Sugar is everywhere. In foods that you wouldn’t expect it to be in. After reading this excellent article in the Toronto Star online, I thought that both you and writer Lori Nickel needed some help in just how to ditch the sugar from your diet.
A self proclaimed addict, Lori chose to go cold turkey. Some personalities can do this but I don’t recommend jumping in right this minute. Plan for this change, both mentally and practically. You can choose to go cold turkey, but it’s more painful. And you’ll likely fall off the sugar-free wagon before you really get to feel and see the success and benefits.
Here are five ways to successfully ditch the sugar from your diet:
- Write down what you normally eat that contains sugar so you know what you need to ditch and find replacements for. Notice when you crave sugar the most, likely mid afternoon and maybe in the evening. You could be different. Take a day or two to do this.
- Get all the treats; pastries, brownies, cookies, chocolate, candy, crackers (yes read that label), cereal and sauces out of the house. Ditch it from your desk, car, purse, gym bag or any other stash you have. Unless you have willpower of steel getting rid of it will mean you have no go-to at a weak moment.
- Buy alternatives. Whatever your favourite or go-to is for that mid-afternoon crash, find something else to eat when you know you’ll need it. If donuts are your thing during your coffee break at work (and only real coffee, no syrup squirts or flavoured coffee anymore) take in something as an alternative. I’d suggest fruit and nuts. Not encased in chocolate, but the real thing. Apple, banana, pear, grapes, berries or whatever else tickles your fancy. Nuts; almond, walnut, pecan, cashew, brazil, or any seeds that you like. If soft drinks are your thing, then take a bottle of water with you and jazz it up with some berries, mint, cucumber, lemon or lime. Try kombucha tea as an alternative to pop. Still fizzy and sweet but all the sugar is used up to make this drink so there’s no real sugar left. It’s on the good-to-drink list.
- Start your day off with more protein. Eat eggs (french toast, boiled, fried, omelette, hard boiled), cottage cheese (pressed or lumpy mixed with fruit), chia pudding, smoothie with protein powder, cheese, nuts, seeds or leftover meat from last night. This sets your flow for the day. You should experience less highs and lows with energy and mood and amazingly less cravings after dinner. I know, odd, but it’s all about balance.
- Eat regular snacks 2 1/2 to 3 hours after a meal. Do NOT wait until you’re hungry or crashing, because that’s when the sugar cravings will hit. Eating regularly helps to keep your energy and blood sugar balanced so you won’t be using all your will power not to hit up the corner store during your break or on the way home. Generally throughout the day, eat within one hour of waking, then a snack up to 3 hours later, lunch, snack within three hours, maybe another snack depending on when dinner is and finish up eating by 8pm if possible.
You will become an expert label reader throughout this. When you look at the label any carbohydrate will be mentioned. That may not be sugar. Read the ingredient list too. There are over 56 ways to say sugar so be on the look out for glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, cane syrup, cane juice, corn syrup–any syrup or sugar basically.
Why bother to put yourself through this? Because every cell and organ in your body will be better for it. Sugar has been linked to countless health issues including obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease… the list goes on. If you need some convincing of just how much sugar you’re consuming in your smoothies, granola bars, or drinks, watch the video I put on Sprout Right’s Facebook page and see if you can guess right.
Give it a try and let us know how you fare, feel, and what the results are.