Sunday, May 25, 2014

What Foods To Swap In For Your Sugar Cravings

We all have been at that place when we felt like we needed something sweet NOW.  The taste of sugar is sweet, and in Ayurveda the sweet taste is building and nurturing.  When we eat too much sweet, we can build too much and gain weight.  Too much sugar can also negatively impact our body chemistry, changing our metabolism and making us more susceptible to gaining weight.  It also causes downward mood swings when the sugar effect wears off.  Excess sugar can cause inflammation in the body which ages us faster and is the source of many illnesses.

People think as a health coach and Ayurveda person that I don't have sugar cravings.  I do have them, but over the years I have tamed them.  Ayurveda does not believe in deprivation.  Eating should be an enjoyable and balanced experience.  However, dealing with the sugar monster is like battle with a serious addiction.  One needs to get a little creative.  This means substituting healthier foods and some self talk. 

Once the sugar consumption is controlled, a little self exploration needs to be done.  For example, when do you most crave the sugar? Is it physical or emotional? Is it in social settings or stressful times?  Is it a chemical need to give your body quick fuel?   Once the cause is found, real changes can be made.  If the process seems overwhelming to do on your own, a Health Coach or Ayuvedic Health Practitioner can give you some insights into yourself and a plan to change.

Here are some of the foods I use to combat a sugar craving.  Walnuts, almonds, cashews or pecans have natural sweetness, fat, fiber and crunch.  It is a healthy option that will give you energy and hold your appetite.  Make sure the nuts are either raw or dry roasted (no oil), and they should be fresh.  Nuts can go rancid quickly and have a strange taste.  Rancid nuts are unhealthy and unsatisfying.  The second food I use is fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.  They are sweet and tangy with a nice amount of fiber.  Berries are packed with lots of nutrients and have a complex flavor that tends to be more satisfying.  The third food I use is cacao in its natural,  raw form.  The nuggets satisfy the chocoholic in me without sugar and I get the magnesium, iron and fiber instead.  The cacao powder can be blended with almond or rice milk for a great smoothie. You can add a little stevia or agave syrup if you have to.  Finally, oven baked butternut squash and sweet potatoes with just a little extra virgin olive oil and sea salt are incredibly sweet and satisfying without the added sugar.

The taste of sweet is natural and a good thing in the proper, balanced way. 

Stay healthy & well,

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