We all want to control our sugar cravings in a world where there are “sweet traps” in every 10 steps around us. So it becomes important to learn some dodging techniques so that we don’t fall in these traps.
Well there is no magic formula for the same but there are only techniques which can help in damage control.
Now, when it comes to making lifestyle choices – I practice (mostly) healthy eating with lots of fruits, vegetables etc. but there is one thing which still makes me go weak and that is my sweet tooth. I remember how as a kid I use to sneak into our kitchen to binge on any sweet stuff. So much so that I could eat a full packet of biscuits by myself in one sitting without sparing a thought. AND god forbids if there is a sweet box lying at home then I won’t rest till the time it is not finished.
Fast forward to 2016, things have not changed much, I still struggle with my sweet tooth and try not to indulge in it but below is something what helps/helped me to control :-
30 days of sugar detox
Now to kick start something new in life, it is good to start small and not set lofty targets but bigger enemy needs bigger attack. So for this killer habit of sugar cravings it is best to tackle it with FULL THROTTLE.
Therefore, I strongly recommend to undertake 30 days of NO SUGAR challenge because I know this really works!!!! I got this idea almost 2 years ago by watching a TED talk which totally inspired me to undertake this challenge and the next morning I was ON it.
My Experiment –
First things first, sugar detox does not mean leaving only sweets/desserts/chocolates etc. but it is much wider than this as we are allowed to consume only intrinsic sugars i.e. sugar which is naturally occurring in plants and not added onto the foods – so basically all fruits , vegetables and milk have intrinsic sugars.
Now talking about my experience, for me first 3-4 days were extremely tough – now this does not imply that prior to this challenge I was eating sweets every single day but it was so because lot of food items suddenly became forbidden as they all contained sugar .And this realization occurred to me once I started to read the ingredients on every packaged food item and it made me chuck almost everything including the most common item – bread. Thus, my food started to become more and more natural.
Moving forward , beverage selection also became one of the toughest things in those days, and to top it I was travelling a lot – so during those long flights I couldn’t figure out which beverage to drink and finally I was left with only two options – water or tea. However on the onset of sudden sugar craving attacks !!- I was largely relying on raisins, So I use to keep a small pouch of raisins in my bag those days. Anyway after saying NO some X number of times to all the stuff which contains sugar, my mind eventually got trained to ignore even the chocolate brownie lying on my plate!!!!! But that happened only by the 10th day.
So ,come 31st day – the most interesting day on which I thought I would be jumping to get back to my “sweet world”. Surprisingly, that did not happen as I realized I no longer wanted to eat anything sugary ,so my experiment went on 4-5 days more. Finally when I gave in to have something sweet, I remember grabbing a glass of orange juice and my first words were like “Eeeks this is so sweeeeeet” and I was stunned at my own reaction.Conclusion , this one month did twist my taste buds and Now, I do find sweet things “too sweet”! So this conscious effort of one month greatly helped my mind to get trained which eventually brought moderation.
But this also comes with constant practice , if you will gorge on sweet food again then you would be back to square one , so moderation is the key but for myself I would say I am now forced to eat in moderation as I can’t have too much of sugar.
My final take on the experiment, this challenge clearly applies to not just regular sweet items but also other things which are presumably NON SWEET but have added sugar as preservative. As a matter of fact – 80% of our sugar consumption happens to come from these NON sweet items which includes all packaged processed foods, all fancy sauces, salad dressings etc.etc – the list is endless. So, during this challenge you will have to do away with lot of other food items too because the truth is that salt, sugar and flour are three pillars of packaged food.
For consistency , one can try to do this detox once a year or six months to keep things in check!
Cocoa, the main raw material for the chocolate and is one of the superfoods with lots of essential minerals and antioxidants, but because it is adulterated with heaps of sugar in normal milk chocolates or candies, so what we end up consuming is mostly sugar and not really cocoa. So, the solution is to consume more cocoa is by eating dark chocolate which contains more percentage of cocoa and less percentage of sugar, for e.g. – Normal milk chocolate’s sugar content is anywhere between 20-30% so you may start with the one which has 50% cocoa and then graduate to the chocolates with even higher percentage of cocoa say 80%-85%. Now dark chocolate is a bit of an acquired taste due to its bitterness which some people do not fancy but it has a two pronged effect- 1) you consume healthy cocoa and 2) it also satiates your sugar cravings. Luckily I did not have to develop the taste for dark chocolates because I liked them – it was just that it was an unexplored area due to less visibility.
So, next time try eating a square of dark chocolate whenever you get sugar craving. I do it all the times and feel satiated.
To sugar or not is a very strict lifestyle choice and needs great deal of moderation – not just for weight issue but to keep other health ailments at bay too. No doubts, it is very tough but think of it as a small step in making healthy choices.