Let’s play twenty questions (okay 7 questions)…. What is found to cause an addiction equal to or greater than cocaine? Causes blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and adrenaline and cortisol levels (stress hormones) to spike? Causes your 3pm slump and grab for sweets or coffee? Increases anxiety levels? Disrupts our sleep? Produces CRAZY mood swings? And… intensifies cravings and appetite?
While I haven’t tried cocaine…I can say I’ve definitely experienced the effects of sugar on my health and the craving (okay, I admit it… addiction) to always have something sweet to eat. In fact, I didn’t realize how big I was into the sweets until a friend kindly reminded me after she visited the website last week that I was previously known as the “messy-haired, flour-on-your-face, cinnamon roll-baking” girl.
I may still have the messy hair, but my views on sugar have sure changed. It wasn’t until a year ago that I started to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet and I saw results… fast. Now, don’t get me wrong, it took some will power, but once I figured out some tricks of the trade to reduce my cravings and slowly wean myself off of the refined sugars, I was one HAPPY camper.
Reduced mood swings, more regulated hormones, and finally feeling a sense of balance in my life.
So, what can YOU do when the sweet tooth comes a knocking?
Check out the 3 Sure-Fire Ways To Beat Your Sugar Blues article below.
Did I catch your attention with the cocaine question? I bet I did! After reading some of the effects of sugar on the body, did you notice a pattern? All of those “spikes” and “increases” promote inflammation, feed cancer (particularly breast, ovarian, prostate, and rectal – cancer looooves sugar), imbalance our stress hormones, deplete immune function, and decrease nutrient intake and absorption. If that’s not enough, sugar weakens eyesight, increases premature skin aging, and increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease. YIKES!
After all of those increased risks, I don’t think I need to go further with reasons to reduce our sugar consumption. Now we need to focus on HOW to break the addiction and not go crazy. Sugar is in everything nowadays – juice, bread, peanut butter, marinara sauce, ketchup, chips, and TONS of low-fat/fat-free items. So, what can you do?
3 simple at-home tips to balance those moods and curb some cravings…
1. Add a sweet vegetable or fruit to every meal. When your body receives sugar in its natural form and is consumed with other whole foods (including protein, fiber, and fats), it actually stabilizes your energy, satisfies those sweet taste buds, and keeps you from craving sugar (and crashing!) later in the day. Check out the Caribbean Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe below to help get you started on kicking out sugar AND get a taste of what my awesome posse of cleansers will be indulging in next month when they start one of the cleanse programs!
2. Kick fat-free or low-fat packaged snack-foods to the curb. While most people consume these products in the hope of losing weight and being “healthy”, these foods actually contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Additionally, when the body is not in need of energy and consumes sugar, it goes straight to storage in our fat cells. Sugar = fat? Sure does.
3. Eat whole grains. Yes, I said eat carbs (gasp!). Consuming whole grains (meaning the grain is still fully in tact – not whole grain bread), such as millet, quinoa, wheat berry, and oats provide a way for you to still get the feel-good serotonin (neurotransmitter) release that normal sugary foods deliver, but without as big a spike in blood sugar and strain on your adrenal glands. Aim for ½ cup cooked 1-2x/day.
If you don’t want to wait to beat YOUR sugar blues and you’re ready to reset those taste buds NOW, a spring cleanse is a perfect way to jump start. Sugar addictions and withdrawal can last up to 7 days, but once you break the physical dependency it is much easier to break the habit. By doing a cleanse to slowly wean you off the sugar and replace your diet with nutritious powerhouse foods, your system is cleared and you are ready and raring to go without sugar weighing you down. Sound good? Yeah, I thought so too.