In todays fast paced world more and more people turn to processed pre made meals. While many may seem healthy and we think we are picking the right things we may actually be drawn to things laden with sugars. There are hidden sugars in many of the things we consume on a daily basis leading to a daily estimated consummation of 22 teaspoons of sugar per adult and 34 teaspoons for children. The recommended daily amount of sugar is 5 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men, and only 4 teaspoons for children. Sugar is highly addictive and in recent studies on mice it has been seen that sugar is much more addictive than cocaine. Taking in sugar will give you that instant high and will have you crashing in no time wanting more. The highs and lows affect adrenals causing mood swings, fatigue, anxiety and can lead to chronic diseases. Chronic problems can include: autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, pain syndromes, irritable bowel syndrome, ADD, chronic fatigue, candida, and lowered immunity. It will also affect insulin secretion of pancreas and liver's triglyceride production, which are linked to diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Do think about your sugary treat much of the time? Do you eat high sugary foods even knowing the consequences they bring? Do sugary treats take over when you are in their midst? Do you get reactions or physical discomfort when you step back from your sugar craving? Then I have bad news you are addicted to this white fluffy powder substance known as sugar. Don't worry some of these suggestions can get you back on track, kicking your need for sugar to the curb.
Helping you stay away from sugar
Eat regularly. Don't let you blood sugar level drop. When this happens you will feel hungry and most likely crave sugary snacks. Try to get in a good eating habit routine eating three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day.
Choose whole foods. Eating foods in their most natural form; vegetables, fruit, and whole grains will contain less processed sugar. It will keep blood sugar balanced and present less metabolic affects on the body.
Have a well balanced breakfast: Starting your day off right with meal of protein, fat and phytonutrients will keep you fuelled and fuller longer without the sugar cravings. Oatmeal, a balanced smoothie with more vegetables than fruit is much better than one willed with carbs and starchy foods like bagels and muffins.
Protein and Fat: Eating each meal and snack with some protein and fat will help control blood sugar levels. Choose healthy fats and well sourced protein. Avocados, nuts and olive oil are examples of healthy fats. Turkey, lean meats and greek yogurt are good sources of protein. Avoid processed meats and foods with additives and preservatives
A little spice goes a long way. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
Get up and Move. Doing any movement like walking, exercising, dancing or do some yoga, it will create a distraction, boost your mood and energy. Keeping your mind and body engaged will keep your mind off the cravings.
Sleep. Being tired and unfocused can make us believe we need a sugar fix to get us going but we know that what goes up must come down.
Detox. Sometimes being able to do a reboot and avoid unnecessary things in our bodys can help reduce the sugar cravings. Even doing a detox for a few days the desire for sugar will disappear and our bodies will adjust.
Keep sugary snacks away. Out of sight out of mind. If the snacks aren't in sight or not there you will be less likely to feel cravings.
Artificial sweeteners are not a substitute. All sweeteners are sugar or a form of sugar so be aware and don't substitute thinking one is better than the other
Read labels. Hidden sugars are everywhere so learn how to read labels and be informed. If you want to reach for processed foods that have labels educate yourself on what is being fed to your body. Check the grams of sugar, and choose products with the least sugar per serving.
Know your sugar terminology. Recognize that all of these are sweeteners: Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.
Avoid white foods. Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread, bagels and pasta are not the best. They are usually highly refined and act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided.
If a sugar craving hits
Take a Mindful Minute. Find a quiet spot, that you can get comfortable. Focus on your breath and breath in and out for a minute. If you need more time continue to sit and you will see that the craving will pass.
Be Distracted. Go for a walk, and connect with nature. If you can distract yourself for 15-20 minutes with something else, you will notice the cravings will pass. Mind over matter. Keeping busy will definitely help.
Stay Hydrated. Drinking water or mineral water can help with the sugar cravings. Add some lemon or lime. Drink a herbal tea with a dash of cinnamon to curve the cravings. Sometimes you are just thirsty and not even hungry or needing that sweet treat.
Fruit. If you need something sweet the best option is to have a piece of fruit. It will contain some sugar but it will be more natural and the fibre, vitamins and nutrients you receive are a win.
Know that if you slip and cave in to our sugar enemies it is not failure. Often eating a sweet treat will give us unwanted symptoms and act as reminder to why we were avoiding sugar in the first place. Be proud of the steps you have taken to heal your body and appreciate where you are in this exact moment. No one said it would be easy and the fact that you are making small changes at your time and at your pace speaks volumes.