sugar_craving2

Sugar craving

Some sugar craving is okey because we need sugar for existence. It only becomes a problem when you want to eat sweets most of the time.

If you just can’t resist a chocolate bar or a pack of cookies, you know what a sugar craving is. It can be very strong as sugar is addictive.

I know a few effective ways to diminish your cravings or stop them completely. These have been tested by at least 12 people (including kids with extreme sugar cravings) with great results.

Let’s first look what may cause sugar craving.

1. If you are bored you may feel an urge for sugar.

Solution: Brush your teeth or focus on 10min stretches, exercises or alike.

2. Coffee, tea or energy drinks may trigger sugar cravings as they deplete the body of magnesium and contribute to calcium exertion.

Solution: Quit caffeine drinks or diminish their amount.

3. When you don’t eat enough throughout day or work, the dip in your blood sugar level causes you to crave something as you are hungry. Sugar feels the most attractive, because it will give a quick surge of energy. It won’t last, though, and you would need another chocolate bar soon.

Solution: Eat small meals every 3-4 hours which include proteins and carbs (say, cheese and bread sticks). The amount of proteins depends on your speed of metabolism. As a fast calorie burner, you need a substantial amount of protein throughout a day. As a slow calorie burner you need less proteins and more carbs.

A quick test to know the speed of your calorie burning is to look at two things. First, become aware how you feel after a carb’s meal, say pasta with a salad. Are you soon hungry or are you filled for the next hours? Secondly, what is your usual tendency, are you too warm or too cold? If you are too cold and soon hungry after a carb’s meal, your burning will tend to be fast.

The best is when proteins vary.  Include a protein shake (plant based Sunwarrior  shakes are great to go!), cottage cheese or cheese, sausage, ham, eggs, fish (tuna, salmon, cod, sardines, etc), or yogurt.

4. Fluctuating blood sugars may cause sugar cravings.

Solution: Stabilize  your blood sugar levels by eating food high in the trace element chromium.  Chromium encourages receptor sites on cells to be more sensitive to insulin which carries glucose into the cells for energy production.

A very effective is almond butter, followed by peanut butter. Almond butter, though more expensive, is usually better tolerated. East a spoon of almond butter once or twice daily. Broccoli, baked beans, whole grains, grape juice and mashed potatoes provide chromium in a decent amount. Other foods include apples, artichokes, bananas, corn, garlic, mushrooms, prunes, sweet potatoes and oats.

Herbs: nettle, red clover, sarsaparilla, thyme, yarrow, wild yam.

 5. According to traditional Chinese medicine, sugar craving is often a sign of imbalance of various trace minerals. This can be corrected by eating bitter-tasting foods. Examples are leafy green vegetables such as kale,  mustard greens, dandelion greens, lettuce, parsley, and celery. Also endive, chicory, turnip, radish, kohlrabi or asparagus are also there.

Herbs: nettle, dandelion, milk thistle, oregon grape, gentian root, angelica root. Also Swedish bitters can be taken for a short time (1 month) or a long time when prescribed by an herbalist.

6. Sweet cravings are explained by Victoria Boutenko as an insufficient intake of calcium. Calcium is sweet. And even though you may think you drink milk and eat vast amounts of diary, there is more and more evidence that calcium from milk may not as easily be absorbed as we want to believe. Moreover, the mucus forming feature of milk as well as pasteurization may make milk more problematic for our health (see e.g. at the study which shows that pasteurized milk has a carcinogenic effect).

Solution: Sesame seeds (and especially black sesame seeds) are the best source of calcium. The easiest way to eat them is to stir fry them and add plenty to your rice / pasta / grain /meat dishes. Black sesame seeds have a nutty flavor. Kids like them too. Another way is to add them to your protein or green smoothie shakes. Black sesame seeds act powerfully on many organs in the body. They strengthen the liver and kidneys, as well as heart, spleen and lungs. They act as a general tonic in the body, balancing the endocrine system. See also this post.

Sesame seeds contain a high amount of the anti-nutrient phytic acid. Therefore, as any seed, they have to be soaked or pan roasted before eating. The best way is to soak them overnight (they need 4-8h) and lightly pan roast before grinding. Additional grinding makes them more digestible, but is not necessary.

Soaking

  • Measure 1 cup of sesame seeds. Rinse it. 
  • Put the sesame seeds into a bowl. Add 2 cups of water.
  • Cover your bowl with a cotton towel or other breathable fabric. Let it stand in room temperature for 4h.
  • Drain the water out of your sesame seeds. Rinse them.
  • Return the seeds to the bowl and add 2 cups of water. Cover the bowl.  Soak it in the room temperature for the next 4h.
  • Drain the water out of your sesame seeds. They are ready to eat.

You can simplify the above procedure by soaking the seeds 8h straight without additional rinsing.

Roasting

Stir-fry the sesames seeds in a dry pan over low heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the heat releases their fragrance. Avoid burning the seeds. You can also roast them in butter or ghee.

In summary

We have looked at possible causes of sugar cravings and the rectifying solutions. Now it’s the time to apply the solutions. They have to be simple as otherwise you are not going to stick to them. I know, as I am the same 😉 The practice has to be simple to help you create a daily ritual. The two effective ways for stopping sugar cravings are:

Proposal no 1

1. Buy high quality nettle in bulk (say 250 -500g). Prepare nettle infusion at night (see the recipe here), strain the liquid in the morning and drink three – four cups throughout a day. Just take it as a drink to work.

Nettle is a super nourishing herb, safe to drink daily for years. If bored, switch to either oat straw or dandelion infusion. (With time you can add more variety such as infusions from siberian ginseng, red clover, marigold etc). Nettle is rich in vitamins such as A, B, C, D, E, and K and loaded with calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron and so on.

Kids can also drink the daily infusion.

Proposal no 2

a) Eat a spoon of almond (peanut) butter once or twice daily. On bread, celery sticks, with carrots or whatever.

b) Eat a spoon of either soaked or pan fried sesame daily. The easiest way is to soak it in the evening and strain in the morning. Simply chew it. Alternatively, prepare sesame seeds in shakes and use it in your dishes. If possible, choose the black sesame.

Daily sesame seeds work well for kids.

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I personally drink four cups herbal infusions daily (nettle, dandelion, siberian ginseng, marigold, gotu kola etc; a combination of two at most) and eat sesame a few times per week. My sweet cravings are close to zero. My kids are easily satisfied with honey, some chocolate or a cookie.

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Photo copyright by Pamela Greer, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.

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