Do you have a bewitching hour? I do. Mine is at about 8-9 p.m. I will have eaten dinner; I do not feel hungry at all but then all of a sudden I am completely aware that I would like to tear my house apart in search of any form of chocolate. It feels all consuming, as if I can not think of anything else, it is so frustrating. For many of us, I believe it to be hormonal, but it may also be a reflection of how we have been eating. Sugar is not my friend, and when I allow it in a little, I have the hardest time kicking it out! Sugar is addictive, is creates cravings within our brains just like the cocaine. Seriously, look it up! Eating sugar regularly is not good for us or anyone we love. When it comes to sugar, we need to be aware of when we have it and how much we have before we lose control. I have found a few tricks to reduce my craving for sugar, this is what has helped me:
#1 To avoid a sugar meltdown, keep raw sauerkraut in the refrigerator for these times. It helps curb cravings with its sour taste. Raw, 100% fermented that has to be kept in the fridge is what works best, do not use canned or bagged sauerkraut. Raw Sauerkraut also has incredible benefits for your gut health too! However, keep in mind you can not “double dip” your fork in the sauerkraut, the bacterias from your mouth will multiply quickly inside the jar, and this is not a good thing.
#2 Drink warm peppermint tea or any other noncaffeinated tea, it aides in helping the body to feel full. So take time to savor the flavor, slow down, enjoy the moment. Even warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice can be satisfying and helps to alkaline your body.
#3 Learning to control stress is huge! I am/was an emotional eater. When I felt the urge to eat/snack, knowing I was not truly hungry, I would chug a bottle of water, wait 20 minutes to see if the feeling would disappear, sometime it would just from drinking the water so quickly. During that 20 minutes, I would take the opportunity to sit down and journal. I would journal about how I was feeling or what I was thinking about at that moment. Many times my cravings were connected to things I was stressed over. Releasing the stress/thoughts on to paper would allow me to let go and move on. When stress is present I always ask myself, can I make a difference or change whatever it is that is causing the stress? If the answer was yes, then I need to make a plan to work and solve the problem. If the answer was no, I have to let go because I can not change the outcome. Stressing over things I can not change only wears on my health and hurts me.
#4 Eating healthy meals throughout the day also aides in ridding yourself of sugar cravings. Make sure you are eating QUALITY proteins, getting enough fiber through your vegetables (at least 4 cups a day) and taking high-quality fish oil helps a ton. Our bodies need proper nutrition, specific minerals, and vitamins daily. This need is expressed through hunger, which we, in turn, feed our bodies empty foods/calories that taste good but only cause more cravings and induce hunger because the body will still be looking for nutrition rather than to be fed.
#5 If you are a baker or sweets maker, stop using sugar and try Monkfruit, Erythritol, or my favorite Just like Sugar as a substitute. They make things sweeter without increasing your waistline.
The most important thing to remember is there is no magical way to turn off sugar cravings other than to stop eating it. The less you have the less you will crave, the more you have the more you will crave. It is truly that simple. However, it is important to recognize that sugar is everywhere. When someone eats a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, they have sugar in the jelly, peanut butter (many brands) and the bread. Many companies use small amounts of sugar even when making french fries or they inject chicken breast to make them sweeter before cooking in some restaurants. If you are interested in understanding how our food is manufactured there are several great books to read, here are two: