Holiday season is a time when many people overdo the sweets and end up out of balance. For some people this is an on-going issue related to a spleen deficiency (see blog post Nourishing the Spleen), while for others it’s a temporary condition that can be rectified easily. Regardless of how long you have been experiencing cravings for sweets and carbs there is something you can do to regain balance in your body.
- Create an alkaline body. Start your day with fresh lemon juice in 12 – 16 oz of water. I have observed that if your body is alkaline then there is a greater likelihood that you will gravitate towards alkaline-forming foods. Acid-forming foods to minimize or avoid include: sugar, meat, most grains, dairy.
- Eat more protein. Often a craving for sweets is actually a call from your body for more protein or other nutrients. Try eating more nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp meal.
- Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast. Some ideas include: organic free -range eggs and spinach; black or pinto beans and organic corn tortilla with salsa; 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp hemp meal, 2 tbsp shredded coconut, berries and rice or nut milk; grind in food processor 1/2 cup walnuts, 2 dried apricots or 1 soft date, cinnamon and powdered ginger.
- Eliminate sugar from your diet. Be sure to read labels. Replace regular granulated sugar with maple syrup, honey, stevia, xylitol when needed. Read labels! Sugar hides in many packaged foods.
- Eat warming foods. Warming spices include ginger, cinnamon, clove, tumeric, garlic, cayenne. Try adding ginger to your food or drink ginger tea. Green tea, although cooling in nature, will alkalinize your body.
- Eat cleansing foods. Fermented foods like kim chee, sauerkraut or kombucha are cleansing. Fresh vegetables and fruits, especially apples are also cleansing. Use Braggs raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing instead of bottled, processed dressings.
- Eat whole grains rather than processed flours. Gluten-free examples include: brown rice, amaranth, millet, quinoa. When making breads try substituting coconut, buckwheat and/or mesquite flours for wheat and add an extra egg.
- Balance your intestinal flora with a formula like Gaia herbs Wormwood/Black Walnut Supreme or Dr. Schulze’s LV/GB tincture (liver/gallbladder). You might also find it beneficial to take a probiotic formula with at least 5 strains of bacteria. An intestinal cleansing formula with charcoal, bentonite clay, psyllium, etc from www.integratedhealth.com or from www.herbdoc.com is also a very effective way to balance and heal the intestines.
- If the above suggestions don’t stop your sugar cravings then you may want to try supplementing with vitamins and specific amino acids. For more information see Julia Ross’s book The Diet Cure or The Mood Cure. A high quality multi-vitamin in capsule form, magnesium, complete B-complex, Chromium, l-tryptophan and glutamine may be beneficial.
I encourage you to keep focussing on the positive things you are doing for your body and not engage in negative self-talk. If you eat something that is not good for you then balance it with something that is good for you (eat an apple or carrots). The more you eat healthy, nutrient dense foods the less you will crave the empty calorie foods. You cannot eat too much vegetables so be sure to make vegetables and fruits your main foods with proteins as the side. For example, a large salad with a small amount of meat or if you are vegetarian, a vegetable saute with brown rice and sesame seeds and chia or other kind of seed or nut.
Supplementing with a protein powder may also benefit you. I use the Rejuvenate line from www.integratedhealth.com for high quality, organic nutrients. When choosing a product avoid soy (unless organic/non-GMO), look for sugar content (fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners like aspartame) and if there are vegetables or fruits in the product consider how important it is to you that they are or are not organic. Common GMO foods include soy, corn, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries among others. Heavily sprayed crops include berries, apples, spinach, cantaloupe, grapes, peaches, pears.
Some of you may be able to relate to having to run out the door after feeding everyone but yourself! On these occasions I put 2 scoops of Rejuvenate Plus in a mason jar with water and/or rice milk to drink on my way. This protein drink gives me energy all morning and into the early afternoon when I am able to have lunch.
For a those occasions where you really do want something sweet and yummy – and healthy! – here is a recipe to try:
1/2 – 1 cup walnuts, 2 or 3 dried apricots, cinnamon and ginger to taste. Place all ingredients in a food processor until fully ground. The mixture will be a bit pastey. Place in bowel and all 1 or 2 tsp B grade maple syrup and enjoy!