egg-veggie scramble, a protein smoothie, or organic chicken sausages sauteed with spinach and topped with avocado. Click here for my best easy breakfast recs.
DON’T skip breakfast or just have coffee because you’re “saving up for later.” Skipping breakfast can lead to binge behavior later.
2. Eat every 4 hours to maintain stable blood glucose levels. Fill up on healthy foods periodically so you’re never ravenous and hypoglycemic. And while you’re at it: avoid refined sugars (the white granulated stuff). The more you eat sugar, the more you’ll crave it. Here’s how to avoid hypoglycemia.
3. Save desserts for special occasions, not every day. One thing you can and should eat every day is good ole dark chocolate. It has myriad health benefits. This one is my absolute fave and doesn’t contain soy or other fillers. When baking, use unrefined sweeteners such as molasses, honey, or grade B maple syrup. I also love using xylitol, which doesn’t feed intestinal bad bacteria or spike blood sugar.
4. Focus on protein at breakfast and lunch especially. Protein gives you energy and satiety and helps keep blood sugar balanced. Before parties, eat a protein-based snack like organic turkey slices wrapped around avocado, hard boiled eggs, or apple with almond butter. Don’t show up ravenous!
5. Go easy on the booze. Alcohol is metabolized as pure sugar and can lead to hypoglycemia, making you hungry, likely to overeat, and prone to making poor choices when you do eat. Drink water between cocktails and try to cap it at 2 drinks. Or, have a mocktail such as sparkling water with lime.
Sugar cravings are more than just a lack of willpower.
There is a physiological reason you crave sugar, and once you’re on the rollercoaster, it’s hard to get off. Don’t feel like a failure if you blow it; all you need to do is get back on that sugar-free horse the next day.
If you overindulged, start off with 8 ounces of hot water and the juice of 1/2 a lemon to detoxify the following day, and drink green vegetable juices (celery, parsley, green apple, cucumber, ginger makes a nice blend) to alkalize the body. (Sugar is very acidic). Then stick to protein & veggies throughout the day.
If you’ve got a really bad craving, here are some tips
- Have a cup of green tea. It may sound preposterous, but we sometimes mistake hunger or craving cues for thirst, and the minerals in green tea give you a boost.
- Have a protein snack instead of reaching for the candy. As I mentioned, when blood sugar is low, you actually need protein to stabilize blood glucose levels.
- 500 mg – 1000mg of glutamine helps halt sugar cravings. Break open the capsules and empty under your tongue, then swallow with water.
- Certain minerals like chromium arrest sugar cravings. You can often find them in blood sugar balance supplement blends with other herbs or nutrients that also help. Examples are gymnema, alpha lipoic acid, and cinnamon. I highly recommend this blood sugar support supplement.
Here’s my favorite holiday recipe. An oldie but always a goodie. You could even add peppermint extract to jazz it up. Makes a great energy-boosting snack due to the coconut oil. Enjoy!
- 1 to 1½ cup almond meal. You can use about 1½ cup raw almonds, then grind in a food processor if you prefer
- ½ cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted.
- 1 cup carob or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 to 2 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup Monukka raisins or turkish apricots (this is about 4-5 chopped), soaked
- 4-5 tblsp water, from raisin/apricot soak
- Place raisins or chopped apricots in small bowl and cover with boiling water, about 2 inches above raisins/apricots. Soak 5-10 minutes. Do not drain. Spoon out of bowl and reserve water and fruit separately.
- Add almond meal, carob, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, fruit to food processor or blender; blend well.
- Add 4-5 tbsp of water from fruit soak and blend again. Add more for desired consistency; mixture should be thick like cookie dough.
- Note: if you are using blender, you’ll have to intermittently stir and re-blend until smooth.
- Transfer to 7x7 glass pan.
- Refrigerate until coconut oil sets the batter like fudge.
- Keep refrigerated; lasts for weeks and freezes well.
- Cut into 25 or so squares.
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