Sugar is a primary life source, and our bodies require it for energy. The body responds quickly to sugar as a fast-acting fuel. Complex sugars in whole foods offer a balanced response to sustaining our blood sugar as they are most often nutrient-rich, and the energy is obtained by breaking down these foods in our digestive process. Refined sugar is unnatural, and gets used quickly in the body as an efficient boost when we need it most, so sometimes it comes in handy. However, the more we count on it, the more our body craves and depends on it. Sugar also triggers the pleasure hormone, dopamine, which leaves us reaching for more as part of our reward and pleasure system.
While cravings can mean many things—including the need to strengthen the adrenal system, monthly hormonal changes, food sensitivities, etc.—cravings are also directly affected by our diet and lifestyle habits. When our blood sugar is low from lack of carbohydrates, protein or fat (the energy-producing nutrients, we crave sugar to keep ourselves going. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sugar cravings are seen as a a sign of an underlying deficiency.
Traditionally nourishing and building foods like rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, dates, etc. are all sweet in flavor, but also healing and full of substantial nutritional value.
Not only will this support a healthy endocrine (hormonal) system, it takes away the need for sugar to to keep us going. Eat several small meals or snacks throughout the day, starting with protein for breakfast. Snack often on mineral- and nutrient-dense foods like nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, avocados, goji berries. Or, snack on foods that contain natural sources of sugar like carrots or bananas, which balance healthy blood sugar over an extended period instead of causing the sharp spike that refined sugar provides.
The flavors of sweet, umami, and sometimes salt flavors indicate pleasurable tasting notes, are often the flavors that we first prefer as children and then later into our lives. Sour and bitter serve as warning signals for acidity or potential toxins, making our bodies challenge them digestively. It has been well-researched that these flavors can block the receptors in the brain that are craving sugar and excitement. The research out there indicates that
So not only do you absorb your food and nutrients better by including bitters in your diet before meals, you can use them during times of sugar cravings to support and soothe.
All of our bitter formulas will support sugar cravings and can be powerful support agents throughout the day. If you are new to using bitters, the Maple Bitters are helpful as they contain a small amount of real maple syrup. You get the effect of the bitters herbs, with a tad of sweetness to satisfy the need for sugar.
For an alcohol-free option, try our Apple Cider Vinegar Bitters.
Enjoy approximately ¼ teaspoon (1.2 mL) of our bitters before or after meals– or to curb a sugar craving—up to 6 times daily if needed!
Instead of treating yourself to sweets as a way to receive pleasure, retrain your brain to reconnect with other pleasure-inducing habits. Often we reach for sweets when we’re overtired, overworked, stressed, lonely, or bored. Make a list of all the things that bring you happiness and increase endorphins, such as favorite exercises, people you love spending time with, happy places, or meditation practices. Insufficient stress-reducing activities or rest leave us relying on stimulants throughout the day, which deplete our adrenal vitality and and leave us craving ways to stimulate it.
How much water have you actually had during the day? Most people are chronically dehydrated, leaving their bodies continually searching for something to satisfy that feeling and regenerate our cells.
Are you eating enough of the right things? Fat, protein, the right kind of carbohydrates? Fiber-rich and green foods? These foods are essential to a well-balanced diet, leaving you in less of a deficient place, craving something you aren’t getting. Are you eating too many starchy things or exercising a lot and not getting enough protein or fat?
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