Sugar Hazards

In a few short weeks it will be Halloween. Kids and adults alike will be stocking up with candy (how many of you have a stash of candy left over from last year?). Next comes Thanksgiving and all the awesome pies and desserts that we thoroughly enjoy.

After Thanksgiving is when the sugar fest really amps up: holiday and Christmas parties where there is a smorgasbord of options. Who doesn’t want to try some or even all of them? Often this is the only time of year we make these treats and we should enjoy them, right? I think along with it being called the holiday season, we could also call it the Sugar Season. What do you think?

Yes, life should be enjoyed and anything done in moderation usually doesn’t negatively affects us, but with sugar and processed foods, our bodies have a difficult time dealing with them every day. Unfortunately, this is how most Americans eat daily (no guilt trip here); this is what is readily available, quick and easy. I know I struggle to make healthy choices especially when life gets really busy. In the long run our health and enjoyment of life is being affected.

I think we all know that sugar isn’t good for us, and we really should try to eliminate much of it from our diet. This post isn’t going to be about all the “bad” that sugar offers, and “don’t eat this and don’t eat that”. Instead, I am going to share some things that  CAN be done to help with sugar cravings, and can benefit your health. It is better to focus on the positives.

Can Do’s

Eating a healthy diet, rich in whole foods, nourishes our bodies. This can curb cravings tremendously. Choosing as many foods as possible from organic sources is a great place to start.

magnesium-sources

Eat foods that are high in the minerals magnesium and zinc. A deficiency of either one of these can cause sugar cravings. Good sources of magnesium are nuts and seeds, brown rice, dark leafy greens, and avocados. Good sources of zinc are oysters, pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs, and ginger root. Checkout my previous post on healthy snacks for ideas!

zinc-rich-foods

Spices add great flavor to our foods, but they are also great sources of nutrients and can boost our health. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom help with digestion and balance blood sugar levels.

cocunut-oil

Coconut oil can be added to your daily diet. Eat 1-3 teaspoons per day. It has been shown to help with weight loss, increase metabolic rate, and it is a healthy fat for your brain. Make sure you use organic, extra virgin, cold pressed forms. It can be added to smoothies, hot beverages, and hot cereals. I sauté many of my vegetables in it, also.

Fermented foods and beverages are a great source of probiotics which help support digestive health, plus sour foods naturally help reduce sugar cravings. I now use homemade sauerkraut on my salad in place of salad dressing.

Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, cold-water wild caught fish, and flaxseed, are needed for energy and many cell functions in the body. Here is a post about three seeds that you can add to your diet and reap the health benefits. It even has a recipe for some protein bars.

Supplements: L-glutamine can help decrease sugar cravings and the desire for alcohol (there is a lot of sugar in wine and beer). It can also help heal the digestive tract. If you are considering taking L-glutamine, it is important that you consult your health-care practitioner before starting any supplementation.

Eating three meals a day and a couple of snacks during the day can be beneficial in keeping your blood sugar regulated. Try to have good protein sources at every meal and snack. Pastured meat, eggs, dairy, nut butter, nuts and seeds, and hummus are all good choices. Proteins help keep a feeling of fullness throughout the day.

Making sure you stay hydrated with filtered water and herbal teas is important.

herbal-tea

People walking on path in Central Park on sunny fall afternoon, New York, NY

Physical Can Do’s

Exercise is important. This doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym every day, take  lots of classes, or run a marathon. It is important that you keep moving. Walking, biking, yoga, or some weight lifting are all great options. This helps to keep your metabolism going, plus if you are moving you can’t as easily reach for those donuts!

Managing stress and emotions, and getting adequate sleep are also beneficial to help curb those sugar cravings. Most of us reach for the sugar when we are stressed because it gives us a “good” feeling, but sugar can affect the brain in the same way as highly addictive substances, so finding a better way to deal with stress will go a long way to improving your health. For me, heading outside for a quick walk can help me de-stress, and I get some exercise, also.

I hope these Can Do’s will give you incentive to invest in your health, and join me in this  health journey. Remember even choosing to improve one thing in your life can go a long way.  Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not start today?

What are some Can Do’s that have helped you curb those sugar cravings? Have you tried any of the above suggestions?

If this post has been helpful, please consider sharing it with others. I really do want people to see the potential they have to live a healthy life.

Disclaimer: This website is for general information only. This information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Do not rely on information provided here for your own health conditions. If you have specific questions regarding your own health, raise them with your primary care physician.

References:

Fournier, K. (2014, June 3). 12 ways to beat sugar cravings for good. Mind Body Green. Retrieved from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14004/12-ways-to-beat-sugar-cravings-for-good.html.

McCombs, J. (2014). Everything candida diet book. Avon, MA. Adams Media.

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J, and Pizzorno, L. (2005). The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Pedre, V. (2015). Happy gut. New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers.

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