With the “I Quit Sugar” Challenge under way, those of you joining in may already be struggling with a bit of sugar withdrawal or cravings. In my experience, the first couple of weeks are usually the most difficult when embarking on a new lifestyle change. But don’t worry, it will get easier!
If you find yourself with a sudden sugar craving, the following strategies may help you overcome it. Remember, every time you flex your “discipline muscle,” the stronger it gets!
1. Eat something nourishing.
Sometimes our cravings are simply a sign that we’re lacking nutrients. When you’re taking something out of your diet, be sure to compensate by eating plenty of nourishing foods, including a variety of sweet and non-sweet vegetables, high-quality protein and healthy fats. The latter two are especially important for making us feel satiated!
One of my favorite snacks?
Raw almond butter freezer fudge, made without the honey. As your taste buds adapt to less sugar, almond butter tastes surprisingly sweet on its own! Mix up a small portion of this fudge, made with just almond butter, coconut oil and salt, and watch your cravings melt away!
Other quick snacks include:
- A handful of raw nuts or seeds
- Guacamole, with veggies for dipping
- A hard boiled egg
- Sliced raw goat cheese, served on cucumber slices, if desired
- Raw zucchini hummus, served with crunchy veggies for dipping
- A cup of plain goat yogurt, sprinkled with cinnamon (and stevia, if desired)
2. Sip on some tea.
There is something so comforting about sipping on a warm cup of tea. If you’d rather avoid caffeine, there are plenty of herbal varieties available that are delicious!
Sometimes, I’ll also mix up a teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder with boiling water, for a maple-scented warm drink with a boost of fiber!
3. Create new habits.
Often times, we’ll eat something sweet simply because we’ve become accustomed to having a “treat” at certain times of the day. We need to re-train our brains to crave something else! Hitting a 3pm slump? Perhaps a walk around the office, a warm cup of tea, or a handful of nuts will suffice.
Craving something sweet after dinner? Try having a cup of homemade almond milk, a few slices of your favorite cheese, or go for an after-dinner stroll.
A warm bath or a good book can be just as comforting after dinner, too!
4. Remind yourself why you’re giving up sugar.
If you find your motivation waning, remind yourself why you started this challenge in the first place. Start a journal to record your thoughts– be sure to mention why you’re quitting, moments when you’re feeling great, and moments when you’re feeling bad– and re-visit this journal often to keep yourself motivated!
In case you’re curious, a few of them include:
- Sugar can suppress your immune system.
- Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides. (Hello, high cholesterol!)
- Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection.
- Sugar interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium.
- Sugar can cause two blood proteins – albumin and lipoproteins – to function less effectively, which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.
- Sugar is the number one enemy of the bowel movement.
- Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance – some hormones become underactive and others become overactive.
- Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
5. Indulge in natural sweetness.
If all else fails, there are always “safe” options that you can indulge in to satisfy that sweet tooth. If you’re including fruits in your plan, this should be no problem. They’ll naturally squash those sweet cravings!
A few recipes that are naturally sweetened with only fruit include:
If you’re omitting fruit, but would like to include stevia-sweetened desserts, there are options for you, too:
- Choco-Cado Milkshake
- Healthier Hot Chocolate
- Sugar-Free Macaroons
- Creamy Coconut Steamer
- Sugar-Free Lemonade
Don’t worry if you need to indulge in a bite of dark chocolate, either. Sometimes just a taste is enough to remind you that you really don’t “need” sweets as much as you might think!
I hope these tips will prove useful over the next few weeks!
Reader Feedback: For those of you participating, how is the challenge going so far? Any additional tips to share?