“A party without cake is just a meeting.”
Sugar Free Remedy
“Sugar in all its forms is the root cause of our obesity epidemic and most of the chronic disease sucking the life out of our citizens and our economy.” Dr. Mark Hyman. He also says, sugar is 8 times as addictive as cocaine.
The main deterrents I hear from people about healthy eating are phrases like, “I have such a sweet tooth”, “I can’t give up sugar”, “Sugar is my downfall”, and “I crave sugar.” This past summer I had the pleasure of leading my Remedy subscribers in three separate sugar free challenge groups. If you aren’t yet a subscriber then sign up for the newsletter here.
William Golding said, “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” It’s my goal in this post to help you simplify healthy eating. Our bodies benefit best from whole, nutrient dense foods. Foods that nourish our body can and will stabilize blood sugar, improve your gut health, normalize hormones, and aid metabolism. Stabilizing your blood sugar will help reduce food cravings and blood sugar crashing. It will also decrease gut (and hence systemic) inflammation to provide the avenue for optimal weight loss and health.
Clean eating is a fabulous way to get started in reducing sugar cravings, but is it often enough?
Reset your Palate
In order to reduce sugar cravings, you need to reset your palate so to speak. If you have ever tried ridding your daily diet of processed food, preservatives, trans fats, sugary drinks, and refined grains, you were shocked when you first realized how much sweeter fruit tastes, am I right!?!. Some people may be great at moderation. A little sweet treat here and there doesn’t tempt them. Out of 60+ people who answered this question I posted on Facebook, “What time of day is your sweet tooth most active?” Two people responded with, “I don’t ever crave sweets.” So this blogpost is for the other 98% of my subscribers/followers who are reading this and have no clue how someone could never crave sweets.
If you are in the other 98% and want to tame your sweet tooth, abstaining from all things sweet has to happen first. This may turn you off, but it’s the truth. I’ve worked with too many people to say otherwise. Discipline in the beginning allows you more sustainability.
Elimination diet’s don’t have to be torture! Eliminating the junk food allows you to focus on healthy foods that provide nourishment. Certain foods can be food triggers that work against your immune system. A diet high in processed carbs, plus hidden toxins in your food or food packaging will disrupt your balance of blood sugar and your immune system. Replacing these foods with nourishing foods that your body actually needs is ideal for being well.
There are mainly two reasons someone has tried clean eating and ended in surrender to carbs/sugar. 1) They didn’t balance their meals appropriately and 2) They didn’t eat enough.
For those of you who need a bit more help in navigating real food eating keep reading.
Real food remedy
- Hydrate- You need to be drinking water! At least 1/2 your body weight in ounces a day. For example try drinking 20-30 oz of water within the first 30-60 minutes of waking before breakfast and then another 20-30 oz before noon. Water will aid digestion and protect from constipation . It will keep you hydrated and improve metabolism and it will keep your skin healthy and reduce inflammation.
- Keep your meal times consistent- When working as a food coach at the local cross fit gym, I stressed the importance of consistent meal times. Personally, this one change has had the biggest impact on my blood sugar spikes, headaches, and hormones. If you feel moody and lethargic 2 hours after you eat then you are being driven by the highs and lows of blood sugar swings. A single meal should be packed with enough nutrients and properly balanced for you to be able to consistently last 4 hours between meals. Also be aware that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers struggle to maintain optimal blood sugar levels throughout the day. If you have adrenal and or thyroid dysfunction, you may be familiar with Cortisol. It is intimately involved with stabilizing blood sugar.
- Balance your meals (macros)
- Healthy protein- Choose healthy cuts of meat from sustainable sources: fish, poultry, beef, wild game, pork, eggs. Protein from sustainable trustworthy sources is actually healthy for the environment as opposed to the conventionally raised counterpart. The body can use protein and carbohydrates into glucose for fuel so choose wisely. If you are pre-diabetic or Diabetic, do not overeat protein.
- Carbs are still good- All carbs aren’t the enemy. There are certain foods that are the less likely to spike blood sugar like lemons, limes all berries, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, arugula, brussels sprouts, olives, green beans, swiss chard, endive, lettuce, radishes, asparagus, and zucchini. Fermented foods like pickles, kimchi, and sauer kraut with no added sugar are also helpful. These foods are delicious, full of nutrients, and cleanse the palate. Eat your greens and see this checklist for when you may need more carbs in your diet.
- Eat Fat- Fat is the main macronutrient that will NOT rise blood sugar. Healthy fats include: clarified butter (ghee), coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, avocados, coconuts, tree nuts, seeds, nut butters, palm fruit oil, coconut milk and MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides)
- Sleep- Sleep Sleep Sleep. Studies show that food choices change for the worse following a sleepless night. What’s preferable? 7-8 hours a night in a cool dark room (ideally no screen time at least 2 hours before bed to improve REM)
- Exercise- Do what you enjoy! Get out and move! Physical activity is so valuable for your GI health, flexibility, strength, energy, mind, and can reduce snack cravings.
- Reduce Stress- Chronic stress causes elevated levels of the hormone, cortisol. This study shows how elevated cortisol is linked to obesity
- Eat Mindfully- Slow down, take your time, enjoy your food. Don’t shovel it in a hurry and don’t eat during the cooking process. This will allow you to decrease food intake and be more satisfied in your meal. The mindfully connected life involves slowing down to simply be versus frantically rushing around yet completely disconnected.
- Intermittent Fasting- It’s a buzz phrase right now. This is going without food for 12-16 hours. This is an area in which you really need to listen to your body. The simplest way I tell people to accomplish IF is 12 hours of fasting from sleeping to waking. If you eat at 7 pm for dinner then eat nothing else until 7 am for breakfast. No midnight snacks! If you are into bulletproof coffee then adding fat to your morning cup of Jo is said to stimulate fat burning. Our guts needs to rest between meals. This is one reason I have mentioned to wait 4 hours between meals. Grazing all day long keeps the body in a constant state of digestion and this will upset hormonal balance and metabolism and aggravate inflammation. An overnight fast has been shown to boost glucose tolerance, reduce inflammation, improve brain function, improve metabolism, improve weight loss, and promote gut healing.
Hang in there
When your body is on a sugar/carb detox and trying to adapt to its new metabolism and hormonal balance from not being fed carbs all the time things can go a little crazy at first. Some signs are headache, upset stomach, fatigue, nausea, fatigue, mental fog, cramps, diarrhea. It can last a couple days or more. A lot of it depends on how much you were living off of carbs before and the health of your gut.
HANG IN THERE!
Your body will adjust and reset so Do Not Give UP!!
Need More Inspiration?
- Why you have the time and money to eat real food
- 10 foods that heal the gut
- Obesity is not how much you eat, it’s what you eat
- Grass fed beef may be heart healthy