|This week I’m talking again about our sugar.
It’s a big important topic when it comes to living a long healthy life and reducing your chances of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
But even more importantly, I’m talking about it because of how sugar can make you feel everyday. It ruins your mood, steals your energy, takes your hormones for a ride, and can even leave you feeling guilty or shameful.
In my last newsletter I shared with you that sugar cravings aren’t happening just because you don’t have willpower. Instead, they’re most likely because you have underlying imbalances fueling your body (and brain’s) love for it.
If you missed my last newsletter, you can find it here.
Today I’m sharing some powerful strategies to help re-define your relationship with sugar.
First off, let me say that trying to live 100% sugar-free can often set up unrealistic expectations. It can also create so much stress than you’re bound to…well, crave even MORE sugar. Darn.
I know this because I’ve been there and I simply haven’t yet found (or wanted) a way to cut it out of my life completely. Instead I’ve focused on living a happy middle ground. This means eating it in moderation; loving it when I have it here and there, and using the strategies below whenever I need them. It’s ongoing work, but totally worth it.
The effort to get sugar in check is worth it for how much better you feel.
Two Approaches for Creating Balance
1. Cold Turkey
Taking a week or two-long break from sugar will be helpful along the journey. Sometimes there’s no better way to kick a habit than going cold turkey and it’s a great chance to see how you feel without it in your life (I can guarantee it will be AMAZING…after the first few days).
Preparing for it by balancing your blood sugars first through simple but powerful dietary changes will ease the transition into your sugar-free experiment.
Herbal teas like peppermint, rooiboos, ginger, or almost any flavor you like can be an amazing replacement and get you through a craving. And, eating vegetables, lots of protein and some complex carbohydrates through your day is key to filling the void. It can also help to have friends or other moral support at your side!
After the break, consider some tips from the gradual approach (below) to bring sugar back into your life in a new, balanced way.
You can do this “break” anytime you’re feeling tired, moody, getting sick more often than usual, aren’t sleeping well or just feel like sugar cravings have a major hold on you.
2. The Gradual Approach
This is a nice way to dip your toes into re-defining your relationship with sugar.
It works best is you start off by adding protein to your breakfast and snacks. It’s a slow burning fuel, curbs cravings, and will make the gradual approach WAY easier. I’m also a fan of adding things into the diet before removing things. It just feels better.
Then, find alternatives to the refined sugars and chemical sweeteners – things like pastries, candies, chocolate bars, cakes, aspartame, etc. Instead, choose a snack with some protein, vegetables and potentially a little complex carbohydrates.
Cutting out refined sugar alone will make a HUGE difference in how you feel. It’s also going to be really hard at first. Having natural sweeteners on hand at first, like dried fruits, honey, agave or maple syrup can be helpful.
Next, clear the cupboards over time – sugar is already around the office, at parties, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery store check-outs and every corner store within 2 blocks of your home. It’s one thing to say no when you’re out and about but it’s almost impossible to say no if it’s staring at you every time you open up a cupboard or the fridge!
Eventually, aim to reduce the “natural” sugars too – although maple syrup, agave, dried fruits, honey and other natural sugars are less processed than refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but they affect your blood sugar and weight in a similar way. They should also be eaten in moderation.
The Ultimate Goal: Moderation
I’ve found that moderation of moderation is a more sustainable approach to sugar and see more success with this in my practice than trying to get rid of it altogether.
Addressing the underlying reason WHY you’re craving sugar, like other parts of your diet, adrenal fatigue, sleep issues, hormonal imbalances and others is also essential.
There are excellent nutrients such as chromium and herbs like cinnamon that help your body balance blood sugars.
I can help you uncover the underlying cause of your cravings, find out which specific herbs and nutrients your body needs, and help you build a diet that makes this journey so much easier.
If you’re curious to learn more about receiving support for your sugar cravings, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your complimentary Health Insight call!
All the best,