5 Foods to Wean Yourself Off Sugar
This article by Raphael Kellman, M.D, caught my attention because as you may or may not know, I do love my sugar (did). Something sweet after my meals seals the deal and I hate to admit it, but sugar comes calling my name when I’m feeling tired. I don’t know why I just don’t have a nap??
Over the years I have definitely upgraded to healthier sweet options such as the raw treats (raw chocolate pudding, Raw Raspberry Cream Filled Chocolate Treats) I blog about and only consuming home-baked goods. I had to put some parameters in somewhere so anything store bought is off limits for me!. I also know that I do like a little sugar and perhaps that is the problem because I don’t want to think that I can’t ever have it again (that makes me crazy and binge – just being honest) – it’s one of life’s treats in moderation. Think of all the sweetness in fruits, dates, and raw dark chocolate.
Rapheal says it’s not about willpower or discipline but rather your microbiome – now what’s that?? Read on and see how this can help you….
Why You Crave Sugar
If your microbiome is out of balance, your sugar cravings can feel like an alien force that has taken over your body. That’s not surprising: your cravings are the product of unfriendly bacteria that have high jacked your microbiome: the community of trillions of bacteria living within your body.
Both friendly and unfriendly bacteria inhabit your microbiome in an ongoing battle for dominance. The friendly bacteria are a crucial aspect of your health, helping to govern your digestion, appetite, metabolism, immune system, mood, mental sharpness, heart health, and bone development.
By contrast, the unfriendly bacteria find numerous ways to undermine your health. If you crave sugar, the unfriendly bacteria are frequently the culprits. Many of the unfriendly bacteria feed on simple sugars — the easily digested carbohydrates that are found in sweet and starchy foods.
Basically, they crave sugar. And when your unfriendly bacteria crave sugar, so do you.
The Solution: Balance Your Microbiome
Luckily, he says, there is a simple solution to stopping the sugar craving. Shift the balance within your microbiome from unfriendly to friendly, and your sugar cravings will disappear. Eating microbiome-friendly foods is a great place to start. I know this may sound simple and I must say that there are absolutely times in my life that I am in balance and I actually don’t want any sugar…but if I dare to be out of balance and have a nibble then the cycle can start all over again…yikes.
As my husband Glen says, “find the balance so that you can have a little and not binge.” Sorry, hun, this too is simple advice but sometimes hard to follow. Anyway, give this a try and see how you feel
Below are five foods that can help balance your microbiome and free you from your sugar cravings.
This spicy fermented cabbage is a traditional Korean dish that has grown in popularity over the last few years. You can find it in many health-food stores or order it online. Although the traditional dish is very hot and spicy, many companies now make medium and even mild versions.
As a fermented food, kimchee is loaded with live bacteria, which I admit doesn’t sound very appetizing. However, when you picture those friendly bacteria supporting your weight-loss efforts, lifting your mood, and vanquishing your sugar cravings, you will be delighted to welcome them into your micro biome.
A fermented milk drink popular in the Balkans and the Middle East, kefir tastes something like liquid yogurt. It’s delicious as a beverage or poured over a dish of fresh berries. You can even find kefir made from goat’s-milk. Kefir is also rich in live bacteria, which makes it a wonderful microbiome-friendly weight-loss food and a terrific way to end your sugar cravings. I often suggest to my patients that they use kefir in their protein shakes and smoothies, for an extra microbiome boost in the morning.
3. Jerusalem Artichokes
Kimchee and kefir are natural probiotics — sources of live bacteria. Jerusalem artichokes are your go-to prebiotic—a food that nourishes your friendly bacteria and helps them to dominate. Prebiotics in, sugar cravings out. Not to be confused with regular artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes are small, knobby, starchy root vegetables also known as “sunchokes.” They are rich in inulin, which is one of your friendly bacteria’s favorite foods. Soon they’ll be one of your favorite foods, too! Scrub them clean as you would a potato and steam them, bake them, or enjoy them raw, sliced thin, with lemon and olive oil.
This elegant green vegetable is another delicious prebiotic, an inulin-rich food that alleviates sugar cravings by nourishing your healthy bacteria. Slice them into a soup, omelet or steam them lightly and dress with vinaigrette. Your microbiome will thank you, and so will your taste buds.
Drinking fruit juice — even grapefruit juice — can actually promote sugar cravings because the juice is full of simple sugars. But eating grapefruit in sections or cut in half is a terrific way to break a sugar craving. The fiber in grapefruit is a natural prebiotic that nourishes your healthy bacteria, while the grapefruit itself helps to balance your insulin levels and stabilize your blood sugar.
Free at Last
Sugar cravings can be a powerful force, one that even the most iron-willed among us finds hard to resist. But if you nourish your microbiome you can put your sugar cravings to rest.
Try the Microbiome Diet and see if your sugar cravings go away forever, a little while or not at all. Listen to your body and see what new adventure you can go on.
What helps me with Reducing my Sugar Cravings?
I know that definitely adding certain foods to my diet, getting enough sleep and exercise and keeping my stress levels low help out in the sugar craving department! Oh yeah, so does knowing that cancer cells love feeding on sugar – yikes. For this reason I created the Busy Mama Detox and Busy Mama Reboot . I wanted to share with you how you can trick your brain, tweak your habits and enjoy the foods you like (within reason). I wanted to give you a real Busy Mama detoxing experience that I have followed for the last 7 years. It is not a diet, it is not about deprivation and it’s not about “the scale”. It is about having lots of energy, feeling free and in control, looser fitting clothes, sleeping better and ridding your fat cells of accumulated toxins (which may result in weight loss but if not your body will change shape). I am passionate about health not about a number on the scale so if you are ready to do the Busy Mama Reboot or have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
One great way to connect is by being in a group with like-minded people. I’d love for you to join the Busy Mama Healthy Mama Community Group to keep being inspired and empowered to living your healthiest life. Together we can make a difference in the health of our families.
Tanya Morrison has been in the Health/Wellness and Fitness Field for over two decades. She has coached and trained many clients over the decades. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, Pilates/Aerobics/Yoga Instructor and more. She is the creator of the Busy Mama Reboot 3 week program and the Busy Mama Detox which is a 12 week program that runs in January, April and September of each year. To find out more about these life changing programs check out the testimonials and information at www.busymamadetox.com. Tanya also teaches many different classes at Move Your Body Studio in Bobcaygeon, www.moveyourbody.ca and has written Healthy Snacks for Kids, Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans & Living Vibrantly with Raw Goodness – Your Guide to Juicing & Blending. Your lifestyle is an accumulation of choices which become habits. With Tanya’s guidance and education you will naturally start to make healthier choices with simple shifts. It is when you start to focus on your health that your weight will naturally come off of your health will improve. You must take pleasure in the journey, not be racing to the finish line.
Raphael Kellman, M.D. is the author of The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss (July 1, 2014)