You feel a little low, you reach for a chocolate. You need an energy life so you carb up. PMS, well anything goes really, a good combination of all this and more. Sugar gives us a hit, let’s face it. Its little boost of dopamine and the rush of sugar in our blood makes us feel alive. But… there is always a but! In the long run sugar creates the opposite result we were after. It leads to all sorts of health problems including lethargy, obesity and diabetes.
It is a tough one to get off but with alternatives to reach for, it can be done.
- Opt for healthier sweeteners.
Honey and maple syrup can be used in small portions, due to their other health benefits, small amounts are ok to give you that little kick. I have some great recipes you can look out for, none of them use processed sugar whatsoever. Slices and bliss balls work a treat for weaning off the chocolate hit.
- Always say no to soft drink and unnatural fruit juices.
A single can of soft drink can have anywhere between 7-9 teaspoons of sugar! It is no wonder that a lot of people with diabetes are forbidden to have it. If you had to give up on just one thing, this would be it. The second to go would be unnatural fruit juices like those that come in packs and powders. Try sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Be more vigilant against processed foods.
Processed foods are the worst! I get cranky thinking that these processes are allowed. There are a number of drugs and chemicals used in them and often sugar is heavily used in the process. Usually these come in the form of artificial flavoring and all sorts of junk that clearly spell bad news for your body. Be more on the lookout for them and keep them out of your grocery cart as much as you can. I rely on an app called Chemical maze, you can enter in the number of the preservative into the app and it will let you know if it is a nasty one or not.
- Focus on activities that take your mind off cravings.
If you feel stressed after a really bad day, think of something else you can do besides grabbing a tub of ice cream. Sugar cravings and depressing feelings go hand in hand but the good news is that you can combat those feelings without snacking against your diet. Try meditation or a peaceful stroll outside. You won’t be craving so much when your mind is more relaxed.
- Look for snacks that are naturally sweet and train yourself to like a variety of flavours.
If you simply can’t stop craving, then there are a lot of alternative snacks you can eat as well. Sweet potatoes and avocados are naturally delicious and there are loads of recipes you can make out of them. There’s also dark chocolate, which retains much of the nutritious cacao while also having that right bitterness that can shut down sugar cravings. It is also a great idea to diversify your taste buds. We focus so much on sweet and savoury and pay little attention to the other amazing flavours like bitters, spices and sour. These taste great when fused together.
- If you can make alternatives to sugary processed goods, then do it!
Cutting out sugar in your diet is also an excellent opportunity to improve your culinary skills. You would be amazed at how much of the ready-made items in stores can still be cooked up in your own kitchen. Tomato sauce and salad dressings are just some of the few examples. Start looking up DIY recipes online. You’ll be beating sugar cravings and upping up your cooking game at the same time!
Breaking free from the sugar addiction can be a long and dreary process but the health benefits are really worth it. Your blood sugar will become stable, you have less chance of high blood pressure and you’ve knocked out at least one major cause for weight gain. Better still, the steps you can take are all very practical. It is not impossible, so give it your best and kick that sugar habit!