Last month, news came out that 50 years ago, the sugar industry paid scientists to point the blame for physical ailments like heart disease and obesity at fat instead of sugar. For half a century, scientific journals published papers erroneously implicating fat and dismissing sugar’s role in diseases. The rise of Halloween as the Sugar Queen of holidays is one of the results of this campaign of misinformation. We now know that sugar causes so many negative effects on the body AND on the mind. It is a wonder it is allowed on shelves at all, not to mention freely stuffed into the open arms of our most precious resource: our children. While it may be impossible to cut out sugar from your diet entirely, here are a few ways you might snap the neck of your sugar cravings, or mitigate the negative effects of taking sugar into your body.
- Make yourself a sweet snack spectrum list with ideas ranging from least healthy to most healthy. On one end of the spectrum is Candy, on the other, a piece of Fruit. Take some time to fill in all of the options between the two extremes, such as trail mix, fruit leather, sesame candy, power bars, and anything else that you might like to eat. When your cravings hit, try to FIRST take something on the less extreme end of the spectrum. If that doesn’t hit the note, move one notch up the spectrum to the next snack. In this way you will be filled up by foods that are less extreme than going directly for that Snickers candy bar.
- Drink a cup of hot water. While many cravings are a direct result of being dehydrated, taking hot water gives us an extra boost against sugar cravings. The ritual of heating water and slowly sipping it not only occupies the mind during crucial sugar-grabbing moments, sipping water rather that guzzling it ensures that water will be fully absorbed into our tissues, and has the added benefit of stimulating a healthy digestion.
- Meditation can play a key role in reducing sugar cravings. Sugar gives us immediate energy, and we often crave it when we are feeling particularly stressed out. Meditation can regulate the nervous system, allowing us to off-gas strong emotions and stresses, and make us less susceptible to the whims of our thoughts for sugar and quick energy.
- Notice and acknowledge your feelings. We often use sugar to push away or ignore painful, scary, or unpleasant thoughts. The next time you feel the need to reach for something sugary take five minutes to dig a little deeper into what spurred the craving. Sometimes letting yourself cry, feel miserable, rage, or be afraid is a healthier and more long-term solution to constantly running away from those unpleasant feelings, and driving us towards sickness in the process.
- Take the time to do a proper Cleanse twice each year. Taking 3-5 days off of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, and processed foods can do wonders to reset your mood, metabolism, and sugar cravings. Sometimes cold turkey is the only way! Consider joining our semi-annual Cleanses in October and April, or find your own way to to take a break from your normal eating and snacking routine. Your body will thank you!