Hints From Heather... Shake the Sugar!
Updated: May 19, 2020
Use stevia instead of refined sugar. There are many benefits to using raw organic stevia over refined sugar or dangerous artificial sweeteners. This no-calorie, natural delight has actually been shown to curtail sweet cravings and is safe for diabetics. Piggybacking on Tracy’s warning about feeding gut candida with sugar, stevia does NOT promote candidiasis. This staple in our household is used in everything from smoothies, plain yogurt (tastes as good as the sugar-laden counterparts), my low-acid, organic, morning coffee or tea, baked goods, and more. My kids even add a few drops to sparkling water (and hence feel a sense of redemption despite the fact that sugary, canned sodas are a no-go in our house).
Dark chocolate is your friend. If you are craving a bite of something sweet, reach for this wiser alternative. Not only does dark chocolate provide health benefits due to its ample antioxidant content, but it contains less sugar than milk chocolate AND takes less to satiate the appetite. I love all the fair-trade/organic options available today. One of my favorites, with sugar intake in mind, is stevia-sweetened Lily’s brand. We keep an assortment of Lily’s flavors in the freezer and just one square can do the job!
Eat fat and protein first. The practice of “meal sequencing” suggests that we pre-load with good fats and high-quality proteins before ingesting carbs. Not only will this help you ingest less calories, but you might find that you just don’t have the same craving for something sweet after a small fat or protein snack. Additionally, blood glucose levels are markedly lower when fat, protein and even veggies are eaten before carbohydrates and sugar. When I find myself hungry and wanting to reach for a sugary snack, I have honed the habit of “delayed gratification”. I tell my mind that I can most certainly have that piece of chocolate or gluten-free goodie, but first (I suggest to my wiser self) grab an avocado and eat it straight out of the skin with a spoon and a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of sea salt (so yummy!). I usually hard-boil a dozen eggs over the weekend and have them ready in the refrigerator for times like these. Raw organic almonds with an apple will also do the trick and the fructose in the apple sometimes leaves me fully satisfied with no post-treat needed!
Set a goal, write it down and keep track. There’s great research surrounding the many benefits of goal-setting. (Full disclosure, I almost didn’t include this Hint because I don’t believe in restrictive diets or food guilt and food goals are often laced with these ingredients.) That said, keep it easy and simple. And skip this hint if you think you can’t do it without beating up on yourself. Just use the goal as a way to “remind” yourself of the other above tips and to keep yourself a bit more accountable. Did you know that the average American consumes 85 grams of sugar ever day?! The “recommended” sugar intake is 22 grams (and might I suggest using stevia to get this number even lower). Just practice mindfulness and bring awareness to how much you are eating in daily added sugar and start challenging yourself to gently get that number down.
Tap to freedom. In this month’s video, I demonstrate a technique called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or Tapping. This powerful “energy psychology” modality helps move blocks out of the body…like sugar