Sugar.It’s everywhere. Of course, we can spot the obvious places– like ice cream and cookies, soft drinks and candy bars. But sugar also hides in less obvious places.
Did you realise that store-bought spaghetti sauce almost always contains sugar? How about crackers, bread, and barbecue sauce? Even your breakfast sausage likely contains a good amount of the sweet stuff that leaves you wanting more.
You see, food manufacturers are no dummies. They know exactly what will keep consumers buying their products. So, if you find yourself craving a brownie after you’ve just eaten dinner—it’s not your fault. The sugar got you.
Unfortunately, when you eat that brownie you’re only going to get a little sugar buzz and then crash, just to begin the whole cycle over again. When you eat processed white sugar (and starches—but that’s for another discussion), your body THINKS it’s getting the nourishment it needs. When it’s left lacking the essential nutrients it was expecting, it just begs for more.
This is the idea behind “empty calories.” Wouldn’t you love to beat that sugar addiction—to stop it in its ugly tracks? You can.
I’ve got four solid health hacks that will teach your body to stop wanting sugar—and they don’t include “stop eating sugar.” Instead of just telling you to go cold turkey with it (which would be great if you could—but let’s be realistic), these four tricks retrain your body and brain to actually stop wanting it.
Trick #1: Try Drinking A Green Smoothie Every Day
Smoothies are delicious—some fruit, protein, ice, throw it in the blender and yum-o! Then, if you start adding in handfuls of fresh leafy greens, you’ve got a recipe for sugar-bashing success.
Why does drinking a green smoothie a day help kick the sugar habit? Here’s why: It’s a healthier choice.
The smoothie can pack in as much as 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, including all the filling fibre that goes with using the whole fruit. That’s much healthier than the bowl of Frosted Flakes or cream cheese bagel you were having for breakfast, or the chocolate chip granola bar you enjoyed as an afternoon snack with your large mocha.
Your body starts craving the good stuff. You’ll soon find that you WANT a green smoothie. Your body needs the phytochemicals in leafy greens to function properly—they are antioxidant and antibacterial, they can protect your cells and prevent the growth of cancer.
PLUS, they stimulate hormone production. I’d say phytochemicals are important— so when your body gets a taste, it wants more! Once you replace the empty calories with the nutrient-packed ones, and you begin to crave the greens, your taste for the sugary stuff will start to fade away naturally.
Basic Green Smoothie Formula:
- Leafy Greens (a big handful or two): kale, spinach, arugula, chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, mustard greens, dark lettuces and more
- Fruits and Veggies (one or more): fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, tomato, celery, beets, avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, small banana, lemon, orange, ginger, carrot. These are some suggestions, but there’s a rainbow of choices out there!
- Liquid: pure filtered water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, unsweetened kefir, tea, and ice if you like it slushy.
- Add-ins: unsweetened protein powder, flax seed, chia seed, cinnamon, spirulina, chlorella, hulled hemp seeds, vitamin C powder, extra virgin olive oil
Blend it all together until it’s nice and smooth!
Adjust the flavors to meet your taste buds. You can add in a bit of pure, organic dried Stevia leaf until your taste buds adjust to having things a little less sweet!
Trick #2: Eat Huge Salads
Whatever you’re eating for a main course, eat it with a huge salad full of leafy greens and veggies, nuts, seeds, avocado, and maybe even some green apple.
Top it off with a simple squirt of lemon and pepper, or drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The salad is going to give you that same healthy craving that came with the green smoothie, plus it will fill you up so your body is satisfied—there’s nothing left to crave if your body is fully nourished.
Eat the salad a bit before your dinner or main course for the added prebiotic benefit of producing healthy gut bacteria, which reduces inflammation and aids digestion!
Trick #3: Get Protein With Every Meal
Eating healthy proteins with your meal helps balance your blood sugar, so you don’t get the dips and spikes that cause sugar cravings.
Plus, healthy protein helps keep you feeling fuller longer—making that bag of M & M’s easier to resist later in the day.
Keep boiled eggs on hand for a good protein snack, or try rolling up asparagus or celery in a slice of roast beef with a little garlic mustard for a quick fix.
Always go with organic, grass-fed, free-range meat and eggs and wild caught fish when possible. Add in extra nuts and legumes if you are exercising hard or need extra carbohydrates.
Trick #4: Sleep More (Or At Least Better)
We live in a nation of sleep-deprived zombies. Is it such a coincidence that we are also chronically overweight? No, it is not.
When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones that regulate your appetite are suppressed, which means your body has a hard time reading hunger signals.
The biological process called your “circadian rhythm” is out of whack. You’re tired and feeling hungry (even when you’re not really hungry), so you grab something that’s going to give you an instant energy fix: sugar.
Then there goes that whole addiction cycle again. When you’re trying to work late, exercise, enjoy your family and hobbies and catch up on social networking, you might be tempted to shout, “There’s not enough time to sleep!”
Make time, or make your sleep better. Or both. You can do really well on 7 hours if they’re 7 hours of deep sleep. Try these tricks to reset your circadian rhythm, get more z’s, and stop the sugar from taking over:
- Eat your biggest meal after dark to kick into “rest and digest mode.”
- Refrain from exercise for a few hours before bed time.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Use light-blocking shades on your bedroom windows, or use an eye mask to achieve optimal darkness.
- Use ear plugs to block out sound (if you don’t have small children you need to listen for).
- Try to get sunlight early in the day to reset your circadian rhythm.
- Drink chamomile or kava tea after sundown.
- Avoid alcohol. It prevents you from reaching deep restorative sleep.
- This is a hard one, but if you can also avoid artificial light after sundown, that helps a lot. Especially the glowing screen of your tv, phone, tablet, and computer!
If you’re trying to kick a sugar addiction, know that you’re not alone—and you can do it! Use these four easy tricks to stop your sugar cravings in their tracks and take charge of your body and your health.