It’s time to finish out this blog series of “How to kick the sugar habit.” I’m brining you part 3 – my final tips for making it all come together smoothly for you. I didn’t say it wouldn’t be challenging though in the beginning. Expect that. But once you get a handle on the cravings, it goes much smoother throughout your life. So let’s dive in to the very last tips.
EAT YOUR VEGGIES – VEG OUT
We crave more because our body is starved for vitamins and minerals. Focus on adding one or two more servings of vegetables at each meal. They will crowd out your cravings for unhealthy foods, just like that! BAMM! Yep, moms are always right – we do need to eat our veggies! ☺
Vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, and we can eat a lot without gaining weight. Once you start adding these foods to your diet, your body will naturally begin to crave them. It takes practice, but it does happen. It’s amazing from my own experience and my clients’ experiences when the taste buds change. It is so exciting to crave healthy food!
It’s hard to eat five fruits and vegetables a day and binge on ice cream at the end of the day. The body can only take so much food. If you fill your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods, cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen substantially.
Processed foods are rich in simple sugars but deficient in nutrients. Sugar is fuel for cells, but the cells need vitamins and minerals to do their jobs properly. People are craving more and more processed food because their cells are starving for vitamins and minerals, so they’re suffering from malnutrition and don’t realize it.
SQUASH CRAVINGS BY EATING NATURALLY SWEET FOODS
Long before food processing, the only source of sweet tastes were plant foods such as squash, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, beets, blueberries, oatmeal grains, fruit, and spices like cinnamon. It is no coincidence these sweet foods are also excellent sources of nutrients, energy, and fiber – everything we need to maintain our health. The best way to curb or alleviate increase sugar cravings is to provide the body with the sweetness that it needs by regularly eating naturally sweet foods.
Sweet vegetables soothe the internal organs of the body and energize the mind. And because many of these sweet vegetables are root vegetables, they are energetically grounding, which helps to balance out the spaciness people often feel after eating other kinds of sweet foods. Adding in sweet vegetables helps to crowd out less healthy foods in the diet.
Cooking methods for sweet vegetables include steaming, roasting, boiling and stir-frying. Sweet vegetables can also be simmered and pureed to create a soup, or you can simply eat them raw or grated in a salad. Be creative!
I love to roast big batches of veggies and have them ready for a quick meal or side. It’s perfect with some quinoa and half of an avocado for a healthy fast-food meal at home.
The semi-sweet vegetables include turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas. During the 5-Day Whole Foods Seasonal resets , I always try to include different types of naturally sweet vegetables; it is fun to experiment with new naturally sweet foods you may have never had before. People often comment how my simple, healthy recipes become their family’s favorites.
Add a dash of salt to fresh fruit to open up your taste buds; it will taste sweeter.
If we are on a healthier diet, nourishing ourselves with milder forms of sweet vegetables, we don’t need a big sugar hit from a candy bar or soda to boost our energy levels. In fact, for most of my clients and me, candy bars don’t even taste good to us anymore. And everyone loves that happy side-effect of eating naturally sweet foods instead. ☺
EAT – DO NOT SKIP MEALS
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keep your metabolism working efficiently. I don’t usually go longer than 4-5 hours between meals besides sleep. I try not to eat for 12 hours at night, typically from 7 pm to 7 am. Intermittent fasting is just fine however.
Most Americans overeat. We eat to be full. I love the Japanese saying, “Eat to be satisfied.” We need to be mindful of eating only what we need.
Chew your food and fully taste what you are eating. Don’t eat while you are distracted so your brain is experiencing the joy of eating as well. You will eat slower and typically eat less. It is incredible to me how little food the body really needs.
Learning to listen to your body is essential.
BALANCE YOUR MEALS
Foods such as meat, milk, sugar, and salt have extreme effects on the body. Seek out less extreme and healthier alternatives to satisfy you, such as vegetables.
Your body naturally wants to be balanced. The food we eat is a major contributing factor to the overall balance of the body.
Vegetables and whole grains have mild effects on the body. Many Americans are on a salty-sweet rollercoaster. I was on a wild ride myself up until I took charge of my own health.
To get out of cycle, you need to deconstruct what you are craving and seek out less extreme, healthier alternatives to satisfy you.
Your body is struggling to create balance, harmony, and happiness. Cravings are the body’s solution to underlying imbalances.
SNEAK IN MORE PROTEIN
Adding protein to your meals and snacks will help keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce sugar cravings since protein imbalances can cause sugar cravings.
Think beyond the cow or the chicken. Be creative with quinoa, beans, nuts, eggs, greens, and fish. Try some chicken sausage without added sugar with beans and kale for a quick meal.
When looking at a meal or a snack think of Fat + Fiber + Protein.
In the nutrition world, how much and what types of protein one should consume is highly debated. Some say that high-quality animal meat is needed for optimal health, while others advocate for a plant-based diet. Experiment with what works for your body at this time in your life. This way you’ll be able to successfully guide yourself to your appropriate protein source.
Many people wake up and sit in the car during rush hour, then spends all day sitting at their desk at work, before jumping in the car for the commute home, then collapsing on the couch for the rest of the evening…Does this sound familiar? If it does, you could be putting your health at risk.
Has anyone heard how sitting is now known as the new smoking? Yes, it is that serious! It is best to avoid sitting for extended periods.
Cravings for sugar or alcohol are typical signals that you may need to get moving more.
Movement throughout the day can help a sedentary lifestyle, even if the moves are minor. You can squeeze in extra activity during your day; you just need to think about it differently.
Do any type of physical activity every day. Find movement or exercise’s you enjoy.
Not only will your muscles thank you for it, but it will improve circulation, making you a little less tired.
Physical inactivity has long been linked to a range of health conditions, and emerging research shows that sitting for long periods of time doesn’t just lead to a more prominent waistline, but can result in some severe illnesses.
Energy creates more energy, so when you feel like you’re about to fall asleep, get up, take a walk, and get some sunlight.
Set a timer, mark your calendar, and use bright Post-it’s to remind yourself to move. With my clients, we experiment to see what works best for their personality. An easy start is to use a stand-up desk for part of your workday.
Some other ideas could be to have walking meetings, walk with a co-worker at lunch, or walk for two minutes every hour.
Park farther from the entrance, Get off one stop earlier on bus or train. Stretch!
HAVE A PLAN
Whether you bring your snacks and lunch to work or planning to go to a restaurant, have a plan for what you will eat and when you will exercise throughout the day to keep you on track. When the decisions have already been made, it is easier to follow when you may be feeling weak.
When is your weakest time of day? Start to plan for that time period first and have healthy resources available. (Identify your weakest time of day and how you plan to be healthy during that time.) For me, it is around 2:30-3 pm when I crave something sweet. When I am craving sweets, and I make a cup of blueberry slim green tea, ginger or licorice tea to help satisfy my sweet tooth. Having a plan may help you to avoid running out to a coffee shop for a pick-me-up, saving time, money and your health. Or you could bring my favorite snack which is an organic apple with some almond butter or some mixed nuts for a tasty afternoon snack.
Going to a work reception or summer BBQ, load up a salad or veggies before you go, so you don’t mindlessly eat a lot of faux junk foods. Choose the foods with the most nutrients in them. If you’re going to a potluck, bring kale or quinoa salad. Bring something YOU can eat and would also enjoy.
Know where to get healthy quick meals for when you didn’t make a plan. This could be from a nearby restaurant or grocery store with a salad bar or deli counter.
If possible review the menu ahead of time (before you are hungry) to decide what is best to order, especially important when you are taking out a client and may not have as much time to review the menu at the table. Think real food.
If you want to indulge, ask a friend to share your meals when dining out.
What is one thing you are going to work on?
During health coaching, we focus on your goals and continue moving forward to achieve success. Have you noticed when you feel fully supported on a life-change, it is so much easier? It is all about small changes that clients emotionally connect with for a life-lasting change. It is not a quick fix or temporary diet, but having big ah-ha moments that help you want to change and continue on your new path of good health.
As a special gift for coming today, I would love to offer you a complimentary 30-minute discovery health coaching session. We would talk all about you and your goals and see if we are a good match for each other. I meet clients via phone, web conference, in person or Facebook Messenger.
The clients I work with are typically eating the standard American diet, so we look at nutrition. We also focus on brain health including depression, anxiety, headaches and negative thinking.
If you’re ready to clean up your diet, join my next group reset challenge. 5-day Whole Foods Reset for beginners and families is perfect for getting your eating habits back on track. We are starting the “Summer Edition” as a group on May 25th – 29th, but you can join anytime you’d like. Join HERE
-Health Coach Heather