In today’s day and age, escaping the clutches of sugar can definitely be a challenge, as it is in almost everything; the good news is, that living a low-sugar life is definitely possible. The human body doesn’t need much sugar to maintain blood sugar levels: it gets what it needs through the various sources of carbohydrates we consume in our diet – such as fruit, breads and pastas etc. – that it doesn’t need any added sugar.
Imagine a life without sugar cravings in the afternoon, or a life without those crashing sugar-lows, or a life without exposing yourself to the plethora of diseases and illnesses that are linked with consuming too much sugar! We won’t sugar coat it (pun intended): it’s not an easy road, but read on to find out 5 ways you can quit sugar for good!
ONE: Start At The Beginning
‘Let’s start at the very beginning’ – it is, after all, a very good place to start! The easiest foods to identify as being laiden with sugar, and therefore, the easiest foods to remove from your diet, are the culprits that appear in moments of weakness: the candies, cookies, soft drinks, chocolates, cakes, baked goods, mass-marketed cereals etc. etc. Although these foods are delicious, their benefits stop at satisfying our taste buds and they reek the most havoc on our bodies. Try eliminating these foods from your diet first (as this is usually the hardest step) and you’ll begin to feel in control of your sugar addiction after not much time at all!
TWO: Increase Your Fruit Intake
The chances are, that if your sugar-fix has been coming from the above mentioned foods, then your fruit consumption may not be all that good. A great general rule of thumb to gage your sugar levels, is that if fruit doesn’t taste very sweet to you, then you need to reduce your intake of added sugars. When you get to the post-lunch or post-dinner need for something sweet, ditch the chocolate, reach for ‘nature’s candy’ and enjoy the numerous nutritional benefits that say, an apple or a handful of berries can provide.
THREE: Don’t ‘cut out’, replace!
While we’re on the topic of swapping the favourite go-to sweets for something a little healthier, let’s talk about what to do with dessert. It’s normal to expect dessert after dinner, as this is quite common in most cultures, but it is a very easy way to give in to slipping some chocolate into your weekly grocery trip! Before you ‘cut out’ dessert, creating a restrictive mindset when it comes to food is one of the surefire ways to see a binging session in a weeks’ time. Don’t ‘cut out’, replace! Greek yoghurt with a drizzle of honey and mixed berries, the ever-famous ‘bliss balls’ sweetened with dates and natural cacao, and slices of apple sprinkled with cinnamon are all great alternatives! Start getting creative in the kitchen and experimenting with natural ingredients that will give your body nutrients as well as satisfy the taste buds! Because hey, the sugar-free life doesn’t have to be boring!
FOUR: Keep Yourself Fuller for Longer
Often, our highest sugar intake comes in those times when we’re a bit peckish and want to snack. The trick is to consume foods that will keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing your need to snack between meals. Healthy fats, fibre-rich foods, and protein at every meal will keep your tummy busy (so it doesn’t growl!), keeps your blood sugar stable (so you don’t feel the need for a pick-me-up) and will help curb the sugar cravings (so you don’t eat when you’re not even hungry). Start your day with eggs, or greek yoghurt loaded with all the goods; include chicken, salmon or another protein at lunch time and pair it with avocado and whole grain carbs. If you do feel peckish, that is your body needing nourishment, not sugar – so bring nuts or a can of tuna or something else that will feed you.
FIVE: Double Check the Food Label
By law, all providers of consumer goods must state the contents of their product in descending order of weight. This means, the first three ingredients on the ingredients list make up the majority of the product. Some companies are very good at making their product appealing, but on closer inspection, they are full of sugar. If the product has the word ‘fruit’ in it, it doesn’t guarantee health – especially when it comes in a bottle or a box! Sometimes, our addiction to sugar is being fed, even when we’re unaware and think we’re doing the right thing. Become aware of exactly what it is you’re eating, so that you can make better informed choices and give your body the nutrients it really needs to thrive!