Sugar, it really seems to be everywhere that you look. Not only in the obvious things like cakes, biscuits, sweets and soft drinks, but sneaking in to lots of the other foods that we buy in the supermarket, particularly those that are low fat or processed. More and more research is showing that sugar could be the reason behind the obesity epidemic in the West and an major part of many chronic illnesses, from diabetes to heart disease.
I often advise patients to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets, particularly some of the ladies that are looking for acupuncture to help support them when they are trying to get pregnant. It can be hard, very hard and an ongoing process – I know, I’ve tried it myself. So here are some of the tips that I can recommend to help you to cut sugar out of your diet.
1. Add More Of What You Can Eat
When we are looking at cutting something out of our diets it then seems to be everywhere! Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat make sure you are looking for the healthy options and things that you can enjoy. Add lots of vegetables to your meals, to help you fill up for longer, and the less refined sugar you have the more you will notice the natural sweetness of some of the vegetables. Add lots of healthy proteins like fish and beans/legumes.
2. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you are drinking enough water in your day – sometimes it is thirst not hunger that is triggering that urge that you satisfy with a sweet snack. Try carrying a glass or steel water bottle with you (more on why not plastic in a post to come) so that it is handy and with you all the day. Need a replacement for sugary soft drinks? Try natural sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.
3. Plan Ahead
Often the best laid intentions go astray when you are out and about and there is nothing but sugary treats available. It’s a good idea to plan ahead for where you might be and what you might be doing. I always keep a small bag or container of nuts with me – so that there is always a sugar free option available.
4. Deal With Your Stress
Another common trigger for many people is stress. It might a busy day at work, having to deal with a particularly horrible customer or colleague or just being tired at the end of a long day dealing with the kids. Acupuncture is great at helping to relax you and balance your body so that you are better able to handle the day to day stresses of life. Make sure you are including enough time in your week for time for you self – a walk, to read a book or relax in the bath for 30 minutes interruption free. Just some ways that you can keep that balance and reduce the need to reach for the sugary treat.
5. Go Online
Sometimes just saying you are going to cut out sugar is easy but the actually doing is what is difficult.There are lots of fantastic online resources that provide more help and support on how to go about this.
I’ve found the I Quit Sugar E-Book (also a ‘real’ book) by Sarah Wilson has really helped me. It is a 8 week program that you can follow to gradually reduce and then cut out sugar, with lots of great recipes and suggestions to get you through.
She has also started a new website iquitsugar.com with even more tips and recipes and also where you can sign up for an 8 week online program to connect with others that are quitting sugar at the same time.
Another great website, here in the UK is by Laura Thomas at happysugarhabits. I recommend signing up to her mailing list to receive her e-book and weekly tips and suggestions that can help. She also has some great recipes on her website that look fantastic.
As always if you have any questions or would like to know more – please get in touch.