Overcome sugar cravings
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Overcome sugar cravings

The holiday season is upon us and that means one more opportunity to eat sugar. As a reformed sugar addict, I am happy to share my strategies for achieving wellness in this important area.

Be aware of what sugar does to your body. Knowledge is power and inspires us to action.

It takes 21 days for our taste buds to change. Decreasing the amount of sugar for three weeks, or better yet, completely abstaining from it, will reset your perception of the sweet taste of food. What you thought would be sweet before will become too sweet and you will avoid it or adapt the recipe.

Often, after a salty or tasty meal, we crave a sweet taste. Here are some ways to derail this: Respond to the craving with something healthy and sweet (fresh fruit or date). If not, try a small amount of xylitol in your mouth and let it dissolve in your saliva. Enjoy the sugary taste as long as you want in your mouth. Spit it out when you’re done. Xylitol is also wonderful for oral hygiene. Finally, after your meal, brush and floss (!). Nobody wants to do this twice in one evening.

Know that when we are stressed, we crave a sweet treat because sugar is quick energy in an emergency. If you were pursued by a tiger, your body would release sugar in your blood for this reason. Ask yourself if you want desserts because you are stressed. If so, promise yourself the treat after calming your nervous system: walk around, meditate, write in your journal, dance, have a chiropractic adjustment. If you still need the sweet treats, try making a healthy choice.

Eating mindfully. Often we are busy with other activities while eating: watching a screen or talking to others. If you have to eat something sweet, just eat it without doing something else. Make it a meditation. Do it slowly. Think of all the people, animals and plants that have conspired to get that delicious piece to your mouth. When we are present to taste, we eat less.

Smell mindfully. Try to inhale the delicious aroma of the dessert. Our sense of smell and taste are intimately linked. Pay attention to how the smell of food allows you to taste it at the same time.  Notice if that satisfies you.

Combine the sweet food with an odor or visual that disgusts you. Personally, I hate the smell of olives. I would to the olive cart at the local grocery store and took in a big smell while thinking about chocolate. Neuroplasticity (we can create changes with repetition over time) allows us to develop an aversion to the food.

When the pain becomes bigger than the pleasure. Be aware of how you feel after eating the treat rather than while eating it. You may notice that you are tired, have a headache, swollen or cranky. The more you are aware of how this affects your life, the more motivated you will be to abandon it.

Look for alternative cooking recipes. I look for websites for paleo recipes that usually call for real maple syrup. Maple syrup is less destructive because it still retains all its minerals. I reduce the amount suggested by at least half.

Ripe bananas can be your superhero! Instead of sugar in your oatmeal, add a ripe banana. Freeze the ripe bananas, then throw them in a blender with frozen fruit or cocoa powder to get delicious ice cream. Crush a ripe banana with cocoa powder and coconut oil for a delicious pudding. The fibre and minerals found in whole fruits have much less impact on the body.

Why does this chiropractor care about the amount of sugar you consume? In addition to all the reasons listed in the attached document, sugar alters the functioning of the brain and therefore your entire nervous system. A healthy nervous system allows healing, growth and repair of the body. That’s what I want, and you? Contact me for an assessment of your spine and your nervous system as well as for many ideas on how to live a healthy life.



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