Here are the next 5 ways to break your sugar addiction for good!
6. Make sure you are eating enough vegetables
When you increase the amount of vegetables in your diet you are not only increasing the amount of nutrients and fiber in your diet, you are also decreasing the amount of room for refined sugar and other junk foods! Increased amounts of nutrients and fiber will help regulate your blood sugar and make you much less likely to binge on junk foods. Specifically, vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce all contain the mineral chromium which is important for blood sugar stability (source). Check out my Veggie Loaded Shepherds Pie or Chicken and Chard for some inspiration!
7. Avoid long periods without eating
If you go too long without eating your blood sugar may dip too low and you will start to crave junk food. Instead of eating a balanced meal you will want to grab the first thing you see and devour it (which usually contains sugar). For people with blood sugar issues it is best to eat small meals that are well balanced (containing protein, fat, and carbohydrates) every few hours. If you know you are going to be out of your house for a long time make sure you pack a healthy snack to tide you over!
Some great snacks to pack on the road with you are:
- Pepperoni (good quality)
- A boiled egg or two
- Cut up vegetables (such as carrots, celery, or bell peppers)
- Cut up fruit with some nut butter (such as an apple and almond butter)
- Coconut flakes
- A small handful of nuts or seeds
- Chocolate Goji Energy Balls or Carrot Cake Larabars (if you need some serious energy)
- Power Pemmican (if you are planning on spending 3 days in the forest on a vision quest)
Exercise is very important for hormone stability (ie insulin, sex hormones, and thyroid). Exercise increases insulin sensitivity which means your cells are better able to use insulin to take up glucose during and after exercise (source). Exercise also reduces stress by releasing endorphins. Stress disrupts blood sugar because cortisol (the stress hormone) raises blood sugar! So stress reduction is very important to blood sugar stability, it also helps our your adrenal glands by giving them a break from cortisol production. It is important to remember to not overdo it though. Too much exercise or long periods of intense exercise (for example, a 10k run every day) can actually have the opposite effect and increase cortisol production and raise blood sugar levels! Just keep in mind that there is such thing as ‘too much of a good thing’. I am not saying you should avoid running and cardio, you just shouldn’t do it for long periods every single day (try a few times a week for shorter intervals). Lifting weights and stretching are also great exercises that improve hormone balance. My favorite type of exercise is hiking, which is actually a double-whammy of stress relief because being just being outside in nature is also a great stress reliever.
9. Supplement if necessary
If you are experiencing severe blood sugar issues it may be best to first consult a doctor or a naturopath (ND) before supplementing natural health products. As always, it is best to get your nutrients from whole food sources as opposed to supplements, but supplements can help as well if this is not an option. Herbal remedies are very useful because herbal supplements are still a whole food! Cinnamon is a spice that is often used for blood sugar stability. One great cinnamon supplement is New Chapter Cinnamon Force because they extract all components of the cinnamon and use organic and non-GMO ingredients.
Chromium is another supplement that is often used to help blood sugar issues. You can find supplements for chromium that have been extracted from whole foods such as MegaFood GTF Chromium and New Chapter GTF Chromium Food Complex. In my opinion, these are the best chromium supplements because they have been extracted from whole foods.
Supplementing to support your adrenal glands may also help as some blood sugar issues are due to adrenal issues. Supplements that support the adrenals include vitamin C, B complex (especially B5), and maca powder. Lastly, if you think you may be suffering from candida, a candida cleanse (with appropriate supplements) could help because candida can make you have intense sugar cravings! There are many more supplements that are appropriate for blood sugar stability. If you require more serious supplementation/nutritional therapy, it is best to talk with your ND about what is right for you. Not all supplements will work for everyone!
10. Get adequate sleep and take it easy!
Sleep is also extremely important to hormone balance and blood sugar stability. Without adequate sleep you will crave stimulants as a ‘pick-me-up’ such as coffee, chocolate, sugar, etc. This often ends with eating a chocolate bar or something else that will spike your blood sugar to give you an energy rush. Without proper sleep you have much less willpower to resist junk food!
It is recommended that we get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, but some people (such as myself) need even more than this. Try going to bed early enough that you can wake up naturally without your alarm clock (I usually set a later one still, in case of emergencies). If you must use an alarm clock, try a sunshine alarm clock to help yourself wake up naturally (I like the Philips Wake-Up Light). These alarm clocks slowly become brighter and have gentle sounds accompanied if needed. You will feel much less groggy when waking up to a sunshine alarm clock as opposed to a normal one because it is less of a shock to your system!
If you have problems getting to sleep or waking up in the morning this can be a sign that your body is making too much cortisol (usually due to chronic stress) which also explains some of your blood sugar issues! You can remedy this by avoiding unnecessary stressors such as sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and excessive electronic use (using the computer or TV late at night). Try to shut off your TV and computer at least an hour or two before bed as the light (blue wavelength) because they can suppress your bodies melatonin production which makes you stay awake later. Try using a natural salt lamp or another light that emits orange-wavelength light (such as a candle) as this will not disrupt melatonin production. If you would like to read more on managing cortisol, check out this guide!
Lastly, if you need even more help de-stressing, check out this guide.
Thank you for reading everyone!
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