January 4, 2013

Whole30 and beyond: Fighting the Sugar Cravings

If you started the Whole30® in January, you should be on Day 3 or 4 now. So according to the Whole30 Timeline, we are right about the time when we want to "Kill ALL The Things."

Anyone feeling that way?

For me, this is also the point where my cravings for sugar started. If I look back on my previous day 3, that was the day I ate banana ice cream, twice. Cravings are a funny thing. We can tell ourselves "I don't need that sugar/coffee/chips!" But when that craving hits, we frantically search the kitchen for that hidden bag of chocolate chips. So for those of you that might need this, I'm providing a list of alternatives. A list of options for when craving strikes and when the sugar dragon rears its ugly head (and trust me, it can be really ugly). While the most important thing is to focus on eating well-balanced meals following the Whole30 guidelines (protein/veggies/fat), this is meant for those moments, especially in the beginning of your Whole30, when you just need to fight off that sugar dragon. Like. Now.

**First, let me say, I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not an expert at the Whole30. I don't know everything about sugar cravings or addiction. These options are based on what I have learned from doing the Whole30 in October/November 2012 (Is it really 2013?). They are also based on my initial mistakes during my first Whole30 -- my reliance on Larabars, banana ice cream, and dates. Basically, this is what helped me and maybe it will work for you as well.**


Fighting Sugar Cravings during your Whole30

Best choices
    • Eat more protein: Increase protein at your meals, but here are some ideas for on the go:
    • Eat more fat
      • avocado (Carry a plastic knife or even a fork. I have successfully cut an avocado with a plastic fork. You do what you gotta do.)
      • coconut -- butter/oil/flakes (Seriously, it may seem weird, but when you have a craving, take a spoonful of coconut oil or coconut butter.)
      • Nuts (in moderation)
    • "Flavored" water and other drinks: (*add to water)
    • Exercise (I'm not joking)
      • squats
      • pushups
      • jumping jacks
      • lift a 2 year old as high as you can (fun for them too)
      • You don't really need me for workout ideas. Just get up and move and get your mind off the sugar.

    Now, I'm not telling you to eat these things on this next list. They are just there as alternatives. After my first experience with the Whole30, I personally think they are a bad idea for anyone that even thinks they might have a problem with sugar. If you can eat these things without it leading to a downward spiral into sugarland, then go for it.  But don't forget what the Whole30 folks say about muffins, pancakes, ice cream, and the like. It's completely a personal decision if you want to take it there.
    • banana with almond butter
    • dates
    • date and nut bar (Larabar)
    • banana ice cream (Seriously ask yourself is it worth the trouble. And then tell yourself it's not. Because it's not Whole30 compliant.)
    • muffins/pancakes/etc sweetened with bananas or applesauce (Again, not Whole30 compliant)

    So again, if I wasn't clear: If you need to slay your sugar dragon/demon (whatever you want to call him/her), I suggest (I can't tell you what to do) that you don't eat the bananas covered with nut butter or processed into a creamy soft serve. You don't need them. You really don't need them. Don't buy them. Don't even look at them. You can make it 30 days. (This is just based on my experience. Eating those bananas slathered in nut butter didn't help me.)

    If none of these seem to work for you, find a way to distract yourself. Listen to music, dance, call a friend. Do whatever works for you. If you are eating enough (eat more!), especially adequate protein and fat, the cravings will pass.

    (But...but, if you happen to eat that banana or Larabar over eating a candy bar or drinking a latte, then I would call that progress. Don't beat yourself up. Do the best you can for your moments, for your life. And learn from those choices so you are more prepared next time. When all else fails, just stick with Whole30 approved foods.)


    Do you any other ideas to add? And if you are doing the Whole30, have your cravings hit yet? 


    (Read more about my first Whole30 and struggles with sugar: Sugar addiction part 1, Part 2, fighting sugar with preparation, and failing with stressful times . And if you haven't read it yet, the results from my first Whole30.)



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    4 comments:

    1. My sugar dragon is, fortunately for me, pretty wimpy. For some reason I don't seem to get that Day 2-3 hangover (on day 3 of my second whole30). Last time, my worst cravings were in late week 3 into week 4...so we'll see this time!

      Primal pacs have been my lifesaver, because I'm usually actually hungry. It's got plenty of protein and fat, but it has that one piece of dried mango that's heavenly.

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      Replies
      1. Okay, Monica, first things first...that mango. There are no words for it. I honestly don't like the nuts in the Primal pacs, but sometimes I buy them just for that mango. I think I will get the only jerky ones this time. :)

        It's definitely different for everyone, depending on where we start and any attachments to food we have. So lucky you ;) I, unfortunately, have an emotional attachment to sweets, but I feel it might be easier this time. Thanks for your comment and reminding me about primal pacs (I think I'll put a link in there for those that don't know about them).

        And being a Whole30 vet, if you have more ideas for the newbies, feel free to share.

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    2. This post was very helpful, thank you! So many of those techniques rang a bell... then I realized they are the same things I did to get off alcohol! *doh* I have been lucky not to have super bad sugar cravings YET. Herbal tea is my fave distraction. BUT I have had sugar eating dreams every. single. night. LOL

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      Replies
      1. Thanks for the comment, Kat. I thought about waiting to post until I felt better so I could think with a clearer mind, so I'm glad to know this is helpful. Oh I had those dreams last time, haha. But mine didn't start until day 8ish. And hey, at least you get to eat sugar without actually eating sugar ;)

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