Learn these 7 tips to manage your sugar addiction and start satisfy your sweet cravings in a natural, healthier way.
Raise your hand if you feel like you’re addicted to sugar? You’re not alone. As humans, we are biologically addicted to sugar and several studies have looked into how sugar releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential.
Especially now that most of us are stuck at home, sugar seems to be the comfort food which keeps our sanity intact during these hard times. But just like any bad habit, excessive sugar consumption has several ill-effects on our health such as increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of cancer, diabetes, tooth decay, weight gain, premature ageing, skin inflammations and allergies, and the list can go on and on.
But the more important question now is how can we manage sugar addiction and cravings?
Here are 5 SIMPLE TIPS to get you started.
1. Eat naturally-sweet vegetables and fruits to crowd out your sugar cravings.
Start your mornings with a nutrient-dense smoothie which can satisfy your sweet cravings but still nourish you with healthy fats, and proteins that can help reduce cravings. Vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potatoes and beets are naturally sweet and packs a lot of fiber as well. Try this vegan pumpkin-carrot soup for a hearty bowl of sweet goodness.
2. Avoid refined, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar.
Use gentle sweeteners like pure honey, real maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit, stevia, and barley malt. Always read the labels and watch out for added sugars in the food you’re buying. If you don’t recognize the ingredient, then your body likely won’t. Try these guilt-free fudgy brownies which uses natural sweeteners and are still equally satisfying.
3. Drink more water.
Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes. You can also ‘flavor’ your water naturally by adding sliced lemon or lime, or even add some frozen blueberries or raspberries. If you’re feeling a little indulgent, use plain sparkling water and add some mint.
4. Reduce or eliminate caffeine.
The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, and may cause sugar cravings. Now don’t go cold turkey and instantly rule out coffee. Start maybe reducing it to a cup a day instead of 2. Switch to decaf on some days. Try out alternatives like herbal teas, or turmeric or matcha latté. And if you really do need a cuppa, just make sure to drink more water right after.
5. Eliminate fat-free or low-fat packaged snack foods.
Low-sugar or low-fat foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, which will send you on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Instead of low-fat yogurt, pick the plain or greek-style yogurt which also has more probiotics and live cultures. Instead of low-fat milk, you can instead make your own plant milk like this 2-ingredient cashew milk which is sugar-free and more delicious than store-bought milk.
6. Get more sleep, rest, and relaxation.
Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily-available source of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you’re in a state of chronic stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy available – sugar.
Start a simple bed-time routine and even set your alarm. Thirty minutes prior bedtime, switch off your electronic devices and perhaps have a warm shower, or read a book to help you slow down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
7. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat.
According to yin-yang principles of eating (such as in Macrobiotics and Traditional Chinese Medicine), eating too much animal food (yang) can lead to cravings for sweets (yin). Imbalances can also occur when you eat too little animal protein. Through experimentation and intuition, you can find which foods create balance for you as an individual.
Just like any new habits, take it slow and go gentle. Pick one or two of these tips to slowly incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
Which of these are you trying out? Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how these small changes to your diet and lifestyle have helped your health.
Stay healthy always,