Saturday, August 28, 2010
Pushing the "Reset" Button on my Cravings
I've had several people ask me if I REALLY (like for reals??) don't crave sweets anymore. And I can understand their skepticism! Anyone who knows me personally knows that I L-O-V-E sugar.
My nickname is D.Q. for goodness sake (b/c of the affinity that I had for DQ Blizzards!!) My two biggest weaknesses were Krispy Kreme donuts and Dairy Queen Blizzards.
So it doesn't bother me that my friends are a bit skeptical of my claims - I think I would be too if it were someone else claiming that they honestly didn't crave sugar anymore. A month ago, I thought it wasn't possible!
I've tried to kick my cravings about a million times before. I've done everything from just trying to ignore them (epic FAIL), to going on a month-long protein drink diet that was supposed to extinguish cravings (yeah, don't ask. . . how is consuming nothing but sweet protien shakes for a month going to help you get over sugar cravings?? What was I thinking?)
I've gone "mostly" Paleo for long stretches of time in the past (up to 6 months), but each of those times, I still had to fight my cravings regularly which never failed to put me in a bad mood. I enjoyed the healthy foods that I was eating, but I still craved sugar daily and it was a constant battle within my head to refrain from eating it.
So what did I do differently this time? I followed the Whole30's instructions not to try to "paleo-fy" Non-Paleo foods - No "Paleo Ice Cream", "Paleo Pancakes", "Paleo Pudding", etc.
In other words, No Fakes!
In the past when I've done my stints of eating Paleo, I'd find ways to paleo-fy EVERYTHING. One of my favorite snacks was raw honey, almond butter, and cocoa powder heated for a few secs and stirred together. While those ingredients were technically "Paleo" (although not Whole30 approved), the combination of them effectively created a dessert. So any time that I'd crave sugar, I'd whip up one of these snacks. I always craved dessert after dinner, so I'd end up eating one (or. . gulp . . two) of these snacks just about every single night. I also stumbled across the "So Delicious" Coconut Ice Cream in the myriad of flavors, and justified to myself that the ingredients were 99% Paleo, so this stuff was okay . . and I'd crack out a few times a month by eating half a pint (or sometimes a full pint) of the stuff. . . yeah, that didn't do much to kill my sugar cravings either!
I'd found recipes for coconut macaroon cookies that used a crap-ton of Agave Nectar or Raw Honey. . . and I'd found recipes for cookies and puddings. All using technically "Paleo" ingredients. . . but essentially just junk food.
Additionally, I didn't cut artificial sweetners (Splenda, Truvia) out of my diet. So I would sprinkle them on everything. I'd put 2-3 packets in my coffee in the morning for a sweet treat. I'd sprinkle them on grapefruit, and even on sweet potatoes (like they're not already sweet enough!!)
So every time that my sugar craving would kick in, I'd answer it with exactly what it wanted - Sugar (or fake sugar). Even if it was from more natural sources - it was still crap!
This time around, I did not Paleo-Fy a single thing. I used no artificial sweetners, honey, or agave nectar. I avoided even "good" foods that I knew might start up a craving. One example of this is fruit.
I know that fruit is good for us, and am not going to sit here and suggest that anyone cut fruit entirely out of their diets. But for me personally, I have chosen to significantly cut back my fruit intake during the Whole30, and will continue to do so after experiencing the results. I only eat fruit once a day, and it's almost always in the morning with my breakfast (usually berries). I also avoid super sweet fruits like pineapples, mangoes, and melons because I've learned from experience that these tend to kick off a rampid sugar craving. I eat a piece of pineapple, and start craving a krispy kreme donut. . go figure!
Of course I understand that not everyone's body reacts the way mine does to fruit, so if you're able to eat it without having it send you on a sugar binge, than great!
I think it's a combination of all of these things that have helped me to kick the sugar habit, and I couldn't be happier. I've never been so in touch with my body, and the way it responds to different types of foods - it's really actually kind of cool :)
**Additional Note (added later)**
I realized after posting this that I should mention that I DO plan on allowing myself the very occasional Paleo Treat or piece of pineapple - it's not that I've cut them out of my diet forever and ever amen. But I have been able to finally gain control of my sugar cravings, so I know when I do something that may bring one on, and can brace myself for it :) So I may occasionally eat some pineapple or a Paleo Dessert (the key word here being occasionally - as in not often), but I will do so knowing that it will likely spur a small sugar craving - and I'll be prepared for it!
Posted by Christie at 9:16 AM