Christmas is over, but the majority of us are still feeling the after effects of all that sugar we ate! It’s no secret that sugar is addictive and detrimental to our health, but what is the holiday season with out all of the cookies, hot cocoa, and homemade candy? Now that the season of overindulgence is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about how to kick your family’s sugar addiction, after the holiday binge.
The first step to kicking the sugar addiction is to get it out of the house! Once you decide you are ready to be done with all the sugar, don’t leave leftover treats hanging around the house to tempt you. Cravings are going to be hard enough to manage without seeing a box of cookies in the pantry. Cravings and withdrawals can be a real problem when you are quitting sugar, but here are some of the best ways to manage them:
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause cravings or feelings of hunger, when all your body really wants is water. Keep your cup full and drink water all day long, aiming for 1/2 an oz, per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs then you need about 70 ounces of water per day.
- Eat plenty of protein. Protein helps to balance out blood sugar, which will prevent the highs and lows that contribute to cravings. Eggs, kefir, raw nuts, beans, cottage cheese, fish and lean meats are all great sources of protein.
- Eat good fats. Yes, good fat is actually good for you. Your body needs to burn sugar or fat for energy, so if you’re not consuming as much sugar, you will need to boost your metabolism with good fats. Eat a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil, three times a day. You can add it to a smoothie, roast vegetables with it or just eat it straight. Extra virgin olive oil, avocados or avocado oil, raw nuts and seeds, natural nut butters, grass-fed butter, and eggs are all good fats.
- Consume fermented foods. The probiotics found in fermented foods and beverages support good digestion and a healthy gut. Sour food naturally reduces sugar cravings. Try drinking a cup of kefir daily, or add it to a smoothie. Other fermented foods such as probiotic yogurt, kombucha, and even pickles can help curb cravings.
- Apple Cider vinegar. Using apple cider vinegar on a salad or drinking it combined with lemon, unsweetened cranberry juice and water will also decrease sugar cravings and naturally detox your liver.
- Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body which can lead to cravings, you can consume these in moderation, just make sure to drink plenty of water.
- Sleep and Exercise. Aim for 6-7 hours of sleep per night and try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be extreme just get moving for thirty minutes by walking, dancing, doing a tabata workout, jumping rope or complete a quick body weight workout routine.
- Cinnamon. Adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom can help regulate blood sugar. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your smoothie or oatmeal in the morning.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer and if your full then you probably won’ want to eat sugar. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, quinoa, flaxseed and beans are all full of fiber.
- Eat natural sugar. When the cravings do hit hard try satisfying them with a natural form of sugar. The best option is to eat some fresh fruit, if that doesn’t help then try having healthy treat made with raw honey, pure maple syrup, or date sugar. Make a batch energy bites, homemade Zbars, or peanut butter freezer fudge to help satisfy the intense sugar cravings, but be careful not to overindulge or the cravings will keep coming back.
Quitting sugar is absolutely one of the hardest habits to break when it comes healthy eating, but it is also one of the most important. Refined and processed sugar is bad for our health in too many ways to list in this one post. Weight gain, mood swings, skin problems, and suppressed immunity are just a few of the less serious side effects of eating too much sugar. We all enjoy the occasional sweet treat, and the holidays are definitely a time of overindulgence in my house. However, now that they are over it’s time to get my family back on track, so that we can feel better and not spend the winter months bloated and sick!