3 Holistic Tips To Help You Quit Sugar For Good!
One of the latest and most popular pieces of health advice given is to quit sugar. After decades of fearing fat, both science and food industries are realizing that we got it wrong – while yes, some fats should be avoided (think trans-fats!), it’s really sugar that is to blame for much of our society’s health problems.
Not only is sugar a major contributor to the obesity epidemic in North America, it is also highly inflammatory to the body, it suppresses the immune system, and it can be very addicting!
That last point is what makes the advice to limit your sugar intake so difficult – it doesn’t take into account how difficult it is to quit such an addictive substance! Sugar cravings are real.
When we eat refined carbohydrates like white sugar and flour, (or even when we eat high amounts of good starchy carbohydrates without enough protein and fats for balance), it sends our blood sugar into a bit of a roller coaster ride. These foods are easily digested and broken down into glucose, which is then quickly absorbed into our bloodstream to use as fuel for our cells. This rush of glucose triggers the release of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that goes knocking door-to-door on our cells, asking them to open up and let the glucose in. Well, with that surge of insulin doing its job, it means that our cells quickly let in all the glucose and our blood sugar levels fall. Not enough sugar in the blood = a tired and cranky brain that NEEDS sugar right now! Cue the sugar cravings.
So how do we get off this roller coaster?
Here are three tips to help you beat the sugar cravings:
- Start with breakfast. Starting your day with a balanced breakfast is going to help you stay off the blood sugar roller coaster to begin with. What does this look like? Ample protein and fats with some moderate starchy carbohydrates is a good guideline. Eggs are a great source of both protein and fat, and including some green vegetables and baked yam or potatoes will supply you with fiber to keep you full. If you prefer sweeter breakfasts, opt for whole grain porridge. Use grains like buckwheat, quinoa, or steel cut oats and combine them with nourishing plant based fats and proteins like hemp hearts, chia seeds, and flax. Avoid the sweeteners (even natural ones!) and stick to fruits like apples, pears, and berries to add a little sweetness.
- Don’t eat your fruit alone! While whole fruit is a wonderful source of antioxidants and vitamins, it can be quite quickly digested and lead to a spike in blood sugar. To avoid this, avoid eating fruit on it’s own, and instead combine it with a bit of protein and fat. An easy way to do this is with nuts and seeds. Dip your apple slices in almond butter or just have a small handful of your favorite nuts and seeds alongside. This will help slow the digestion of the fruit and keep you full longer!
- Look at your emotional attachment. It can be really hard to admit or even realize that, often times, we are cravings sugar partly because of the comfort it brings. Not only does it feed our biological need for fuel, it can be deeply emotionally engrained in us to want sugar when we are feeling certain emotions. Familial upbringing, adult stressors, and societal norms can all play a roll in our addiction to sugar. The next time you’re craving sugar, stop and question why you want it. Do you feel like you “deserve” it? Are you celebrating something? Did you have a stressful day? Are you just feeling really lazy and tired and need a pick-me-up? Identifying your reasons for eating sugar can help you break free from your cravings.
Remember that the less sugar that you eat, the less your body will crave. Following these tips can help you reduce your cravings, and with a little work, you can ditch the sugar for good!
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Ali is passionate about guiding her clients through whole foods and lifestyle changes to discover their most vibrant selves. To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about