Before Easter I noticed a definite increase in the amount of chocolate coming into the house – I also noticed that was the one eating most of it! I’m not talking about the raw, high-cacao type, I’m talking about the milky, chocolatey, super-sweet type – the type that once you start eating, you can’t stop.
Over the period of a few weeks this really crept up on me and I realised that I was going to the freezer armed with a spoon for a sneaky scoop of ice cream here and there, as well as eating way more chocolate than normal. The more I ate, the more I wanted; the substance driving my craving was not the chocolate, nor the ice cream, but obviously the sugar!
It is common knowledge that sugar is addictive. It hits the dopamine and serotonin sensors in the brain which, in turn, promotes feelings of reward and wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that sugar is a substance that is as addictive as some class A drugs; so in light of this and it being compounded by the joys of Easter, it struck me that it’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves in a sugar-craving spiral.What Is Clean Eating, Anyway?
What Is Clean Eating, Anyway?
Eating loads of sugar will very simply make you feel knackered, will make your skin dull and you will probably start to gain weight. You will experience medium-to-extreme blood sugar spikes and crashes which create unstable energy levels - all of which will leave you feeling pretty despondent. The question is, how to break the cycle of craving?
Firstly bear in mind that taste buds change. They naturally renew every two weeks, so if you can overcome your cravings for sugar long enough you will find that sugary, sweet foods do not tempt you nearly as much. In addition to your sense of taste changing, the longer you avoid refined sugars the less your brain will ask for it. You will start feeling much brighter than you did, and this will encourage you to carry on.
Small steps create big changes but I understand that sometimes you need (what I call in my clinic) a “quick fix” - a speedy way to get you back on track. This is what I did to break my sugar cycle: I did a two to three-day liquid detox. By “liquid day” I mean soups and vegetable-heavy smoothies. In a nutshell, you should simply avoid alcohol, caffeine and refined processed foods for three days before the detox, and it helps to make sure you have a relatively quiet calendar.
You can use all vegetables including roots but not potatoes – and an apple or a small piece of fruit for the smoothie, with lemons and limes. You should also add some protein into your soup, like lean chicken, fish, beans or pulses. Drink lots of water and herbal tea.
When weaning yourself off the dreaded white stuff, you can help your body along by increasing the mineral chromium in your diet, which helps normalise blood sugar levels. You will find chromium in foods such as sweet potato, broccoli, oats and green beans, but if you are really struggling then you can safely supplement up to 100 mcg of chromium a day - if you are unsure then you should ask a nutritionist like me or another healthcare professional.
ADVERTISEMENTSalt Solution: Are You Having Too Much Salt?
Salt Solution: Are You Having Too Much Salt?
A final sugar-balancing hero is cinnamon – sprinkle it on everything. It will help to keep you stable and help keep those crashes and cravings at bay.
And remember, with chocolate it’s much better to run a marathon than eat a Snickers…