12 Steps to get your game on!
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, causing sugar cravings to be more frequent. Learn to love green tea – it has caffeine, but it is different. Some say green tea helps lose weight. I don’t know about that, but it’s a better caffeine.
- Drink water. LOTS OF WATER. Start each day with 8 – 12 Oz of hot lemon water. Fill in your day with a glass of water before each meal, before or between each cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage. Drinking water, with or without lemon, sustains, satiates, redirects. You can easily drop a few pounds simply by drinking more water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and then wait a few minutes to see what happens. Caution: soft drinks are now America’s number one source of added sugar.
- Eat sweet vegetables and fruit. Sure – you know you should. But here’s the thing: You can easily satisfy your need for a sweet or a crunch. They are sweet, healthy and delicious. The more you eat, the less you’ll crave sugar.
- Eat salty vegetables. Instead of reaching for salty pretzels, tortilla chips, or potato snacks, try making your own roasted vegetables such as kale or spinach chips, shaved carrot or beet chips. Just drizzle with a little oil, and maybe add a smidgen of sea salt. It doesn’t take much, but you kill the craving with better nutrition.
- Home roasted nuts – you can easily dry roast cashews, almonds or any other nut or seed with no added oil and only no added salt. Count the number of nuts you eat. Focus on savoring each morsel. Nuts are fatty foods, so a little goes a long way.
- Use gentle sweets. Avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit, stevia, barley malt and agave nectar. I often just cut up an apple and add it what I want to sweeten up. It’s easier, less expensive, and all natural. Plus, it does the trick.
- Get physically active. Start with simple activities, like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Remember gym class? Jumping Jacks can wake you up and get you moving easily. The more you move, the more you will want to move. It will help balance your blood sugar levels, boost your energy, and reduce tension without medicating yourself with sugar!
- Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy—in the form of sugar. These cravings are often a result of being sleep-deprived, going to bed late or waking up early, sometimes for months and years on end.
- Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. Eating too much can lead to cravings for sweets. So can eating too little! Experiment. Respect your body’s individuality
- Forget about specialized fat-free or low-fat packaged snack-foods. These foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.
- Experiment with spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
- Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Address your cravings with hugs, time with friends, outside time, workouts, massages, etc. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed.
A good health coach will help you sort through this maze. Nancy Lamb is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach helping clients from all over the world step into better health. It’s a process. It’s a Lifeline.
Adapted from Integrative Nutrition’s 10 step guide to cutting out sugar.
From Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman.