How to Stop Eating Refined Sugar Without Turning Into A Monster

mg-3607-2-orig_orig.jpg

After about two years in and out of the doctors office, with no one being able to explain my recurrent inflammations, infections and pains, about four years ago I was finally diagnosed with a syndrome, that at the time was still very new and only few doctors around the world were researching it. The cause of the syndrome is still somewhat unproven, but most theories (that also align with my experience) are a chronicle reoccurrence of a certain infection, which leads to inflammation and pain. 
For the first time in a log time I wasn’t asked to take any medicine. Only a natural immunity booster and cut out refined sugar, yeast and dairy for an entire year, not even the slightest quantity as I had to cleanse my body form it. I went cold-turkey.
This is where the world of reading labels on the back of food opened - and wow what discoveries I made. Suddenly sugar was in soup, pasta sauce, ketchup, fruit juices (for reasons still unknown), granola bars, bread, alcohol and the list can go on for pages, because it’s a cheap preservative. Since then, I’ve never really stopped reading labels - it shocked me so much that I was putting all that crap into my body whilst thinking that I was actually being pretty healthy (occasional ice-cream, cake and burger excluded). How could I have been doing that to my body for so long? 
I started researching and found countless studies proving that sugar was the main reason for obesity, chronic infections (I’ll vouch for that), heart diseases, chronic fatigue, candida, weakening of the immunity system (I’ll vouch for those too) and many more diseases and symptoms.
Full of horror I embarked on the journey for healthier options. For the first time in years I started to feel better after only a few months, I had more energy, my pain, my irritations and infections were going away. Isn’t it crazy that the absence of those three things alone could finally heal me?! 

Now I never really felt the urge to go back to sugar just because at that point I simply associated it with pain, but I’m not going to lie I have a pretty bad sweet tooth and finding alternatives wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t a thing on social media and on blogs yet, but I had to find options - there was no way I was going to go back to it, not for any craving in the world.

I recently read a study that found that sugar is more appealing to lab rats than cocaine. Yep, you read right - about 94% of rats went for sugar, not cocaine. As with any addiction the best thing to do to fight it by replacing it with a better habit. Not going to lie, sports help. 

I found that falling in love with eating healthy options is everything and a big part of the process is making treats yourself, because there is nothing more satisfactory! And let’s be real how many really want to bite into an apple when they crave a brownie.

I find that the best unrefined options are medjool dates, raw organic honey and maple syrup. Avoid artificial sweeteners they are often carcinogenic and toxic (don’t fall for the coca-cola zero charade) This being said they are still sugar, just different, but you shouldn’t overdo it with these either. The biggest challenge with everything is finding the right balance. I often make sweet treats in batches, freeze half and keep the other half in the fridge, so that I don’t eat the whole thing at once. And if I do, it’s okay once in a while, don’t blame yourself, don’t be hard on yourself and especially don’t feel guilty afterwards! Enjoy every moment, every bite of goodness and then get back on track.
If you have quite a balanced diet including carbs like brown rice, you should be able to minimise cravings to a healthy amount. 

One of the biggest challenges is simply not buying sugary food when you’re at the supermarket. You have to walk by, with your head held high and think of the delicious things you can quickly whip up yourself that taste infinitely better and more real.
Honestly after a while you will walk past those chocolate bars and just feel sick to your stomach, because your body will develop a real warning sign for you once it’s healthy and balanced again. You just have to get through the withdrawal phase, but me and countless other bloggers are here to help.

If you are feeling like chocolate try this recipe for chocolinos! You can fill them with something crunchy like crushed nuts, shredded coconut or something soft like almond butter or have pure chocolate goodness, up to you! For on-the-go, especially for when that 4/5 o’clock snack craving hits energy balls are the best, because they are quite satisfying for their size and you can make batches to freeze so they hold for a long time! Try the classic cacao, almond recipe here (stay tuned for more flavours!)
I also love having almond butter filled dates with my tea or simply hot chocolate (would anyone like the recipe for that?)
If you are craving some cookies, try these gingerbread ones I made for halloween, but you can really shape them anyway you want ;) 
Keep updated with the Sweet Tooth section as I have a lot more to come very soon! I’d love to try doing some variations of classic sweets like Mars bars and Ferrero Rochers etc. so is there anything in particular you’d like to see? Let me know x
 

Jil Carrara