The Real Reasons Why You Should Quit Sugar
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned this week is that we technically have 2 brains. Clearly you have a brain in your skull, but your second brain is your gut. Both of these “brains” are made up of the same tissue during fetal development and they speak to each other via the Vegas Nerve. You know, that nerve that I talk about almost every class I teach! The Vegas nerve runs from your brain stem to your abdomen. It transmits your gut bacteria to your brain and influences how you feel.
There’s a ton of research out on gut bacteria and its connection to mental illness, including depression and anxiety. What isn’t talked about as much, is that sugar is the number one food that leads to depression, and dairy to anxiety. Sugar changes your gut bacteria, which then travels up the Vegas nerve, gets translated in the brain and causes you to crave more sugar. It’s an endless cycle that leaves you feeling drained, cranky and depressed.
Here’s a quick recap of what sugar does to your body:
~Suppresses growth hormones in your brain
~Creates chronic inflammation. Any type of pain ending in “itis” is inflammation and can be significantly reduced by diet. (arthritis, colitis, bronchitis, dermatitis)
~Lowers your immune system
~Effects your endocrine and nervous system
~Feeds cancer cells at a rapid rate
~Leads to obesity and chronic diseases
~It’s a stimulant more powerful than cocaine and heroine. You literally get addicted to it. Sugar stimulates dopamine in the brain and thus causes a pleasurable response.
I don’t know about you, but the list above terrifies me!!!
Here’s how to kick your sugar cravings:
~Exercise to take your mind off of cravings and to boost endorphins. Very rarely, if ever, do you feel like binging on a gallon of ice cream after a good workout.
~Drink black coffee to block the addiction/cravings in your brain.
~Opt for lemons, limes, ginger and/or mint in your water to help switch your taste buds from sweet to sour.
~Eat fermented vegetables to help you boost your gut bacteria.
~Whole fruits, full of fiber and vitamins are great.
~Sweeten your food with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spices or the equivalent essential oils. Think oatmeal, coffee, sweet potatoes, squash recipes, soups etc.
~Replace your typical starch dishes with broccoli and cauliflower. You can even roughly blend cauliflower in your food processor to make a cauliflower rice.
Re-educating your taste buds takes weeks, and unfortunately even minor cheats can set you back for days depending on how much sugar you consume. If I’m in the mood for a dessert I try to create a healthier more satisfying version of it at home. Dried dates with peanut butter, frozen bananas and coconut milk for a shake/ice cream. Sugar free, dark melted chocolate over berries. Basically anything with peanut butter seems to be a treat to me these days. Haha. That way I can have a little splurge, but not totally fall off the wagon.
Taking your multi-vitamins daily, eating healthy fats, consuming free range/grass fed beef, organic produce and chicken, and drinking green juices/smoothies are all ways to keep you feeling energized and hopefully sugar free. Don’t forget that taking Chromium, B3 and Magnesium helps to improve blood sugar and reduce cravings.