5 Ways To Quit Sugar, For Good
Hello, loves! I hope the above photo makes you laugh out loud. My face is totally legit. I mean, who doesn't get this excited diving into a pint of ice cream?
That being said, today’s topic is one that makes us all a little anxious: sugar. If you haven’t battled with sugar at some point in your adult life, I need your number ASAP, because clearly you’re in on a secret that the rest of us don’t know ;)
Sugar is crazy addicting. My desire for sugar has definitely been strong throughout pregnancy, more so during this last trimester. In case you haven’t heard, the chemical make-up of sugar is very similar to that of cocaine, with a difference of only a few molecules. Essentially, you can think of sugar as a legal drug. That’s pretty scary stuff.
In the 90’s, when everyone was blaming dietary fat for America’s declining health problems, sugar was in the corner laughing, as we continued to consume it by the pound. Most people consume their weight in sugar every single year (150 pounds per person is the average).
Do I have your attention yet? I hope so, because sugar is a real problem.
We crave sugar for many reasons, and some of them are actually physiological. Whether it’s our emotions, our need for an expansive food after a stressful day, or a hormonal imbalance, sugar cravings are common and at times, difficult to avoid.
Let me start by saying this: not all sugar is “bad.” It’s the type and quality that you need to be concerned about. The thing that makes avoiding sugar difficult is the fact that it’s in ev-ery-thing.
From salad dressings (even the organic ones!), to ketchup, to pasta sauce, to healthy cereals, sugar is nearly impossible to avoid. And food manufacturers know this, which is why they put it in their foods (sneaky a-holes).
The deception of the food industry is a topic I discuss in depth in my totally FREE 3-Part Video Training Series called Food or Fiction. In the second video of the series, titled “Why You Need To Question What You’re Told,” I tell you all about what the food industry is hiding from you, and why it’s important to start asking questions instead of trusting unreliable sources.
You’re gonna love it, doll! Click here to sign up and join me and the hundreds of amazing gals already involved.
Back to sugar. Now that you know it’s hiding in everything, here are my top five ways to not necessarily quit sugar (because who’s done that), but perhaps decrease your sugar intake, for good.
1. Read your food labels like a boss.
I don’t care what the package says on the front. Even if it says organic, plant-based, healthy, gluten-free, etc., ALWAYS read the back of the label. Most organic foods are still hiding tons of sugar, even if it’s in the form of “organic cane sugar” or “raw sugar” or “organic brown rice syrup.” Do your own research, and you’ll spare yourself pounds of sugar!
2. Limit processed foods.
Naturally, processed foods are going to have more sugar in them than anything you pick up from the produce section. By making your own food, you’ll know exactly what’s in your meals without having to constantly question your sugar intake. The first two tips combined could literally change your life when it comes to added sugar, and the way you feel throughout the day. Most of us consume dozens of grams of sugar without even realizing it daily!
3. Look for the “not-so-usual” suspects.
Once you’ve limited the obvious processed foods that contain sugar, such as coffee drinks, muffins, cookies, protein bars, flavored yogurt, and cereal, keep an eye out for those “other” guys. Again, this all comes down to label reading. Foods that may have added sugar that you’ve never thought about before could include: dressings, marinades, pasta sauce, frozen dinners, oatmeal, bread (this is a big one!), BBQ sauce, and ketchup.
4. Make healthy substitutions where you can, so you don’t feel like you’re “giving up” your favorite foods.
As I mentioned above, it’s not about quitting sugar cold turkey. That’s pretty unrealistic for long periods of time. If there’s a food or snack you enjoy, like protein bars, perhaps you can make your own at home with high-quality maple syrup or raw, local honey to avoid super processed sugar. Here’s a recipe my clients love!
If you’re a chocolate lover like me, buy some 70% or higher cocoa content dark chocolate to have on hand, and keep vegan chocolate protein powder in your cabinet so you can quickly whip up a chocolate smoothie to pinch a craving. My favorite “treat” smoothie recipe contains one cup coconut milk or water, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tablespoon peanut or coconut butter, ½ banana, and frozen blueberries. Delish!
5. Embrace your cravings and try to understand them instead of making them the enemy. We all get cravings, love. They are simply your body’s way of telling you something. For example, many of us crave chocolate (raw cocoa) because we’re deficient in magnesium, especially around “that” time of the month. Makes sense, right? Especially since magnesium can help to ease menstrual cramps.
Cravings come on for different reasons, whether they’re hormonal, related to dehydration, or a protein imbalance. I find that vegetarian and vegans tend to crave more sugar because they lack proper protein in their diets. There’s always a reason, so do some digging into what yours could be!
How do you feel after reading through this list? Hopefully great, because now you know the real deal on sugar and you can make more of an effort to decrease your sugar intake and, more importantly, FEEL better. Sugar can wreak havoc on your health if you’re not careful.
Don’t forget, sugar is a big topic in my free video series Food or Fiction, and the first video releases Thursday! Click here to sign up.