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Do you want to cut sugar out of your life? Sugar is probably the most addictive food there is. The reason why is because it can create what’s known as a tryptophan rush (which is a precursor hormone of serotonin, aka “the happiness” hormone). At first, sugar makes us feel good, but after a while, our blood glucose drops and causes a variety of symptoms: tiredness, anxiety, aggressiveness, irritability, nervousness…
Has this happened to you after you’ve been on a sugar binge?
The problem is that like a drug, your body will start to demand more and more sugar to get or maintain that state of euphoria.
Thankfully, we are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of sugar and I know that many of you have made it your mission to completely cut out sugar in 2022. This can seem like a daunting task, so if you’re not sure where to start, keep reading as I’m here to give you some tips.
Replace the sugar in your coffee
Do you usually add sugar to your coffee or tea? Perhaps you use sweet and low, stevia or agave syrup? A good way to start making small changes if you want to give up sugar is to replace all of these with cinnamon.
Cinnamon is a spice that sweetens food in a healthy way. Another idea is to mix some cinnamon with a little bit of coconut oil or butter. This combo is an excellent way to slowly help your palate adjust to getting rid of the sugar.
Eat more fat to wean yourself off sugar
When you go through the process of giving up foods containing sugar it is important to increase your fat intake. Fatty foods such as avocado, olive oil, seeds, or salmon are very satiating, and in the long run, will help reduce cravings for sweet foods.
Keep cravings for sweets at bay
At some point, we are going to feel the urge to raid the kitchen and grab the first pastry or sweet we can find. This is completely normal because it takes time for the body to adapt. We’ve been consuming sugar for years and years and our body has a hard time going cold turkey. We have to get our palate used to the taste of real food and only then can we slowly wean ourselves off sugar.
Three pieces of good news:
- Cravings usually disappear within 20 minutes. So, wait it out! Trust me it’s worth it.
- Most of the time we are fighting emotional hunger not real hunger: if you’re interested in learning more about this click here.
- After just a week with no sweets, you will notice a difference. You will realize how you hardly crave it now. Crazy, right?!
The importance of good sleep
There is a strong correlation between a lack of sleep and the need for sweets. A lack of sleep unbalances ghrelin and leptin levels, two hormones related to satiety and appetite. There are even studies linking obesity to a lack of sleep.
I highly recommend that you start to prioritize your sleep. Make sure to get at least 7 – 8 hours per night, also make sure it’s good quality sleep.
Alternatives to sugar-free everything
It’s unfortunate, but sugar is almost everywhere. It’s not enough to just stop adding sugar to your coffee, it’s in so many products that you wouldn’t believe. Let’s take a look at some examples and I’ll give you my best healthy alternatives to help you make the change:
- Sauces: one tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar, the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar, i.e., almost all of it is sugar! Make your own sauces like this: homemade tomato sauce.
- Boxed/Canned Juice: try some smoothies full of vitamins instead.
- Jam: the ones at the supermarket hardly contain any real fruit, try these real jams and see the difference for yourself.
- Ice Cream: you can make your own ice cream that is so healthy that you could eat it everyday guilt-free! If you don’t believe me, click here and see.
- Pastries: replace your morning croissant or industrial pastry with these delicious pancakes.
- Pizzas: start making your own pizzas, not only is it super fun, but you can personalize it!
- Yogurts: usually have 15 gr. of sugar per unit, so I recommend that you pay attention to the label and buy whole, natural, unsweetened, unflavored yogurts. Only two ingredients should be on the label: milk and lactic ferments.
“If the flavor of unsweetened yogurt is too sour for you, you can try adding a spread on top. I like to add this Cocoa Hazelnut Spread, or a personal favorite Peanut Butter with a touch of cinnamon, fruit, and Cocoa Powder. Simply Divine!
- Cookies and Biscuits: there’s no such thing as a healthy, packaged cookie/biscuit. Don’t worry though, making a tray for yourself won’t take more than 30 minutes. Check out this recipe, you only need 3 ingredients.
- Soft Drinks: one can of soda contains up to 40 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons). You should give up these drinks completely! A very good substitute to help your palate adjust is to drink some kombucha or flavored waters.
- Breakfast Cereal: be sure to buy one that has no added sugars or, better yet, try this granola. It’s a staple in my diet because it contains seeds, nuts, and some spices that give it a delicious flavor…
- Cooked Ham: sugar is used as a preservative in many cases. I recommend that you buy from a trusted source where you can make sure that the animals have not been fed with feed. The best options are usually Iberian ham and lacón.
- Cheetos: this popular children’s snack has up to 35 grams of sugar per bag, that is, between 6 and 7 teaspoons of sugar, which is an outrageous amount! My advice is to opt for a healthy snack like these: Cheesy Snacks.