Last week an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to in years got in touch to ask about sugar addiction. She felt her body could handle no more but was finding it difficult to kick the cravings. We talked for almost an hour about the process of giving up refined sugar, about the parameters of what I consider to be sugar within my own diet and most of all about balance.
My friend is hugely successful in her field and I don’t doubt that she has the world’s best nutritionists at her fingertips. When I asked her why she’d come to me she said it was because she wanted to hear it from someone she knew to be ‘normal’. The advice she was receiving seemed to be extreme; go cold turkey, bananas are triggers, dessert is the devil. The conversation made me realise that maybe there isn’t enough advice out there that comes from a place of balance. It makes sense that for a specialist to be heard they need to be talking about extremes, but this isn’t for everyone.
It’s been 3 years since I gave up refined sugar and the path has been peppered with banoffee pies, brownie sundaes and bottles of Rose. It only occurred to me during this FaceTime half way across the world that I’ve arrived at a place where I simply don’t do refined sugar, I don’t choose it, I don’t crave it, I’m not controlled by it. But I still won’t say never (I can’t not partake in s’mores, for example). Do I eschew all forms of sweetness? Certainly not. I have a cake company after all and that’s not what suits my body or my lifestyle. It’s about taking each piece of advice you find and figuring out how it can work for you.
Tips for turning down noisy sugar cravings
- If you’re a habitual sugar adder switch white sugar for coconut sugar. It’s not refined so wont spike your blood sugar
- Baby steps. Don’t cut out fruit until you’ve done a good stint of avoiding the obvious ones like chocolate, biscuits and breakfast cereal. You can tackle this later if you feel like you want to but it’ll be easier to hear what your body needs once the noise of the cookie cravings is turned down.
- Keep dates around the house for those moments where you really feel like you need that sweet fix. They’re a great sweet alternative. Try to stick to just one or two.
- If you really want to indulge it’s much better to do it in the evening when all you have left for the day is to sleep it off. This way you won’t enter into a cycle of cravings and lack of concentration throughout the day
- If you’re out drinking go for a Bloody Mary, a Gimlet or a Dirty Martini. Savoury cocktails that won’t result in sugar goggles
- Set rules for yourself like you don’t eat dessert during the week, weekends only.
- If you’re thinking about going hell for leather on it make sure you do just that. Don’t give up your great new regime for a crappy Greggs donut. Go all out and have something that you’re really going to savour and enjoy so that it’s worth it.