Simple Steps To Banish Your Sugar Cravings
We've all been there: going about your day minding your own business when you suddenly feel a slight urge for something sweet. You push the feeling aside and carry on only to have that fleeting feeling turn into a full-fledged need as though you've been possessed by an insatiable sugar demon. It's no longer about want, it is now vital to your survival that you satisfy that sweet tooth or so help whoever gets in your way! It's usually at this point that you find yourself ditching the self-discipline and rummaging through the darkest depths of your cupboards for something to scratch the sugary itch. If you've ever found yourself in this situation, just know you are not alone. In today's post, we're going to uncover the inner workings behind these cravings and help you understand how to manage those sugar cravings by learning what causes them to happen in the first place.
Changing your eating habits can be challenging to say the least. It's especially challenging when your body is literally screaming for you to feed it what it craves the most: sugar (aka glucose). So why does your body do this? Sugar, or more specifically glucose, is an instant source of fuel for your body, especially your brain. Almost everything you eat is eventually converted into glucose and is either used right away or stored for later. When blood sugar levels drop or storage levels are low, our body directs us to the food source it needs: carbohydrates. Things such as pasta, bread, baked goods, and candies are all types of carbohydrates that tend to fall within the 'craving' category. This is because they are SIMPLE carbohydrates meaning they are easily broken down into glucose and cause your blood sugar levels to spike very quickly. From your body's perspective, its a simple problem with a simple solution. But not so fast! While this quick fix might solve the immediate problem with an instant hit of the good stuff, it's not sustainable and will send your body into a looping cycle of NEED SUGAR, GET SUGAR, NEED SUGAR, GET SUGAR that will leave you running to the refrigerator like clockwork. So how do we fix this? Let's look at some easy steps you can start implementing today.
Sugar + Healthy Fats = BFF
Balancing your meals by combining carbohydrates with healthy fats is a simple change with a huge pay off. When you pair simple carbs with highly nutritious fats, it slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This means you avoid the blood sugar spike as well as the unavoidable crash afterwards. Some easy ways to add more healthy fats to your meals would be:
1. Use coconut oil to season starches such as potato and rice.
2. Add an avocado to your morning eggs and toast.
3. Pair your granola with almond milk and chia seeds.
4. Dip your apple in a nut or seed butter.
Upgrade Your Carbs
We're not here to tell you to stop eating carbs all together because like we said earlier, your body lives for them. What we will tell you to do is upgrade those empty carbs and calories for more nourishing and satisfying complex carbs. When you eat complex carbs such as sweet potato, quinoa, or beans you get the same slow releasing glucose effect that we mentioned earlier. This measure of how fast or slow glucose is released is referred to as the glycemic index and every food is given a rating based on how quickly it affects your blood sugar levels. Choosing foods with a low glycemic index will keep your blood sugars stable throughout the day and make sure that you don't go reaching for that chocolate bar after dinner. Some of our favourite complex carbs are:
1. Oatmeal - Having this for breakfast will not only help curb your cravings but will keep you feeling full till lunchtime. No snacking required!
2. Sweet potato - This brightly colored vegetable is so versatile you can add it to almost anything! Slice it thin, toast it up and serve it with some peanut butter for a delicious and low glycemic snack.
3. Chickpeas - Packed with protein and full of fiber, this legume is the total package. Mix it up with some freshly chopped vegetables and toss it in your favorite salad dressing for a simple side dish.
4. Lentils - Similar to chickpeas and just as versatile as a sweet potato. This 'meaty' legume isn't just a great complex carb option, it's also a perfect meat substitute due to its high amounts of protein. Try them in chili, a meatless bolognese sauce, make them into vegan meatballs, or use them in your next curry dish. You can also find substitutes for your favorite pasta's that are made using lentil flour instead of wheat if you have the urge for some Italian fare!
Spice Things Up A Little
An easy way to lessen your cravings and liven up your food is to season it with either fresh or dried herbs and spices! These savory seasonings have blood sugar balancing properties that help your body to digest and metabolize sugars properly. The research on the effectiveness of herbs and spices in reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients is incredible and highlights the importance of these usually overlooked pantry staples. Read more about the effects of specific herbs and spices here. Some of our favorites include:
1. Cinnamon - Add this to your morning shake, oatmeal, or even your cup of coffee.
2. Rosemary - Roast your chicken and potatoes with this savory herb for a simple and satisfying dinner.
3. Ginger - Not only is this spice great for your blood sugars, it also helps with digestion. Add it to your fruit smoothie for an extra kick of flavor.
4. Cayenne - A little heat will do the body a lot of good. Add this to chillis, marinaras, and curries.
These are just a few of the simple, actionable steps you can start taking today to help curb your cravings and begin your journey towards a healthier, happier life. It's important to remember that health and wellness are not about the destination, they’re about the journey and knowing that embarking on this path will take you up and down some windy and, at times, slippery roads are all part of the experience. Listening to your body and understanding why it's doing what it is doing will help you take control back and make it easier to be at peace rather than at war with it. Be kind to yourself, nourish yourself, and the rest will fall into place.
What do you guys do to fight those sugar cravings?
This was a guest post by the talented Meaghan Kathrine, She's the owner and blogger at https://www.betterprep.net/
Check out her blog and amazing food!