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Still plugging along sugar-free over here, save for green apples that I enjoy with hazelnut-almond butter for snacks. I would kill for chocolate, though. I miss my dark chocolate desperately. It’s easy to whip up sugar-free chocolate treats (see recipe, below, courtesy of Diane Sanfilippo over at Balanced Bites), but 70 percent dark chocolate with a touch of sugar and a little sea salt is bliss. But I am thinking clearly and feel good and happy and productive, so that’s a benefit. It’s good for the body to get the sugar out!

Are you an alcohol drinker? If so, a sugar detox is a great way to clear your mind and increase your energy level. Even one glass of wine can disrupt your sleep cycle, as the sugars can wake you, and the extra burden on your liver to detox creates stress on the body when it should be repairing and regenerating. I drank more wine (and enjoyed more desserts) than I am used to over the holidays, so I am very much enjoying the clarity and restful sleep that being booze-free brings.

How are your cravings? They should usually disappear by day 3 or 4, but if you still suffer with cravings after that point, it is a sign that something in your body is off balance. Cravings are NOT normal. We are used to hearing so much about weight loss via will power, but dealing with constant cravings may signal a deficiency of the feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine in the brain, or it may mean you are hypoglycemic or have other blood sugar imbalance issues.

Here is a quote from food & alcohol addiction specialist Lynn Eliot Harding, whom I interviewed the other day for a project I’m working on:
“People (in AA or Overeaters Anonymous, who must give up sugar and white flour in order to be abstinent with food and alcohol) have heard this idea that cravings just go with the territory and you’re just gonna have to grit your teeth, but my perspective is any time somebody’s having cravings, you must first look at their physiology and get them stabilized, because that’s really a warning sign from the body that something’s out of balance. The idea is that you don’t just treat symptoms, you find out what the underlying problem is and you heal that.” And I agree wholeheartedly. More on this topic later.

I’d love to hear from you about how your sugar detox is going: challenges, victories, what you’re eating, and how you’re feeling. In the meantime, if you miss chocolate as much as I do, here is a sugar free chocolate treat recipe made with nutrient-rich ingredients.

SWEETENER FREE chocolates (thanks to Diane Sanfilippo)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup + 1Tbsp coconut creme (which is just coconut meat ground into a paste. Find at www.tropicaltraditions.com)
1/4 cup almond meal (I make my own by grinding almonds in the food processor)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Stir oil and coconut creme together over a low flame to melt, and whisk in other ingredients until smooth. Pour into a mini muffin tin or ice cube tray into 12 portions and put in the fridge to solidify. Try putting raw cocoa nibs, coarse red salt, coconut shreds, or a touch of cayenne into tin or tray first for variety. Enjoy.

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