Savvy Cravings Tip: Sweet Simulators

Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to…

  • eat healthier
  • drink more green smoothies & green juices
  • exercise more
  • lose weight
  • do a cleanse
  • live more present
  • add more pleasure and fun in
  • or even reduce the amount of sugar your consume.

All of these are fantastic. And each one will slowly make you feel like you can rock your favorite jeans, have energy to bounce out of bed in the morning, and live more purposefully and balanced (the elusive we are all striving for, right?).

BUT… what do you do when that “I-need-energy-and-a-pick-me-up-NOW!” moment happens? And it’s going to happen at some point – let’s be honest. Whether it’s a true physical need for energy from food or the emotional need for a happy/I-can-get-through-this boost from food… it happens. To everyone. At some point. The difference between the people who succeed at making choices that fulfill those resolutions (and feeling amazing) and those who fall off the wagon, beat themselves up and fall off, and beat themselves up is… support, accountability, AND some savvy tips.

Savvy Tip to add to your savvy kick-butt tool box:

Sweet Simulators

Basically, Sweet Simulators are foods that you can add into your daily diet that make you feel like you are indulging, enjoying sweets, and fulfilling your cravings – WITHOUT really adding in sugar, sugar chemicals, or crap food. This keeps your energy up, your blood sugar and hormones stable, and all-in-all your weight in your sweet spot (pun intended).

3 reasons Sweet Simulators work:

  • Trips sweet taste bud receptors: Taste buds are basically organs that act as both  receptors and transmitters. They reside on the tongue and the roof of the mouth and transmit signals to the brain to communicate which taste receptor has been triggered (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami) when a food item has come in contact with them. Certain foods can trigger these transmitters without having to contain actual sugar in them. (See 7 ways to stimulate below.)
  • Smell: What we smell is directly connected with how we taste foods. In fact about 90% of what we think to be “taste” is really dealing with flavor – a combo of smell, taste, texture, and temperature. When we can select foods that not only trigger the taste bud receptors for sweet, but also the odor triggers the nasal receptors, our brain registers the food as providing a sugary/sweet sensation.
  • Association: Guilty by association. :) There are certain foods that are overly used in sweet treats and dishes. We already associate coconut, almond, vanilla, warming spices, citrus, and fruit with sweet and indulgent foods. Think almond croissant, cherry almond bars, lemon bars, coconut cake or candy, vanilla in almost any baked good, and orange with chocolate, almond, vanilla, and more.

By adding in foods that focus on these 3 ways sweet simulators work – we get to indulge and have our cake and eat it too. Here are 7 ways to get started today…

7 Foods to Simulate the Sweet:coconut

  1. Coconutoil, flakes, milk. Add all 3 variations of coconut to oatmeal, cook/bake with oil,  add milk to smoothies or soups, and even add coconut oil to tea.
  2. Almondnuts, oil, milk, or extract. Add chopped almonds to chicken, oatmeal, green beans, broccoli, yogurt, and more. The list really is endless. Almond oil can be delicious for salads, drizzled in soups, and even drizzle into porridge or yogurt. Add the extract to baked goods (and reduce sugar), smoothies, oatmeal, sauces, dips, etc.
  3. Sweet Nuts – Any nut that you associate with sweet dishes – pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc. Add to any and all dishes. Whole, chopped, ground into a meal (powder).
  4. Vanilla Powder – Most people don’t think of vanilla powder as extract is the go to, but this is simply the vanilla bean ground up instead of extracted via alcohol and oil, but the flavor is addictive and delicious. Check spice shops and natural grocery stores for vanilla powder or purchase whole vanilla beans and grind up in a coffee grinder.
  5. Citrus, Fruit, & Nut Extracts/Oilsorange, lemon, lime, cherry, almond, vanilla, hazelnut, etc. These are fantastic additions to smoothies, bars, cakes, salad dressings, seasonings, oatmeal, granola, trail mix, and more.
    • (NOTE: only get the pure extracts and always check ingredients – there should only be the food item, alcohol, and water)
  6. Warming Spices – Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cardamom, Cloves. Add these to any smoothie, baking item, baked sweet potatoes, roasted root veggies, chicken, salmon, soups, nuts/seeds, even eggs.
  7. ColorAdding the color red automatically triggers us to believe the food is sweeter even if the sugar content isn’t changed. Think cherry or pomegranate juice (2-3 T. added to a glass of water), passion fruit tea, beet juice to a cake, cookie or bar mix (like Red Velvet cake), or simply a cherry cobbler or berry crisp.

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