I’m going to be totally honest with you… I am conflicted as I write about this topic.
Why? Because as much I believe that sugar is a source of so much heartache and pain in our world, I also don’t want you to try to quit sugar if you’re addicted.
Quitting cold turkey doesn’t work. It’s just going to lead to feeling deprived.
Deprivation never works!
That strategy doesn’t last, and it’s not sustainable.
It never worked for me and that’s certainly NOT how I overcame my lifelong addiction to sugar.
I was trapped in the vicious cycle of being addicted to sugar…I have lived the dreaded yo-yo syndrome.
One week I was devouring sugar, and the next week I was swearing off sugar.
That kind of will power is enough to get you motivated, but it’s not enough to keep it going.
Why? It’s simple. Sugar is incredibly addictive.
How addictive? The research shows 8X more than COCAINE!
And you’re surrounded by it each and every day, both in tempting treats and in everyday foods you don’t even think of as sweet like salad dressings and store-bought bread.
That’s why Americans eat DOUBLE or even TRIPLE the daily recommended limit of sugar, day after day, month after month, year after year.
And we wonder why our society suffers from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer!
This is why it’s vital that you overcome your sugar cravings. And not just overcome them, but replace them with other delicious foods.
When you cut the desire for sugar off at the source – no longer craving it in the first place – it’s easy to say sayonara to sugar without even missing it.
Here are my 10 best tips for stopping sugar cravings with better foods.
- Get plenty of the mineral magnesium.
Magnesium is the key mineral to stopping your cravings.
If you are reading this and are craving sugar, grains, bread, pasta, candy, or whatever your ‘vice’ may be, it is a sign that you have a mineral deficiency, especially magnesium.
In fact, this one tip might be enough to rid you of your sugar addiction.
When I got rid of sugar in my diet, I kick-started it by ADDING a great mineral supplement and a great greens supplement, and just by making that one change, my cravings dissipated very quickly (within weeks, and we’re talking about a life-long addiction here).
By the way, I’m not recommending magnesium tablets or capsules, as they don’t work well. I recommend a mineral powder you add to water, that contains your 4 most crucial alkaline minerals – magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate.
You definitely want to make sure the supplement you choose has both magnesium and calcium (at a ratio of 1:1) in order to prevent a deficiency in either mineral. Alkamind Daily Minerals is the best quality you can find and it even comes in single serve packets so you can use them on the go. You’ll also want to eat foods high in magnesium:
- Dark leafy greens
- Raw cacao
- Nuts and seeds
You can also supplement foods rich in magnesium by taking Alkamind Daily Greens. It has 5 full servings of vegetables in every scoop!
- Spice up your meals.
These spices will not only naturally sweeten your food, but also will help balance your blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings:
You can add these to smoothies and soups and even grate them over salads. You can also stew the turmeric and ginger in nut milks for a nice, creamy drink.
- Eat more alkaline foods.
Some foods encourage cravings, and some foods fight cravings. Incorporate more of these foods into your regular diet to prevent cravings from popping up in the first place:
- Dark, leafy greens like watercress, kale, and spinach
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- Red bell peppers
- Lentils and beans
- Chickpeas and hummus
- Almonds and macadamia nuts
- Eat foods high in the mineral chromium.
Chromium regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helps to reduce sugar cravings. So chow down on broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, and seeds like quinoa.
- Eat foods high in zinc.
Zinc is abundant in whole grains, pumpkin seeds, and Brazil nuts. Zinc is needed for insulin and glucose utilization, and a deficiency can lead to sugar cravings.
- Eat cold-pressed coconut oil.
This will help boost your metabolism, nourish the brain, and reduce sugar cravings.
To do so, you need to shift your body’s metabolism from burning SUGAR as your primary source of fuel (which most people are doing), to burning fat!
When you eat sugar, what do you think you will crave more? Sugar! And when you eat fat? Exactly!
Aim for a tablespoon1-3 times per day, ideally, spread out. You can add coconut oil to your smoothies, dressings, sauces, soups, and stir-fries. Or just eat it off a spoon!
In addition, I’d like you to have 7-10 servings (1 serving = 1 tablespoon) daily of healthy fats in the form of oils - avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, black cumin seed oil, and MCT oil.
- Make sure you consume healthy Omega-3 fats.
They provide satiety and they help to keep your blood sugar stable.
Take a good quality fish oil supplement, and eat wild-caught Pacific salmon (as clean as a source as possible. Unfortunately, we now have the Fukushima accident to worry about with our food source in California and Alaska), throw chia, and flax seeds on dishes.
- Make sure you stay hydrated with fresh water and herbal teas.
Dehydration can mask itself as food cravings, and sugar cravings in particular. And it’s not just in your head – when you’re dehydrated, your liver can’t release glycogen, a necessary hormone for energy. As glycogen drops, it sends a signal to crave water and sugar.
You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of water each day.
Add a slice of lemon or lime to your water to improve the taste and make it more alkaline-forming. Your water has to be filtered, ideally with a pH of 8 to 9.5. Drink herbal teas (sans caffeine – sorry green tea drinkers), green smoothies and juices, and raw green soups.
- Don’t use artificial sweeteners.
It might seem like it’s a good idea to replace sugar with alternatives, but artificial sweeteners are the worst “food” you can eat on the planet!
And believe it or not, they’ll actually increase your craving for sweets. They fool the body into thinking it’s eating something sweet, so your insulin spikes, which makes your blood sugar plummet, leading to you craving sugar even more.
Instead, use my Swap > Better > Best philosophy for sweetener alternatives:
- Bad: Agave, which might even be worse than high fructose corn syrup, because it is 80 to 90% fructose, the worst sugar of them all.
- Better: Coconut nectar/coconut sugar, which is 40% fructose.
- Better: Manuka honey, which is good if you have a scratchy throat or want to add to tea, but not on a regular basis.
- Better: Maple syrup also contains 40% fructose.
- Better: Molasses does have trace minerals, but it also has the same ratio of fructose and glucose that regular sugar has.
- Best: Lo Han, otherwise known as monk fruit. That is what we use in our supplements. It’s very sweet but has a zero glycemic index.
- Best: Stevia is good as well. It’s 100 times sweeter than sugar.
Do you crave sugar in the form of chocolate?
Use 85% or higher dark chocolate to ease the cravings. It doesn’t actually contain much sugar and once your body has adjusted to an overall lower carbohydrate level, it will taste plenty sweet.
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
If you’re like most of us, cravings happen when your blood sugar falls to its lowest point, which is in between meals. These moments are most likely to happen:
- In the morning if you haven’t eaten any breakfast
- In mid-afternoon about halfway between lunch and dinner
- Late at night a few hours after eating dinner
So aim to eat 3 good meals per day, consisting of 80% mix of healthy fats (mentioned above) and dark green leafy veggies, cruciferous veggies, and sulfur-based veggies. 10-15% plant-based protein or fish protein, and 5-10% from vegetable carbohydrates.
By eating this way and starting your day off with a good breakfast (I love an alkaline smoothie or avocado with lime, sea salt, cumin, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil), you’ll keep your blood sugar better regulated and prevent the crashes that lead to cravings. Plan ahead so you have:
- Something to eat within an hour of waking up
- If you eat 3 solid meals, you can try to avoid grazing which is the goal. But with that said, you don’t want to starve either! A small snack or smoothie mid-morning in case you get hungry prior to lunch is totally ok – this is when it’s a great idea to keep a stash of raw almonds or macadamia nuts at your desk
- A nourishing mid-afternoon snack with plenty of fiber, protein, and fat instead of sugar
Here’s a few snack ideas:
- Sweet Pumpkin Breakfast Bars
- Avocado French Fries
- Alkaline Sesame Sweet Treats
- Spicy, Crunchy Moroccan Chickpeas
And don’t forget about the snack that’s always easy and alkaline – green smoothies! Here’s my ultimate alkaline smoothie recipe:
- Start with greens. Spinach, kale, collards, or chard are great options. Throw a handful into the blender.
- Add a plant-based liquid. Raw almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or coconut water.
- Include tasty fruit. Berries, bananas, apples, dates, tropical fruits, or any fruit you enjoy (if you want to go 100% alkaline, go without the fruit. If you add the fruit, be sure to add the healthy fats to mitigate the affects of the sugar)
- Throw in a healthy fat (or 2 or 3 – the more, the better!). Chia seeds, avocado, coconut oil, or flax seeds.
- Remember your proteins. Raw almond butter and/or Alkamind Organic Daily Protein.
Alkamind Organic Daily Protein is not your typical protein powder! It’s made of completely organic, plant-based ingredients with no soy or whey, not to mention artificial ingredients. It not only delivers a complete serving of vegan protein, it also makes your body more alkaline. It’s available in two flavors, Creamy Chocolate and Vanilla Coconut. It tastes so delicious, you’re going to want a serving of protein every day!