Every single day, I see patients in my wellness clinic who tell me some version of…
“I can’t live without my nightly chocolate frozen yogurt.”
“Once the breadbasket is on the table, I can’t stop myself. No way one piece is enough.”
“Don’t let a box of Cheez-Its near me. I’ll finish it in one sitting!”
So many people have one type of food or another that they just can’t resist. Once they have a little, they want it all.
I get it, trust me. I spent decades at their mercy. In fact, I kept candy on my bedside table so I could feed my sugar habit in the middle of the night!
One of the things I always told myself was, “I’ll stop for my New Year’s resolution.”
That lasted about 5 days. Is that where you are right now?
We’re 6 days into 2022, and already, it’s so easy to want to give up on the goals you set for yourself, isn’t it?
That’s because powering through on willpower alone just won’t work! It’s too hard.
And you haven’t set yourself up for success.
That’s what today’s post is all about. We’re going to walk through 9 hacks you can use to OUTSMART your cravings this year – whether you crave sugar, salty snacks, pasta, bread, or anything else.
Let’s get started so you can get off on the right foot in 2022!
- Get plenty of the mineral magnesium.
If you are craving sugar, grains, bread, pasta, or carb-filled snacks, it is a sign that you have a mineral deficiency, especially magnesium, which is the key mineral to stopping your cravings.
In fact, this one tip might be enough to outsmart your 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.
By the way, I’m not recommending magnesium tablets or capsules, as they don’t work well. I recommend a high-quality mineral powder you add to water, that contains the 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. Acid-Kicking Minerals is the best quality you can find.
- Eat 7-10 servings of healthy fats.
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 to burning fat.
When you eat sugar, what do you think you will crave more? Sugar! And when you eat fat? Exactly!
Aim to have 7 to 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.
Coconut oil is the best possible healthy fat. Aim for a tablespoon 1 to 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!
- 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 zinc and 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, which are all high in chromium.
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.
- Make sure you stay hydrated.
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 (without caffeine), green smoothies and juices, and raw green soups for hydration as well.
- Don’t substitute 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 organic liquid stevia (be careful – it’s 100 times sweeter than sugar) or lo han, otherwise known as monk fruit. It’s very sweet but has a zero glycemic index.
If 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.
- Fix your gut!
Supplementing with probiotics has demonstrated a significant decrease in sugar cravings. Why? By flooding your gut with beneficial bacteria, you crowd out the harmful bacteria, parasites, and yeast, all of which feed on sugar and contribute to cravings.
Aim to get 30 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per day. This will likely take 2 or 3 capsules that are best taken with your largest meal of the day. If the packaging of your supplement says it has 15 billion CFUs per capsule, there will be some degradation by the time you take it, so assume you’re only getting 10 billion CFUs and take 3 capsules.
Store your supplements in the fridge or freezer; the live bacteria will go dormant in the cold. It will also decrease moisture in the supplement, which will preserve the cultures for longer. Ideally, you’ll switch up your probiotics every 30 to 90 days by buying a different brand. This will introduce different strains of bacteria into your gut.
You also want to eat fiber-rich prebiotic foods, such as onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, leeks, asparagus, dandelion greens, and artichokes.
Prebiotics are specific types of food that nourish the good bacteria along your digestive tract. They also support you directly by increasing a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which does 2 important things for your eating habits.
First, it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Less stress means less emotional eating. Second, it helps by releasing satiety hormones, so your body signals when to stop eating.
- 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 leafy veggies, cruciferous veggies, and sulfur-based veggies. 10 to 15% plant-based protein or fish protein, and 5 to 10% from vegetable carbohydrates.
By eating this way and starting your day off with a good breakfast, you’ll keep your blood sugar better regulated and prevent the crashes that lead to cravings.
Plan ahead so you don’t get hungry. Here are the craving-smashing ideas I share in GET OFF YOUR SUGAR:
- 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut oil
- Alkaline ants on a log – a few celery sticks with macadamia nut butter (or almond butter) and chia seeds
- ½ avocado with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp. chia or sesame seeds, and a pinch of cumin, mineral salt, and/or black pepper
- Green apple slices with raw almond butter and cinnamon
- A handful of raw nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts
- Veggie sticks with hummus or guacamole
- A handful of pumpkin seeds
- A green, plant-based smoothie
You’ll find a lot more tempting recipes without sugar – and more than 65 recipes in all – in my best-selling book!
GET OFF YOUR SUGAR: Burn the Fat, Crush Your Cravings, and Go From STRESS EATING to STRENGTH EATING removes the guilt and shame many of us feel for our addiction to sugar, and replaces them with a powerful yet easy-to-follow program with practical tips to kick the sugar habit in your real life.
Kelly Ripa, who wrote the Foreword, had this to say:
“I’ve followed Dr. Daryl’s Get Off Your Sugar Program for a little over a year. It’s doable, it’s delicious, and I’ve seen the proof that it works too—last year, when I turned 50, Dr. Daryl tested my biological age, and it showed I had the physical health of a 35 year old. Clearly, we’re doing something right!
“I love how Dr. Daryl focuses on what you need to add to your diet instead of what to take away, but I think what really makes his approach so powerful is that he helps you get off—and stay off—the stress-eating roller coaster.
“I know it’s so hard not to rely on your favorite sweet treats when life gets tough, and it can be difficult to manage everything life throws at you, but hear me out: thanks to Dr. Daryl, you’re holding in your hands a proven strategy and plan that will help you through the tough times. When you strength eat every day, you’re better equipped to handle challenges that arise, whether that’s a global pandemic or something closer to home.” –Kelly Ripa
GET OFF YOUR ACID!