Do you know what a well-formulated keto, paleo, Mediterranean, and vegetarian diet have in common? They avoid sugar. Sugar is a diet destroyer. The problem is that it is addictive. One touch of a sugary treat on your tongue can take over your brain, making you want more, and more, and more.
It feels so good when you eat it that the thought of giving it up seems worse than the inevitable health problems that a high-sugar diet has in store for you down the road. What do you do? Can a sugar-free life really be enjoyable, or is that just something health nuts say?
The only way to find out is to get sugar out of your life for a month and judge for yourself. If you are willing to consider doing that, here is what you can do to avoid overwhelm and ease into an enjoyable life without sugar. Encouragement alert: the steps require you to eat more.
Eat This to Give Up Sugar – At-A-Glance
- It is difficult to give up sugar using willpower alone. You can help your body through this transition by eating blood-sugar-stabilizing foods.
- A daily salad with high-fat toppers tastes good, digests slowly, and helps your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients from the salad vegetables.
- High-fat salad toppers include avocados, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, olives, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Adding two cups of non-starchy vegetables to a daily meal improves blood sugar stabilization, especially when topped with a fat, such as butter, cheese, or alfredo sauce.
- Using a stopper after a meal helps you avoid the desire to keep eating once you are full. A stopper is a food, drink, or activity that separates you from the act of eating (i.e., hot tea, minty sugar-free gum).
No Luck Giving Up Sugar? Eat This… [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- What you can add to your diet to help you with your sugar cravings.
- How to avoid eating when you are tempted.
- Additional resources to help you live a sugar-free life!
Why Getting Sugar-Free is Hard
Many people have trouble getting rid of sugar because they attempt a complete diet overhaul in one day. I am a goal-oriented person, so I am not opposed to getting laser-focused on a goal. If you are the same way, you might find it even more frustrating to have tried and failed with sugar. The problem with going cold turkey on sugar is that it cannot be done with willpower alone.
You must help your body through the transition because even though a high-sugar diet is bad for you, your body has adapted to it. When you take away that quick-digesting energy, your blood sugar crashes, and your body screams at you to eat something sugary, refined, or carby.
If you give in, you hop right back on the blood sugar spike and crash rollercoaster. If you try to ignore it, you struggle mentally and physically.
Eat a Large High-Fat Salad Daily
There is a different approach. It involves eating more. Eating is fun, so this is an easy way to get in control. The eating I am talking about involves increasing your intake of blood sugar-stabilizing foods. We’ll accomplish this with a daily salad. And, if that doesn’t sound like fun, I would say that you haven’t learned the art of making a really good-tasting salad.
There are two tricks that turn a boring salad into a healthy meal that you can look forward to eating each day. One is to add fat, which we’ll talk about in a moment. The other is to let go of expectations. There are bad-tasting salads out there. If you’ve been a victim of them, you’re likely not too interested in what I am saying. Take this as permission to let go of expectations of what a salad is supposed to look like.
For example, there is no rule that a salad must have chopped bell peppers and onions on top. If you don’t like them, don’t put them on your salad. If you have a reputation for being the one who hates vegetables.
You may get some sideways glances. Just tell your friends that you follow this blogger who throws out challenges. This month’s challenge is a daily salad, and you’re going for it.
Alright, onto building a salad that tastes great and keeps you free and clear of sugar cravings. Healthy fat foods taste really good on a salad. They digest slowly, holding your blood sugar level steady. And, they help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients from the salad vegetables.
Low-Carb, High-Fat Salad Toppers
Here’s what your salad shopping list might look like. A big tub of salad greens. Not much fat in there, but lots of fibrous volume that stabilizes blood sugar. As for salad toppers, you can choose from avocados, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, olives, and fatty fish. Don’t make it difficult. For instance, you can avoid cooking and extra cost by buying wild-caught salmon in a packet. Nuts and seeds contain a good amount of fat and are great on a salad.
I often add walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds to a single salad. You can pick up raw nuts and seeds near the produce area of your grocery store. The nuts that you find in the potato chip aisle are often roasted in the same unhealthy fats as the chips. If you’d like a touch of natural sweetness, you can add fruit to your salad. Lastly, don’t skip the full-fat salad dressing.
Making your own oil-based dressing is easy, but if you want even easier, you can find healthy commercial brands. Make sure it is made with a healthy oil like olive oil or avocado oil, like Primal Kitchen brand.
Notice two things. First, this will be a high-calorie salad in the range of 500 calories or more. That can feel scary when your ultimate goal is to lose weight. However, that weight loss prize will not come without getting sugar under control. Trying to succeed on a weight loss diet without first getting control of your sugar intake is like building a house with no foundation.
You can make it look nice and tidy for a little while, but before long, it will collapse. Second, notice that your focus is on satisfying your body with this large, nutrient-dense meal, not forcing sugar out of your life. When your body has the blood sugar stability and nutrition that it needs, you get what you want. Specifically, a feeling that you are in control of sugar rather than the other way around. When that is achieved, avoiding sugar becomes a choice, not a chore.
Eat 2 Cups of Non-Starchy Vegetables Daily
The second thing that you are going to add to your daily diet is a side dish of cooked non-starchy vegetables. Think big, aiming for a 2-cup serving. Why are you adding more vegetables? They fill you up and stabilize your blood sugar, especially when combined with fat.
Here again, there are a lot of boring vegetables out there. Plain broccoli tastes like plain broccoli, but add butter, cheese, or even alfredo sauce, and you have a yummy high-fat side dish that stays with you and complements any high-protein entree from meat, to fish, to eggs.
I have a blog post with starchy vs. non-starchy vegetable lists if you’d like more clarity on the difference. And, the veggies don’t have to be cooked. But it is a nice contrast to the salad, and they digest easier than raw vegetables.
To be clear, to help your body as it transitions away from sugar, you’ll add a large veggie side dish and salad to your daily diet for the next month. It doesn’t matter which item is eaten at lunch and which is eaten at dinner because both will give you the physical craving-stabilizing effect that you want.
However, there is also a mental hurdle to get over when it comes to giving up sugar, especially that desire for something sweet right after a meal. There is one more thing you’ll add to your daily routine. It is something that I call a stopper.
Use a Stopper
A stopper is a food, drink, or activity that separates you from the act of eating long enough to move away from food. Because you are human, you have been programmed to eat when food is available. Therefore, you naturally desire more food when you start eating and often continue to desire food after you are full, even if the meal you just ate was a big, hearty salad.
You’ll find that a stopper is just the distractor that you need. There are many different stoppers that you can use, and feel free to be creative, but choose something that takes long to consume or changes the taste in your mouth. For instance, right after a meal, sip a cup of hot tea or pop a piece of minty, sugar-free gum into your mouth and you’ll find that you naturally move away from the urge to keep eating.
Sugar is always going to sound good. But it does wreck your health and cause you to gain weight. A daily high-fat salad, non-starchy veggies with high-fat sauce, and stoppers help you feel control because they control your blood sugar. If you commit to using these three things every day for a month, you can overcome the obstacles that sugar presents, and naturally say, “no, thank you” when it is offered.
The one large salad and two cups of cooked non-starchy vegetables are number 1 and 2 of my free 0,1,2,3 strategy for weight loss. The strategy has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, and it comes with a video series that will help you even further.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!