Yesterday was Halloween, the big candy holiday. Now the season of parties, celebratory meals with extra sweet food and alcohol is upon us.
Here are some of my favorite suggestions aka Healthy Discoveries, that I often recommend to my coaching clients to help reduce sugar cravings during the holidays or any other time throughout the year:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of water 1-2 times a day has been shown to be an energy and blood sugar stabilizer, a digestion booster, an appetite crusher and a weight loss aid all of which can curb sugar cravings.
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) – Are found in proteins, but you can take BCAAs in supplement form. This is what my favorite naturopathic doctor has to say about BCAAs and cravings, “BCAAs lower cortisol which has an overlapping ability to suppress stress-induced cravings and blunt hunger. BCAAs also have the ability to help the brain balance its chemistry because they are precursors to the brain’s number one stimulating brain chemical (glutamate) and its number one relaxing chemical (GABA). Therefore BCAA can really help with cravings.” ~Jade Teta N.D.
- L-Glutamine – Julia Ross M.A. author of The Diet Cure, says L-Glutamine can stop sugar craving in their tracks. She recommends taking 500 mg 3-4 times per day, usually during the times when blood sugar is the lowest and, or when you’re craving sugar or alcohol around 3-5 p.m.
- Magnesium – One of the most depleted minerals in the body is magnesium and if you frequently crave sugar your body may be telling you it needs extra magnesium. Supplementing with magnesium can help buffer stress and it also helps your body respond to sugar better so you don’t get extreme highs and lows from when you do ingest sugar.
- Build your meals around adequate protein, healthy fats and a ton of vegetables – Animal or vegetarian protein, whichever you prefer and then omega 3 fats (fish oil, flax seeds, chia seeds) and coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, etc with lots of fibrous vegetables – the more colorful the better.
- Drink water – Mild dehydration can increase your sugar cravings. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, or drink 100 ounces of water each day, whichever comes first. Uplevel your water intake even more by adding fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. This becomes a natural electrolyte drink and helps to balance your pH levels. Increasing the alkalinity in your body can help curb cravings.
- Surf the urge – Sarah Bowen, a research scientist in the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, coined the term urge surfing and developed a guided meditation practice [8 minutes] that helps people relate differently to cravings or urges related to substances. Urge surfing can minimize living on autopilot and reduce your vulnerability to cravings.
- Try EFT – A tapping technique that stimulates acupressure points and sends a message to the fight or flight part of your brain to let go of emotional blocks, cravings, self-sabotage and inner obstacles that are keeping you stuck in any area of your life, including sugar cravings.
- Do a HIIT workout – I’m a big fan of the Metabolic After Shock workout. It’s 20 minutes, three times a week, no equipment needed, you can do it anywhere. It’s effective and gets results. This short burst exercise program brings cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin (fat storing hormone) down. When those hormones are reduced hunger and cravings come down as well. Whereas longer duration cardio sessions can have the opposite effect.
- Focus on sweet experiences, not sweet food – Experiences, interactions, social connections, awe, and bliss. Seek out and savor the positive moments in your life. Make an effort to create pleasure and enjoyment in watching a sunset, a live theater performance, having an uplifting conversation with a good friend or engaging in a fun hobby.