A Sweet Antidote to Sugar Cravings: Tame Your Sugar Cravings to Increase Your Energy & Productivity

January 20 2012


Sugar cravings can get the best of anyone. As a busy professional or business owner, sugar cravings - both having them and indulging them - can sabotage your precious energy and attention, causing your focus and productivity to crash. There's a way to overcome sugar cravings for good if you're willing to make just a few simple tweaks to your day.

If you think you can simply overcome sugar cravings by completely quitting sugar, you’re creating a lose-lose situation.

Why? Because:

Craving this?

  1. You are addressing only the tip of the iceberg and fighting deeper forces with a needle instead of a sword, which is a strategy doomed for failure; and,
  2. You are unnecessarily depriving yourself of all sweet pleasures, which you can still enjoy in a balanced way if your body is truly in balance – without having or succumbing to uncontrollable cravings.

The Good News and the Bad News

The bad news is that we are genetically hardwired to crave sugar under certain circumstances.

The good news is that these deep-seated sugar cravings are NOT about having enough willpower, so you can let go of that guilt right now.

More good news is that you can DO something about changing your body’s circumstances proactively so that you are not left powerless in the clutches of sugar cravings.

The bad news is that after reading this article, you will now know you can REALLY do something about your sugar cravings for good… and you may feel guilty again if you don’t.

Why You Crave Sugar

Some of the most common circumstances that will predispose your genetic programming to kick in and make you crave sugar way beyond the reach of willpower are:

  • Skipping meals, especially breakfast, and therefore predisposing yourself to low blood sugar levels throughout the day, also known as “hypoglycemia”;
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as lack of enough B vitamins, magnesium, and others due to eating a Standard American Diet (“SAD”), which is indeed sad and replete with refined foods and lots of fake, empty food-like substances;
  • Eating a diet heavy in refined carbohydrates such as breads, pasta, baked goods no thanks to aforementioned SAD, which messes with your metabolic balance and ability to generate energy well;
  • If your taste buds are conditioned to want overly sweet foods due to frequently imbibing in unnaturally sweet foods such as commercial and packaged foods found – again – in the aforementioned SAD, e.g. regular or diet sodas, pre-sweetened oatmeals, sweetened yogurts, etc.
  • Drinking coffee or other highly caffeinated beverages, especially on an empty stomach. Note: tea doesn’t always apply to this rule;
  • Lack of enough sleep;
  • Sun and light deprivation;
and last but not least:
  • Not eating enough healthy complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables and fruits to give your body the energy source, metabolism-balancing nutrients, and natural levels of the “sweet” flavor it needs
Today, I’m going to share tips with you on how to reverse this last point, in particular by adding more sweet vegetables to your diet.
 
Sweets for My Sweet (Tooth):  The Power of Sweet Vegetables
 
Sweet vegetables – many of which are root vegetables – are powerful allies in your quest to overcome sugar cravings. Here’s just a smattering of their power:
  • Sweet veggies are one of nature’s anti-anxiety and anti-spaciness remedies: they help ground you.
  • They are said to soothe your internal organs and energize your mind.
  • They help your body detoxify more effectively and protect it from inflammation.
  • Including sweet veggies can add a rich variety to your food choices – there are so many to choose from!
  • They are scrumptious – nature’s candy.
  • They can crowd out less healthy foods on your plate.
  • They’re easy to prepare, and often edible raw – no cooking required!
  • They’re beautiful. See picture at right.
 
 

Chiogga Beets. Gorgeous, no? A bit psychadelic too.

 
Sweet Veggies vs. Sweet Cravings
 
Adding sweet vegetables to your daily food choices will help you reduce your sweet tooth from the inside out. Here are some sweet veggie varieties to try and tips on how to easily incorporate them into your daily menu:
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Carrots:  Check out the recipe here (look under “Variations” to use carrots).
  • Onions: Red, yellow, white, brown, vidalia (extra sweet), cippolini, shallots, scallions, oh my! Add to pretty much any soup, stew, salad, or main dish as a base and have fun with all the different varieties.
  • Leeks: Underappreciated veggie if there ever was one. Add to stews, soups, or make a simple side dish by simmering the following in about 1/2 cup of water: 1 large leek, chopped, using only the light green and white parts + 1 medium carrot thinly sliced + 2 TBS of white rice + sea salt to taste. Done in 20 minutes.
  • Beets: Yellow, orange, chiogga (picture above), and red varieties have different intensities of flavor. Enjoy raw, baked, steamed or boiled in your salad or as a side. You can also add to your home-made broth for a beautiful pink color and hint of sweet, or juice it for a refreshingly sweet addition to your smoothies or fruit/veggie juice blends.
  • Winter squashes: So many varieties! Check out this month’s recipe,Spaghetti Squash “Spaghetti” with Buffalo Bolognese Sauce . A personal favorite of mine is Kabocha Squash, also known as a Japanese Pumpkin. Here’s afantastic sweet, detoxifying soup you can make with it. My preference is to steam it and have with with lamb chops or another (grass-fed) red meat.
  • Pumpkin: Wonderful substitute for sweet potatoes and yams as a side dish. Or a simple, delicious dessert here.
  • Sweet potatoes and yams: Add in soups, salads, as a side dish… steam, bake, saute… Try this Coconut Yam Soup – perfect for a cold winter day! 
  • Plantains & bananas: Technically fruits but I’m sneaking them in here as they can be used like veggies. Check out some suggestions in this article that recently printed my tips.
 
You can also add to your home-made broth for a beautiful pink color and hint of sweet, or juice it for a refreshingly sweet addition to your smoothies or fruit/veggie juice blends.
 
 
The longer you cook these veggies, the sweeter they will tend to get. I once forgot that I was baking a sweet potato in the oven. Lucky me… because by the time I remembered, I had left it in there long enough to where it had caramelized. It tasted ridiculously good!
 
And now you have it – a satisfying, simple, sweet way to start squashing those sugar cravings.
 
Enjoy!
 
*** 

Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, is the founder and principal coach of Delicious Health® LLC. Simla is a health, therapeutic nutrition, and balanced living coach whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy, Balanced beings ®. Simla loves working with women entrepreneurs, professionals, expats, and autoimmune clients world-wide to help them maximize their energy, tame their stress, get to their ideal weight without dieting, and take back control of their health to live intensely pleasurable and impactful lives. Learn more  at www.EnjoyDeliciousHealth.com or www.DeliciousHealthBlog.com.

 

 
 
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