The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was told (by my doctor) to stop eating sugar immediately, because sugar feeds cancer.
My 3pm visit to the charity chocolate box was probably the most predictable part of my daily routine in my days in the corporate world. It’s pretty hard not to reach for a Caramel or Freddo when sugar cravings kick in and they’re staring at you, right?
That all changed with my cancer diagnosis though. I wasn’t going to do anything that may compromise my health, so I went cold turkey on the processed white stuff. It didn’t mean missing out on an afternoon treat, it just meant coming to work prepared with a healthier option than Caramello Koala or Freddo Frog.
I was amazed at how much better I felt once the sugar craving passed. As my skin became clearer and I started to feel more energized, I realised that how I feel and look is a direct result of what I put in my body. I enjoy the flavours of other food more as my taste buds have changed.
I’m not one to shy away from dessert on special occasions – I believe in a little bit of indulgence as an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 10 things that have helped me kick the sugar habit that I hope might help you…
- Get a good night’s sleep
When we are tired our eating habits (and many other areas of our lives) become unstuck.
Exercise helps us get a good night’s sleep and I find I’m more conscious of the food I eat when I have a regular exercise routine
- Eat nutrient dense whole foods
Focus on the good food you’re adding in rather than what you’re cutting out (this is called “crowding out theory”). When you eat more of the good, stuff you “crowd out” and crave less of the bad stuff.
- Incorporate good quality fat and protein with each meal
This way you are less likely to feel hungry between meals
- Choose foods that are naturally sweet
Berries, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, almonds and cashews, for example, are full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Spice up your life
Spices that reduce blood sugar levels are a great way to add flavour to sweet and savoury dishes and reduce sugar cravings. I love cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander.
- Have a healthy stash on standby
Preparation is key to avoiding bad decisions when sugar cravings kick in. I love:- Veggie sticks with hummus or pesto
– Hot chocolate – the healthy way my ‘Light My Fire’ premium sugar free hot chocolate mix is a delicious, warm, satisfying, guilt free drink you can reach for when the 3pm sugar craving hits.
– Nuts roasted with coconut oil, spices and a sprinkle of sea salt. My “Walking On Sunshine” organic turmeric spice mix is perfect for this.
Often we think we we’re hungry when in fact we are dehydrated, so try reaching for water first and see if you’re still hungry in 20 minutes.
- Meditate and check in with yourself
Often we turn to food for emotional reasons. I find that having a daily meditation routine is a great way of checking in with myself and brings greater awareness and clarity to the decisions I make.
- Find something else to do
Go for a walk around the block, stretch, meditate, or phone a friend – what are friends for, hey?
This article was originally published in Accenture Australia and New Zealand’s employee e-newsletter ‘Greater You’.
This blog post is based on my own personal experience and beliefs and what I do may not be right for everybody. I encourage anyone with health concerns to seek advice from healthcare professionals and do your own research too.