It’s mid-afternoon. You feel restless and struggle to focus on your work. You’re finding it difficult to resist the urge to reach for candies, chocolates, or anything sweet you can get your hands on.
If you often struggle with afternoon sugar cravings, chances are you have a stash of sweet things to nibble hidden in one of your desk drawers.
Like many of us, perhaps you have already tried countless tricks to keep these annoying sugar cravings at bay.
For this, we have a simple home remedy—the sweet vegetable drink that can help stabilize your sugar metabolism, mitigate the effects of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and quell those mid-afternoon sugar cravings.
I was introduced to this homemade remedy, dubbed the “macrobiotic Coca Cola,” in the 1980s, when I first began my formal training in oriental medicine.
I say formal training because my entire life has been an education in the Taoist way of life. My grandfather was a Taoist healer born in China during the late 19th century at the end of China’s Qing Dynasty, and he passed on to my mother countless lessons in oriental medicine, which she then taught me.
This sweet vegetable drink is prepared with four different kinds of sweet vegetables—carrot, cabbage, pumpkin, and yellow onion—and provides the body with natural sugars from vegetables. To make this drink, you will need the following:
• 1/4 cup carrot
• 1/4 cup cabbage
• 1/4 cup pumpkin or squash
• 1/4 cup onion
• 4 cups of water
Grate or finely chop the vegetables with a good vegetable knife. Boil the water in a medium-size stainless or glass pot. Add the vegetables and leave the pot uncovered. Bring to a boil and reduce flame to low. Then cover pot and let the vegetables simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Strain the vegetable pulp, or leave as is. Drink the liquid either hot or at room temperature. Place the rest of the drink in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
That’s how easy it is to make this drink. But I must be honest and say that the most tedious part is grating and chopping the vegetables into very fine pieces.
Nevertheless, you can consider listening to your favorite music, and if you are really determined to find a natural way to kick the sugar binge habit, you will have the willpower to do the cutting about twice a week. Once you get into the habit of doing it and start feeling the healing effects of this drink, you might be inspired to persevere with the weekly routine.
Most people just consume the vegetable drink and discard or compost the vegetable matter. However, you may wish to leave the vegetables in the broth and eat the pulp too. Or you can strain and keep the vegetable pulp for other recipes such as, soups, stews, or veggie patties. This really depends on your time and creativity in finding a myriad of resourceful uses for the vegetable matter.
Some schools of thought believe that the main benefit of this drink lies in consuming only the liquid. Others believe that drinking the liquid alone raises blood sugar levels, causing them to dip again, whereas if you also consume the fibers from the vegetable pulp, they will help stabilize and regulate blood sugar.
My advice is to walk the middle path: Do what feels right and most convenient for you depending on your lifestyle. Imbibe the drink with the vegetables on some occasions. On other occasions, drink without the vegetable pulp. This alone has worked wonders for countless individuals.
You can keep and use the pulp for various dishes if you prepare food at home. And if you don’t have time, so be it. Just discard the pulp because leftover cooked vegetables will become too yin to be eaten if left in the refrigerator for too long.
Don’t feel guilty about wasting the pulp, as this will hinder your higher goal of living a harmonious life with a calm mind.
Other Points to Consider
Do not add salt or any other seasoning to the drink. The ingredients for the recipe should be just four types of sweet vegetables and water. You can try other root vegetables, like beet root and sweet potatoes.
Keep the vegetable broth in the refrigerator because, unlike the canned or bottled vegetable juices, this natural homemade drink does not have any salt or preservatives. It is best to consume the drink within two to three days, and make another fresh batch.
Do not drink the sweet vegetable broth cold from the refrigerator. Reheat it in a pan on the stove or let it return to room temperature before drinking. You can put it in a bottle to bring to work, and add some hot water to it before drinking.
Instead of a cup of coffee with milk and sugar, you can consider sipping a cup of this vegetable drink. It’s best not to microwave the drink, as this will change its molecular structure and hamper the health benefits.
This drink is best taken mid to late afternoon. It helps reduce the effects of hypoglycemia, stabilize you blood sugar levels, and lessen your craving for sweets and simple sugars.
Consumed regularly, it softens the pancreas and can to help harmonize the yin and yang energies in the body. Traditional Chinese and Japanese people believe in balancing the yin and yang of foods for health and wellness. This vegetable drink is beneficial for softening tightness from frequent consumption of animal products such as beef, chicken, eggs, and cheese.
Meat and dairy products are considered yang and warming foods with contracting energies, whereas vegetables are more yin, characterized by expanding energies and hence have a calming and relaxing effect on the body. Thus, consuming more vegetables can help ease tension in the body.
This sweet vegetable drink can be included in your dietary routine to help with a variety of health conditions, including candida infection, cancer, and diabetes.
If you are making this home remedy to help mitigate a health condition, it is generally recommended to have this drink every day for the first month, on alternate days for the second month, and followed by twice a week thereafter—depending on your situation.
For specific advice on the use and frequency of this remedy, it is best to seek the guidance of a professionally trained and practicing macrobiotic counselor.
Note: This natural food remedy is for maintaining your health and wellness. It is not meant to replace any medical treatment. If you have a diagnosed condition or are in doubt, always seek medical advice.
Dr. Margaret Trey has a doctorate in counseling from The University of South Australia. She was trained in oriental medicine, shiatsu, and macrobiotics, and worked as a wellness counselor for over 20 years. Now based in New York, Dr. Trey writes and continues researching the effects of meditation on health and wellness.