I was recently interviewed about my healthy lifestyle for a friend’s upcoming book. She asked a slew of interesting questions that really got me thinking about this path I’ve chosen, where I’ve been and how I ended up doing my best to embrace healthy practices in my everyday life. One of her many questions was:
“What is the craving that you have the most?”
“Ice cream. If I buy a pint of it, it will be gone in four hours. But thinking about it now….I don’t remember the last time I did that. Yeah….I think it’s definitely been a while since that has happened. I think I have finally trained my taste buds”
Fast forward to Saturday night when it hit me. It wasn’t that I had overcome the craving for sugar it was just that it hadn’t happened in a while. Suddenly, I wanted ice cream and I wanted it bad. I called my boyfriend. “I think I need ice cream.” He paused, amusement coming from his silence. “Okaaaay,” he said slowly. “Lets go get some.”
So off we went to the grocery store where I picked up the go-to I’m Having an Intense Sweet Craving ice cream of all time: Ben & Jerry’s Pfish Food. “That,” said Greg reading the description, “sounds disgusting.” I beamed.
I purchased the ice cream and once I got in the car I said, “I should have brought a spoon.” Greg proudly produced a plastic spoon out of his glove compartment. He’s a camper, always prepared. I opened the carton and dug in.
Okay, how familiar is this story to you? Cravings for sugar are large and seemingly in charge of what we snack on. And many of the women I speak to tell me about the, “I can’t help myself” syndrome that they experience when they want their favorite sweet treat. Are there ways to work around these specific cravings? My answer for you is: Yes! Of COURSE there are!
Here are 3 things I could have done on Saturday night to curb the craving for the sugar.
Better idea #1. Drink water and find a piece of fruit to eat, stat.
Cravings can be the result of eating a lot of the food that is the opposite of your craving. So if you are eating foods with much salt, your body will look for the sensation of sweet to balance it out. The body is crazily efficient in that way. That morning in particular I had taken a bikram yoga class and eaten an especially salty version of my avocado toast. Thirsty and salted up to boot. I could have reached for the water and a banana downstairs before I went nuts and drove like a madwoman to the grocery store. Alas, I did not.
Better idea #2. Make a banana/spinach/avocado smoothie at home – Recipe and visual tutorial included!
Sounds – weird? Here’s the breakdown. The banana adds sweetness, the avocado adds creaminess and the spinach adds micronutrients and fiber. The ice and cold almond milk cool off the mixture to make an overall combination of sweet, smooth, creamy and cold, ice cream substitute. To make your own at home, follow this simple recipe
-1 banana, 1/2 an avocado, a handful of spinach or another mild green (romaine lettuce?), almond milk and 6 cubes of ice. Put in the blender. Blend. Here’s what that process looks like:
What it looks like when blended up. So green!
Time to enjoy!
Better idea #3. Find an alternative to ice cream.
If you really just want/need/will kill someone if you can’t get it (ahem), then here is your best bet. Ciao Bella is a company that produces the yummiest sorbets on the planet and are vegan to boot. The flavors range from Blood Orange to Mango to the delicious pictured below Coconut. Not to mention the ingredient list for this gorgeous little pint is as follows: Coconut cream, water, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Tapioca Syrup and Pectin. A bit sugary? Perhaps. But compare it to the alternative and you are clearly making a better choice while curbing the craving.
“So Patricia,” you say. “If you know all of these things, why didn’t you actually DO any of them?” Good question. I have experienced MANY cravings my entire life such as Reese’s peanut butter cups, chips ahoy cookies, quarter pounders with cheese, brownies (and the batter), Milky Way bars, Coca Cola. I could go on but the point is that through the training of new habits like those outlined above, I have managed to show my taste buds a new way of craving. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about using new techniques to drop them once and for all. Sure I want ice cream every now and then. I’m human. Oh, and on that awareness thing? Here is the 2nd half of that Saturday night ice cream story. Right before I dug into the pint, I said to myself, “Okay. I am going to eat this really slowly and really taste what it is I have chosen to eat.” So I ate and noticed the sweet chocolate bits, the swirly caramel and the marshmallow fluff. I took super close notice of each bite and focused as I experiences the (ubersweet) tastes that flooded my mouth. Usually in those situations, we can find ourselves in a mindless gorge until the sugar begins to run through our veins and we feel a reaction. Usually not a good one. Pretty sick, right? Once I reminded myself to became aware of how it tasted while I was actually eating it, I was able to feel satisfied with what I did eat and STOP MYSELF before I went into a full sugar coma. I tossed the 2nd half of the pint in the garbage because I was done. I had tasted what I came to taste and it was over much faster than usual. Next time it happens, I am that much more prepared to deal with it.
Do you have sugar cravings? What do you do when you find yourself in a full-fledged sugar seek? Do you have any methods to avoid them? Post your experiences below and let us know what it is you do!
Until next time,
**If sugar cravings are making you batty, there may be other solutions to your specific situation that you have not yet considered. Contact me to schedule a free, 50-minute Health Consultation to learn about a 6 month program that will help you gain control over your cravings once and for all.