Do you feel like a sugar addict? You’re not alone. Our brains become addicted to the reward signaling effect that a high sugar intake can induce overtime. How to fight this? Start with a sugar detox like our 5 day sugar detox to reset your system and start identifying where sugar hides in your daily diet. Once you get yourself on the right path you will see how amazing your body feels and will want these changes to become more permanent. As you wean yourself from sugar you may experience some cravings during the detox process; use Nutritionist Meg Gerber’s simple tips below to help sooth your body off of this addictive substance:
- Get Present
Get inside your body: do you truly want to eat sugar or are you just hungry for food in general? Are you even hungry at all or are you just bored? Take three, deep mindful breaths and tune in to your energy in this moment. Many times we are trying to fulfill an emotional or spiritual need and this “hunger” for intangible substances leads us to fulfill that need with something tangible: food. Think about a non food action or item that fulfills you; does journaling help nourish your soul? If not, try getting lost in a good book, painting a picture, taking a warm lavender bath or pursuing social connection by phoning a friend or family member.
- Move it or You (Don’t) Lose it!
One of the best ways to truly fight a craving can be exercise: the action of moving your body physically shuts off digestion and can therefore influence hunger cues. Try going for a walk when hunger sets in or scheduling your favorite yoga or group workout at a time when most people crave sweets-the afternoon/evening.
- Out of Sight Out of Mind
Make sure to set yourself up for success. You are only human so keeping tasty candies, ice cream, cookies, etc in your home is like giving yourself a test without a study guide-you will likely fail! Keep satiating and nourishing foods on hand so that when a true craving strikes you have some go-to options (see last bullet)
- Don’t Go Artificial
Subbing artificial sweeteners such as splenda or sucralose for sugar can have even worse damaging effects on your health-these sweeteners have been linked to cancer and brain damage. Instead try adding spices or herbs to your foods or drinks that tend to have a natural sweetness to them such as cinnamon, chamomile or basil. You can also sprinkle cacao nibs onto a smoothie or yogurt for a natural crunchy sweetness or choose a lower sugar fruit option such as raspberries or ½ a grapefruit. Still not cutting it? A natural sweetener coming from plant based sources can help make the transition off of sugar more doable. Try using small amounts of stevia in the raw or monk fruit which will not influence blood sugar or weight gain.
- Think: Fat + Fiber = Full
If you have identified that your craving is true hunger and it has been about 4 hours since your last meal, you likely need a snack or possibly a full meal. Choose an option with a healthy fat source and plenty of fiber to sustain your blood sugar and prevent future cascades of cravings. For example, my snickerdoodle cookie dough balls are a great sweet tasting option that contain cinnamon-a natural blood sugar balancer. I also love to make my own chips out of vegetables-slice carrots, beets or plantains thin and toss in avocado oil and sea salt. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 400 until crispy!