When I say that this one is easy I mean that it is just one thing that you can do that can really improve your overall diet. I don’t mean that it will be easy in the sense that dropping sweets from your diet will be a piece of cake (pun intended). Because for most people, myself included, giving up sweets requires a lot of willpower – at least at first.
Everyone agrees that white sugar is bad for you. It can deplete B vitamins, lower your immune system, spike your insulin, and pack on the pounds. So it’s a no-brainer that giving up white sugar is going to lead to a more nourishing diet. But perhaps cutting back on all sweets is a good idea as well.
What About "Good" Sweeteners?
When I first started my journey towards a more nourishing diet I banned all white sugar from our home and replaced it with sucanat, maple syrup, and honey. Because these are considered healthier sweeteners I figured that it was fine to be consuming them on a daily basis. What I didn’t realize was that they can still spike your blood sugar, making you tired and making it difficult to lose weight. And if you have candida, (which you may and not even know it), then any sweets will continue to feed those bad bacteria and keep you on a viscious cycle.
Awhile back Kimi wrote a great article titled Lessons From History: Sugar is not an Essential. In that article she echoes what I have discovered: historically sweets were mostly fruits and honey or maple syrup, found seasonally, and combined with fats. How many of us have sweets every day? I know I did. They are just everywhere now, and much to the detriment of our health.
From my own personal experience I can say that sugar, in all of its forms, is addictive. Here is a tip I learned from my chiropractor: If you feel like you are craving sweets, then you probably need to stay away from them. That includes the natural sweeteners and even fruits except lower sugar fruits such as berries and melon, eaten seasonally. I have been free of all sweeteners, most fruits, and grains for some time now and I have to say that it is so nice not to feel like I have to have that fix. It has also aided in weight loss, added energy, and has benefited my digestion.
Tips for Combatting Sugar Cravings
Here are a few things that have worked for me as I have kicked the sweets habit.
- Give up all sweets for at least a week. This is a good way to see how your body responds. The first 3 days are the hardest, I have found, but after that you really can feel a difference. On the other hand some people, my husband included, need at least some grains and fruits because of his metabolism. This one week trial period can help you determine if your body needs the carbs or if you feel better without them.
- Eat fat & protein if you have a sugar craving. If I do not eat enough fat I can tell because I start craving carbs. So instead of bread or fruit or honey I will have a piece of leftover chicken or my favorite whole milk yogurt smoothie with blueberries and lots of coconut oil. It really works, and the consistent energy (i.e. no afternoon crash) can really make a difference in your moods as well.
- Try stevia. Stevia is an herb, just like basil or sage, that is incredibly sweet. You can buy the leaf whole, powdered, or in extract form. It is shown to have no effect on blood sugar, contains virtually no calories, and has been used for thousands of years by traditional cultures. It is great in tea, coffee, and whipped cream. Aspartame and splenda are not real foods and as such should be avoided.
So give it a try and see how you feel. I really wish I had sooner, especially during my pregnancies. It has made such a difference, and it is just one step.
How about you… do you have a sweet tooth or have you kicked the habit?