We all agree that sugar is bad for us, but no matter how much we know this in our head, sometimes our body thinks otherwise.
Why is it that so many of us crave something that is destroying our health? And what can we do about it?
Why You Crave Sugar
After the birth of my fourth child, I developed the habit of visiting my baking cupboard…a lot. Whenever I felt overwhelmed I’d walk by and grab a handful of chocolate chips. It became a coping mechanism for me. The chocolate chips made me feel good for a moment, but ultimately it led to craving more sugar and feeling exhausted.
The reasons why we crave sugar are complex, but ultimately sugar cravings are a signal. Signals are good. I think we need to listen to our bodies more and respect our bodies for being absolutely amazing.
But, in this case our body gives us a signal that something is lacking and we interpret it as, “I need something sweet!” Craving sugar is usually the result of poor gut health and nutritional or mineral deficiencies. We crave sugar because we eat too much sugar. And around and around it goes.
The cycle CAN be broken. You can be well nourished, full of energy and begin craving healthy foods.
The solution does not involve having more will-power or extreme dieting. In fact, the solution is rather enjoyable…I think. The solution is to eat more cultured foods. Cultured foods provide an immediate fix for your sweet tooth and the long-term effect of reducing sugar cravings and repairing gut health.
How Fermented Foods Can Help
Fermented foods provide good bacteria and lactic acid. Lactic acid is great. It helps to create an environment in your gut that is more resistant to harmful bacteria. Lactic acid is also food for the beneficial bacteria.
More Good Stuff
Fermentation is the only food preservation method that makes your food healthier. Fermenting foods actually increases their nutritional value. This can help you in the long run because being well nourished results in less sugar cravings.
Satisfy Sweet with Sour
Cultured foods may even be able to satisfy a sweet tooth on the spot. Some people think that the sour flavor of fermented foods helps to counteract the craving for sweet. So, there you go! Eating something fermented is going to help you now and later.
What You Can Do
Forgive yourself & be good to yourself.
It’s completely understandable and expected that you crave sugar. Nearly every supermarket food contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup. We’re addicted. I use to tell myself that I’d always have a weakness for sweets. I’d think, “we all have our things, mine is sugar.” But that’s not true, cravings DO decrease with improved nutrition. And cravings are dramatically diminished with the addition of cultured foods into the diet.
Replace instead of restrict.
Slowly begin finding alternatives. Kefir soda is a great substitute for your favorite soft drink. Frozen yogurt can satisfy ice cream cravings. You’ll find your own favorite substitutes just by playing around. I make a peanut butter, banana & yogurt smoothie when I want a chocolate milkshake. I’m not entirely sure why but, it works like a charm.
Have a sweet, but eat something fermented with it.
That’s right. If you really want that chocolate truffle, do it. Then have some Kefir or yogurt too. The author of The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates says “If you do give in to the temptation of sugar, consider having fermented foods and drinks along with them. The healthy micro-flora in fermented foods and beverages will use the sugar as its food, reducing the negative effects on your body.”
Eat something on this chart.
Most fermented foods are pretty simple to make yourself. You can also just go down to your local health food store and buy something you’ve really wanted to try. Print out the chart below for a great reminder to eat cultured!