by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND – Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre –
Is anyone else finding themselves here in spring and still riding the Christmas, then Easter, then … anytime sugar high? Phew! Glad I’m not alone. But the sugar addiction is real, and spring is the perfect time to get off the sugar rollercoaster in time for the ease of warm weather. I’ve even roped my husband into detoxing alongside me, because let’s face it, going off sugar cold turkey can be hard.
If you’re finding yourself in the midst of sugar addiction, read on. I’ve put together a list of effective ways to set yourself up to nix the sugar habit with ease.
Set Yourself Up for Success! There are a lot of things you can do to help make your transition as easy as possible.
• Increase your protein and fat intake. Make sure to eat protein and healthy fats with every meal. This will help you feel satisfied and help regulate your blood sugar.
• Make sure to eat regular meals. The last thing you want is a blood sugar crash, which will intensify any withdrawal symptoms.
• Get lots of rest and stay well hydrated. Lack of sleep and dehydration can increase sugar cravings and leave you feeling weaker in your resolve to cut sugar.
• Limit caffeine and alcohol. These substances can contribute to blood sugar irregularities that will make the sugar detox experience harder.
• Read labels. Added sugar is hiding in unexpected places. Common names for sugar include high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or juice, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup and caramel.
But what happens when you’ve done everything you can and you still find yourself hankering for a mid-afternoon cinnamon roll?
Stop right where you are and follow this checklist.
- What to do When You Get a Craving
• Consider your motivations. Are you REALLY craving sugar, or are you really just bored or feeling a little down and looking for a pick-me-up?
• Drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Chances are you won’t be craving it anymore.
• Eat something bitter. Bitter foods such as cocoa, arugula and traditional digestive bitters actually put the brakes on the receptors in the brain that triggered the craving in the first place.
- Satisfying an Incessant Sweet Tooth. Can’t get past the craving? Here are some options that will satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your process.
• Eat fresh fruit and berries. Your body processes the natural sugars in fruit differently than refined sugar, plus fruit is packed with nutrients and fibre.
• Drink herbal tea. Teas like peppermint and licorice root have a natural sweetness that is very satisfying and hydrating.
• Nibble on some dark chocolate. Chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher is your friend. It is low in sugar and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. And well, it’s chocolate!
- Remember, Life is Really all About Balance. Indulging every once in a while and being a part of the moment that includes sugar is part of the joy of being alive. You can always bookmark this article for future reference when cravings come along a little too often.