1. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings and may cause sugar cravings to become more frequent. Remember the more sugar you eat, the higher your risk for illness that may involve medications that can cause skin, hair and nail issues.
2. Drink water. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. Caution: Soft drinks are now America’s number one source of added sugar and artificial sweeteners are even worse for your health, and in fact slow down and over time can even halt your metabolism.
3. Use gentle sweets. Avoid chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar. Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dried fruit, stevia, agave nectar, palm sugar and barley malt.
4. Eat sweet vegetables and fruit. They are naturally sweet, healthy and delicious. The more you eat, the less you’ll crave sugar. Fruits and veggies also provide your body with what it needs to help prevent disease, to heal and fight the aging process.
5. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. According to yin/yang principles of eating (such as in Macrobiotics and TCM), eating too much animal food (yang) can lead to cravings for sweets (yin). Imbalances can also occur with too little animal protein (for some individuals). Through experimentation and intuition, you can find which foods create balance for you as an individual. Remember that we all need a balance of complex carbohydrates lean healthful sources of protein and healthy fats to maintain balance. Remember to eat clean as well. An imbalance causes many ailments and also affects the health of your skin and your hair.
6. Eliminate fat-free or low-fat packaged snack-foods. These foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat, which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Your body will crave sugar, if you’re eating strict low fat or fat free diet and you are more likely to binge on things that are not good for you including sugar, so remember to always include a healthy fat in your daily diet.
7. Experiment with spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
8. Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, pasta, white potatoes, white rice and breads are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind and they are not good for your health. They spike blood sugar and over time cause weight gain, may cause diabetes along with many other major illnesses. If you are in a chronic state of stress and/or sleep deprivation, your body will crave the quickest form of energy there is: sugar. So get some sleep, eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetable and choose complex carbohydrates.
9. Get physically active. Start with simple activities like walking or yoga if you’re new to exercise. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy, and reduces stress and tension that can affect your hair and your skin and physical activity will help eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar!
10. Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! Every craving is not a signal that your body biologically requires sugar. Cravings often have a psychological component. By identifying the psychological causes of food cravings and substituting lifestyle and relationship adjustments accordingly, you can begin to find balance and take charge of your health. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed and your body, your mind, your being will thrive with much more ease.