What holds most of us back — and gets in the way of success — are those sugar cravings that seem impossible to break.
You can probably identify: In 2014, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the U.S. to tax sugary drinks in an attempt to address a serious problem that has gotten out of control. Americans consume more soft drinks per capita than any other country on earth, contributing to our country's overinflated obesity and diabetes rates.1 This makes sense when you think about the fact that sugar is addictive, and it's everywhere, as James DiNicolantonio and Sean Lucan point out in their New York Times piece. They assert that sugar, found in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods in the U.S., can be as addictive as drugs.2
Want to get rid of sugar cravings for good? Before you reach for that donut, take a sip of 2 oz. of probiotic-rich InnergyBiotic instead! Like many Body Ecology followers, you may find that the sour taste of probiotic liquid gets rid of those sugar cravings and allows you to get on with your day.
In the case of food allergies, we often crave what we’re allergic to in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. When adrenal fatigue is involved and your system is overworked, your body asks for the “pick-me-up” that sugars temporarily supply. Unfortunately, sugar stresses your body, so this only worsens the condition.
Pre-menstrual syndrome and pregnancy, or a hormonal imbalance, might cause you to feel driven to reach for chocolate or some form of simple carbohydrates, like chips or bread. As a woman gets closer to the time of her period (or as we prefer to say, monthly cleansing), she must be more relaxed to allow for the shedding of the lining of her uterus. But if she has been eating too many contracting foods, like salt and animal protein, she’ll start craving expansive sweets to “open her up” and help her relax.
Pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and yeast, such as Candida, feed off sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more inviting you make your gut for these “bad guys.”
First, the bad news: You may be addicted to sugar. But, the good news is that it’s a relatively easy addiction to break.
OK, OK, a little more bad news first -- before we get to the good and helpful sugar-busting solutions. We've long heard that exercise can help to combat obesity and may stabilize unwieldy blood sugar levels. Exercising after dinner may even help type 2 diabetics lower their risk of heart disease, according to 2015 research from the University of Missouri-Columbia.3 But on the other side of the coin, we rarely hear about the effects that refined sugar can have on exercisers hoping to increase endurance and build muscle mass, including what it can do to the heart.
Yes, the heart is a muscle -- one of particular importance if you're hoping to increase your fitness levels through exercise. In 2013, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston researchers discovered that eating too much sugar can stress the heart and open the door to heart failure by affecting its ability to pump.4 This sugar overload can be notoriously problematic for the exerciser, the athlete, and the bodybuilder, all related to muscle growth. Sugar causes an insulin surge in the body that suppresses two important hormone groups: growth hormones and glucagons.5 The body relies on these hormones to burn fat and support muscle development. When sugar takes over and insulin spikes, muscle building falls by the wayside.
Replacing refined sugar (and the sports drinks, bars, and gels that may contain refined sugar) with a fermented vegan protein known to support gut health can help to keep muscle repair and growth on track. Eating enough protein can also stabilize your blood sugar and help you feel more satisfied.6 With that in mind, a fermented protein that contains gut-healthy probiotics may be even more effective in encouraging muscle growth and reducing sugar cravings -- giving you more bang for your nutritional buck. At their very core, probiotics help to make digestion more efficient, which can make protein more readily available to your muscles; strong sugar cravings may also be tied to the type of bacteria you house in your gut.7,8
The Body Ecology system of health and healing is a sugar-free, gluten-free, and processed food-free way of eating that is so delicious and grounding that you will not miss sugar. It’s true! You can be rid of the fatigue, the cloudy thinking, and the plethora of other symptoms that come as a result of a diet high in sugar in a matter of days by following our suggestions below.
We all need tips when transitioning. Here are our top secrets for ending sugar cravings for good:
1. Avoid Processed Foods. Did you know that sugar and processed foods are as addictive as heroin or cocaine? In a 2013 study from Connecticut College, researchers confirmed that Oreos could be as addictive as cocaine, after observing how the popular cookie affected lab rats' behavior and brains.9 Eating sugar artificially stimulates a region of your brain called the nucleus accumbens to produce dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. Soon, dopamine levels drop, and we start to feel “flat”... or a bit “down." We crave this pleasant, feel-good feeling again — so sugar leads to addiction.
2. Boost Your Serotonin. Serotonin, a.k.a. the "happiness hormone,” can be raised through diet, exercise, and the right sleep schedule. When you have plenty of serotonin, you are less likely to have cravings for sweets.
3. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally. The all-natural sweetener Stevia has zero calories, does not raise blood sugar levels, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. If you have sugar cravings and want to satisfy your sweet tooth safely, Stevia is your best bet. Lakanto is your best choice for baking, an all-natural sweetener with zero calories, zero glycemic index, and zero additives.
4. Drink Plenty of Water. You may sometimes think that your body is asking for sugar, when in fact it's dehydrated and really craving water! Try our favorite delicious cravings-buster: In 8 oz. of water, add the juice of ½ lemon and 5 drops of Stevia for a Body Ecology lemonade. We also suggest a warm cup of green tea, sweetened with Stevia with your meals. This way, your sweet taste is satisfied, and you won't want a dessert.
5. Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable. Eat several small, healthy Body Ecology meals throughout your day instead of three large portions to avoid dips in blood sugar. (Ideally, eat your animal protein meals between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) Your evening meal should be one of our preferred gluten-free grain-like seeds (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or amaranth). If you do this, your body will produce more serotonin, you'll feel happier, and you'll sleep much better at night. Remember, a fermented vegan protein can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
6. Have Plenty of Greens. Loaded with nutrition, green drinks help boost your energy and reduce cravings for sugar and processed foods.
7. Eat More Sea Vegetables. Rich in vitamins and minerals, seaweed or sea vegetables make for a healthy snack! Sea vegetables have a high mineral content, while eating anything with sugar immediately depletes minerals from your body. A true Body Ecology meal would include a portion of sea vegetables somewhere in that meal to ensure that you get the minerals your adrenals need.
8. Enjoy Fermented Foods and Drinks. Fermented foods and drinks are perhaps the most important way to reduce or even eliminate cravings for sugar. In fact, this one is so effective that we've heard from many of our customers that it nixes sugar cravings in about 4-5 days! You can make your own young coconut kefir at home with the Kefir Starter and the juice of young Thai coconuts, available in most health food stores.Or, drink ready-made probiotic liquids for a quick cravings fix. Here's what to do: Simply sip 2 oz. of your favorite probiotic liquid, like CocoBiotic or InnergyBiotic, any time a craving hits. You'll be amazed at how the sour taste of fermented foods and drinks relieves the desire for sugar and processed foods.
And don't forget about cultured vegetables — they help control the desire for sweets too.
Here's another big benefit of fermented foods and liquids: If you do happen to eat something sweet, like a piece of fruit or a sweet potato, the probiotics in fermented foods and drinks will eat up the sugar, reducing the damage that sugar would do in your body.
9. Meditate. Meditation can help ward off cravings by helping reduce stress. In 2015, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital named Sara Lazar discovered that meditation not only has the power to reduce stress, but it can change the brain — by increasing gray matter in the auditory and sensory cortex.10 Stress creates the hormone cortisol, which increases your blood sugar. This is a vicious cycle that damages your adrenals and creates sugar cravings. Adding a short meditation before meals can help you relax during meals, which means better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
10. Try EFT. If you're looking to shift the desire for sugar, lose weight, stop a habit of binging, or eliminate any addiction, you owe it to yourself to learn about the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is an easy tool that anyone can learn in minutes. You simply tap on emotional acupressure points on your body while repeating key statements that help shift your body, mind, and habits.
You don’t have to be addicted to sugar.
In fact, you don’t even need to crave sugar, and if you follow the Body Ecology Diet, you will find that your taste buds start to change. You can begin to enjoy the naturally sweet taste in foods like carrots, onions, and the Body Ecology grain-like seeds.
And the good news is, when you do want a sweet taste, Body Ecology has natural, healthy alternatives, like Stevia and Lakanto, to satisfy that sweet tooth. With a few small changes to your daily habits, you can free yourself from sugar cravings and embrace a way of eating that is naturally energizing, anti-aging, and rejuvenating.
You may find it almost impossible to kick your sugar habit because sugar has been proven to be addictive — even more addictive than drugs. Sugar cravings are common, and they can stem from a number of internal factors, like Candida overgrowth, food allergies, adrenal fatigue, and monthly hormonal changes around the menstrual cycle.
If you're ready to win the battle against the sweet stuff, here's a quick look at Body Ecology's top tips to end sugar cravings:
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