Sugar Addiction? 10 Healing Steps to Break-Up with Sugar
It’s no secret that modern society is addicted to sugar. It comes at us from every direction. It is up to each of us to start the break-up process with our sugar addictions.
The fact is your brain loves sugar. When we associate pleasure with a sensation, like tasting something sweet, we want more. This is a natural human reaction. We also like convenience, hello, pleasure trigger! The more convenient something is the more we want it. Another pleasure trigger is taste. We love things that make our taste buds dance for joy. These three things, sweet, convenient and taste make a dangerous combination. Modern food production lends itself to the consumer’s convenience, because as a whole it is what we are asking them for. We also expect great taste from food. So the dilemma for food manufactures becomes to produce convenient foods that taste great. Bingo, added sugars enter the picture. Manufactures add sugars and salts to foods to satisfy our taste pleasure triggers. When they process foods for the mass market they must use preservatives for shelf life. After all no one wants a rancid can of spaghetti-o’s. Unfortunately processing and preservatives strip flavor from the food. So to solve the taste pleasure demand they use added sugars and salts to ramp up the flavor profiles. Who’s to blame? I say no one. It is always your choice to buy or not to buy the products with added sugar, so you can’t be blamed for the market demand. The food manufactures can’t be blamed because after all it is what the market is demanding; they are doing what the consumer market is asking them to do. When we as consumers raise our standards so will the food manufactures. This is truly the root of our sugar loving addictions!
Added sugars could be only half of the problem. The other half may be a soda, candy, snack, fruit juice or dessert addictions. I know I had a sweet tea addiction most of my life and to be honest I just broke it about 2 months ago. So I understand how deep and strong the addiction can be.
Want to break up with sugar for good? Read my top 10 healing tips below to help you break your sugar addiction. Ready?
- Identify Your Motivation for Your Sugar Addiction Break-Up – this may very well be my best tip on this subject. Honestly, until you know WHY you want to stop the sugar addiction you might be on a path of disappointment. When you find strong convictions for healthy lifestyle changes they make your determination to succeed strong. Maybe it’s those skinny jeans, maybe a vacation, wedding, healing, wellbeing, quality of life…it must be all about you. No one can force you into a sugarless lifestyle!
- Drink More Water– It is possible for your body to crave sugar when all it really needs is drink. Yes, really! Not a fan of water. Ok try this, add some fresh foods to your water like crushed berries, lemon, mint, ginger, or citrus fruit. Then you get a two for one, detox effect and hydration that you can get behind and stick with. Oh and your taste pleasure trigger will be satisfied.
- Avoid Prepackaged and Processed Foods– I know this is a rub for some of you. You love the convenience that those little packages provide. But like I discussed at the beginning of the article, you are getting tons of added sugars and salt. So ultimately they will not help you advance your effort to break your sugar addiction. Think instead of making meals ahead of time where you can control the ingredients. They are easy and only a little more time than eating out of a package. Bonus they appeal to your convenience pleasure trigger.
- Don’t Totally Ignore Your Sugar Carvings – This is your favorite tip, right? I get it! I love chocolate. Can you believe I eat it everyday? I do, when I can eat it daily in moderation my brain is happy. I like a small piece of dark 80% Cacao Chocolate bar as a snack mid afternoon and then maybe again at night. I have a recipe that I made with Whole Health Dana that is amazing. Easy and good for you! Check out the recipe here. Bottom line, if you have a sweet tooth try a healthier sweet snack. Fruit, dried fruit with no sugar added, dark chocolate, smoothie, protein shake, herbal teas are all a great substitute.
- Eat More Probiotic Rich Foods – Let me introduce you to the silver bullet of breaking a sugar addiction. There are many reasons your body craves sugar. Lots of them come from your gut and its overall condition. Probiotic rich foods are a great way to not only help improve gut health but they all help detoxify the body. I broke my sweet tea addiction with about 8oz of Kombucha a day. No joke. Don’t like Kombucha, check out other probiotic rich foods, sauerkraut, miso, kefirs, kvass, kimchie, and even fermented pickles. See my blog post about fermented foods to learn more!
- Meal Plan Your Way into Success – Breaking an addiction is hard. Eating healthy is time consuming. You have to shop, prepare, cook and yuck of all yucks clean. So you might be saying to yourself, I don’t have time for all that! My question is do you have time to be sick? I can tell you from experience that it takes way more time and money to be sick. My cancer journey took 20+ hours a week in doctor’s visits and treatments and my oncologist charged $700 a visit! So get your cookbooks out and get some meal planning done. You will find when you “pre”pare meals (that is meals you can reheat during the week.) not only will you find it convenient, you free up time for more fun…that you actually feel like having because you are busting that sugar addiction to the curb!
- Don’t Buy and Keep the Sweets in the House – If you buy it you will eat it. The conviction of spending money is strong. For instance if you had to pay money for this “how to guide” you would be more likely to take these tips to heart. (That should be tip number 11!) Same thing with sweets. You spent your hard earned money on them and you feel the conviction to eat them. Never mind that the first time you need a snack and it is between an apple and a doughnut…guess what is going to win! Oh and “out of sight out of mind” does not work…sugar has a homing beacon hardwired to your brain. The more you try to resist the more that beacon will call! Don’t buy it in the first place. Reserve it for special occasions.
- Your Body is Craving More Proteins – When you don’t eat enough protein your blood sugar levels may be out of whack. This creates cravings. Guess what kind of craving is at the top of the list…yep… sugar! Shoot for 60 grams of protein a day. You can get these from eggs, clean free-range chicken, beans or lentils, clean dairy, wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, and some leafy greens. Simple and maybe the easiest of all the tips to help break a sugar addiction.
- Use More Spices and Herbs – I am spicy…no, I mean I love spices! Spices are a stellar way to kick that ol‘ sugar addiction to the curb. Your taste buds play a large part in sweet cravings. Using spices and herbs like mint, cayenne, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla can fool your taste buds and your brain into thinking it is getting something sweet you crave. Plus you get the added benefit of blood sugar stabilization, digestion help, anti-anxiety effects, anti-parasitic, and even an energy boost. How could you say no to that. Stock up that spice cabinet!
- Practice Moderation – I touched on this very important tip already but really it is key in any lifestyle change. So here is the next step. Don’t guess how much sugar you are getting in a day. Track it and get a good picture of where your intake sources are. So get a pen and paper and keep it with you for 48 hours. Eat normal. Write down the time of day, what you ate with sugar in it and how much sugar you had. Then you have a baseline to work from and you will know how to establish a goal to break the sugar addiction. Start to moderately remove sugar from your diet until you are down to about 1 tablespoon or 12 grams of added sugar a day. Do not count natural sugar sources like whole fruits or veggies. Count fruit juices; whole fruit and fruit juice are not created equal.
These are proven steps I have taken in my own life that have helped me break up with sugar. I know you can do it too! Need a cheerleader, have some one help you be accountable. The sugar police! No really, get a spouse, friend or relative involved. Have them help you stay accountable for breaking your sugar addiction. Maybe you can find a partner here…post in the comments below if you are looking for “Breaking the Sugar Addiction” Buddy!
Breaking-Up Periscope Replay
I just finished a week on my Periscope broadcast about sugar. Below is a replay of the broadcast (unedited) that you can watch at your leisure. Enjoy! XO