Quitting sugar to improve health is not easy. Sugar has drug withdrawal symptoms. They vary in nature and degree from person to person, but there are few tricks to handle this.
- QUIT FOR GOOD
The headaches, jitters, nausea and mind fog might disrupt life for a day or two, but stay strong. Effects of tiniest portions while giving up are enough to hook you up again. So when you try to quit again, it will be as same as starting over. Hence, once you quit, quit for good. Tomorrow will be easier.
- THROW AWAY THE STASH
There is an urge in the initial days to trick yourself (like a drug addict) into consuming hidden sugars (like a ragi biscuit). Clear everything that has sugar as an ingredient.
- EAT THE RIGHT FOODS
A large part of modern diet intake comes from direct and indirect sugars. When you cut sugars, you create a deficit in terms of feeling full. You need to stay full with the right kinds of foods to avoid cravings. Consume a lot of green vegetables. We need about 500g of vegetables to get enough potassium (crucial for energy generation), vitamins and micronutrients. Also consume healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats will include nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut products, dairy fats and few oils (extra virgin olive, coconut, sesame etc).
- KEEP BEST SNACKS HANDY
You need to have healthy snacks ready with you to fight hunger pangs. Best savory snacks will be kale chips with hummus or sprouts or vegetables with hummus dip. If you are craving sweets, it’s best to snack on seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, watermelon, hemp etc or simply a kale/spinach/beet greens smoothie. If you are feeling hungry in general, keep a batch of unsweetened peanut butter and almond butter ready.
- BE READY TO FIGHT JITTERS AND HEADACHES
Just like a hard drug, giving up sugar stresses you and gives you jitters. Do everything that relaxes you. Take a walk in the morning and evening, or try breathing exercises in the morning and evenings. You should also use ashwagandha root powder (5g once a day) which will bring you peace and consume apple cider vinegar (10ml in water once a day). Apple cider vinegar will ensure you get faster energy from the food you eat. When you will get sustained energy, you will hardly crave for sugar.
- UNFOCUS TO FOCUS
Engage in activities that make you happy. Meeting friends, watching movies, jogging or working on something creative will help. Herbal teas (lavender, lemongrass or chamomile) are helpful, so are essential oils for massage, or in a diffuser lamp.
- GET ENOUGH REST
We absorb most nutrients in our deep sleep when the digestion is maximum. Lack of sleep can result in hunger pangs, high stress and general debility. Stress also stimulates hunger. You need to take your sleep seriously. If unable to sleep, herbal teas, stretching and essential oils will help.
- AVOID FOODS WHICH WILL
MAKE YOU HUNGRY
It is crucial initially to not consume too much of grains, caffeine, dairy, or processed foods. Those are known to stimulate hunger. Having fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, kombucha will be best to improve gut health and increase absorption of nutrients, thus making you feel full.
- TAKE UP STEVIA
Take up stevia to cook your occasional desserts. As stevia is a herb with sugar-like taste with no ill effects, it is the perfect replacement.
It is extremely important to find people on a similar journey or those who have been successful on this path. They will give you a sense of confidence and support.
Author: Udit Gupta