Throughout the past few months, my clients (and many of you) have asked me about how to knock out sugar and squish your inflammation and Candida for good. I know many of you have already stocked your pantry with whole, organic foods and replaced gluten with gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, wild rice and millet as well as tossed any conventional animal product and replaced it with organic grass-fed versions but there’s a missing link here. Many of you are telling me that your bodies are screaming for something sweet and you’re looking to help tame that sweet tooth, so I’ve got a few ideas here today that have helped me and my clients- now they’re going to help you whip your sweet tooth back into shape, help you understand WHY you are getting these cravings (because cravings for sugar and junky food are often a sign that something’s off in your body or that you’re lacking certain minerals/nutrients/etc) and help you knock out sugar for good.
I never believed that any of the below facts were true when I was told these things back in my 20’s but once I hit Adrenal Fatigue and Failure, became insulin resistant from my PCOS, had terrible hormone issues such as Estrogen Dominance and realized I hadn’t actually even touched any sweets since my Freshman year in college—- I knew there was sugar lurking in other places and even though I wasn’t eating cookies or pouring white sugar into my coffee, I was craving sweets and had a crazy high blood sugar level.
1. Lack of Good Carbs.
Good carbs are SUPER important for sugar cravings. You need high quality carbs- not the carbs found in junky white floured gluten-free crackers, chips, cookies, etc.—those only lead to inflammation. Instead switch to whole grains, as I outlined below, as well as root veggies, also below, and take your focus off the carb count on the box! Your thyroid, adrenals, gut health and overall body metabolism NEEDS good carbs to survive and keep your metabolism pumping so you can burn calories. Don’t start cutting the good carbs from your life- cut the processed carbs and stick with healthy, whole foods such as high quality gluten-free whole grains, veggies, fruits etc. and you’ll watch your sugar cravings vanish!
2. Skipping Meals.
This is a huge No No. Skipping meals drops your blood sugar, which makes you insulin resistant—hello diabetes! And spikes your cortisol (hello weight gain) and let me tell you–it ain’t easy getting your cortisol back on track and insulin back on track–it takes a long time so be smart about your choices and pack nuts, seeds and other portable foods with you when you are out and about so that you never let your blood sugar get too low- which will make you crave sugar and eat the closest thing to you–which is probably a drive thru or a vending machine and trust me, you don’t want anything from either of those!
3. Not Eating Enough Calories.
Yes, not eating enough food, you’ll be reaching for the box of cookies without a doubt. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals and fill each meal with protein, fat and carbs to feed your adrenals and thyroid (to help your metabolism). Eating these more frequent meals will help keep your blood sugar steady, your cortisol in check and won’t leave you shaky and desperate for chocolate. Try hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and sliced veggies in the afternoon or mix chia seeds into your coconut yogurt in the morning for snacks that will keep you satisfied until your next meal without leaving you feeling deprived and hungry (and cranky!).
4. Not Eating Enough GOOD Fats.
Back in December, I started adding in a TON of more fat to my lifestyle and I’ve noticed amazing changes. I’m eating more coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado, hummus, etc. It’s SO important to know what are the good fats and what are the bad fats. Your body needs a balance of nutrients in your body and in order to properly absorb those nutrients, you need healthy fats in your lifestyle! Please do NOT fear fat. Fat helps slow the release of carbs into your bloodstream, which stabilizes your blood sugar and energy levels. Healthy fats will also increase your satiety and you won’t be looking in the cabinet for a chocolate bar after you eat a meal with good fat! Fat provides long-term energy for our bodies; having a good amount of friendly fat at EACH meal and snack will stave off your cravings for sweets. Bad fats are in processed foods (trans fats) and other packaged products. Your body needs fat to survive and your thyroid and adrenals will tank completely if you don’t have enough good fat. Good fats, as mentioned above, fight inflammation. Now, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough good fat and not the bad fat. Try to add in a few of the above examples especially walnuts, ground flaxseeds and coconut oil. These will help your hormones balance out, which will help your metabolism, get you back to your healthy ideal weight and will keep you from reaching for sugar! When you are craving something sweet, try a spoonful of nut butter or one of these other fats instead and you’ll see your cravings vanish.
5. Not Eating Enough Quality Protein.
This is so important. Organic, high quality proteins in poultry, red meat, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. are SO important. You don’t want to be eating tofu or conventional foods- you’ll be making your body more toxic with pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics and a lot of other dirty junk that you don’t want. These toxins stay in your body and you end up craving sugar because you’re full of toxic waste. Yuck! Steer clear of conventional (non-organic) foods and you’ll notice your toxic load and body burden from these toxins is lessened and you’ll be feeling much better, brighter and healthier without sugar cravings!
6. Eating Too Much Table Salt.
Refined table salt is the worst kind of salt you can have. As I’ve mentioned on my Salt page, you always want to use high quality sea salt/ Himalayan salt such as those from Frontier or Simply Organic brands. If you eat too much salt–and again I’m not talking about just the salt you pour on your food from the little salt shaker on your kitchen table, I’m talking about the added JUNKY salt in cookies, cakes, pastries, desserts, candies, canned soups, condiments, dips, cheese, crackers and chips, etc that you buy in boxes and are filled with excess sodium. Read the labels of the foods you purchase and stick with buying only whole foods such as quality proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, organic animal products, etc), healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, etc) and healthy carbs (gluten free whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc); those foods don’t come in packages or boxes and don’t have added refined salt. Start using these whole foods along with high quality sea salt and you’ll notice your sugar cravings diminish as time goes on! Try adding Nori or Dulse seaweed flakes instead of table salt for a salty flavor and a boost of iodine for your thyroid health.
7. Eating Too Many Refined Carbs.
Again, refined carbs in processed foods like chips, crackers, etc and the others mentioned above are full of refined, white flours — instead enjoy sweet potatoes, sweet veggies like carrots, winter squash, parsnips and beets as well as fresh fruits, dried fruits. My best advice here is to toss the packaged foods and replace them with nourishing whole foods as I outlined above in quality proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs like those in wild rice, black rice, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa, and veggies too!
8. Using Too Much Sugar.
I’m not just talking about the white stuff you see in the jar at the diner. I’m talking about hidden sugar in ketchup, dressings, marinades, juices, etc. along with the usual suspects in ice cream, cookies, cakes, etc. The issue here is that sugar stimulates your appetite, so the more of it you eat–the more of it you’ll want. It’s easy to eat an entire bag of something because sugar is addicting and all the processed, junky foods you see in the food stores are made from refined sugar which is awful for your health–these products are designed to keep you hooked on them and eat the whole bag. Trust me, I was once addicted to processed sugar and it took lots of tears and uncomfortable feelings to pull it out of my life. It’s like a drug! So, the best thing to do is to find healthy alternatives that satisfy your sweet tooth such as fresh fruits like freezing grapes or having some melon or mango or papaya. You can also put frozen bananas in your food processor to make a homemade ice cream without any dairy, soy or gluten! Just add frozen bananas to a food processor and poof! You can also add in unsweetened coconut flakes and cacao powder work wonders as well. I also love using nut butters like almond butter, vanilla extract, pureed pumpkin and sweet spices like cinnamon in this ice cream recipe. Anything without sugar will do! That’s a great idea for summer but what about the winter? Roast root veggies for natural sweetness like parsnips, rutabaga and squash then drizzle it with melted nut butter and coconut oil for a sweet touch. Try my Roasted Butternut Squash with Almond Butter Drizzle!
9. Adrenal Failure or Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue is something I suffered from for so many years. Since Western medicine doesn’t believe in this, it’s often misdiagnosed. Check out my Adrenal Fatigue page for more information. It’s a good idea to test your cortisol and entire hormone panel via saliva instead of blood work to get an accurate reading of what’s going on in your body.
10. Using Sugar to Feed Your Emotions & Pains.
The trick here is to find out what your body really wants. Eating cookies to numb your emotions or chronic pains isn’t going to get you anywhere or help you. Look into meditation, acupuncture, Epsom Salt baths, relaxation techniques, saying no to people and journaling to get your emotions out, without reaching for sweets.
11. Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep.
I cannot stress how important sleep is for your health. If you are not getting quality sleep- at least 8 hours per night, you’ll be craving sweets and reaching for junk foods. Put yourself to bed by 10 PM each night and turn off all electronics by 8 PM so you help your body get into sleep mode. Try an eye mask or dark curtains to block out any light in your room, which may be affecting your sleep.