Curbing Sugar Cravings

I’m thankful to say I have never used drugs or alcohol, but sugar (especially combined with wheat/flours) is powerfully addicting, too! In the same way that these dangerous substances can make a person feel like they have no power to stop using and consuming them, sugar has the same effect. You can hate yourself for sticking another cookie in your mouth, yet actually keep doing it. “Why are you hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself”, I hear Satan chanting! Realizing it’s addictive is an important step, and knowing also that sheer willpower isn’t enough for most people, is quite liberating.

So what are some things that help- some things beyond just knowing what you’re supposed to eat and not eat and hanging onto those facts for dear life? Here are some ideas that help me…most of the time 🙂 Also, before I get into this, I want to say that I think eating sweets with friends and family some times is a good thing. This post is for people like me who struggle with eating too much, or alone, or too often. So here we go, some choices that may PREVENT STRUGGLE and DEFEAT:

1) Prayer– Duh, right? But seriously, if you want to live in freedom from ANY addiction, you need God on your side…and He IS. But sometimes we need to stop, look up, and let ourselves sink into His presence. All of a sudden we realize we are not alone, and maybe He’ll even give us the presence of mind to see past the moment into the rewards that wait for making the right choice. Any goal we make for ourselves, any desire God has put in us for wisdom and freedom, will require starting each day asking Him for help and humbling acknowledging that when stressful events come, You will need His help.

2) Self-Talk– Take some time to think through the conversation that you have with yourself right before digging into something you didn’t plan on eating and wish you didn’t want. What are you saying? Is it “I deserve this” or “I’ll just have one”? Is it “I have no choice, it’s here, and I know myself well enough to know I’ll eat it eventually anyway” or “I’ve already messed up today so I may as well go ahead and have all I want”? Figure out what dumb lies you are feeding yourself  and have a response of truth! For example, if it’s “I’ve had a hard day, I deserve this”, your response would be: “What I really deserve is something that will make me feel great, a gift to my tired body, not something that will make me feel worse both physically and emotionally!” And then give yourself that–a hot bath, or pencil in movie night that night, or check off days on a calendar that you go without sweets and when you get to 30, go buy yourself something! Be kind to yourself…Snickers bars are NOT kind.

3) Breakfast: Don’t skip breakfast, ever, and make sure it is protein packed and very little carbs. I don’t even eat fruit at breakfast. Keeping the sugary taste out of my mouth is crucial to me in the morning.

4) No refined carbs: Breads, buns, tortilla chips, potato chips,  gluten free or not, will turn around and make you crave sugar. I think fruit, potatoes, brown/long grain rice, quinoa, etc are fine personally. They are unrefined carbs and I kinda feel like if God gave them to us, then they’re good…but I understand that’s up for debate! If those unrefined carbs make you crave sugar, then go for awhile without eating them and see how you feel. I genuinely don’t recommend going carb-free, but just having one or two small servings a day of unrefined carbs.  If you go carb-free, there are some physical repercussions to your kidneys and if you go back to carbs at some point, your weight will come back so quickly. 🙁

5) Exercise: Exercise makes you feel great; endorphins are sweet! And when you have exercised, you are less likely to “mess it up” with doing something bad for yourself like eating sweets!

6) Plan: For most people, they are not going to want to say, “I will never eat this or that again.” Maybe it’s a good idea to pick out some events and holidays that you will have sweets, and when you have cravings just remind yourself that you will have the chance to have your very favorites then. We are big kids…we can do the delayed gratification thing!

7) Sleep: Get plenty of sleep, friends!!! That gives us automatic presence of mind to not do, eat, and say thoughtless things. Also, the hormones that are excreted in large amounts when we’re tired are dangerously similar to hormones that make us feel hungry. We usually can’t feel the difference and consume extra calories when we really just needed sleep.

I am convinced that you have to personally believe the facts you have read about sugar to make a difference, and you have to make changes in your lifestyle to ward off disaster instead of always picking up the pieces! But no one can do it for you, it’s an internal thing…a change from the inside out, because you really want freedom and better health.

Let’s Journey as Well as we can!! That’s being a good steward of what we’ve been given!

 

FOOD and Why It Matters

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It really is a wonder to me how I could go through life genuinely not realizing that the food I was eating was either healing me or killing me. I feel kind of dumb about it, but then again it wasn’t until the 80’s that the Surgeon General stated that food does indeed have an effect on disease! Before that, there were very few people believing in the correlation. Now, there are worlds of information out there…and so while I am not an expert, and simply studying holistic nutrition for greater health for myself, friends, and family, I would like to use this blog to share what I’m learning. I can at least share how far I’ve come even though there is so much road to travel up ahead, and I’ll be honest about those things I’m still figuring out.

But today I’d like to just write about food and why it matters to our health. Very simple concept, yet if we believed it what we put into our mouths most meals would drastically change. The first step in this change is knowledge and the next step is believing. The first step actually isn’t the grocery store or self control or accountability, those come later. The first step is wisdom and understanding and information…and believing it is true.

First, let’s define food. Food is comprised of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, fiber, or enzymes or a combination of several of these things. That’s food. God made it for our enjoyment, our energy, and for every system in our body to work correctly. When we do not feed ourselves well, and we think “a calorie of this is equal to a calorie of that”, we are eventually stressing every system of our body until it can no longer cope. That is when we see disease, disorders, and pain. Not every disease, disorder, and pain comes as a result of food…but many, many do. Doesn’t it make sense that every other system in our body is dependent on our digestive system working properly, that we are actually getting the nutrients absorbed that our systems rely on?

Second, let’s define processed foods. These are foods that have been messed with–when potatoes are fried and turned to chips, when sugar is added to yogurt, or when enzymes have been stripped from foods to make them last longer (whether that is done in farming or later). Almost anything on shelves, my friends, is processed. Even our dairy is processed unless you’re getting it from a local farm. We can’t all live on a farm and kill our own chickens, so there is obviously going to be some processing and handling of some of our foods, but I’m talking about foods where the back of the bag or box lists more ingredients than the food you actually think you’re eating. When we eat these things, we need to know we are not really eating much food at all and definitely not a lot of nutrients that our body requires. Call it a treat, call it a splurge, but honestly, we can’t call it food.

Processed foods as our main diet is causing: behavioral disorders, hyperactivity, learning disorders, headaches, fatigue, cancer, type II diabetes, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, and the list truly does go on. These foods aren’t just “neutral”, as if “I can eat these as long as I also eat nutritious foods.” No, it doesn’t work that way. They are acid forming, keeping your body in a state of constant stress and work to become alkaline again (just trust me, that’s important!) They make your blood sugar imbalanced, making your pancreas constantly push out insulin and then your adrenals constantly push out cortisol to balance the insulin. Cortisol keeps us up at night and makes us have a spare tire, friends!! No, thank you!! And no, thank you to insulin resistance either, because the next step after that is diabetes. Also, processed foods have been stripped of the enzymes that God put in them to help us digest those foods. A food without its partner enzyme is a very non-useful food inside our body! That’s sad when I think about all the money spent on health bars and processed so called ‘health food’. And one more thing about processed food is that they use nasty oils that get stuck in our arteries, refined sugar that makes us addicted, chemicals and dyes that should not even be smelled let alone consumed, and more sodium than could float a boat.

Third, let’s define real food or whole food. Real food is simple food, as close to the way God made it as possible. Eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, veggies & whole pieces of fruit (organic if you can), whole grains, and raw dairy. There’s more obviously, but those are the basics. Along with this real food definition I will say the more you can eat raw the better; in fact, I try for 1/2 my plate to be raw. Real food has the potential to heal our bodies, get our systems in good working order, and give us opportunity for energy, clarity, and the ability to serve those we love.

Today I focused on what processed foods are and what they do versus what real food is and what it can do for you. I’m out of time but later on I will go into detail about specific foods, where to buy them, how to be making the change. One thought I will leave you with is this: You do not have to change every meal, your whole diet, all at once. You may change what you have in the house for breakfast meals first…or you may focus on the evening meal being “clean”. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods Market and break the bank; you don’t have to go crazy on this. Some of the changes will be huge, some things you will realize you were already doing right!

Learn and believe…and you’re halfway there.