We all know the blunt fact: sugar is bad for you, yet we don’t know how to curb our ravenous cravings for this white gold. The alluring sweets and treats enter our vision and waft into our noses on the daily, whether we have them in our household or not. We have to pass them in the grocery store when we’re stressed out and weak from a day at work or we have a child relentlessly tugging on our arm to buy them sugary snacks that we end up indulging in as well. We have to see magnificent cakes and pastries on the menu at restaurants and behind thin glass at our coffee shops. We have treats offered to us by friends and displayed freely down long tables at weddings, waiting for us.
The problem of sugar cravings goes incredibly deep. We’ve actually changed our taste buds by overpowering them with sweeter and saltier things than you could find in nature. This is because we’ve isolated sugar from the sugar cane plant. The sugar cane plant, believe it or not, is very high in minerals, this is the same with things like berries and fruit, they have sugar in them but they also have minerals, vitamins and fiber. When sugar is isolated it’s more intense and it damages our bodies when separated from it’s co-factors. The damage I am talking about comes in a few forms, the first is the elevation of blood sugar causing blood sugar dysregulation, fatigue, insulin resistance and diabetes. The second is something called glycation, put simply, this is when sugar and proteins react with one another to create “sticky” proteins that end up damaging body systems including the brain and our arteries. (think Alzheimers and congestive heart failure) So sugar is something we don’t want to mess around with or take lightly.
The other day I was presented with a beautiful piece of cake. I thought to myself, I’ll try a bite! It was made with high quality ingredients and complex flavors. The first bite was good, the second bite was less appealing and by the third bite I couldn’t handle the sweetness. This is because I have trained my taste buds to appreciate the sweetness in natural things, like fruit or raw milk. The sweetest thing I eat is a Paleo Dutch baby (which is basically eggs, arrowroot flour, coconut milk, vanilla and lots of butter for cooking) with berries on top. I never add sweeteners, not even honey anymore. But guess what? I don’t miss sugar one bit, and I don’t crave it anymore. It’s possible for you to get here too!
The problem is the food industry has made things sweeter and saltier every year so that our taste buds will change. Slowly but surely we are unable to resist unhealthy foods because of our intense cravings. But there is hope.
Here are some steps:
#1 Add in the Minerals/Vitamins/Amino Acids that your body really wants.
To start, we should add in healthy foods that meet our deepest body desires for minerals, vitamins and satiation. A lot of times sugar cravings are caused by deficiencies. Here are a few possible deficiencies and which foods to start incorporating:
Chromium: An essential nutrient for blood sugar regulation, an essential component of Glucose Tolerance Factor, which helps insulin bind to the appropriate receptor on the cell surface Functions in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism
Found in: Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
#2 Add in Bone Broth soups.
Bone broth is incredibly high in minerals. Because sugar cravings can be caused by mineral deficiencies, as I mentioned above, this is a must have in the diet.
#3 Add in Healthy Fats.
Fats are incredible for satiation and curbing cravings. Including these in your diet not only gives you more satiation but healthy fats actually slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream so that you don’t have a blood sugar spike.
Add these into your diet: Grass fed animal products like Lard and Butter, Coconut Oil, Avocado, Fish Oil, Etc. Healthy fats are long lasting energy sources that will curb your cravings and leave you feeling satisfied for much longer than a carb heavy meal.
#4 Lower Carbohydrate intake: especially refined Carbs.
Carbs actually turn into sugar in your body so it’s best to minimize those and get them in the form of vegetables and fruits.
#5 Add in more of the other tastes.
Because we have been overpowered by sugar and salt we should begin to incorporate more of the other flavors into our meals and switch our sugar and salt intake to what you see listed below. Surprisingly the bitter flavor can actually be helpful when trying to curb sweet cravings so start eating more bitter greens like Arugula.
Fruit, grains, natural sugars, milk
Sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
Natural salts, sea vegetables
Dark leafy greens, herbs and spices
Chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
Legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs
#6 Start tapering your sugar intake.
It’s better to add in healthy, satisfying foods to begin supporting your body and changing your taste buds before removing processed, sugar-laden foods cold turkey. You will be much more successful if you do it this way. It can take 6 months for your taste buds to change so you’ll need to be patient. Week by week start removing your typical treats while incorporating all the foods I mentioned above.
#7 Clean out your pantry and Have healthy snacks available.
You can’t control the temptations once you leave the house, but you can control your pantry. Do a pantry clean out of all the unhealthy snacks and replace them with other options. If you don’t have options ready you are more likely to cave and go buy something. Some of my favorites to have on hand:
-Hard Boiled Eggs
-Apple and Nut Butter
-Homemade Nut Granola with Grass Fed unsweetened yogurt
-Bacon wrapped Dates
#8 Accomplish other things when having sugar cravings.
When you notice a sugar craving coming on, and you’re not hungry, go do something else epic. Write a poem, take a walk, go to the library and check out a book on a subject you really want to learn about. Use your sugar cravings to accomplish great things instead of giving into them. It will give your brain the much needed distraction AND you’ll be doing something beneficial for yourself.
There is a lot more I can say about sugar and cravings but this is a good place to start. If you want to be like me, where you have your cake and you don’t want to eat it, then start implementing these steps. Sugar intake is made all cute in the form of pretty deserts, which are okay to indulge in once in a while, but when sugar rules our lives and we can’t control our craving we need to seriously consider a drastic change.
For more help or support in this area contact me for a one on one consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Sugar Cravings, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Desserts, Holistic Health, Portland Nutrition
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Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David