Many of us are addicted to sugar, which has recently been claimed to be more addictive than cocaine. Breaking the cycle can be really difficult, but it doesn’t all have to come down to willpower. You’ve got a tonne of supportive strategies to help you curb your cravings and limit your intake. Here’s my top ten:
1. Drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or the juice of half a lemon. The hydration will lift your energy levels, while the bitter taste stimulates neuro-chemical pathways that switch off your craving for sweetness.
2. Eat a salad full of bitter greens like parsley, nasturtium leaves, rocket and endives. The bitter taste helps to stop that desire for sweet in its tracks.
3. Have a protein-rich snack like a protein smoothie, some tuna, a spoonful of nut butter, slices of baked tempeh with tahini and lemon juice or a handful of nuts and seeds. If you’ve got some bliss balls on hand, enjoy one or two and make sure they’ve got a nut or seed base for appetite-satiating protein.
4. Make yourself a cup of cinnamon tea. Cinnamon is sweet in its own right while actually balancing your blood sugar levels to keep you feeling steady and in control. The warmth of the tea will provide the comfort you’re after.
5. If it’s an energy boost you need, try a cup of tulsi tea or green tea, which can give you the lift you need without the sugar, energy crash or brain fog.
6. If your energy levels are good, remove yourself from the source of sugar (kitchen at home, cafe, vending machine etc.) and go for a walk, a run or do some squats and push ups. The rush of blood and cleansed feeling you get after moving your body will definitely kill those cravings.
7. If your energy levels are low, lie on your back on the floor with your legs up against a wall. Hold for 5 minutes and focus on your breath. If you practice yoga, go into a full shoulder stand or plow pose.
8. Treat yourself in ways other than food. Book yourself in for a massage, have a pedicure, fantasise about your dream holiday, dance around to some great music, watch an episode of your favourite tv show, go for a drive and watch the sunset, buy yourself flowers, go to the hairdresser just for a wash and blow wave, have a steaming hot shower or go to see a movie.
9. Check in and ask what you’re really craving. Is it just that you need a break? A bit of fun, social time or relaxation? Maybe you’re just tired and need a nap. Maybe you haven’t eaten regular meals today and your body is calling out for a nourishing meal. Maybe you’re craving some self-care, like a night in with a bubble bath and a good book or a night out with friends.
10. Talk to a herbal medicine or naturopathic practitioner about drop-dosing bitter herbs like gentian, dandelion, wormwood, pau d’arco and goldenseal. There’s also “the sugar destroyer”, Gymnema sylvestre, that does just that. These herbs have a potent, immediate effect. A magic solution for emergency situations!