Time for my next question!
Lisa from CA writes:
“What is the best and healthiest thing to stop the sweet cravings?”
Great question! We all deal with cravings. It’s only natural. Some crave salty foods, some crave sweet foods and some even crave more bitter tasting foods.
I think sweet cravings are the most common craving as we are all born with a sweet tooth. We become accustomed to sweet things from the time we drink our mother’s milk. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with having cravings. However, depending on how that craving effects your life, there may be some deeper areas we need to explore and discuss how we can handle those cravings when they arise. Some people may crave sweet foods and be fine with just one cookie, or they may even crave sweet foods, yet be able to resist the craving and eat a piece of fruit instead. Most people who deal with sweet cravings, find that they are addicted to sugar, and this is where the cravings may become a problem. The sugary foods may start to effect how they feel. They may be dealing with fatigue, headaches or weight gain.
The truth is, there really is no one answer to this, because what works for one person may not work for another. I will say though, that if you are serious about eliminating sugar from your diet (aside from natural sugars in fruit), and are up for a challenge, I would encourage you to eliminate sugar for 2 whole weeks. This does not include foods that naturally contain sugar such as milk and fruit- only added sugars, especially any food made with white, refined carbohydrates. If you are seriously addicted, you may experience some withdrawl symptoms, but after awhile it gets pretty easy. Most importantly, you will notice how much different you feel and that is the main reason for doing this. In fact, one of my clients just got done with a two week no-sugar challenge and she did great! She really noticed a big difference and after awhile, she didn’t really crave it.
So if you are willing to go this route, simply don’t buy anything with added sugar. Out of sight, out of mind.
If you would rather explore the deeper reasons behind your sugar cravings, then instead of eliminating it, I would suggest starting a Food/Mood Journal. My clients have done this with great success. There is usually an emotional component behind sugar cravings, such as depression, anxiety or loneliness. So a journal helps you really get in touch with why you are craving certain foods and helps you become more aware the next time you are dealing with that craving. All you have to do is jot down the foods you eat during the day, make notice what you are craving, and then your mood at the time. This should give you some good insight. At that point, you can try to replace those cravings with something else such as taking a walk or calling a friend.
Some other practical tips to ward off a sugar binge would be:
1. Drink water. Your body could be mistaking hunger for thirst.
2. Crowd out your diet with whole foods such as green leafy veggies and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
3. Use a tongue cleaner. I am not kidding. It’s not just for bad breath! As it scrapes off the bacteria, it also removes any left over taste. Some people crave foods because of what they ate recently, so they end up binging based on the foods they had remembered eating. You can find tongue cleaners at major stores such as Walmart or Walgreens.
So, as you can see, there really is no “best” way….however, eliminating sugar completely can help train your palate to where you no longer crave it. Also, realize that cravings are normal and just part of being human. It’s how you handle the cravings that really make the difference.
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