Health & Food

How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday)

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Before I begin today’s post, I want to provide you with a recipe I promised several weeks ago; Kumquat Salsa! How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday) 1
 The thing I like about kumquats (similar to dates) is that they are like eating a little piece of candy.  They could be considered “nature’s candy” in a way, do you agree?  If you’ve never tried a kumquat you’re supposed to eat them whole, skin and all.  They are slightly bitter, but also sweet. I’ll be honest though, if I had a sugar craving I’d still need some chocolate to really satisfy me (I made kumquats dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar once for a demo at work, and they were a huge hit.)

Don’t you just love the name KUMQUAT?! Go ahead and say it out loud.  Kumquat,  KUMQUAT!  You might also love knowing that 1-serving of kumquats has about 6 grams of fiber. Wowza!

Kumquat Salsa

 Source: SimplyRecipes.com

(Makes ~2.5 cups)

2 cups chopped, cleaned, and thinly sliced kumquats

1/4 cups chopped red onion

1/4th cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Dash of cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients.  Add more or less red pepper and cayenne to desired heat.  Let sit for 1 hour for the flavors to more fully blend.  Serve with chips or a protein like steak, halibut, sea bass or salmon.

Note:
  If you are following a Low FODMAPS diet you will need to omit the onion.  Or do what I did and just eat around the onion (because you will most likely be feeding others as well, and they will want the onion!).  I also used a “Tuscan Olive Oil” with herbal infusions to add more flavor so I didn’t miss the onion.How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday) 2

Now for today’s post.  Since it’s the new year and all, many of you may have resolved to lose weight or eat less sugar, or just eat healthier, period. Many of you may have a sweet tooth because you went so long eating sweets throughout the holidays, freely, without any restrictions, and now all of a sudden you won’t allow yourself to continue. They are now “off limit foods”.  Sound familiar?

Here are some other situations that may cause a craving for sugar, or a sweet tooth (chronic or acute);

  • You go on vacation and you eat a very high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar diet, and you come back and all you want to do is eat junk!How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday) 3

My last vacation. Cheers!How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday) 4

Again, vacation. Lots of sugar.

  • el like crap, and all you want to do is eat carbs and sit around the house all day.
  • You are emotionally distrot, and you are either stressed or sad or angry, and you just want to dive into a giant carton of ice cream.

These are just a few situations that could cause sugar cravings.  But alas, there is one more.  Our brains tell us that we are craving sugar many times, simply because we assume wes hould.

Examples:

1)  You typically eat dessert right after dinner.  So after dinner you say, “I’m craving a piece of cake”….but are you really? Or is it just habit?

2)  You are a women and you’re PMSing.  You assume that sugar and chocolate cravings come with PMS, but….do they??  Read this article and you’ll find out that one study showed women’s chocolate cravings actually do not increase during PMS(but, to be fair, this study doesn’t represent every single women on this planet.  All I’m saying is you need to stop and ask yourself if you’re just assuming you have a craving because “That’s what happens” or if you really are having a craving).

My inspiration to write this post came from this article, which talked about the power of two words “I don’t”, and how they can actually reduce cravings by signaling more empowerment instead of deprivation.How Do I Decrease my Sweet Cravings?! (FAQ Friday) 5

Source: iStock Photo

In a situation like this, choosing the apple instead of the chocolate cake might cause a craving later in the day. But, according to the article, it might be beneficial to tell yourself “I don’t” eat cake, rather than “I can’t” eat cake. Try it.

The bottom line is that most of our “cravings” are mental, and they stem from habits (and biology). It’s true.  And like I’ve learned personally, and through those I’ve worked with, if you really work hard to reduce the sugar in your diet, you will crave it less, just as long as you don’t restrict yourself to the point of an eventual binge down the road (ie: every once in a while you have to allow yourself a nice treat!).  And, tell yourself “I don’t” instead of “I can’t”, and it might make a huge difference.  I really recommend reading the article, it’s quite interesting.

Want to read more?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics posted this great article about cravings, and how to reduce them.  And if you have a craving, especially for something sweet, but you don’t want to stray too far form your healthy eating goals, check out my list of healthier sweet treat options.  These are the sweet foods I ate (and still eat) to help me get rid of my “sugar addiction”.  And yes, I had one!  It all stemmed from bad habits that I eventually broke.

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