Carb & Sugar Cravings: Cave In!

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When it comes to crabs & sugars, don’t eliminate… UPGRADE

The question below came to me via Facebook (click here to join me on FaceBook). I love how open she is about her situation and since she is asking a bout a topic so many of us struggle unnecessarily with,  I’m sharing the answer here with you all.
“Hi Joy!  I have tried several times to eat whole foods (or at least much healthier) several times, but I fail because I get these intense cravings for sugar and the complex carbohydrates. I want to change my diet for several reasons.- First, I am a competitive cyclist (locally in Portland) and feel like I don’t reach my potential because of my diet – tired a lot.
– Second, I just had a baby and want him to grow up in a house of healthy food – not processed food. we want to make all his baby food, but that means we need to eat healthier also.
– Finally, I have a really sensitive digestive system that includes a lot of constipation, etc. and I think a change in my diet would help immensely. (I  have a suspicion that i am gluten sensitive)

It is hard for me to cure my cravings for sugars and the pasta/bread like cravings that I have without eating those items. so, I end up failing in the diet shift. I need to find yummy foods that will cure those cravings and fit within the non-processed whole food diet.

Any advice would be really helpful!
Thanks,

Heather”

Heather,
Thank you for being open and sharing your struggles with carb and sugar cravings. You are not alone!  Those are my craving tendencies too.   Notice I say they ARE not they WERE.  Carbs and sugars are a great source of energy and we need them in our diets, so you are completely correct in looking to substitute rather than omit these foods.  What is ideal is to bring more benefits to your body along with the carbs & sugars.  I have lots of easy ways to swap out processed sugars & carbs for whole food versions on THE DELICIOUS REVOLUTION.COM so be sure to go there at check out the blog.  Lets cover a couple for easy ones now and touch a little on the subject of your suspicion about gluten intolerance.

Top 3 suggestions for replacing processed carbs:

  1. Swap out pasta for spiralized squash, summer squash or zucchini . Check out the 5 minute pasta dinner recipe. You can also switch out rice by mincing parsnips to the size of rice in a food processor. Check out this video for making a raw version of rice.
  2. Ditch the morning cereal and eat soaked oat groats. Even cooked oatmeal is a better choice than the sugar and fat loaded carb fest that is found in a typical box of cereal.  Here is an easy recipe using soaked oat groats to make delicious berry bowls.
  3. Bread and crackers can be a little tougher.  Raw Food versions of crackers are delicious and are VERY nutritionally dense, so you don’t need much to satisfy your craving.  I have a great recipe for garlic rosemary crackers that are made with golden flax seeds that are awesome, better than any cracker I’ve tried.  BUT when it comes to bread that can be tricky.  My suggestion is to start out by switching to Ezekiel 4:9 Bread.  It’s made of sprouted grains and has a hearty flavor. My family prefers it toasted.

On the subject of bread, and your suspicion that you may have a gluten intolerance…
Listening to your intuition is very wise!  A couple of the changes we just talked about, getting the pasta, and crackers out of your diet should help.  The Ezekiel bread does have sprouted wheat in it, so it is not gluten free but you may find the use of the whole, sprouted grain does not cause problems.  BUT PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.  My experience was that once I got off breads made with flour, and switched to sprouted breads or raw crackers  I felt much better. There were no stomach pains, less moody, clear skin, and no bags under my eyes. It may be unrelated, but I swear eating floury breads gives me under eye baggage!

I will also ask that you take a look at the post called Pro-Probiotics here on the blog.  Based on what you are saying, you may benefit from a pro-biotic to be sure your have healthy ratios of flora/helpful bacteria in your body.  Some organisms within our bodies THRIVE on carbs & sugar and these “bad guys” (they are not REALY bad, they only cause problems when their numbers are out of control) can be kept in check with a good probiotic. So check that out too.

OK on to sugars…

Top 3 suggestions for eating healthier sweets:

  1. Replace ALL processed sugar products in your house with whole food sweeteners. My top three choices are raw honey, REAL maple syrup, and dried fruits (dates, raisins, etc).  These are the three I use most, nut there are other great choices like stevia an raw agave. I know this may sound extreme, and for some households it is!  So if you need a softer start to your transition get EVERYTHING with high fructose corn syrup out of your house first, then foods with processed sugars, then switch to the whole food sweeteners.
  2. Have sweets around!  Keep a batch of sweeties made from whole food sweeteners around.  At least when you are first transitioning.  That way when the urge strikes you have a healthy treat rather than a candy bar. Mint Cacao brownies or a batch of raw caramel to drizzle over sliced apples or raw hot fudge for bananas or raw ice cream.
  3. Make to-go treats. Have something that is easy to have with you on the go.  I like doing cacao crispies, which is my raw food version of coco puffs.  These chocolate, crunchy clusters make an easy snakc for me and my 21 month old son when we are off to the park.  That way when the ice cream man comes around we still get a sweet treat, but it’s a healthy version.

Those are my top three tips for replacing carbs and sugars with healthier versions.  I suspect this will help with your stomach and constipation issues as well because whole, raw foods, have more liquid, fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that will all serve your body well, in ways that processed foods simply cannot.

And lastly- I respect your commitment to raise your child in a home that has healthy eating habits. Starting now by making your own baby food is fabulous. You may also want to start the little one on green juice & smoothies when he’s ready. Its a great way to get lots of greens into baby’s (AND YOUR) diet. Also keep snack bars and healthy “cookie” options around for him when he’s older.  Try the Maverick Bars, named after my son.

Please keep me posted on your progress. And thank you for tuning in and be sure all of you grab your FREE e-book Breakfasts for a better body by putting your email address in the box on the right side bar of this page.

AND remember, we are all on our own continuum of healthy eating so if you have recipes or pointers that can help others on their path, be generous and share them here in the comments section.  OR if you have a specific subject you are a pro at, contact me and let’s get you featured here so our whole audience can benefit.

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