Many call this time of the year the Annual Downhill Slide. "It all starts with Halloween!" we say. We dig our favorite childhood candies out of the kids' Halloween bags. We adore spicy (read:sugary) lattes and nogs. Holiday candies and treats are lined up in every office, gathering, and holiday themed get togethers. Everywhere we turn, there is a sweet something made of sugar calling our name!
Now, tell me. How often during the holidays do you experience emotional upheaval, illness, weight gain, and sluggish energy? Lack of sunlight and fresh air, high stress, and poor sleep all contribute to low health swings. Arguably, sugar can be named the number one culprit for undesirable health issues. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, added has a strong association with suffering depression.
We love sweets, treats, and celebration just like the next person, but want to encourage our community to limit sugar intake over the next couple months so that they feel energized, healthy, and full of joy for all this special season offers.
Fresh nutmeg, a natural aphrodisiac and anti-depressant, is delicious in black coffee, oatmeal, and warmed milk. Lower blood sugar with cinnamon. Dust it on apples, toast, and add it to any sweet or savory dish for extra kick. Ginger stops sugar cravings in its tracks and helps digestion, especially in the cooler months. Boil fresh ginger in water for a spicy and satisfying tea.
Hydration is at the top of almost every health list out there. Dehydration leads to unhealthy cravings, especially sugary ones. If you know you are headed out to an event that will have a lot of sugary treats, drink 32 ounces before you go to limit your likelihood of losing control. Drink 20 ounces every morning when you wake!
Add natural sweetness to your diet while reducing all at once. Carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, garlic, burdock, etc... all nourish your body while making you feel grounded, satisfied, and way less likely to hit the dessert table.
Just like mama said, right?! Seriously, eating breakfast will help stabilize your blood sugar while preventing late afternoon sweet cravings. Breakfast helps heighten our energy throughout the day, making us less likely to have the post lunch energy slump which is when we are way more likely to say yes to the office cookie tray we avoided all morning long. For best results, have a low glycemic, high protein breakfast.
Eat sugary treats on the days that have "T" in them. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Knowing that you can have treats on certain days may help you feel less deprived and more in control. Having sugary drinks and desserts daily is what gets us in big trouble. If we simply take more days off then on with our indulgences, we are way more likely to stay balanced.
Sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking we are not having a lot of sugar when we aren't having dessert. We need to also be diligent about how drinks, energy bars, muffins, yogurts, and snacks. Most processed foods are loaded with extra sugar. Holiday coffees and chai steams, the same. Don't let your low sugar plans get ruined by added sugar in all your drinks and snacks!
If you are serious about staying on track with your health this season, then get your support team together! Get an accountability buddy to help you both stay healthy and leaner over the holiday season. Set goals together and connect daily via text, snapchat, email, face-to-face, or the good old telephone.
Roasted nuts, spiced and dried fruits, granola, and spicy teas are all fun alternatives to cakes and candies. Making aromatic bath salts, candles, and oranges with cloves are also fun ways to give the senses a treat while avoiding yet another sugar snack! We recommend the Salted Carmel Indulgence for the ultimate treat! But, adding warm cocoa butter onto any massage will do the trick for sure!
Exercise, fresh air, sweating, and being with other people are also great ways to stop sugar cravings in their tracks. Exercise releases endorphins which make happy! Often we reach for sugar treats when we want a quick happy feeling.
Most sugar binges occur when we are overtired, stressed, and need quick energy. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of restorative sleep a night to prevent the need to run to Starbucks for an eggnog latte or chocolate covered espresso beans.