Let me show you how to experience the freedom of no longer being a slave to sugar’s carnality!
Interested in learning how to live a life without sugar? Let me show you how to experience the freedom of no longer being a slave to sugar’s carnality! Let me elaborate.
For the first 2 weeks or so, until all sugar cravings are gone and your mood has stabilized, avoid all forms of sugar including refined white sugar, sugar alcohols, coconut sugar, artificial sweeteners, high-sugar content fruits, and heavy starches like bread, grains and rice that convert to sugar when we eat them. From the neck down, your body cannot tell the difference between sugars - all starches, fruit sugars and processed foods are metabolized the same way in your body - whether its a piece of sweet fruit, a can of soda, a donut, a piece of white bread or a potato. These are all converted to simple sugars, raise blood sugar levels and call upon the release of insulin to try to bring blood sugar levels back to a manageable state.
I know it may sound impossible, but I found the best way to avoid sugars and heavy starches was to choose only nutritious whole-foods.
That means spend most of your time shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store - where all the fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat are, and less time (if any) in the grocery store aisles - at least initially. This is the best way to avoid boxed, canned, packaged, and processed foods with additives, sugars, and hidden sources of starch.
If a food does not need a label, like fruits and vegetables, then it’s generally safe. You can trust it’s in its natural whole state and contains vital nutrients. It may be helpful to shop with colour in mind. By eating foods from all colours of the rainbow, you are providing your body with vital minerals, phytonutrients, and flavonoids for optimal health and immune function.
I only buy whole unrefined foods and have developed a good relationship with my butcher. I know he cares about the quality of the meat he brings in as much as I do.
All of this has actually helped me become a better cook. By starting with quality nutrient-dense foods, no sauces or added flavours are needed to make them taste great. Buying fresh ingredients is also a great way to control what you eat and more importantly, what you don’t!
If I do buy anything in a package or can, I make sure I read the label first to avoid hidden sources of sugar. So it’s important to learn how to read labels. Don’t just grab something that you think is healthy - read the ingredients and learn to spot what names sugar is disguised as. Please be aware that sugar is used in most prepared and packaged foods - even the ones that appear healthy.
Learn to cook at home and plan ahead. Make sure you know what you will be making for dinner each night and take your meat out of the freezer the night before. Better yet, plan a weekly menu on the weekend, gather up ingredients and be ready for the week. This can also be a great teaching tool for your kids - let them help with the weekly menu planning, shopping, and food prep. They will be more invested and interested in eating this way if they are part of the process.
Preparing healthy snacks to bring to work or send to school with the kiddos is also a great idea. This will ease the temptation of grabbing any goodies that may be lurking around. Try some nuts, nut butter, jerky, hard boiled eggs, or leftovers. Once you’ve kicked your sugar habit you can add fruit to that list, and the occasional treat sweetened with natural forms of sugar.
Keep it simple. If you start with good whole foods, you shouldn’t need sauces or packaged products to create flavour. Grill or cook a piece of protein and a variety of vegetables with some simple seasonings and healthy fats. It takes much less time than you’d think. In fact, most of our meals take about 30 minutes to prepare and cook from start to finish - which is actually less time than it takes to order and receive a pizza.
Try not to eat out during your initial withdraw stage - for most of you, this will be anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Then if you do go out, don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. Tell your server you are avoiding sugar -they may have some suggestions for you. Or don’t be afraid to create your own meal that is not on the menu. Ask for a piece of simply grilled protein like chicken, fish or steak, served with vegetables and/or a salad with olive oil and fresh lemon or balsamic vinegar on the side. It may be hard at first, but skip the breaded or deep fried offerings, sauces, and dips, including ketchup.
So please don’t think that giving up your favourite foods, like I did, means there will be no more pleasure in eating - in fact, I find that now I actually enjoy food more. Quality organic foods actually taste like the food should. They are packed with flavour, vitamins, minerals, and all the enzymes needed to digest that particular food. The closer the food is to its natural state, the better it is for you. You may not realize it, but food also has energy. Food that has been cared for and nurtured in a healthy environment will actually be life-affirming.
For me, the hardest part was the first 2 weeks - when cravings were at their worst. To help you get to your defining moment, I suggest being very strict for at least a few weeks or a month to let your body adjust to life without sugar. Commit to fully kicking the addiction to experience the freedom and health benefits that result. Then, if you wish, you can slowly start to reintroduce fruit and more natural sweeteners. This is when you can also start experimenting with baking in the kitchen. There are tons of great recipes out there for when you want the occasional sweet treat - including right here on my blog!
Now that you are committed to kicking the sugar habit, here are some tips to help curb cravings during the initial withdrawal stage and beyond:
- Eat more healthy fats - Make avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter or tallow your best friends. These fats will boost the flavour of meals, keep you satiated longer, and ward off cravings!
- Drink something cold - When you are hit by sugar cravings, try drinking cold water, unsweetened iced tae, or cold brew. The cold sensation in your mouth can calm cravings down.
- Ramp up the protein - Have lean protein snacks handy and ready to grab when cravings hit. Cooked chicken (it’s even good cold), a handful of nuts and seeds, or some almond butter on celery are great options.
- Take a walk - when hit with sugar cravings, take your mind off it by hitting the gym or going for a brisk walk. Enjoy the scenery and breathe the fresh air in deeply.
- Relax - Enjoy a hot bath, try dry skin brushing before your morning shower, and meditate for a few minutes each day to be kind to your body. Make an effort to get more rest and relax while detoxifying from sugar so that your body can better handle any toxins that may be released.
- Acknowledge what is happening - Should you get moody, a little anxious, depressed, have increased cravings, get a headache, or have trouble sleeping, know these are positive signs. Your body is recalibrating itself and adjusting to regulating its own neurotransmitters again- which is a good thing!
The good news is that these symptoms won’t last long! And the even better news is that once they subside, you can celebrate in knowing you have kicked your sugar addiction and are free!
You made it!
Once you have kicked the sugar habit, cravings have stopped and you realize you are not a slave to sugar any longer, take the time to enjoy it! Celebrate you! Reward yourself with a massage, a shopping trip, or that new book you’ve been wanting. And please realize that rewards do not have to be food-based, as most of us grew up believing.
Now, you are ready to start transitioning to a more sustainable plan. Feel free to add fruit and natural sweeteners back into your life. Just try to limit high sugar-content fruits and vegetables.
These include: bananas, sweet cherries, dates, figs, grapes, jackfruit, lychee, mango, pomegranate, prune, raisins, beets, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, and rutabagas.
This is not to say you cannot enjoy these foods, as they are nutritious. Just keep in mind that humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, eating mostly meat and vegetables. Fruits are natural foods but humans ate them only occasionally, in season, and in small amounts. So even though a food may be natural, if eaten in large quantities, it can still cause problems.
You can also slowly add in more natural forms of sweetener like raw honey, whole dates, pure maple syrup, molasses, and real fresh fruit juice for the occasional treat. Consume them once in a while, use organic forms when possible, and know these options have some nutrient value but are still refined to some degree.
As you move forward in your new sugar-free life, try to stick to my initial suggestions. Eat whole foods full of colour, prepare food at home, and stay away from most forms of sugar, refined, processed, and packaged non-foods.
Your health and wellbeing are worth it!
Take it from a former sugar junkie!
I have never felt better… I am calmer, feel more relaxed, and most significantly, I don’t miss the cakes and cookies I grew up on. I can walk through the grocery store and see my former-favourite chocolate bars sitting there and not even give them a second glance. This is still baffling to me some days, and I feel like a completely different person! In fact, I AM a completely different person. I had no idea the extent to which sugar was altering my mind and body, especially my moods, sleep patterns and cravings. Quitting sugar was one of the best decisions I’ve made!
If I could do it, you can too!
If you’d like more help on kicking sugar to the curb, now’s a great time to join my upcoming sugar detox - Jumpstart to Get Happi. Today is the last day to sign up before the price increases! More info here!