More and more today we are consuming excessive amounts of simple carbohydrates and sugary foods that are causing an epidemic of inflammation and disease. Bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, crackers, bagels, muffins, croissants, donuts, pizza, rice, and highly processed packaged foods all break down within 30 minutes into glucose after we eat them. 

This can spike your blood sugar, create highs and lows in mood and energy and lead to insulin resistance. Left unchecked, continued spikes can cause pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to completely stop eating sweet foods, just make sure you’re eating the right kinds of sweet foods. 

1. Reduce or eliminate caffeine The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings, which may cause sugar cravings to become more frequent. 

2. Eat good fats (like nuts, seeds, avocado, and coconut oil) Good fats will help to modulate cravings and stabilize blood sugar. 

3. Eliminate fat-free or low-fat packaged snack foods These foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.

4. Crowd out the bad stuff! Quitting sugar cold turkey is not a good idea. Go slow and take it one day at a time. Try sweet vegetables, natural sweeteners, like raw honey, and naturally sweet foods - to feed your sweet tooth.

5. Separate your emotions from food Start to pay attention to our culture’s obsession with sugar as a reward and as holiday treats. Find other options.

6. Drink water Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. Caution: soft drinks are now America’s number one source of added sugar.

7. Use gentle sweets Avoid chemical, and artificial sweeteners, and foods with added sugar. Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, raw honey, dried fruit, stevia, and coconut sugar in small quantities. 

8. Inspect food labels Look at the ingredients on each package you buy and pay attention to where sugar is sneaking in - what kinds of sugar are on the label - and start to find healthier options.

9. Get physically active Start with simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, and reduces tension which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar!

10. Get more sleep, rest, and relaxation Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. If you are in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is: sugar. 

11. Experiment with spices Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.

12. Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways Every craving is not a signal that your body biologically requires sugar. Cravings often have a psychological component. By identifying the psychological causes of food cravings and substituting lifestyle and relationship adjustments accordingly, you can begin to find balance and take charge of your health. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed.

Ask for help and support when you can’t do it alone. You do not have to take this journey alone. There are health practitioners and tons of online resources for helping you kick your sugar habits! Creating meal plans and strategies to break the sugar habit is something I love doing with my clients.

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