For almost a month now, I have eliminated sugar from my diet. There are a number of reasons to do this. High refined sugar intake not only can lead to weight gain and type two diabetes but it also has many effects on our skin. It can increase inflammation through unstable blood glucose levels as well as premature wrinkles because of the process of glycation (!)
Going sugar-free has been surprisingly easy. One reason is that I am NOT doing a candida diet so I can eat fruit (though I have decided against tropical fruit since it is so high in sugar). The other reason is that girl knows how to work a substitution 😉
So, if you’re considering cutting sugar our or even just down, take a look at these five tasty tips that curb your sugar cravings.
Just because you’re not eating sugar does not mean that you can’t indulge in a treat once in a while. One way to have your cake and eat it too is to use fruit as a substitute when baking. Applesauce brings in sweetness and moistness to cakes, cookies and breads. Mmmmmmm. The same for a mashed banana, soaked prunes or sweet veggies like carrots. I actually prefer this because my baked goods never run the risk of being overly sweet, which I find happens easily with sugar. Here is a cookie recipe that gets great reviews online and only uses applesauce!
2. Increase Protein
Our blood sugar is more stabilized when we have pair sugar (and carbs as sugar) with protein. Preventing sugar highs and lows also helps to curb sugar cravings that kick in as your body yearns for a sugar-induced energy kick after a blood glucose crash. Protein also is more satiating that foods that are high in sugar and burns more slowly. I have been finding that reaching for a high protein snack like a few nuts or homemade bone broth (with some animal protein included) fills me up and takes my mind off of missing sweets.
Sometimes wanting sweet is just really the desire for flavor. This is why when cutting out both sugar and salt, sour has really helped out! Lemon or lime water instead of juice or sugary drinks is surprisingly effective (I swear!) – and I have been savoring my homemade vinegrettes. If you can’t have sweet, try tart!
I luuuurve dates. Medjools are my favs but I have a pack of Noor Dates in my fridge right now. You can use soaked dates to sweeten up your homemade almond milk or smoothies nicely. This recipe I posted on a shake that deeply nourishes your body can substitute the raisins for dates too. Or if you’re really jonesing, you can make a date caramel. It is the BEST. This recipe is a modification from Vitality Kitchen and I have used it even when not going sugar-free.
DATE CARAMEL INGREDIENTS:
8 pitted dates, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup almond milk, divided in half
3 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp canola oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
In a small pot, combine the dates, coconut manna, oil, spices and 1/4 cup of almond milk on medium heat; bring to a simmer, while stirring consistently.
Cook 7-10 minutes or until the dates have softened into a thick icing-like texture.
Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the remaining hemp seed milk and blend until smooth!
In Chinese Medicine, dates are good for the spleen and overall yin (re: bodily nourishment). I also pair them with ginger or cinnamon if I’m feeling they are too heavy. This also makes them less Kapha-increasing.
Thank heaven for cinnamon! This yummy spice has been proven to normalize blood sugar levels and reduce sweet cravings (a teaspoon per day is excellent for diabetics and pre-diabetics). This may be due to the fact that it prevents post-meal blood sugar spikes by slowing the gastric emptying rate or because one of its constituents (hydroxychalcone) is said to enhance insulin. I love it sprinkled on apples, in smoothies or in my tea!