Honestly, it’s brutal. I get it. I SO TOTALLY GET IT. And you know what? It’s painful to stop. Like coming off of a drug. In a fact, it IS regularly compared to drug addiction. So there you have it.
Here’s the painful truth: The best way to get sugar out of your diet and get free of your addiction is to — JUST. STOP. EATING IT.
So I am not going to pussy-foot around the issue. You can “ease” off if you like, or you can rip off the band-aid. Either way, you’ve gotta beat this thing. Because sugar is dangerous, bad-ass sh-t. Don’t believe me?
Need I go on?
It’s kind of in everything, which is disappointing — and makes it more difficult to keep out of your life. But, I KNOW you can do it. You just need the right tools in your Sugar-Addiction-Fighting Toolbox.
Beat Sugar: Eat Protein & Fat
If you think a vegan diet, with fruit-filled green smoothies, will be the way to beat sugar addiction, you might be right — IF IT WERE SUMMER!!! But it’s not. It’s cold outside. You need insulation AND protein AND fat to help stabilize your blood sugar. Nuts and seeds only go so far. And green smoothies are often and truly too high in fruit = sugar. That is the truth. And unless you are PACKING that thing will every high-protein superfood you can think of (hemp, chia, etc.) it is NOT supporting your blood sugar levels or keeping them EEEEVEN.
BUT don’t eat TOO much meat or fat. If you replace sugar with a massive quantity of animal protein your body will begin to crave more sugar. It’s this balance thing our body is always going for. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, sugar is on one end of the spectrum, animal protein/fat on the other. So do yourself a (lifetime) favour — eat mostly vegetables — regardless of the type of diet you choose. Whether it’s a green smoothie diet in the summer or one filled with grass-fed meat in the winter. As your addiction to sugar decreases, you will begin to taste the sweetness in veggies, too, I promise.
Beat Sugar: WAIT to use “natural” sugar
I cannot emphasize this enough. Maple syrup is lovely. So is raw honey and coconut sugar. They are super duper alternatives to using white sugar in baking and other things. But they are damn sweet. And no matter how much you convince yourself that they will help get you free of your sugar addiction, it’s simply not true.
Stevia is really the only sweet substitute that will NOT continue to feed your addiction. Unfortunately, stevia tastes kind of gross (at least to me, but maybe that a good thing if you don’t want to be addicted to it) and doesn’t remove the psychological NEED for the TASTE of sugar. The taste of sweet is what most people are addicted to — not just the glucose. It’s the best alternative though.
The only way to remove that need for sweet is to find sweetness in your life (and remove the addiction). Or to figure out what that sweet flavour is giving you, other than a perceived rush. This isn’t easy.
Side Note…One more thing to consider — though this may require another blog post entirely: If you are dealing with Candida your body will continue to crave sugar more intensely. In this case, your gut is overrun with bad bugs that CRAVE sugar. This doesn’t make it any easier. And you will have to address this at some point, if it’s a condition you suffer from.
Beat Sugar: Get Enough Sleep
So often our desire for sugar comes when we are run-down. Take the holiday season, for example. We often blame the offering of holiday sugar as the culprit of our sudden desire. But think about how crazy the holiday season is. It’s bonkers. We hardly slow down for a minute. And during a time of the year we are MEANT to slow the pace down. Not good.
Nowadays, the only time I crave sugar is when I’m about to get sick and my energy levels completely drop. So what do I do? Run to the store and buy cookies? Well, it’s tempting, but no. I hit the epsom salt bath, apply appropriate essential oils, and head to bed. Because it’s the only thing you really can do when you’re run down. Consuming stimulants will only feed your addiction to them — because it’ll leave you wanting more.
So sleep. Rest. Nap. It’s winter. It doesn’t mean you need to sleep 14 hours a day. But a good 7 to 8 is really necessary.
Beat Sugar: Drink More Water
Our desire to consume often gets perceived as hunger (or cravings) — when likely you are actually dehydrated. Especially in the wintertime — we tend to drink less of the good stuff, and more of the sugar-filled stuff (juice, lattes, hot chocolate, cocktails, red wine, etc.)
Sometimes getting a blast of water into your system can do wonders. And yes, it’s boring. But not with a piece of lemon in it. Or with the creation of Spa Water. Or fizzing it up with the Soda Stream.
For me, herbal tea is where it’s at. When I want chocolate before bed I drink hibiscus tea instead. I’m always happy I did. It removes any desire I have for sugar in that moment. And the choices are pretty endless. You can also steam some nut or coconut milk with spices. Delicious!
Beat Sugar: Reduce Stress
This goes back to finding sweetness in your life. And stress brings on this horrible endless cycle. You experience stress. You crave sugar (or caffeine or booze) to help reduce stress. The result is often an emotional roller coaster ride, a regular drop in blood sugar, and a complete lack of energy. Leading back to stress. Leading back to sugar. And so it goes!
I used to have a serious blood sugar problem — WHILE (ironically) I was studying nutrition. I was not addicted to sugar per say (though I was drinking those damn green smoothies like it was nobody’s business). But I was a STRESS-CASE. For a plethora of reasons. My mom was dying of cancer. I was still breast-feeding my toddler. I had another small child. And two step-kids who (at the time) hated me. I was trying to PERFECT this school-nutrition thing and it was driving me into the ground. And my blood sugar was a mess. I was officially diagnosed with hypoglycemia. No matter how healthy I ate. My eyesight was a bit of a problem, also. It was unpleasant.
Then…my life changed. It was a couple years later. I developed a way of “Burning My Supermom Cape” and life got a whole lot calmer. I also learned to deal with my stress the right way. And guess what? My blood sugar went COMPLETELY back to normal. And it still normal now.
Your blood sugar drops when you experience stress — when your body enters a “fight or flight” state — because your muscles need the sugar to run from the bear that is chasing you. Obviously, we aren’t getting chased by bears too often. But it feels like we are. Or at least our body THINKS we are. It doesn’t know that the constant buzzing of life and the stress we experience day-to-day is any different than being chased by a bear. So finding a way to manage it is key. That might mean learning to meditate, or changing your job, or asking for help. Perhaps incorporating more exercise is key to stress reduction for you. But eating like shit is only going to make things worse — believe me.
Beat Sugar: Detox from it and join the Winter Community Dump
It’s called this because it’s not a typical “cleanse” (and I also have an odd sense of humour). The Community Dump is about DUMPING YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION, as well as a pile of other crap (literally AND figuratively), you may be carrying. And it will get you off sugar, using a variety of methods necessary to do so.
The main reason the Winter Dump works is because it’s designed for THIS SEASON, and it’s full of people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, the same thing. Everybody knows what you’re going through and everybody is there to help and be helped.
So that’s it. Six incredibly helpful ways to get you ready to kick this thing. It doesn’t HAVE to be so difficult. But you need to do it. And if you run out of reasons contact me personally. Because I have at LEAST a dozen more reasons I can give you immediately.