In my 40s, I started to notice that my relationship with sugar and flour was changing. Though I was always a very conscious eater, I was still fairly addicted to it, as so many Americans are. A single mom living with teenagers, I was still ordering dessert when I went out to dinner and keeping a large bowl of Reese’s pieces on the table in the living room, but I could tell it was starting to do a number on me. I cut back on the pancakes and pasta, had sandwiches for lunch as long as the grains were sprouted. But at 50, I really noticed a change in how I felt. Anytime I ate flour or sugar, I would feel bloated and often tired. There was no way I was going to be able to show up for my students weekend after weekend with a bloated belly or flagging energy. It was time to make some permanent changes. Sugar and flour had to go.
I don’t have a magic trick for how to cut sugar and flour out of your diet. Eventually, it comes down to your commitment to your health and the promise to your body to be the best guardian of it you can be. My belief is that eliminating refined sugar and flour from your diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is a scientific fact that sugar and flour causes inflammation which can open your body up to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and at the very least, accelerates the aging process. Did you know that cancer cells LOVE sugar? Who needs or wants that? YUCK! Right?
While I can’t offer you some sure-fire way to beat cravings, the best advice I can give for kicking sugar out of one’s life is to learn how to eat to a point of fullness that satisfies on all levels. My experience is that we crave sugar when we are not getting enough protein. When we are well fed and nourished with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need, the cravings naturally subside and we don’t have to fight them off. Many people do not realize that their diet is out of balance. Everything changes once they discover how great that equanimity feels. Even going off refined sugar for just one week will change your tastebuds and I think you will find that not only has sugar become ‘too sweet’, you’ll realize how bad you feel after eating it and won’t want it back in your diet.
If you are worried about how successful you’ll be on your own, I have a suggestion for you.
This July, I am co-hosting a weekend retreat called Living Long and Healthy, at Omega Retreat Center in Rhinebeck, NY with age-defying raw vegan chef and author, Mimi Kirk. During the weekend, you’ll learn how to choose high-quality foods that will stop unhealthy food addictions and then prepare delicious nutrient-dense plant-based raw foods and juices, in addition to daily yoga sessions with me. – See more at: http://www.eomega.org/workshops/living-long-healthy?source=Fweb.RumbD.ws#-workshop-description-block
You will have a weekend removed from your usual surroundings (and usual temptations), with me and Mimi right there to answer your questions and support you. By the end of the weekend, sugar will already begin to taste too sweet.
In the meantime, I have a fun suggestion for chocolate lovers, to help wean you off of milk chocolate. DARK chocolate. As I decreased my sugar intake, I began to find that milk chocolate was too sweet. Today, 85% dark chocolate is a huge treat for me! It’s just the right amount of sweet, is loaded with deep rich chocolate flavor and doesn’t leave me with the jitters.
I think that getting your sweet tooth satisfaction in healthier ways is the key along with getting enough protein, either vegan, vegetarian or animal sources. If you go back to it, it is highly likely that it will be sickening sweet and you won’t feel good after eating it.
Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups fine cashew flour (made from cashew pieces)
1 1/3 cups oat flour (made from rolled oats)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tb. coconut sugar
1 T vanilla
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 of an 85% dark chocolate bar, cut into small chunks (I like Green and Black’s)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Make cashew flour by blending 1 cup of cashews in a high speed blender. Do not over blend as it becomes cashew butter. It is better to take some out and put it back in the blender to reblend all the pieces.
- Blend oats in high speed blender to make them into a flour.
- Place flours in a bowl and mix in chocolate chunks and chopped nuts. Mix to combine.
- Form into balls, roll and squeeze in your hand to shape cookies. Press a few extra chocolate chunks and nuts into the tops of the cookies.
- Place balls on a non-stick dehydrator sheet until all mixture is used up and press down on cookie ball with the palm of your hand to shape it.
- Dehydrate 12 hours or overnight at 118 degrees OR bake on a cookie sheet in the oven at the lowest temperature for 30 min. Taste to see if they are the texture you like.
- Store in refrigerator