Having just come off the holidays, the elimination of sugar is a hot topic. And while there is no single explanation for a food craving, it is important to understand that each body has various needs and is uniquely designed to utilize essential nutrients from food to achieve a state of balance and health. Therefore, when depleted of an essential nutrient, it is no wonder that a specific food craving may appear [especially a food as instantaneously gratifying as sugar].
Instead of resorting to willpower or deprivation, I’m here to remind you that cravings are a normal part of biological function. And by recognizing that your body is merely telling you something, you will feel less anxious when a craving “strikes.” Once you identify a specific food craving, it is more important to address it than suppress it. Otherwise the craving will become more aggressive, possibly leading to an unconscious habit that is hard to unwind.
Instead of resorting to willpower or deprivation, it is important to remember that cravings are a normal part of biological function.
While cravings come in all different forms, sugar is unsurprisingly one of the most powerful food cravings and it is hidden in most convenience foods. Disguised under the names corn syrup, molasses, sorbitol, maltodextrin or even evaporated cane juice, sugar is infamous for sneaking into our lives and wreaking havoc on our health and mood.
Instead of resorting to willpower or withdrawal when cravings become unmanageable, a more sustainable response is to “crowd out” the sugar indulgence with foods that promote blood sugar balance and may work to eliminate the sugar craving altogether. Below are 3 simple ways to do that.
1. SPICE IT UP!
Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, and cardamom will all naturally sweeten your foods, reduce cravings and offer many additional health benefits such as reduced inflammation, blood sugar regulation and improved memory. Sprinkle spices any place you would have traditionally added sugar. Who knew that cinnamon in coffee could taste so good?
2. ADD A SWEET VEGETABLE TO YOUR MEAL
Sugar in its natural complex form, like that found in sweet vegetables (such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes), actually stabilize energy and satisfy the urgency of a sweet tooth. Try to eat sweet vegetables in moderation with protein, fiber and fats because sweet vegetables still promote a dramatic insulin response.
3. GRAB A SQUARE OF 75% OR DARKER CHOCOLATE
Luckily deep, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidant support and essential nutrients that make it a “clean treat.” Ironically, the bitter flavor of the dark chocolate paired with the healthy cocoa fat content is just the ticket out of “sugar craving” mode while also boosting your serotonin levels. Go ahead and indulge.
As we all work to recover from the holiday food indulgences, simply tune into what your body is telling you as it strives to strike balance. Chances are, you are missing a very critical nutrient, one that might be in the form of self care… such as “soul food.” So as a special treat for all of you, I’ve created this Sugar Cravings Roadmap for you integrating the steps outlined above into a strategic step-by-step guide for conquering those sugar cravings at the source.
You’ve got this!