Before you dismiss these tips, saying you just can't or just don't want to stop eating sugar -- please consider whether any of the following applies to you: Do you have frequent mood swings? Sinus problems? Skin issues?
Are you realizing that all you ever want to eat is the sugary stuff?
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet will improve your health and life so much, and there are ways to make it easier to do so! Below are some tips to keep in mind to get you through the sugar cravings and help keep you stay off sugar.
When I first started following a plant-based diet made up primarily of organic whole grains, beans and lots of fresh vegetables after being diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago, I was advised to get sugar out of my diet. This included white sugar products such as, cakes, cookies and soft drinks. Even juice was limited. I was advised to eat the whole fruit as six apples go into one cup of apple juice.
I was told to get my sweetness from sweet vegetables (lots of them), and a simple fruit dessert was recommended once or twice a week. I had been plagued by candida (an overgrowth of yeast) at the time, and this way of eating helped clear this up quickly. Yeast loves sugar. So, it wasn't a stretch for me to believe that decreasing my sugar intake would stop feeding my cancer as well. Today, medical research proves this to be so. I encourage you to read this article by Dr. Keith I. Block, M.D. (an internationally recognized expert in integrative oncology) which explains this breast cancer/sugar connection in a short, clear, easy-to-understand way.
I seldom crave sugar now. Is this a miracle coming from someone whose favorite (and most-often-eaten) food from age 15 to 40 was sugar? No... not really! Because I feel so much better and healthier without it in my diet.
Sometimes we know what we need to do for our health, but for some reason the less healthy things we're doing are serving a purpose -- like giving us a quick energy fix (only to have our blood sugar drop dramatically an hour later). Sometimes you're just not ready to make a change. And then when you are ready, even if you dig in, determined to JUST DO IT, it can be tough. It starts with will. We struggle with it at the beginning, and then, just like everything else we set our minds to it gets easier. Here are a few ways to help you stay on track:
Make sure you don't have too much salt in your diet. Too much salt will make you crave sugar.
Five to nine servings a day will really help your health. Can't fathom nine? Shoot for five, or three for starters. Experiment with vegetables you haven't had before. Just try small amounts at a sitting -- even as little as a bite or two. Chew them very well. Like sugar, vegetables relax the body, but also are high in nutrition and fiber. (An added benefit is beautiful clear skin!) When you get off the sugar, you'll find vegetables taste sweet and delicious.
Eat brown rice (or another whole grain) once or twice a day. Since they're complex carbohydrates, whole grains keep your blood sugar stable (and your moods) for longer periods of time -- and keep you satiated longer.
Have a piece of fruit for dessert instead of something sugary. Or have a cooked fruit dessert a couple of times a week. (I have some in my book in the recipe section!)
Get enough rest. I know there aren't enough hours in a day, so begin that good habit of prioritizing. What's really important? For me, it's my health. Try going to bed earlier. I've heard that one hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two hours after midnight, and that seems true for me.
Is there something in your life that's causing you stress that you need to deal with? Something you may be numbing out with sugar? Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. (Seeking help is a sign of strength, not of weakness!)
Take more time to nurture yourself. Find the sweetness in life, be it a hobby, visiting friends for tea or just making time to sit peacefully in your back yard.
Have you kicked the sugar habit? What helped you? Share your story or tips!
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