sugar-coffee

What is right for you? Gradual vs. cold turkey with sugar

Quite often, someone muscles up their fire and motivation to change around sugar and then turns to me and goes OK LAURA, HOW? HOW!!!??

It happens when I meet new friends at co-working spaces, at parties (I know not cool!) and a lot via e-mail from responses to the blog.

What are my options to currently reduce the amount of sugar I stuff my face with?

Should I go cold turkey starting tomorrow or just be gradual with this?

How can I stop this last habit I have snacking on Oreos in the evening after dinner?

How do I avoid succumbing to this ‘healthy cake’ which I’m eating 5 times a week for nothing other than emotional reasons?

How do I reduce my cravings like you did without it being so extreme it doesn’t last?

Is cold turkey a healthy way to do it on both a physical and psychological level?

The confusion

I’m not surprised that you and other people are confused. Different health experts, magazines and articles say different things all the time. I was confused for a long time myself. I read like every perspective on it and got my head thoroughly around all the arguments for both. 

Let alone then working out what to do with fruit, sugar substitutes and the rest of it.

The fear with going gradual is that nothing is going to really happen fast and you’re desperate to change quickly. However cold turkey just feels a bit extreme and you may have even been burnt from previous attempts which have backfired.

I really do appreciate the challenges in trying to work out the best approach, so I’m going to help you weigh it all up and get some key considerations on how YOU should go about your current sugar challenges. 

carrotcake

Pros & cons of each

Let’s get some key points out on the table:

Cold turkey advantages

  • Craving control. It is the quickest way to get physical cravings down. Past 3-5 days, if you’re not going crazy on a natural source of fructose, you will notice a change.
  • Intensive focussed knowledge gain. You learn how much sugar is in different things, become a sugar spotting ninja and are forced to find alternatives to everything. It’s a decent learning curve if you’ve not been on it before.
  • Clear boundaries. Decisions take energy so when you know what you’re doing, you reduce internal stress from ‘should I have that or not?’ type dilemmas.
  • Clear benefit attribution & motivation. Skin suddenly looks amazing and energy is through the roof? It’s extremely obvious that the sugar’s responsible which is helpful to know for future motivation.

Cold turkey disadvantages

  • It’s a ‘diet’. No matter how you cut it, there is restriction. I’ll come onto this later in considerations.
  • It perpetuates ‘all or nothing’ and ‘black or white’ mindsets.
  • Detox symptoms. The more sugar you’re eating, the worse these will be.
  • It’s not very social. Life has to somewhat go on hold if you’re being really strict because preparing, analysing and planning takes time and mental energy.
  • Sustainability. What happens when it ends? This is dangerous territory that requires certain things.  
  • It doesn’t address deeper issues around emotional eating, habits and feelings around sugar. It’s a bit of a quick fix.

Gradual advantages

  • Focussed habit change. Less need for discipline when you adopt a steady habit change strategy.
  • Social life & priorities. You can do everything you normally would but maybe with the odd tweak here and there. You can continue to keep the majority of your focus other on work and life projects.
  • No overwhelm or deprivation feelings. Things feel easy & manageable.
  • Things stick. You reduce sugar in 1-2 places so well, it becomes natural & effortless. You then move onto the next and you really trust these changes.

Gradual disadvantages

  • Sugar cravings can still linger. A relatively high amount of sweetness might still be in your diet so physical cravings can still be a problem.
  • Longer & not as pronounced results. Harder to attribute benefits. More patience and trust in the gradual process is required.
  • Easy to slide with habits. You forget them, lose focus or lose motivation when you’re not seeing much difference and don’t have a structure to follow.  
  • Prioritisation. You need to really know which habits to tackle first which can be hard without the right knowledge.

Now with that lot, you’re possibly even more confused but at least you know all sides of each approach in one go.

food-eating-candy-chocolate (1)

It’s now time to get personal and work out what’s right for YOU…

Personal considerations

I’ve got the benefit of experience here – coaching a ton of people through this change and defining their own cold turkey vs. gradual approach strategy at various points of the go lower sugar process.

To do this, I ask shed loads of questions first, like shed loads.

Questions about your dieting background, questions to help determine the significance of your physical sugar cravings vs. your habits vs. your environment.

Questions to understand what limiting beliefs you have in place and where your personal boundaries are.

Questions to understand why you are currently eating what you do and what makes you tick.

Questions to challenge and call you up on uncomfortable areas that are likely your biggest blockers or the root of emotional eating patterns.  

It’s only after weighing up the answers to all of these questions in one go can I with strong confidence, give someone a sugar lifestyle change strategy that really suits them. This vital information helps me devise prioritised practical recommendations that I know are going to work from all aspects of the holistic approach I use. 

So the bad news is one solution does not fit all and it’s not so black and white.

But the good news is you can do some of this self analysis yourself and use case studies to model traits that you think you align with.

Case study 1: Cold turkey (ish) working well

First let’s look at one of my favourite coaching clients Simon Williams who I met last year in Ibiza! We had to start off gradually as there was, in his own words ‘no way he was going cold turkey on diet drinks’.

Si 2013 Dublin (1)

However I recognised Simon was strong on a mindset front with no dieting history and I knew I could push him a little more on the cravings and nutrition front. We were able to really step up his palate change with a mini adapted detox period (that I framed as a fun challenge) and it worked absolute wonders for him.

Simon got completely in the know with sugar in super quick time (read his full story here), lost quite a bit of weight and improved all his blood results. But the best bit in the end was that he felt that trust with sugary food so he can still have his favourite McFlurry ice cream when he wants it and not worry about spiralling back.

Case study 2: Gradual approach working well

A contrasting example with another more recent client, we uncovered in the first two sessions, the actual sugar was MUCH less significant that she had thought. I’ve written about that too here

Cold turkey sugar type detox programmes not only weren’t working for her, they were perpetuating the real mindset problems that were holding her back from longer term change. Sugar was simply the manifestation of this.

I knew cold turkey was absolutely not the option and we worked much deeper on the diet mentality thought patterns using mindfulness and emotional eating techniques alongside keeping the sugar habits slowly changing in the background so physical cravings were kept in check.

This client in 12 weeks, changed unhealthy thinking patterns that had been dominant for years and years – life changing! Sugar habits shifted gradually without the restriction, trust in social settings could blossom and the emotional yo-yo cycle stopped.

What about you?

As you can see, these are two varied examples. Both had challenges with sugar but the approach required in each was different. If you can identify with either you can start to gauge the approach for you. 

If you can’t, you’re probably wondering, how to I work out what’s right for me?

The best place to start is to evaluate yourself how weak and strong you are in terms of my ANCIENT GREEK TEMPLE!!

Yeah get me – who else uses a Greek Temple in sugar dealings?! ha! See the components of it below….

4-pillars-sugar-reduction

 

But seriously, using this framework starts that all important process of knowing yourself first so you can diagnose a strategy that will get you the quickest most effective results to make you feel healthy, happy and most importantly, in charge.

Simply rate each element of the temple from 1-10 where 1 is weak and 10 is strong. Identify your weaker ones and focus your habit change efforts here.

Know that if your Foundation or Pillar 2 is weak, a cold turkey approach is not to be recommended. If these are stronger then it may well work better for you.

Want to learn more?

There’s obviously a lot more to learn about my legendary Greek temple approach, so if you’re keen to use this as a framework to help you change, make sure you watch my video training on it here

I’m also super excited to say that I’m running my first live webinar THIS WEDNESDAY 10th FEB 2016 at 9pm GMT where I’m going to be going through this approach in more detail.

I’ll be highlighting the most common mistakes I see made in each area and you’ll easily be able to identify where you need to be prioritising YOUR efforts so you can go forth in 2016 knowing you’re doing low sugar in the best way for you :)

There are literally only a few places left now on the webinar so sign up here quickly if you want to make it! See you there!!

 

What are your thoughts on the different approaches? Found something already that works? Have some cold turkey war stories? Please do comment below or ask a question :)

 

Broken heart

How I went from being in love, breaking up and then making friends with sugar

Ever feel like sugar is harder to let go of than your ex?!

You need to read this article I’ve written and had published in The elephant Journal:

Read: Being in love, breaking up and making friends with sugar

If it speaks to you, please feel free to comment below or on social media or of course just e-mail me (laura@happysugarhabits.com). Happy to answer any thoughts or questions.

Laura xx

motivation-girl

Finding sweet freedom: How to reignite your motivation

Who’s well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions or habits have somewhat fallen to the wayside?

Maybe you’re thinking – what’s the point, this is too much effort or it’s too hard.

You set out to change your sugar habits, address the blatant emotional eating and stop this on vs. off sugar insanity once and for all.

But things haven’t been working.

Is it even worth it?

I haven’t even noticed much difference.

Who want’s to really eat less sugar anyway? Maybe I am just a special case and things are too entrenched. I’ve got too much else going on at the moment.

Note all the thoughts that will pop up trying to revert you back, initiate the self sabotage and face plant you back into the carrot cake at lightening speed (or whatever your sugar fix of choice current is).

Well, it’s my job to keep you going and I’m here to remind you why.

I’ve broken this into two parts:

1) Your motivation for lower sugar life

2) Your motivation for a feeling of freedom around sugar & food in general

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Let’s start with the first. Lower sugar life. Why bother?

I’m conscious not to just re-splurge all the sugar bashing stuff out there but it’s worth having the upper hand on sweetness for a number of commonly relayed reasons.

When you don’t eat loads of sugar, you can expect improvements to your immune system, disease risk reduction (especially diabetes), steady energy day to day, better cognitive function & potentially a load of physical stuff like improved skin, a shift in belly fat, weight loss etc. You can read a full 141 reasons here if you want.

Obviously everyone is very different here in terms of what benefits they see, but if you know you’re over-consuming on sweet, you’ve without a doubt got things to gain.

But in my opinion, the real benefits to consider are:

1) The internal peace that you feel day to day where you’re confident that you’re no longer abusing sugar to the detriment of your future health

2) The lack of frustration that it doesn’t cut short all your other healthy efforts (like exercise and other healthy meals)

3) No longer feeling crap about yourself (where you feel guilt at eating too much).

At the same time you crave a lot less so you aren’t constantly exerting willpower and resisting. All these things result in a in a day-to-day reduction of internal stress – the stress we create for ourselves.

Low sugar for your close ones

If you have a family or are hoping for one, then transitioning to a lower sugar lifestyle and changing your habits is obviously going to have a ripple effect on those around you too – especially children and parents (although parents are notably harder due to entrenched habits!).

When you learn low sugar preparation, sugar-free snacking/recipes and healthy shopping until it feels natural and effortless – chances are those around you are likely to pick it up too.

For me, gently influencing my parents towards lower sugar lifestyle was, and still is, super important to me because of my interest in their long-term health.

I don’t preach but I can get my Mum excited about avocado on toast (instead of marmalade) and highlight some alternative wine gum options to my Dad. Small things can add up.

Getting suitably low sugar savvy in terms of knowledge (without being judgmental with it) is a worthwhile investment, not just for you but everyone around you that is important in your life.

Ok, so what about Part 2 – the feeling of freedom around sugar & food

I’ve had many people say to me, that they vividly remember their Mum or someone significant in their life restricting foods. They usually can recall an exact memory. Our relationship with food starts young, is heavily shaped by our environment and can be complicated to say the least.

For me, I know ‘dieting’ and restriction was happening early on in my life.

My brother used it to get more chocolate biscuits. It went something like this:

Me: *Reach out to get my favourite Orange Club biscuit 

My loving brother: ‘Laura, I thought you weren’t eating Club bars this week – aren’t you on a diet? You don’t want to get fat do you?! Give them all to ME!!’

Sibling rivalry and pride played it’s part – my response usually took the following format:

Me: ‘Yeah I’m in control Paul and sticking to my diet so THERE. I’m not eating the Club bars – you can have them all – you greedy thing!’ …despite desperately wanting one.

However, an hour later I’d be sneaking off out of his view with the Ginger cake, nearly consuming the whole thing. It was surely my sugar shame habits developing in their infancy.

Just to add, my brother Paul is really a lovely guy, but he was something like 8 years old and taunting me as siblings naturally do. I called him a computer geek that was never going to get a girlfriend EVER so fairs fair.

And he’s now very happily married

And I’m very happily off the diet-restriction bandwagon eating Organe Club bars freely if I want to.

Getting the balance right

The fact of the matter is, you can live low sugar life – get all those benefits listed earlier, but a restriction diet mentality around it can be miserable, unbalanced and unhealthy too.

When you strike your own happy medium between these two camps you become truly free. Free of the negative health benefits of too much sugar, free of the guilt around sugar and free of craving it excessively.

You feel fearless in the face of sugar. You trust yourself. It’s calmer.

What do I like the most about this?

Hands down, it’s the mental capacity and emotional awareness.

These are the true benefits for me around my change.

I have more capacity write, to dream, to plan, to play, to travel. I know myself better that I ever did before. Through addressing emotional eating, I increased my emotional intelligence and I am much better at handling myself than previously. Not perfect mind, but better.

Like many woman, there are days when I think I want to lose weight and feel meh, but despite the urges I’ve resigned to never do it in that restrictive way again that drives the unhealthy thought patterns I used to have.

This has forced me to foster self-confidence separate from my body image – a worthwhile but challenging exercise for sure. Body confidence certainly does play into things. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this in the future.

Get motivated: What will you learn and how will you change?

I want you to imagine who you will be when you’re relaxed around sugar but calling the shots, when you’re in tune with your emotions so you can deal with them in other ways that don’t involve chocolate (or any food for that matter). You’ll eat more in line with your hunger and settle at the natural weight for your body.

Yet you go to a party and you do have a slice of the homemade cake guilt free. Maybe one night you do fancy chocolate and again you eat it guilt free, knowing your day-to-day habits are healthy and you’ll never eat sugar like you used to.

Picture things when you inspire others around you to be healthier, be the role model to the children in your life and feel more confident in your body, your day-to-day actions and yourself.

THAT is your motivation my friend. The fire that will make your small daily actions and baby steps stick. So don’t lose motivation, take the action. It’s worth it, I promise.

Share the love

Of course share this with someone who needs a little extra motivation if you want.

Take action

Feeling ready to plan your steps? My 4-part video training will teach you how to get started – you can sign up for free here or to really accelerate your change, check out working with me 1-2-1.

 

 

magnum-sugar-confession

Changing around sugar: 7 common misconceptions to know about

So I’m frequently introducing myself to new people these days and you’d be interested to know the different responses I get.

Sometimes when I say I help people change their relationship with sugar through coaching, I simply get a confession of all sugar sins right there. This tends to be quite fun.

For example, a few Friday’s ago I met a guy who entertained a few of us into hysterics through his triple Magnum Ice Cream-a-day confession and even when into detail about how the Thai shop attendant now knew his favourite flavours and sometimes shook her head on him.

magnum-sugar-confession

On other occasions I get people telling me everything they know about sugar or emotional eating and this is were I’ve started to spot patterns in common misconceptions. I’m really not a know-it-all in social situations type of person and by listening I learn a lot about how people think and perceive sugar.

So here are the 7 most common ones I hear. Be warned, you might spot them too in conversations from now on!

Note: I much prefer light-hearted Magnum banter to ego-based I know this and that type conversations anyway, don’t you?!

Misconception 1: That white bread is ‘full of sugar’

This one is very common. I will try to explain as succinctly as possible. Brown bread is full of sugar. Brown rice is full of sugar. Broccoli is full of sugar.

The sugar? Glucose. Yes, the sugar of life i.e. what gives us energy and keeps us going.

red-lunch-green-knolling

The issue with white refined glucose like a white bagel is that it’s quick releasing glucose that spikes your blood sugar levels, causes excess insulin release (which can lead to metabolic diseases overtime) and leaves your energy levels in tatters.

 

Alternatively, Fructose is a whole different type of sugar and the issues with it are quite different.

It metabolises in your body very differently to glucose and it’s unique in how it plays into your cravings and desire for sweet. Personally, when I refer to sugar, I tend to refer to fructose rather than glucose, thus for the record I don’t class white rice as being ‘full of sugar’ but I understand why some do.

night-rice-rice-cakes

Misconception 2: All natural sugar is healthy

For a start, ‘natural sugar’ can mean different things to different people. Some people would regard honey, stevia or maple syrup as natural but by the time it gets to you on supermarket shelves it’s usually processed to heck, so its ‘natural’ quality is somewhat debatable.

honey-natural-sugar

Also, anything consumed in excess isn’t healthy, so really it’s the quantity that counts. Natural sugars like fruit still contain fructose. An excess of fructose can still be dangerous, even if it’s from 10 bananas. I’m definitely not anti-fruit by any means but an unlimited natural sugar way of thinking can really catch people out.

I’ve written more fully about my thoughts on to fruit or not to fruit before here and also whether dried fruits like dates are a sugar bomb.

Misconception 3: It’s about how much sugar you eat

Holistically health speaking there are people out there who eat more sugar month to month who are far healthier in mind and body than a nearby zero gram sugar-free queen. Really.

No you don’t want to be consuming large amounts of sugar in your diet consistently (or randomly with binges), but when you get down to smaller amounts and your consumption is balanced in line with your values and lifestyle, it’s more about WHY you’re eating sugar in whatever form that’s important and it’s this that is ultimately the measure of your success.

quit-refined-sugar-for-lent

 

Misconception 4: Sugar is evil (or the devil)

I do understand the use of this term, as it’s understandably evil in people’s eyes when they don’t feel they can control it or have had a close one suffer from the adverse effects of too much sugar. It really can be horrible when sugar’s wholly got the one up on you in this sense.

However sugar is just a substance – we are more intelligent humans with consciousness and knowledge of how sugar impacts on our brains which means we can do stuff about it.

We can turn the tables and take charge if we want to and re-learn how to live moderately with sugar in our lives. The whole sugar is evil thing comes from the ‘addictive’ messages which sometimes do more harm than good from a mindset perspective. I recently wrote this on why you need to stop calling yourself a sugar addict. Worth a read.

Misconception 5: All emotional eating of sugar is bad

I know emotional eating is a real stickler with sugar. A real stickler that I am still not fully immune to.

However, often people think banishing emotional eating outright is the answer to all their food, sugar or overeating problems.

For a start, I refrain from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ classes of behaviour, as we are all human after all and this tends to re-enforce an unhealthy black or white mentality.

Start playing with the notion that not all emotional eating is bad, you just need to avoid it becoming your default or norm and be conscious enough to spot recurring habits from emerging. For example, some harmless emotional eating would be consuming your birthday cake once a year (when obviously not physically hungry for it).

Misconception 6: It’s definitively an all or nothing substance

This is one of the trickiest parts with sugar I admit.

I know myself that when I have piece of my Grandma’s soft golden syrup dosed homemade parkin, I’m very likely going to want three more.

This is normal because, yes sugar does have an impact on your dopamine receptors in your brain that make you want more and yes this is hard to control when you’ve developed a tolerance and habit for it.

However, look around at the people you know who do manage to stop at one (my Mum comes into this group).

Does everyone you see have the all or nothing with sugar? No they don’t. If sugar was definitively ‘all or nothing’ then surely with the amount around, the whole human species would have succumbed and everyone would be ‘addicted’.

Ponder that one and consider sugar as ‘all or nothing’ not so definitive.

Misconception 7: You can just go on a sugar detox or read a book and be done with it

A sugar detox plan can shift your taste buds and do great things, but it can have its drawbacks being a ‘diet’ and can work differently for different types of people depending on their history of eating habits.

When I used to run Mentor Me Off Sugar – the sugar detox programme I ran for 6 rounds over a few years, I had a whole section at the start on perfection where I educated participants on just how dangerous sticking to this too rigidly could be. I also actively encouraged participants NOT to stick to my meal plans (& develop their own variations instead).

I basically tried to make it as non-diet like as I possibly could – and there were materials in abundance on emotional eating and mindset.

Most that did the programme properly did exceptionally well, but I still saw others struggle and particularly after the end a few weeks later.

This pained me and is actually why I stopped running it officially. I need to change a few things about the program, likely even re-brand it and re-structure it before it’s re-released.

On the other hand my 1-2-1 coaching clients progressed in leaps and bounds, not just on a sugar front but they grew significantly in terms of how much self awareness they had, their confidence, their thinking and wider health.

If sugar is deeply entrenched in your lifestyle, your emotional processing and physical cravings are in abundance, then it’s a full behavioural and personal development change that’s needed, and a sugar detox might not cut the mustard as so to say!

With the Internet, it’s not hard to get information, what matters how consistently you act and reflect on it.

Finally, if we meet…

I’m hoping if you’ve read this article and we ever meet in person you won’t be relaying any of the common misconceptions that I’ve heard many times over. Instead you’ll be laughing and de-shaming around your funniest eat-too-much sugar moment instead – because everyone’s got them I’ll let too easily let some guy off his Magnums if he’s made me laugh.

P.S the Magnum guy is sat next to me here in the office and he’s oblivious that his story has made it online until I tell him in a moment 😉

Who needs this?

Know of someone who won’t stop banging on about the amount of sugar in white rice, eats three Magnum Ice Creams a day or thinks the latest sugar detox will solve all issues? Share this article with them and we’ll both be grateful.

Learn A LOT more from me (if you want)

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donut

How I manage my unsavoury emotional eating and mindset habits

It’s frustrating – this emotional eating lark.

You don’t enjoy food as much as you could because of it and you can end up feeling it’s your nemesis more than sugar.

Sometimes your favourite foods go to waste because you weren’t hungry for them. And you know how much nicer things taste when you’re hungry for them.

On other occasions the eating of them was so impulse and quick natured, you didn’t get the benefit you would have if you had planned to consume them and actively had looked forward to it.

Instead, you were emotional, bored, distracted or you just scoffed the biscuit in to stuff down some of your frustration at eating in a way you don’t approve of or doesn’t adhere to your rules.

At other times when sugar is there to be enjoyed on a special occasion, you overdo it again and don’t enjoy the occasion as much because you feel disappointed at your own behaviour.

You’re feeling more obsessed with food. You’re spending an annoying amount of time concerned about what you’re eating, trying to summon up more willpower for tomorrow to be different and re-thinking over that excessive portion size last night that lends to this undercurrent of guilt that lasts all day.

Urgh. I hate that undercurrent of guilt or shame that lasts all day, don’t you?

The mental habits

As much as eating that piece of chocolate in the evening after dinner is a habit, the way you think about sugar and why you eat is a habit. That lingering guilt or shame is a habit.

And to be honest, stuff the chocolate, these thought pattern habits are potentially more dangerous to your combined emotional, physical and mental health.

Yes, reducing sweetness is an important part of the process to permanently change your sugar habits but it MUST be looked at in tandem with shifting your mental thought pattern habits at the same time.

Old habits still surface

Whilst I spent many years on the outside eating pretty ‘healthy’, I suffered from unhealthy food related thinking habits like these. These essentially drove me deeper into my strong sweet preference over time because dried fruit, cakes and biscuits were my overeats and self sabotage foods of choice.

I thought I’d share some of things that have really helped in changing these habits for me (I’m still a work in progress remember) and that I have come to know work for my clients who are grappling with emotional eating on different levels too:

1. An acceptance that sometimes it may still happen

On the weekend, I felt anxious about things. I was working at home all day when I possibly should have had some time off. My flatmate is lovely but kept distracting me and I got frustrated at myself. I ended up grazing, but very obviously grazing to distract myself from scary business decisions and from feeling some sadness about some recent events.

These were my old habits, as I really don’t do this as much as I have done before but they come back to haunt sometimes.

I could have felt even worse at relapsing with this type of behaviour but I reminded myself that I’m not perfect, I eat well to nourish my body on the whole and I refuse to let this be a big deal in my head like it used to be.

I let it go and the guilt didn’t happen. Getting good at this saves you a ton of internal mental stress, it really does. And less mental stress equals less emotional eating.

Accept. Forgive. Move on. 

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2. Appreciating the fact my taste buds have permanently changed

When you’ve had a strong sweet tooth and you do manage to shift it, it’s extremely empowering. Sometimes I’ve thought sugar might make me feel better and dabbled again. I’m quickly reminded the stuff I used to eat in this context just doesn’t do it anymore (thankfully).

Whenever I listen to my body and it doesn’t want to eat sugary things that I used to (e.g. someone offers me a magnum and I genuinely say no because I don’t fancy it) I make a note to always be grateful for this level of intuitive eating that wasn’t previously in my possession.

I wholly believe shifting your palate to sweetness (in a careful unrestrictive way) really does have its merits when done properly.

Shift down that sweet palate slowly and surely without overdoing the restriction via some crazy prohibitive sugar detox.

Ensure some people are around who won’t judge me

I’ve written about sugar shame, guilt and talked about judgment before. These are incredibly important when it comes to long term shifting your mental food eating habits.

When it comes to emotional eating, you need to have some space to air out any shame with people who you feel safe around and whom you know won’t judge you – whether that’s a good friend, family, colleague or coach.

Going back to that emotional eating graze-fest Sunday I recently had, I told my flatmate straight out jokingly what I was doing. It’s part of an emotional eating process that I teach that I’ve put in place to action on myself for a while now (when I remember to use it).

One step is to banish any shame by sharing. This is what I said…

Gabriel, I’m unnecessarily eating a rather excessive amount of sunflower seeds here and I’ve eaten two squares of your dark chocolate. I know it’s because I’m struggling with my work today and I feel meh #justsaying

He says nothing in relation to the eating and more importantly, I trust he’s thinking nothing. I have female friends and family that do the same. He just listens to me rant on about my difficult decisions, seed based silliness, un-ideal behaviour and optionally offers anything he can do or say.

That’s it. Judgment-free zone.

I mean really, it’s ridiculous to consider that I’d even feel guilty for eating sunflower seeds and chocolate but even if it was more, it still does’t matter. The thing is, previously I would have done.

I know I’m lucky to have him and others around that give me this space. But also writing this is a sharing experience  knowing that most readers won’t judge me either (although the internet is a lot more open for that and there will be people that do of course).

My emotional eating could have continued all afternoon but it stopped. I felt the uncomfortable emotions and I aired them. I realised I was low on some basic self care that day (fresh air and a break) so I walked myself to the shops and treated myself to a new body brush (because I decided I wanted to try that whole body brush detox thing that week ha!).

Find your own judgment free zone, feel your feelings and check in with your basic needs.

Eating grey. Most days.

It’s something that comes up in my coaching work time and time again. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ foods, ‘on’ and ‘off’ days; week’s spent on ‘plan’ and then weeks spent very ‘off plan’.

That pendulum that swings back and fourth, that unsteadies the rest of your life – sweeping up all your mental energy in the process. Meh!

I lived in this black or white mentally for so many years, I didn’t even really get what grey was but I did find it eventually and fair to say I eat grey most days now.

I don’t strive to have perfect macronutrient-balanced-totally-clean-eating-sugar-free days now. I have the knowledge to do so but I choose to use that knowledge as a tool rather than a weapon on myself.

Instead I let grey days unfold with a combination what I really fancy eating, the situation at hand and my health knowledge. And I’m still pretty healthy – maybe not as healthy as Gwenyth Paltrow or someone like that, but I eat a shed loads of veg, know how to get adequate protein and really don’t eat refined sugar very much. More importantly, my mind around food is healthy (most of the time). This quite frankly, feels great.

So to conclude…

If you’re feeling a bit crazy around food and especially sugar where you know that emotional eating does crop up for you, take heed of these insights and maybe they will help you at times.

Remember to let go, love savoury, shame off to close ones and embrace grey. It works and when you notice yourself start to change for good around food, a heavy weight really starts to lift and change your life.

Of course if you’ve got any questions, just comment below or send me a private e-mail – love to hear from you. Rr check out the ways we can work together through coaching.

What would help you more with this right now?

If you liked this article and you’d like more on this..

OR you’d like more sugar-free sweet recipes…

OR you’d like me to write a book or run an event in your area one day…

then I’d love you to complete my quick survey questionnaire on what help and form of help YOU personally would like to stop being as crazy around sugar this . Help me help you and I will listen. It will take just 5-10mins – Link to the survey HERE.

Thank you :)

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30 low sugar recipes to tame your sweet tooth

When it comes down to it, it’s what you eat day in day out that will drive how much of a preference you have to sweetness.

The eating psychology, emotional and mindset side of things when shifting around sugar are of course NOT to be underestimated in any sense. However, learning to make, love and habitually eat lower sugar food at least 80% of the time will keep you in that zone where you really can taste stuff that is too sweet being too sweet.

That’s a powerful place because you build trust in yourself, you self regulate around sugar better, you use less willpower and you eat lower sugar without thinking and without it being a ‘diet’ (which can backfire anyway).

In a weird way it lets you eat sugar when you want it more freely.

So to help you get this lower sugar regularity into your life, I’ve compiled 50 ‘properly’* sugar-free recipes that will do this – decrease your preference to sweetness with repeated use.

*When I say ‘properly’, I mean no medjool dates overload or made sweet with a large portion of a sugar substitute like honey or stevia. Some of them might use a little of a sugar substitute or dark chocolate here or there but I’ve checked it’s small enough to keep these in the less sweet category. I haven’t bothered putting too many mains or salads in here because most of the time they are low sugar anyway.

This list is a mixture of my own and from other great websites and I’ve added some helpful notes around each. ENJOY!!

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1. Lemon cashew melts

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A great recipe for those post meal sweet cravings. These can keep for a long time and be eaten straight from the freezer. They are super easy to make and packed full of satiating healthy fat where you’re using coconut oil and cashew butter. The lemon twist makes them totally delicious.

Get the recipe here.

2. Coconut vanilla ice cream

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Completely sugar-free and with just two ingredients this recipe is crazy simple. Thanks to Sonnet over on In Sonnet’s Kitchen it’s the completely sugar-free answer to a Bounty ice cream. Make sure you use quality full fat coconut milk and a fresh vanilla pod to really get the maximum flavor. Add your own fresh fruit as optional and enjoy as a delightful dessert.

Get the recipe here

3. Rosemary & walnut granola

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We always think of granola having to be sweet but have you ever considered a savoury option instead? Rosemary is an incredibly flavoursome herb that will tantalise your tastebuds so much you’ll forget sugar ever exists!

Get the recipe here

4. Sweet potato smoothie

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Smoothies are usually packed with fruit, which whilst healthy, can be a fair load of sugars in one hit. For a less sweet smoothie fix, why not try this unusual sweet potato smoothie which uses just ½ a banana, a sweet potato and desiccated coconut to sweeten. It’s thick, creamy, filling and delicious.

Get the recipe here

5. Warrior banana protein loaf

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Love banana bread? This is an amazing lower sugar alternative where just a few bananas nicely sweeten a whole 8 portion loaf. Matt and Keris from Fitter Food have also managed to pack loads of protein and superfoods into it so it’s super filling and packs a nutrient punch 10x better than conventional banana bread.

Get the recipe here

6. Maca almond coconut fudge

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Sugar and butter are usually the main two ingredients of fudge, however this recipe magically has neither. Using almond butter, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and adding flavour with a superfood powder, this is fudge of the healthiest variety.

Get the recipe here

7. Crunchy harissa chickpeas

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You don’t want nuts but you want something crunchy and satisfying that’s a transportable sugar-free snack? Enter in these tasty roasted chickpeas by Amelia Freer which make an ideal snack and are super simple to make with just a few ingredients.

Get the recipe here

8. Savoury olive and almond flapjacks

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Traditional flapjacks are usually packed with sugar, golden syrup and dried fruit. Why not turn sweet flapjacks on their head and try a super tasty savoury version. These are great to make on the weekend and keep handy around the house or can be a great thing to bake for guests or friends who want something a bit unusual.

Get the recipe here

9. Cashew & vanilla butter

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Nut butters in general are a great lower sugar staple but if you fancy one with just an extra bit of sweetness and an unusual twist, this fantastically simple vanilla cashew combination by Deliciously Ella could be one to try. Use it as a sugar-free porridge topping, mixed in with natural yoghurt or on a slice of toast instead of jam. Yum!

Get the recipe here

10. Quinoa, courgette & spinach bake

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Making a big breakfast bake for the week is a low sugar lifestyle winner for sure. You’re able to get vegetables and protein in whilst saving yourself masses of time. If you’re still wanting a bit of a substance, this quinoa based bake is perfect and super satisfying

Get the recipe here

11. Buckwheat & oat bread

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I know eggs for breakfast aren’t always the most practical which is why I would encourage making a savoury loaf instead to keep handy as a quick grab. Also a great addition to salads at lunch time. This super seedy grain packed one by Madeleine Shaw is the perfect sugar-free, high in protein packed goodness to do the job.

Get the recipe here

12. Cardamon & buckwheat no bake bars

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Sometimes a delicate flavour can add a slight sweetness to a recipe that reduces the need for an excess of sickly syrup or dates. Cardamon is one of those that can work some serious sugar-free magic. There’s a smidgen of rice malt syrup used in this recipe to help them stick together but the simple flavours and textures combine to make these satisfying and sweetish without being an overload.

Get the recipe here

13. Quinoa sushi

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It hurt me too when I found out, but yes sushi rice unfortunately does usually contain sugar. Now I usually have it out only once in a while so I’m not bothered for those few occasions when I do fancy it, but if you do decide you want sushi in your life more often, you could be really clever and make this sugar-free quinoa variety by the Sugar-free fairy.

Get the recipe here

14. Butternut squash and coconut soup

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Butternut squash soup of the shop bought variety usually has sugar or something sweet added to it which is a shame as it’s a warming winter staple. Making your own and usuing the creamy richness of coconut milk will bring out the same natural sweetness of the recipe sans the sugar.

Get the recipe here

15. Roasted tomato & quinoa soup

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Again tomato soup is a sugar culprit. Shop bought varieties and even restaurant ones tend to have quite a bit of sugar in them – more than other soups do. This tomato soup recipe from Laura Agar Wilson of Wholeheartedly Healthy has naturally sweetened this soup through roasting the tomatoes. She’s also added quinoa and avocado to the recipe that adds a bit more substance through protein and fat to make the soup into more of a meal.

Get the recipe here

16. Salmon & leek bake

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Getting some oily fish in your breakfast kicks you off with super healthy protein and fat that set your tastebuds on the healthy low sugar train for the rest of the day. If you’re a salmon fan, this bake suffices as a totally delicious breakfast that will nourish and make you forget cereal ever existed.

Get the recipe here

17. Basil & spinach pesto

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You can really tantilise your tastebuds and make your food taste incredible with other flavour combinations that don’t go anywhere near sugar. Pesto is one of those wonder ingredients that can be combined with chicken, vegetables or eggs to add instant flavour that will make you literally fall in love with savoury food over and over again. This classic recipe from I Quit Sugar is just one of a number of great variations they have on their great sugar-friendly recipe website.

Get the recipe here

18. Completely sugar-free muesli

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Whilst many muesli’s can be added sugar free, they can still be packed with dried fruit and drive your cravings up if you’re not careful. It can be a much better idea to make your own dried-fruit free base and then add a fresh fruit like a few berries to naturally sweeten. This is a basic sugar-free muesli base recipe that is a low sugar stock cupboard staple once you make it up.

Get the recipe here

19. Courgette, mint & feta frittas

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Another way to have a savoury breakfast that feels fun and indulgent. Cheesy courgette frittas don’t seem healthy but if you fry them in a healthy oil then they can be. You can make a big batch of these ones from We Heart Living to carry as a sugar-free breakfast or keep as a nice snack in the fridge. Add greek yoghurt, a salsa or sour cream to serve

Get the recipe here

20. Creamed coconut sweet potato balls

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Energy type snack balls are usually packed with dates which although healthy are still pretty sweet. Why not try a truly sugar-free option with these sweet potato and creamed coconut balls. They are filling and satisfying whilst just being slightly sweet.

Get the recipe here

21. Sugar-free tomato sauce

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It’s a staple yet most shop bought tomato sauces do nearly always contain sugar so having a sugar-free recipe in tow is essential. Although it’s an effort to make your own, you realise that it can taste so much more delicious and fresh. I love Deliciously Ella’s vegan recipe and in addition to all the traditional uses, my favourite is sugar-free tomato sauce slathered on a slice of rye bread with sliced avocado and maybe an egg for breakfast.

Get the recipe here

22. Sugar-free BBQ sauce

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BBQ sauce is a favourite for some but another sugar laden condiment that does the rounds. Thanks to Alex at Spoonfulofsugarfree.com you can have some fun recreating your own sugar-free version to impress your BBQ guests. Thanks Alex!

Get the recipe here

23. Smokey vegetable fried eggs

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Sometimes keeping it simple is best. Fried eggs are simple, quick and easy and will always be a low sugar breakfast winner in whatever form. It’s best to add some colourful vegetables if you can so try this smokey vegetable fried eggs option as the perfect brunch option.

Get the recipe here

24. Cauliflower & coconut tart

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It’s important to feel like you can still indulge and eat super delicious things without the need for sugar. Rich creamy recipes are especially great for this and this cauliflower and coconut tart from Honestly Healthy fits that bill perfectly with lots of vegetables mixed in. It’s also efficient where it could easily be cooked on go and eaten for dinner, lunch with a salad or even for breakfast.

Get the recipe here

25. Berry & avocado smoothie

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Smoothies can be either pretty high in sugar or much lower depending on the amount of fruit and sugar substitutes you put in them. Whilst always healthy, lower sugar smoothies will keep you more sensitive to sweet. Filling out your smoothie or a creamy component like avocado or natural yoghurt can help you keep them tasty and lower on the sugar side of things and this recipe does exactly that.

Get the recipe here

26. Dark chocolate avocado truffles

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Some days, only chocolate will do. It’s good to have some options and even though these truffles have a little sugar, they are extremely low sugar in comparison to a Lindt truffle ball. They also pack in the nutrition and healthy fat from avocado and are super fun to make.

Get the recipe here

27. Sweet Potato & Walnut cake

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Craving cake or carbohydrates but don’t want the sugar? Whilst this isn’t low carbohydrate, it really can curb a full on cake craving and you can keep portions in the freezer that can be microwaved into a instant sugar-free cake deterrent. It has no sugar substitute whatsoever where it’s sweetened with only coconut and sweet potato. I personally have used this recipe a lot and it’s the most popular one on my website.

Get the recipe here.

28. Salt & vinegar nuts

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Nuts are like a staple low sugar snack that you may find yourself frequently using but they can get a bit boring if you’ve been using them regularly. It’s really important you keep things interesting so you don’t go nuts on nuts! There are some fab recipes out there to jazz up your nuts but this salt ‘n’ vinegar one from Fitter Food is a good one to try and might starve off crisp cravings at the same time!

Get the recipe here

29. Kale & avocado porridge

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Think porridge always means sweet? Think again! I never got around to getting a truly savoury porridge or oatmeal recipe up on to the blog but I want to show that it’s possible. Shape.com have some great starter recipes – particularly they kale and avocado porridge topping with cacao nibs! If you try please report back to me!

Get the recipe here

30. Sweet potato & coconut bake

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Want what feels like a dessert for breakfast? This naturally sweet tasting coconut and sweet potato bake feels decadently indulgent and is completely sugar-free. Add some cream or full fat natural yoghurt to really compliment the textures. It bears some similarity to traditionally sweet bread and butter pudding but without the sugar.

Get the recipe here

So now I am completely exhausted from putting this together and want to eat everything! If this has been helpful then please do share. All these amazing other individuals that I’ve mentioned – health gurus, chefs and photographers do amazing work and there’s plenty of low sugar foodie love to share.

Any more great ones you’d like to add in a comment below please do!

Laura xx

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A low sugar shopping list guide when you have no time

It’s that time of the year when you’re keen to make some new healthy habits and it’s certainly a great time to do so. Your motivation is high, others are likely on a health kick and there are loads of helpful recipes being shared around on social media.

Although I don’t subscribe to the harsh overly restrictive all or nothing detoxes and diets these days, I do believe you are able to ramp up the number of habit changes in January and really capitalise on the healthy buzz that’s around.

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But where to start?

Healthy shopping, meal planning and getting into a rhythm with healthy cooking where you are a bit more prepared is a very good idea and investment of your effort.

Now, I appreciate this can counter the intuitive eating camp of thinking (eating when you’re hungry what you fancy) but there is a balance to find here between planning and going with the flow. This article is for you if you know you’re on the unprepared side of things or you want some shopping inspiration.

Watch this video where I explain intuitively eating sugar here.

Only through trying and testing yourself with things can you work out your balance and work out your optimum healthy habits.

If you can kick off the New Year with a few new habits around what you do day to day with your healthy routine, things will fall into place more easily.

This will support a healthy lower sugar lifestyle much more long term than drastically changing everything in January only to revert back to old ways in a few weeks when you get fed up or depending on some strict diet meal plans to guide you.

Low sugar shopping list

I had the idea to share the regular healthy shopping list that I used to live by in London a while ago but never got around to it so here it is.

As I write this, I’ve just moved to Chiang Mai in Thailand and I’m excited because I am going to start cooking my own food again. Whilst living in Bali I was eating out a lot because it’s so cheap so I didn’t cook at all and I really missed it. I realised I found a real joy in buying a weekly shop and making it work for a week to 10 days in super efficient fashion by finding new ways to use up leftovers and feeling smug in in being super healthy without spending a fortune. But I lived in Bali, so I’m not complaining!

Healthy shopping with no planning or time

To show you how easy it can be wherever you are, I’m literally going to reel off the stuff I would buy if I was to walk into a supermarket right now with no meal planning done.

Normally I would plan out a few recipes and get ingredients to match but sometimes I wouldn’t have time and so I’d just grab these essentials knowing I could do good stuff with them. In a way I taught myself to eat healthy without having to rely too much on following recipes to the ‘T ‘which was very helpful and flexible.

I’ll also talk you through the thought process I used to go through to make healthy low sugar living really easy, quick & convenient.

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The shopping list and notes

Note: This is for one person but you can easily double for more or quadruple for a family. 

First up, I’d spend most of the time in the vegetables section. I’d briefly think about my week ahead. Am I going to be out most of it or am I at home? Do I want to be making packed lunch salads everyday or have I got events where I’ll get lunch? I wouldn’t get exact about it but just roughly take a mental note of my week ahead.

Salad stuff

  • Spinach (for my base salads & very versatile to use left up)
  • Maybe watercress & rocket too (if it was a 5-day-salad week and I know I’d use it up)
  • Cherry tomatoes plus 1-2 regular tomatoes
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Celery
  • Pre-cut carrot battons (great snack fodder)
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado (mixture of ripe and to be ripened to last the week)
  • Spring onions
  • Fresh parsley and coriander (salads, main dishes and even smoothies!)
  • Lemon and a lime

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Greens to go with mains (or in salads too)

  • Kale
  • Broccoli

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Things that last a while and I’ll use somewhere in something

  • Red & white onions or shallots (1-2)
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash

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Dairy

  • A large pot of plain 4% fat yoghurt or Total Greek Yoghurt
  • Organic semi-skimmed milk (occasionally I’d try out almond but unlike many, I seem to be ok with dairy and like it in my diet)
  • 1-2 cheeses of choice (usually goats cheese, cottage cheese or haloumi)

Protein

I’d think about what I have in the freezer and if I need/want to use anything up. If not I’d grab some of the following depending on how much I was around:

  • Salmon fillets
  • Chicken breasts
  • Eggs (at least 12)
  • Lamb mince

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As I write this, I’ve noticed recently that I eat a lot more vegetarian, so I might add more cheese or go for extra beans if I was feeling more vegetarian inclined that week.

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Do I need to re-stock?

These are things I just liked to have around:

  • Nut butter (snacks, on apple for breakfast, in smoothies etc.)
  • Chickpeas (cans – great for making hummus or bulking up a dish)
  • Desiccated coconut (great for homemade muesli and on yoghurt)
  • Cacao nibs (nice on yoghurt again). Watch this video for 5 ways to use them.
  • Rye bread that I keep in the freezer (I didn’t eat bread that often but liked to have it if I fancied and I could toast this straight from the freezer)
  • Nuts or seeds of any kind e.g. almonds, pumpkin seeds (for homemade muesli and snacking)
  • Any particular herbs or spices that I use regularly e.g. black pepper or cinnamon are two I used a lot
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (grass fed Kerrygold brand)
  • Quinoa
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Frozen berries (for smoothies and with yoghurt as a dessert). Watch this video on how to make smoothies low sugar.
  • Bananas (I keep a few of these chopped and in the freezer for smoothies)
  • Chia seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs and other specialised health foods like Wheatgrass powder (for smoothies and health additions)

Random unplanned treats/exciting things

I’d like to pick something up as a random treat. I think this helps bring excitement to your shopping and psychologically stops you from buying sweet treats. I think this is a super important thing that is more important than you might think so go splash out on something that you wouldn’t normally buy:

  • An unusual new herbal tea
  • Try an almond or coconut milk for a change
  • Tahini (I LOVED tahini!)
  • A new variety of dark chocolate (at least 72%)
  • A new nut butter or variety of nuts I don’t usually buy e.g. macadamia or pecans
  • A quinoa or grain mix in one of those instant microwavable bags that I haven’t tried before (great for salads and quick meal fixes)
  • Coconut cream (to make something like my sweet potato coconut balls)
  • A random (ideally seasonal) vegetable or fruit to try and cook differently e.g. fennel, asparagus or dragonfruit which is my current favourite!
  • Something new and shiny that the supermarket is perhaps promoting that is still pretty healthy and looks fun. It might have a little natural sugar but I’d like to give it a try e.g. the Rebel Kitchen Mylks – yum!

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There you have it! This isn’t a shopping list to copy exactly – you will have personal preferences no doubt.

It’s just a bit of a brain dump on how I used to think when quickly on the spot and I wanted eat healthy without thinking or planning too much. Many of my recipes can be made from the things in this list.

Even if you just read this and pick up 1-2 tips then I’m happy. Writing this has made me miss my big Tesco a bit ha!

Please share

If you’ve found this helpful or you know someone else will, I would truly LOVE it if you could share this post with them or people who will be interested (maybe in a FB group or something).

For a start I have some snazzy new sharing buttons on the left hand side or below (if you’re reading mobile) and I don’t want them to go to waste. But seriously, I know this kind of practical information can really help when people are feeling a bit overwhelmed or stuck where to start with healthy lower sugar living so share the love.

Over to you

How does it compare to your healthy shopping habits? Anything you do in a similar way or do you have other healthy tips to share?

Comment below and someone else could pick up on your magic :)

 

 

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Want to moderate sugar? Then stop saying this

You sit there looking at the empty wrappers of all the chocolates you just ate; or the empty box or limp packet (in my case it was usually ginger nut biscuits).

This is not normal. I really have a problem with sugar.

I’m addicted. I think I’ve been a true sugar addict all my life.

I can never just have one and stop. I’m different and always take it too far. 

Have you ever called yourself a sugar addict like this? Have you referred to yourself as a one to others? Have you used the term in your own self talk or read something about it and thought Yes that’s me!? 

If this is the case, it might be that your sugar addict self imposed status is reinforcing you actually acting like one. Know that if do want to learn to moderate sugar, you could help yourself by paying close attention to this.

Was I a sugar addict?

When I first started Happy Sugar Habits and was trying to communicate the dangers of sugar, I sometimes referred to myself as a ‘sugar addict’ because I felt it was the term that helped people understand my story and my dilemma. And for a while, I believed it myself – I could not be trusted around certain foods.

Note: there are possibly still some references in some older articles to sugar addiction as I used it to communicate.  

Well, let me put it out there, hold my hands up and say I unintentionally miscommunicated and misunderstood this for a while:

I wasn’t actually a real sugar addict.

True sugar addicts can exist but they are not common. Full on addiction of any form is a serious disease. If you suspect you have a food or sugar addiction, you should be seeking professional help as you read this because addiction is chronic and progressive and should be dealt with immediately. It’s not one to sit on.

What I had going on was a very strong historically developed sweet preference which was combined with a restriction based way of eating that triggered binge behaviour; and a load of emotional coping mechanisms and set in stone habits that centred around sweetness and anything with a decent amount of fructose in it.

I had a very unhealthy way of using, consuming and thinking about the sugar in my life. I wasn’t addicted.

So what has the ‘sugar addict’ label got to do with moderation?

Know this…

When you call yourself a sugar addict, you assign blame. Blame to sugar for your behavior. You relinquish the control. You become more of the victim.

Whilst in some cases it might be somewhat the sugar, acknowledging this doesn’t help your learning to be able to moderate sugar.

The problem these days is ‘addiction’ is a commonly used phrase in our modern day language. Anyone can make reference to being an Instagram, jellybean or poodle addict in such a light hearted fashion.

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The difference is when you start calling yourself a sugar addict not for social interaction purposes, but because you really believe it explains the way you are behaving.

Also note the following quote:

“Dumbing down addiction to apply to any bad behaviour, gives anyone a free pass. The more this is done, the label loses its meaning and real addicts lose credibility as people with a disease” (adapted from Urban Antonio)

If you are truly an addict, as we know with alcohol and drugs, abstinence is the most recommended cure. If you apply that to your ways with sugar, it means potential life long distance all forms of sugar with no room for an ice cream on holiday or the odd slice of birthday cake. Poses a checkpoint to ask what your ideal lower sugar lifestyle looks like for you?

If you are more like I was, then you ARE able to control, re-learn moderation, change the way you think so that you can enjoy a little sugar here or there without feeling like it’s completely charge. It’s tricky, confusing and scary, but it is possible.

However to do this, it really starts with what you’re thinking. You need to stop re-enforcing your belief that sugar is calling all the shots where you are ‘completely addicted’.

But what about everything that says sugar is ‘addictive’?

I could write a lot here on this as there is science behind some of the claims, but I’ll keep simple and practical because I’m guessing, you want to change sooner rather than later right?

Know that I fully acknowledge the following:

YES, sugar does cause specific dopamine based chemical reactions in your brain which gives you a hormone high and as a result makes you seek more sugar. The more you have, the more you want.

BUT we can be pro-active in our behaviour and over time seek other ways to get our dopamine high that don’t rely on sugar as much. Thus we gradually crowd out our dopamine dependence on sweet with other things.

YES fructose does affect our bodies in ways that makes us want to gorge on it, which in turn makes us crave sweetness more and drives sugary habits to increase overtime.

BUT we can take control and tweak what we eat and change our palate overtime to naturally crave sweetness less.

YES some people have more of a predisposition to become food or sugar addicts than others due to genetics.

BUT even if you are one of these people, 50% is down to your your genetics and the other 50% you can still control with your mental, diet and lifestyle choices. So you can still have a degree of power, even if it’s harder.

As these points highlight, sugar is very powerful in what it does to us. I am as passionate as many about it’s physical and emotional dangers having worked with people and seen the struggles first hand.

However, I am here to offer a solution and to keep this practical. In terms of moving you forward, the best thing you can do is start taking the power back i.e. stop attributing all your sweet habits behaviour to being a ‘sugar addict’.

How to do this?

  1. Acknowledge sugar is a bit of a special substance because it’s impact on your brain and your palate preference, but know that you don’t want to assign all your sugar behaviour to those reasons alone.
  1. Stop saying to yourself that you are a ‘sugar addict’ to start your belief change process. Out loud is the first place to stop, then internally. Even at first you still believe it, just stop saying it as an effort to stop the self-fulfilling prophecy where you develop sugar-addict-like habits.

Remember this quote by Gandhi

Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

  1. Notice how you reacted to this article. If you found yourself a little defensive reading some parts, tune into it. It could be that you like using the ‘sugar addict’ term because it helps you explain things. Without it, it can cause some confusion as to what’s really going on and it can sometimes present some harder things to face.

In summary

Don’t get too caught up if sugar addiction exists or not, just start believing you don’t have it and stop saying it to yourself if your long term goal is to live in harmony with sugar around and enjoy it in a small sensible fashion.

This is your path to being able to enjoy that occasional sugar treat in your life guilt and fear free. It’s the path to enjoying Christmas treats happily, trying a dessert at a special restaurant whilst ditching the regular sugar habits that blatantly aren’t serving you.

Time to change…

Has this resonated with you?

Are you feeling truly ready to change around sugar in 2016? Maybe try something different to the traditional sugar detox diets that perpetuate the same on and off cycle that gets tiring.

If you’re ready tackle the deep rooted tough stuff that really holds you back and open your mind up to huge life change, then check out my 1-2-1 coaching 12 week Sweet Mindset Transformation programme.

I’ve got 4 client spots available this January for 4 very special people. Read more here and apply if you feel you’re ready.

Over to you?

I’d love to know what you think on this whole ‘sugar addiction’ topic. Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said? Have you ever called yourself a sugar addict? I welcome all thoughts and comments.

Laura xx

 

 

one-thing-when-eat-sugar

The ONE thing to do every time you eat sugar

Note: I say from start to beginning. I obviously mean from start to end! Always one articulation boo boo in these videos!

Not sure where to start low sugar after Christmas? My free 4-part video course would be a great place to start if you haven’t watched it already. Sign up HERE.

Please comment below and share…What healthy things have you done for yourself this year that you can remind yourself of when you notice that sugar slapping self talk come up?

 

 

chocavotruffles

Dark chocolate avocado truffles (low sugar)

So I know it’s the festive season as we’re now into December for many of you around the world and there are sweet things everywhere.

One thing you can do to reduce your overall sugar intake is to make your own healthier low sugar versions of things to keep your sweet palate from increasing too much during the month and also to HAVE FUN playing around, discovering new things.

A few months ago I experimented making these chocolate avocado truffles and I never fully shared the recipe on the blog despite them turning out pretty well. So here they are! These truffle balls are something you could make to sneak some super nutritious avocado into what feels like a chocolate indulgence. 

chocavotrufflesplate

These aren’t crazy sweet at all but the small amount of sugar in the dark chocolate and the cacao flavour means they don’t taste like avocado. I didn’t use any other sugar substitutes but you could add a little brown rice syrup, yacon syrup or something if you did want them a bit sweeter for a wider crowd who have more of a sweet tooth!
Because they really are low sugar and packed with healthy fats and nutritious cacao, they shouldn’t have you on a full sugar craving train and I found they could work for a chocolate fix or post-meal craving well.

It’s really fun to make them too!

Chocolate Avocado Truffles

chocavotruffles

Ingredients

  • 1 perfectly ripe (or slightly over ripe) medium avocado
  • 140g 70% dark chocolate
  • Few drops of vanilla essence
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw cacao powder

Method

  • Peel and pit the avocado then mash the flesh until it becomes smooth
  • Melt the chocolate. Ideally do this with a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water so you do it gently and don’t burn the chocolate. You can also do this in the microwave but be careful not to burn it!
  • Stir the mashed avocado into the melted chocolate along with the vanilla essence and salt
  • Mix all together well (this bit is fun!)
  • Place the mixture into the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to set. If you leave it in for longer, just remove and then wait for 20 minutes for it to soften a bit so you can mould.

I know loads of these type of recipes would pack in dates but I wanted to share a really low sugar alternative as a change. What do you think and will you try making them?

Time to change around sugar?

Love this recipe but feel like you are not sure where to start with recalibrating your tastebuds, dealing with emotional eating, changing habits etc? Then check out my free 4-video training course which describes my four pillars to embrace a low sugar lifestyle and sends you LOADS of other helpful resources to get started.