Most of us understand why sugar is so enticing. It gives the body a very powerful and predictable experience of pleasure. It tastes good, it can feel good, it can give us energy, it can boost our mood, and it can remind us that life really is worth living.
But by now, most of us have also heard that sugar is highly challenging for the body. Despite its short term benefits, the near term and long term drawbacks are clear: It can make us groggy. It can impact our mood. It spikes our blood sugar and wreaks havoc on our pancreas, eventually contributing significantly to diabetes. And it makes it difficult to lose weight, maintain immune strength, and feel vibrant.
If you find yourself challenged by sugar cravings, it’s time to take a deeper look at your relationship with the sweet stuff.
Here are 5 ways to break your ties with sugar:
1. Eat More Healthy Protein
One way to prime your body to crave less sugar is to eat more healthy protein. Eating protein at each meal and at snack time slows your digestion, stabilizing your blood sugar and insulin to help you eliminate cravings throughout the day. Consuming more quality protein is a great strategy to help curb the desire for sweets. This means fish, high quality meats, nuts and seeds, organic protein powders, high quality diary and others.
2. Eat More Healthy Fat
The thought of eating more dietary fat goes against the grain for many of us trained in the school of thought that “fat causes fat.” But new research disproves this theory. It’s time to get current with how the body works. Researchers have found that sugar is a main culprit in increasing body fat, while healthy dietary fat actually helps keep us trim and lean.
Eating high quality fats at meals helps satiate you and therefore prevents cravings for less quality foods throughout the day. So consider consuming more healthy fats along with those clean proteins. Food sources include cold-water fish, such as salmon or herring, as well as vegetarian choices such as flax, walnut, hemp, pumpkin seed, coconut and olive oils.
3. Drink Bone Broth (or a Mineral Rich Vegetable Broth, If You Are a Vegetarian)
Another great way to curb sugar cravings is to drink a broth.
No, not the type of broths found in a can or made from a bouillon cube. The kind of broth that can reduce sugar cravings is made from simmering high quality ingredients for hours on the stove until you have extracted all their nutrient-dense goodness. Let’s look at the benefits:
Bone broth or nutrient-rich vegetable broth can balance blood sugar and improve digestion, immune health, bone and joint pain, autoimmune conditions and leaky gut, just to name a few. It’s rich in microminerals, macrominerals and other nutrients which can positively impact blood sugar levels. Generally, broth helps as a digestive aid.
By boosting our digestion we may find bone broth to be another powerful tool in our arsenal to curb sugar cravings. Not only do you get the benefit of reduced cravings, but also get the great nutrition found in the broth.
4. Create More Pleasure in Your Life
Once you’ve addressed your food intake and increased healthy fats and proteins – and perhaps given bone broth or vegetable broth a try – you may need to dig deeper to fully address your emotional attachment to sugar.
Here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we view our relationship with food as an opportunity to grow. As the fields of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition teach us, our food choices and eating behaviors are often windows into the deeper desires and unmet needs in our lives.
If you have a hard time letting go of sugar, you may be using it as a symbolic substitute for something that’s missing. Perhaps sugar is the sweetness you crave or need – human touch, fun, lightness or pleasure. Look at your days as a whole. Do you have moments of joy? Do you have fun with friends? Light moments with your loved ones or pets? Periods of time when you let go of worries or insecurities?
It is important to address your nutritional needs, but also consider that deep down, your consumption of sugar represents a bigger type of life craving. Focus on ways to create more pleasure in your life to release the need to use sweets as a crutch.
It may be scary to consider that perhaps you’re resisting deeper desires, but allow yourself time to let your needs unfold and you may find yourself feeling more energy and peace.
5. Enjoy “Non-Sugar” Rewards
Sometimes we turn to sugar to reward ourselves for a job well done, to distract ourselves at work, to find relief from a stressful situation or to soothe a broken heart. These are just a few examples of how we might use sugar as a reward.
Instead, consider “non-sugar” rewards as a way to treat or soothe yourself. Here are examples of non-sugar rewards:
- A gentle walk
- A manicure or pedicure
- A movie with a friend
- A candle-lit warm bath
- Reading on the porch on a warm summer night
- A cup of tea with a loved one
- Spending time with the family pet
- Or anything that YOU enjoy!
Here at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we advocate addressing cravings on both a metabolic and emotional level for the best chances of breaking your ties to sugar. In the process of letting go of a sugar habit, you just might find yourself feeling even more pleasure in your life than you ever thought possible!
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