I equate refined sugar with poison, but for some reason I still eat it, especially when I am at my parents’ house. The difference being that they will buy it for me. At home, I can exercise restraint at the store for 30 minutes, in order to leave my future self deprived when it’s wishing for a cookie.
My cousin is trying to give up sugar, and I suggested a bet, but via my favorite blog: Zen Habits, I stumbled across this tactic. He calls in the bet switch mechanism, and basically you pick what you want to do, and make a pact with someone that you will pay them every time you either do or don’t do what you wanted to.
So every time either one of us eats something with refined sugar in it, we have to pay the other $5 per item. We live far from each other, so we’ll paypal the money.
Obviously this only works if you are honest. But if you are going to lie, why agree to the bet in the first place? It helps to do this bet with someone you are a little bit competitive with too. I, for one, am not going to be the first one to give in to my sugar cravings. I come from a competitive family. I would no more LET someone win a game than I give them the contents of my wallet.
It gives you that extra incentive to stick to your habits. Intellectually I know that refined sugar isn’t good for me, but it doesn’t kill me or make me sick immediately. Now I’ll have an immediate negative consequence. And really once you break the habit of eating sugar, it makes it easier to go without it. I’ve gone months without eating sugar, and you lose the craving for it.
One thing that always leaves me craving sugar is eating salty things like chips. I feel like I need something intensely sweet to balance out the saltiness. So avoiding chips and salsa as a snack is going to be key for avoiding sugar.
And then you need something special that’s healthy to satisfy your sweet tooth. One of my favorite things is banana whip and mango whip. Just take the fruit frozen and process it in the food processor until it is completely smooth. I like to make a sauce out of dates soaked in water and then blended in my little blender with some vanilla extract and some of the soak water. It’s very decadent, and it’s all fruit.
Another of my favorite treats is date-nut balls. Process a variety of nuts in the food processor until they are in tiny pieces, and then add some dates until the mixture will stick together into balls, you can then add spices. I use cinnamon. Then squeeze the mixture into lots of little balls, and you have a handy snack sort of like a cookie. I keep them in the fridge.
Of course, dates are a delicious sweet snack in and of themselves. I like to pair 3 or 4 of them with a nice juicy fruit like strawberries or an apple. I buy my dates by the case to save money and have the freshest, softest, moistest dates. They are great for traveling or after a workout.
Okay, gotta go.
Snack-walnuts and raisins
Lunch-a head of romaine, guacamole, black beans, and jalapeno peppers
Dinner-tempeh salad with spring mix in a whole wheat homemade pita (2 actually) and a green smoothie (actually it was purple)