5 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Habit
One of the topics that continues to come up with our guests has to do with sugar addiction. Sugar hides in so many different forms in processed foods, and it exists in so many different formats as an add-in.
Sugar burdens our liver, because it forces our liver into fat storage mode. The most damaging sugars are the refined sugars: white and brown sugar, which have been stripped of all nutrients, and are actually processed with damaging ingredients.
Unrefined sugars like: coconut sugar, turbinado, and sucanat, and natural sugars such as maple syrup and honey are better because they are not highly processed (Agave is highly processed BTW). But:
ANY of these sugars when added into your digestive system, cause your liver to respond in the same way: fat storage. And artificial options are your worst of all: chemically derived substances like nutrasweet that not only affect your organs but also add a toxic burden to your bloodstream. When you consume artificial, it causes the same blood / liver response, plus you have now added in harmful toxins. Stay away! There are alternative sugars like monk fruit and stevia and xylitol / erythritol plant sugars. This article here does a great job dissecting the alternative sugars.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. That can add up very quickly if you are not conscientious about what you are drinking and eating in a day. An Arizona Iced Tea. A Gatorade or Vitamin water. A Frappuccino or a Coca Cola or any other soft drink. This is what vending machines at eateries whose names I won’t mention 🙂 are filled with. Wine and Beer have added sugar. Individuals who drink one to two sugar-sweetened beverages per day have a 26 percent higher risk for developing type II diabetes.
A few years ago, we were a part of creating the film called Fed Up. The evidence is very clear and the esteemed Dr. Lustig and Dr Mark Hyman have called out the sugar industry as a main culprit in obesity, cancer, alzheimers, and heart disease. Sugar is highly addictive (cocaine addicted rats choose sugar over cocaine in lab studies), but you DO have the power to break the habit.
I feel the best way to get sugar addiction out of your life is to “crowd it out.” Begin to overwhelm your life with so many good for you choices, that sugar starts to lose its place in your cravings.
You must begin to choose a balanced diet:
Salad Greens and sauteed greens, and vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli can actually begin to change the composition of your blood, to be more like the “blood” of a plant. Imagine if your insides could thrive like that of a vibrant plant? That’s why we love green juice!!! Make vegetables central to every meal you eat in a day, and the fiber and the nutrients will crowd out the gut / brain craving for sugar.
Healthy fats and Proteins fill up your soul, your gut, and satisfy your brain’s pathways. I know people who eat a tablespoon of high quality olive oil everyday. I carry small bottles of olive oil with me and pour over every salad and plate that I eat. Many of us blend MCT oil into our coffee, and carry cashews and macadamia nuts in our snack bags in our cars. (On that note, it’s so important not to let yourself crash during the day. Plan ahead!!! ). Proteins are so important here too. Proteins take longer to digest than breads and pastas, so they allow you to feel satiated longer. We don’t love the highly processed meat alternatives that are hitting the market, but we do love chia, hemp, chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, oatmeal, and lentils, nutritional yeast, and spirulina!
Eat spices. Spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, etc etc, satiate the various parts of your palate, and tell your gut that you are doing A-Ok. Keep little shakers around your home / office that you can add to your water, tea, and meals. High quality Himalayan sea salt does wonders for balancing your digestive system.
Hydrate . It sounds so simple but many of our cravings stem from lack of hydration. Only YOU can determine if you are setting yourself up for success in this department! Do you carry stainless steel refillable water bottles with you all day? Krush has filtered water, just ask and we will fill up any bottle for you! Do you drink two large glasses of water before you have that morning cup of coffee? How about a glass before you eat? I flavor my evening water with fresh grated ginger and a squeeze of lemon and a dash of cardamom. I know, crazy, but it’s working as a substitute for wine right now :), and it’s delicious!
Plan your treats: we really like dark chocolate, coconut yogurts, seaweed snacks, edamame, organic nuts, homemade trail mixes, chia puddings, whole fruit smoothies, crunchy fresh vegetables, a whole apple, an orange. Eat a piece of whole fruit in a day and you will get a kick from the natural sugars and enjoy the simplest sugar nature has to offer!
For most people, sugar reduction is a process. I’m not really a person who enjoys changing habits in a “cold-turkey” style. I like to take it slowly and make changes that are permanent. I made my way through college on diet Mountain Dew and Swedish Fish. (and I was a health major!!!) I have been sugar addicted and I remember the cravings, the crashes, the exhausted, dehydrated feeling at the end of every day. If you have a sugar addiction, there are so many helpful websites and books, and if you are trying hard to reduce sugar, I 100% believe, you can do it by making a plan, planning ahead, traveling through your day with snacks, and filling your life up with the above mentioned AMAZING choices.