Do you crave sugar and sweets?
Well you are not alone. This is an oh so common challenge in our lives. In fact, it is thought to be the number one reason people “fall off the wagon” with the food they choose to eat.
Let’s talk about what drives these cravings. Here are eight of them however there are many more.
- Yeast infections. Yeast is chemically capable of making us crave sugar to feed itself. So, if we want these pesky infections to go away, we need to stop feeding them. That means 100% elimination of sugars/sweeteners, fruit juice, alcohol and anything made with flour. I know it’s tough, however it is critical.
- Insulin resistance.These cravings can result from both high or low insulin levels.
- Low serotonin. Not everyone has reduced serotonin levels however if we are on the oral contraceptive (OCP) , which results in a low vitamin B6, or an SSRI (type of anti-depressant) medication, we might struggle with controlling that impulse and surrender to these cravings.
- An absence in our lives. Of rest, calm, acceptance, comfort, sleep, refuelling, affection or a stimulating job can trigger cravings.
- Omega-3 fatty acids deficiency.
- Alcohol intake or withdrawal.
- Hypothyroid state.
If you suffer from sugar cravings try these tips:
- Eating more protein will help balance out blood sugar which will reduce cravings.
- Consuming more healthy fats found commonly in a Mediterranean diet will help you kick sugar addiction.
- Eating more fibre helps you stay full for longer, supports detoxification and can reduce candida or yeast symptoms in your body. Aim for 35-40 grams a day. Fibre is also important in helping with many other health issues common today. e.g. high blood pressure, constipation, heart disease and diabetes.
- Enjoying more sour or probiotic foods such as plain yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and apple cider vinegar can decrease sugar cravings.
So dear friends, if this is you, we are here to help.
Have you heard of Salutogenesis?
It means the Origin of Health and was newly added to the Merriam and Webster Dictionary in 2019.
You may be more familiar with the term Pathogenesis which means the Origin of Disease.
Isn’t it interesting to see terminology we are more familiar with in our current disease (health) care model?!
At Braid Health we are passionate about maintenance of health, prevention of disease and where possible reversing a condition (eg type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, acid reflux disease to name a few).
In keeping with the Good Gut Health theme, let’s start at the top with what fundamental part of digestion starts in the mouth, and get a little more familiar with the workings of the stomach, including acid-reflux, Vitamin B12 and mineral absorption.
Sit down to eat: Sitting down and taking several deep breaths before starting a meal encourages the parasympathetic nervous system (Rest and Digest) to kick in, readying the digestive system to receive nourishment and digest it well.
Mouth: Chew chew chew!
You may have heard me say this in a workshop – our mouth is the only part of our digestive system that has teeth. It is vital for good digestion to chew solids well so they are a liquid before swallowing them. This also stimulates the mouth to release a digestive enzyme, salivary amylase, which starts to break down carbohydrates in the food.
If you feel stressed, don’t eat! The Sympathetic Nervous System (fight and flight) is activated and blood flow is diverted away from the digestive system.
Embracing good Eating Hygiene is a great start to improve digestion.
- Sit down to eat
- Take a few deep breaths before eating
- Chew chew chew
- Hydrate mainly between meals, not at mealtime
- Cherish the time spent with others/gratitude for the meal
- Check the bowl – undigested food can be very obvious!
What happens in the stomach?
Not a single one of the trillions of cells in our body can be nourished and function properly if the digestive system is malfunctioning.
In the stomach, proteins are broken down to their constituent parts, amino acids, and minerals are unbound from proteins. The minerals that depend on adequate stomach acid include zinc, iron and magnesium. If someone has inadequate stomach acid, this can show up on standard blood tests reflecting a lack of these minerals. Vitamin B12 also requires sufficient stomach acid for it’s binding factor to be released. B12 is essential for a wide wide range of functions in the body including detoxification, circulation, nerve health and energy.
Reasons why someone might have insufficient stomach acid include:
- Taking acid suppressing medications eg Nexium, Rennies, Mylanta
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Nicotine (smoking)
- Diabetes medications eg Metformin
The common condition acid reflux has many common causes including:
- Medications eg birth control pills, NSAIDs (Nurofen)
- Proton Pump Inhibitors eg Nexium (These cause low stomach acid and magnesium deficiency)
- Magnesium deficiency
- Helicobacter pylori (stomach bacteria) overgrowth
- Food sensitivities
Antacid medications eg Rennies are treating the symptom not the root cause. Long term use of antacids makes stomach acid reflux worse!
I’m always curious as to how I can easily improve my health, and I know one of the most powerful ways to improve health is by choosing what to eat. I know variety is the spice of life and that includes a wide variety of vegetables. So we eat on average 21 meals in 7 days (unless you’re intermittent fasting….more on that in another post) and I want to review the current variety of vegetables I eat in an average week and see if I fall short of 21 different vegetables. So here goes
- Baby spinach
- Sweet potato
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Snow peas
So I’ve listed my most common vegetables that I would purchase on an average week (mainly organic) and I’m eating two thirds of the concept of 21 different vegetables in a week! This makes me think what can I add to improve this variety. Here goes:
- Asparagus (although seasonal)
- Spring onion
- Bean sprouts
- Bok choy
So if you have a think about your usual favourite vegetables you buy/grow on a weekly basis, are you getting close to a variety of 21 vegetables? What extra/different veggies might you add to your weekly shop to increase the variety?
And why is it recommended to have a wide variety of vegetables in our nutritional intake?
Well each different vegetable provides different nutritional benefits to us, so to optimise our cellular needs through what we eat, we need a good variety of vegetables on a regular basis.