In the past few months, my sugar cravings have all but vanished. As I look back to figure out what I did, I’ve come up with a few tricks and tools that have helped. I didn’t do these all at once, and I don’t recommend you tackle all of these steps either. Choose 2 or 3 that resonate with you and start from there.
1. Stop Eating Sugar
Sugar is an incredibly addictive substance. Dr. Robert Lustig explained to 60 Minutes that sugar is “as addictive as cocaine.” In order to say sayanara to your sugar cravings, you must stop eating sugar, plain and simple. The less you eat it, the less you crave it. Easier said than done, I know, but that’s the necessary first step. The good news is – once you do this, cravings diminish quickly and dramatically.
2. Eat Fat, Fiber and Protein
Now that you’ve cut out sugar, what can you eat? Focus on eating the most satiating foods: fat, fiber and protein. Fat, fiber and protein will keep you full and keep your blood sugar steady. Have avocado, nuts and coconut oil for healthy fats. Eat lots of veggies for fiber. And have lean meats, eggs, fish and beans for protein.
So this means breakfast might be a protein shake, with some coconut oil added, plus some chia seeds or ground flaxseed for fiber. Lunch or dinner might be salmon (protein and fat) over salad and veggies (fiber) with avocado (fat).
The mind is always racing outwards, chasing the next bit of stimulation – whether that’s checking your iPhone for new messages, or thinking about the next meal or sweet treat. Through meditation, I practice teaching my mind to “sit still” and focus on the breath. Through my daily meditation practice, I’ve witnessed how restless the mind is, always chasing the next thrill. Slowly, gently, persistently I work to return to the present moment. This actually helps to unravel cravings so they don’t have such a strong pull.
4. Do a Cleanse
Every time I’ve done the Be Well Cleanse, it has helped to nip sugar cravings in the bud. The Cleanse shakes have lots of protein, which helps to keep blood sugar steady. They have fiber which makes me feel full and satisfied. The two week detox gives me plenty of time to re-discover healthy meals and snacks, and get serious about avoiding some foods that sneak into my diet like caffeine and too much dark chocolate. The best part is that on the Cleanse, sugar cravings disappear pretty immediately.
5. Kill Yeast
Often you crave sugar because your gut is hosting yeast and those little critters love to feed on sugar. The way to “starve” the yeast is by not feeding them sugar. Supplements like Mycoflora can also be helpful.
6. Chew Your Food
Digestion starts in the mouth. Digestive enzymes start the process of breaking down starches into sugar. When you cut out processed foods from your diet and chew your food well, you’ll start to notice the natural sweetness of fruits, vegetables and even brown rice.
7. Have a Sweet Treat
I have a few sweet treat ideas up my sleeve that can really come in handy when you want a snack that’s not a sugar bomb. Frozen cherries dusted with cacao powder. Key lime pudding. Chocolate mousse with a chili pepper kick. A warm cup of almond milk with a dash of cinnamon and stevia. An apple with walnuts. All of these can really hit the spot!
8. Get Scared of Sugar
Or perhaps I should say: get informed about sugar. Kris Carr says it well in Crazy Sexy Diet:
“Sugar taxes your immune system and is highly addictive. Excess sugar (especially the devilish white stuff) robs your bod of minerals, lowers your precious pH, rots your teeth, wigs out your pancreas, feeds candida, fires up inflammation, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer, stresses your nervous system and adrenals, and screws with normal hormone function. It also makes you feel crappy after the initial jolt subsides.”
And Dr. Lipman explains in his book Revive:
“Not only does eating too much sugar lead to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, it is also one of the biggest contributors to low energy and feelings of being overwhelmed – it has even been scientifically linked to depression.”
Still want a McFlurry after hearing that?
9. Get Excited about Healthy Foods
Get excited about the healing power of whole foods! Read the book Superfoods by David Wolfe. Experiment with superfoods like chia seeds and goji berries. Get energized from green juice and green smoothies. Go to the supermarket or farmer’s market and try a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never had before. Don’t go on a diet — embark on a healthy journey and have fun along the way.
*Image of “sugar” via Shutterstock