We all have a sweet tooth and we all have a need to satisfy sweet cravings.
Even I do, and if I had things my way I’d probably eat steak 24/7/365.
But if you show me a piece of cheesecake or pumpkin pie? And then I get that look in my eye?
You’d best just step aside until the dust settles.
Now there’s an image for you.
Okay, so maybe I’m not all that weird, but the truth is, we all do have a need to satisfy sweet cravings. Usually on a daily basis, sometimes for a good reason, and sometimes not.
The point is, it’s okay. In fact, it’s much more than okay.
It’s an opportunity.
Because there are healthy ways to satisfy sweet cravings, one in particular that can catapult your health from one end of the spectrum to the other while kicking any destructive sweet tooth habits to the curb.
That is the strategic consumption of fruit.
Why Might We Have Sweet Cravings?
One of the reasons some of us have sweet cravings is because of a sugar addiction.
Or perhaps there is a bacterial overgrowth in our gut flora and those nasty little buggers need their fix too.
Those would be the bad reasons.
But have you ever stopped to think about the fact that some of the healthiest foods in nature are in fact sweet?
Apples, pears, bananas, you name it.
What if a sweet craving was simply our bodies’ way of telling us it needs or wants fruit and the nutrition and hydration that they provide?
Maybe it needs some vitamin C and knows it comes from oranges. Or some potassium so you start thinking banana.
It’s just a hypothesis, but it is certainly one worth thinking about.
Regardless of the root cause of our sweet teeth, we can leverage those sweet cravings to get not only super nutrition, but to kick bad sugar habits into the trash for good.
But simply throwing down some bananas and apples will not do the trick. There is a method, so let’s get into it.
First, Put Your Sweet Cravings on Snooze
The first step is to recognize when your sweet cravings come (easy enough) and when they do, just make them wait a smidge longer.
We can all handle a smidge.
We aren’t talking a long smidge here, maybe just 15 minutes. Just enough time for you to identify where the sweet cravings are coming from and how to best, and most easily, handle them.
For instance, let’s start with me as an example.
After dinner I often begin to crave something sweet.
Perhaps my body desires to balance things out a bit after a savory meal, perhaps it is lacking some nutrition that comes from sweet foods, or perhaps it is something else.
Whatever the reason, it happens.
So what is my first step?
That would be to wait about 15 minutes after my meal to address the sweet craving.
Couple of reasons.
First, I am still digesting my food and my gut and brain have not had enough time to signal to my mouth whether or not my stomach is full and I should stop eating. The body releases a hormone called leptin that signals to us that we are full.
Unfortunately, many of us today have taken to eating so fast that we eat right through the leptin signal and overeat.
Ever feel so full that it everything feels uncomfortable? Then leptin probably whizzed by you without you knowing about it.
After doing that enough, something called “leptin resistance” develops and it becomes even harder to recognize when we’re full.
So it’s a good idea to wait 15 minutes regardless.
Once about 15 minutes have passed, I can pursue a few different options based on how I’m feeling.
If the leptin has kicked in and I feel full, the craving to eat more food has vanished and I can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the evening.
If I still feel legitimately hungry, that’s okay. My body may need more nutrition. Here are a couple of possible next steps:
First, I might have a little water. In my experience, sometimes a sweet craving is just thirst in disguise. If I have some water and suddenly don’t feel like eating anymore, thirst could have been the signal all along.
(By the way, recognizing our bodies’ signals and inherent functionality to operate optimally in constant communication with ourselves is a huge leap forward in living a healthy and optimized life.P
In any case, if the water doesn’t do the trick, then I know my body really is looking for something to satisfy some need. Either a need for nutrition or a desire for sugar.
Fruit to Stop Sweet Cravings and Start Super Health
At this point, we have evaluated whether or not we are still hungry and whether or not we are simply thirsty. And in only 15 minutes. Not bad.
If after all of that we still have the sweet craving, it’s time to leverage that sweet craving to take our health up a notch and ditch the sugar habit.
My personal choice is a tangerine or two, but most any fruit will do.
If I am still having a sweet craving, or am still a little bit hungry and could go either way on sweet or savory, which is sometimes the case, I’ll grab a couple of sweet, easy-to-peel tangerines.
Not only do I get something sweet to eat to satisfy that desire in a healthy way, there are two other substantial benefits.
First, citrus fruits like tangerines are loaded with vitamin C (about 25% RDA per fruit in that little package) as well as antioxidants.
There may be some great desserts with quality, awesome sugar substitutes on the market today, but good luck finding any that match the nutrition profile and lack of bad ingredients like you find in a piece of fruit.
Secondly, if I do have a legitimate sugar addiction, by going to fruit first I am retraining my taste buds to appreciate the sweetness of nature’s produce. Over time, our taste buds will begin to appreciate the balanced sweetness of natural fruit and no longer crave the fake stuff found in processed desserts as much.
In my experience, this about takes care of it and I don’t require so much as a snack the rest of the night, most nights.
Managing Sweet Cravings is Different for Everyone
Now, I have been mostly off sugar for a while now so things have become quite a bit easier. If you are not in that same boat, it may be a little more difficult and you may not get there right away. That’s okay! It’s a journey and taking the steps is what is most important.
If you are on step one, the next step is always step two. No need to try to go right to step ten. It’s not expected and it never works that way.
The key is to consistently take steps to move further away from processed, sugar-added foods and back toward natural whole foods. (Read more on how to do that easily and inexpensively here.)
Once we do that, we are prepared to enjoy much greater health, take our health to new heights, and even pursue more of our life’s goals and dreams with more joy, satisfaction, and greater results.
All because of a little piece of fruit?
Sometimes small, positive choices can cause big, positive ripples and lead to an amazing life.
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