Any time you eliminate sugar from your diet, whether just getting rid of processed sugar, switching to clean eating or going full on paleo, you’re going to start craving it. Even though it’s terrible for you, you’re body is used to all those refined simple carbs; your taste buds are accustomed to sweet flavors and your emotions are all wrapped in sweet things making you happy.
It’s a hard cycle to break.
The good news is that it doesn’t last long. If you’re committed and make it through the first few days, those cravings will diminish and then vanish altogether. It gets a lot easier to eat healthy if you stick to it.
And it doesn’t all have to be tortuous deprivation. Even if you’re eliminating all simple carbs, not just processed sugar, these tricks can satisfy your body, your taste buds and your emotions. You’ll be clear of the cravings before you know it.
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, they’re all just a little bit sweet to satisfy a craving. And I’m talking about all natural, real nut butters not processed, fat-free, preservative loving, sugared up varieties. The kind you generally have to stir to get all the oils mixed in before you refrigerate it.
In addition to the flavor, the healthy fats and protein in nut butters are a great way to keep your blood sugar balanced.
A spoonful of nut butter is a great solution to sugar cravings
If you need something extra sweet, go with cashew butter. Almond butter is delicious, though sometimes a little grainy. Peanut butter is a classic, though strict paleo diets eliminate peanuts because of the whole legume thing.
Sometimes you have to be careful with fruit. It seems good because it’s real food, generally has some vitamins or minerals (though not nearly enough) and seems healthy. But several fruits are considered moderate or high glycemic which means they’ll boost your blood sugar too high too fast. So when you’re first eliminating sugar you’ll want to avoid things like pineapple and watermelon.
Bananas, are moderate. But if you’re also introducing a work out regimen, the potassium in bananas will help with sore muscles.
Apples, surprisingly, are low glycemic.
Juicing fruit is going to increase how it effects your blood sugar because you’re removing the fiber in the pulp. And you’re probably consuming more fruits than you would if you just ate them. So, it’s not really the best idea.
In fact, dried fruit is my favorite way to eat it. Dehydrating the fruit makes it last much longer than fresh fruit. You keep all the fiber and lose some of that juice so it’s generally lower glycemic. Though, like juicing, you do eat more than if you just ate the fruit so you don’t want to overdo it.
Be careful if you buy dehydrated fruit that they haven’t added sugar to it! That defeats the whole purpose of getting healthier by eliminating sugar.
Still, the right fruits can be a great way to get a taste of something sweet and a healthy way to get your blood sugar up.
You can amp up dried fruit by eating trail mix. And not the kind with M&Ms in it!
You get the sweet taste of the fruit along with the blood sugar boost. And you get good fat and fiber from nuts. Those nuts will help you feel full faster than just dried fruit, which makes it a great snack between meals. And you eat less fruit when you mix in the nuts.
Plus, trail mix is fun! If you’re really getting into a new way of eating then you can dehydrate your own fruit (one of my favorite Christmas gifts was this dehydrator which is affordable and easy to clean). You get to choose which fruits you snack on. Nuts are easy to buy in bulk from most grocery stores. So you can mix and match different flavors you enjoy to create personalized varieties of trail mix.
Nut butters, dried fruit and trail mix are great ways to satisfy a sugar craving.
Healthy fats, are an excellent way to keep your body from craving simple carbs in the first place.
Because you’re body uses simple carbs for more than energy (and fat storage if you eat too many). They’re also used by your brain to keep your neural pathways connecting and firing.
Healthy fats can provide the same functionality without the impact to your blood sugar or being stored as body fat. I’d even go so far as to suggest that it’s vital to increase your healthy fats as you decrease your simple carbs. And it’s not that difficult.
A glass of coconut milk every day (or a protein breakfast) fills your body with healthy fats to nourish your brain, keep your mood up and keep those neural pathways running.
The nuts in trail mix have healthy fats. You’re probably not eating so many that they’re all you need. Though they are a good way to continue giving your body those fats throughout the day.
Coconut oil and olive oil are also good sources of healthy fat. You can incorporate them into your diet by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee (delicious!). And replace any cooking spray, butter or other fat in a recipe with either olive oil or coconut oil.
Also, depending on the season, loading up on avocados is a great way to keep a lot of fat in your diet. Avocado stuff burgers. Guacamole. Avocados in salads. Even avocado tuna fish are delicious ways to keep healthy fats in your diet, in your dinners and feel great.
Healthy fats are one of my favorite ways to makes the transition away from sugar and simple carbs because they’re fun and healthy.
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What are some of your favorite ways to deal with sugar cravings?