I get that a lot.
Why? Currently, I am not partaking of foods that contain added sugar or artificial sweetener (excluding Stevia – which I consider to be natural, and I do eat fruit).
So perhaps you may be thinking the same thing – “This girl, she’s insane!”
Or even, “I could never do something like that.”
Wrong. You CAN.
Granted, sugar is an addictive substance. We are BORN craving sugar – why? Because it is the easiest molecule for our body to break down into energy. It is known as a simple sugar – or simple carbohydrate. As a result, the brain is showered with reward when you choose to partake – that’s where you get that “sugar rush” or just plain feel-good shivers as you eat that chocolate cake.
“Recent research shows that sugar is actually as addictive as cocaine as it helps release certain brain chemicals that control the sensation of pleasure in the body. Constantly eating sugar or processed/refined carbs causes an insulin spike in the blood stream and this makes your body more efficient in storing fat and more prone to diabetes and heart disease in the long run.”1
Does this sound kind of alarming to you? Comparing sugar to a drug…that causes disease? It did to me, too.
“Ms Alwill likened our dependency on sugar to drug addiction, with each hit only feeding a craving temporarily before the body screams out for more.
‘Once we have the taste of sugar we tend to crave more of it,’ she said. ‘We do not feel satiated by a sugar hit, whereas a smaller portion of good-quality fat coming from raw nuts and seeds, natural nut spreads, healthy oils from avocados, coconut, flaxseed and olives, fresh fatty fish or full-fat organic dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt give our bodies far more satisfaction and offer a diverse range of nutrients.
‘The more sugar we feed our bodies, the more effective we become at absorbing it,’ Ms Alwill said.
But it’s an addiction that can be kicked, and the less sugar we eat, the less we crave.
‘The key to any change in your diet is to make small, frequent changes,’ Ms Alwill said.”2
So in the end, despite the alarming effects sugar can have on our body, there is a simple fix – watch your sugar intake.
The less sugar you partake of, the less you’ll crave it. Bam. Simple as that.
That is why I started this “no-added sugar” lifestyle, and that is the reason I am able to keep it up so EASY.
Because – the fact is – I don’t crave sweets. At all. I can pass up those cookies at the party with ease, craving instead the food that will actually nourish my body.
As a result, I don’t crave food on a biological level.
And in this lifestyle, I am free. Free from sugar crashes, “carb-clouds”, and from the lip-biting predicament of “I should only have one Christmas cookie…but there are 30 kinds here…and they all look soooo good…oops, I ate nine cookies!” Because I don’t even place the option of eating any sweets in my mind, it’s like they aren’t even there. And I don’t want them. And they don’t harm me, or give me any feelings of guilt or discomfort.
So, how can YOU do this?
I’d love to help you through it!
Let’s try for two weeks. Just to see how it works out!
First, you need to understand what you are giving up. Go around your house, and make a list of all the foods you won’t be able to have. Contemplate not being able to partake of those Oreos for a while. Consider not baking with sugar. If your heart is breaking just thinking about it, you can promise yourself that you’ll give it a try anyway. For two weeks or more.
Next step, you need to get RID of those sugary foods! Your home is where you eat most of your meals, and you are just setting yourself up for failure if everywhere you look there is another temptation. Give those foods to the neighbors to keep “in storage”, or simply throw them away. If te rest of the family is not on the bandwagon, simply reason with them to put all of the sweets in a cupboard somewhere that is out of sight. The less you see, the less you think about sugar, the less you’ll struggle.
Here’s an important step that not many people really think about before making a nutritional lifestyle change – consider social settings. You won’t be able to have cake at birthdays, cookies at Christmas, pudding, sugary snacks, ice cream, jam on your toast, Nutella…is your heart breaking? Don’t worry – mine was too. Just consider how vegans feel! If they can do it, so can you! I believe in you! But make sure you mentally prepare yourself to gently turn down these sweets. If at all possible, do not mention that you are not eating sugar (people will gape). Fashion your words to make yourself believe you don’t like sweets. E.g. “Desserts are too sweet for me!” Over “I’m not eating sweets.” Or “I’d rather not.” Over “I can’t.”
The first few days after eliminating sugar, you’ll have cravings. You’ll want to reach for sugar-laden foods. But this will subside in a few more days. After two weeks, you’re pretty much set. You won’t crave these things anymore. However, a few ways you can deal with your cravings…you can sweeten things with Stevia, or have some fruit. For example, a lady needs her chocolate sometimes…so I make my own chocolate with Stevia, or when I’m feeling lazy…I just mix two tablespoons of cocoa powder and one packet Stevia to satisfy my “lady chocolate cravings”.
Soooo…what if you cheat? Simple: Start over. Two weeks. No compromising. Hard work before reward – and the reward is great!
And you’ll be free – and healthier, too!
Disclaimer: I do not claim that this lifestyle is painless. Sometimes it can be hard to not partake of sweets…especially in social situations. That is why I let myself have sweets on very special occasions – e.g. my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas day. However, remember – the more sugar you have, the harder it is to get back on track. So save these treats for your favorite types of sugary food…mine is chocolate! =)
Until next time~
Image “Splenda-Sucrose” from: http://man-plan-can.blogspot.com/2007/10/made-from-sugar_12.html
1. Goel, S. (2013, Apr 28). Beat that sugar craving. DNA.Sunday. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1346429447?accountid=39473
2. “Sugar craving sours life.” Advertiser [Adelaide, South Australia, Australia] 27 July 2013: 19. Infotrac Newsstand. Web. 21 Dec. 2013.