Ten Ways to Kill a Sweet Tooth
By Carolyn Allen
I came home yesterday to the aroma of baking chocolate. Kelly, my going-on-15-year-old, had stirred up a batch of brownies because “I just need some chocolate and something sweet – just one!”
She’s not alone. In conversation after conversation this week with my friends at MyWeightLossTeam.com and those that I consult with, a craving for sugar frequently dominates days and moods like a demanding, undisciplined, whiny toddler .It does not go away on its own and, of course, it greatly affects the success of any healthy eating plan.
Few of us are exempt from wanting and including it in what we eat. And truthfully, a tithing portion of it (10% each day) is not a bad thing – for those of us who can stop at 10%. (Not me!)
Nevertheless, the success and the examples of those who do break the spell of sugar’s unyielding powers abound! For example, last week in church, we had a remarkable visitor. From the foyer area outside the chapel, I was quite taken by the details on the back of beautiful purple brocade jacket and some darling red/purple patent shoes on an elegant woman in front of me. I thought she was the visiting grandmother of a family in our congregation. With a spring in her step, I was impressed with the energy that oozed from just from the back of her.
When she turned around, much to my surprise, it was my friend Kay Braithwaite, a woman (now in her 70’s) who had been a member of our congregation a number of years ago before moving out West. In short, she had lost more than 100 pounds. No wonder we didn’t recognize her!
She agreed to let me interview her and I will provide the details for you later, but for immediate inspiration she shared that she now saves her sweets for special occasions, then compensates with exercise after she has mindfully indulged.
With her success in mind, the statistics on the harmful effects of the artificial sweeteners are important to note. I received several copies of an email that is currently circulating right now about how consumption of aspartame (widely used in many food products, especially diet soda) actually creates the symptoms of MS! As I checked into the validity of this disturbing letter, I was led to www.sweetpoison.com where the effects and related studies are extremely well documented.
Where are there answers to help us thwart the cravings and foods that surround us day and night? To add our success story to those who have beat the cravings and the odds?
In the scriptures, of course!
Today’ Scripture: “Wherefore, do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently uto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” (Isaiah 55:2)
There is the answer – encouraging our souls to delight in the rich, sweet things of both this life and eternity that satisfy, while encouraging our bodies to delight in the things that will properly nourish and sustain them, avoiding refined sugars and processed grain products (those that are stripped of their coatings and husks).
It is easy to find an abundance of information on the science of the effects of sugar on both weight loss and moods. My favorite resources are listed HERE.
Yet, as we all know, how willing the spirit is! How weak the flesh when the unbidden brownies appear. Even at this stage of healthy living for me personally, the cravings are alive and thriving, thank you very much.
As I entered the kitchen yesterday afternoon, there were Kelly’s brownies, all done, with just a few gone – and many crumbs for picking at. In addition, the bowls and beaters were waiting to trap me. Throughout the day there had been sugar and refined products in abundance where I work. The truth is, these foods and the temptations, like the media and the nasty stuff it brings, will never go away.
Here are 10 quick ways to kill a sweet tooth. Or, if you’re more like me, a whole set of teeth:
- Try to find a substitute. Generally, you tend to crave sweets after a meal or in the late afternoon. It might be helpful to have something else there and ready to fight off those cravings. For example, Helen Luksan, whom we recently wrote about, has found that peppermint tea is just as satisfying as a peppermint patty – and takes a lot longer to consume! Perhaps a box of raisins in the afternoon, a piece of fruit, or anything else that you can think of that would be somewhat nutritious and easy to keep with you.
- Wait out the craving. Most experts say the cravings you experience will only last a couple of minutes and if you can wait it out, they will pass and you will be better for it. Try to occupy yourself for a good 10 minutes when you get a craving and if it lasts longer, then it might be time to indulge in something.
- Set daily goals and reward yourself for meeting them. To a sugar addict, nothing is tougher than getting through the day without any type of sugary treat. The longer you can hold out, the easier it will become, so try to find a reward that would be worth holding out for. I did this about a year ago and gave myself a dollar for every day that I did not indulge and at the end of the month or however long it was, I would go get a manicure or buy myself something nice.
- Recruit someone to do it with you. If you are married or have a family, this would be a healthy habit for everyone to adopt. Clean out the cupboards and refrigerator of all bad foods and make the effort a team effort. Hold each other accountable and support one another through the tough times.
- Put yourself in good situations. Isn’t this what we tell our kids? If you are one who loves to use the vending machines at work or will drive through the local gas station to fill up on snacks, try to do things to prevent you from continuing on with these habits. Clean out all of the change and single dollar bills in your wallet. Make sure you fill up on gas when someone is with you. Go grocery shopping after a meal, so you don’t load up on bad food.
- Try eating a few nuts after a meal. For some reason, this seems to satisfy the sweet cravings within minutes in many people.
- Save your leafy green salad (or part of it) for dessert! This is the way the French commonly eat, and our missionaries will quickly tell us that most of our European friends do not have the obesity issues we do.
- Cinnamon is a natural way to curb the cravings. Cinnamon flavored gum, mints and toothpaste are indispensable for managing the desire to eat candy, cookies, donuts and refined carbohydrate products.
- Cheese also makes a good dessert.
- Quickly brush your teeth when the cravings hit, put on some hand lotion, or quickly find a small cleaning/sorting job such as emptying wallet, pockets, a purse or a drawer.
As a bonus, however, here is the best tip of all – to fill our hearts and souls instead of our stomachs and mouths. .
As I tidied the kitchen yesterday afternoon, including Kelly’s brownie bowls and spoons still abundantly sticky with plenty of the batter that was begging to be licked, a hymn kept playing in my mind. As I finally paid attention to it, I realized that it was the Spirit, guiding my thoughts for what cures our cravings for sweets best – love.
I offer it now as a prayer to memorize when the sweets appear, as they will without fail almost every day for most of us:
Hymn 295 That Hymn That Cures a Sweet Tooth:
O Love That Glorifies the Son
O love that glorifies the Son; O love that says, Thy will be done!
Pure love whose spirit makes us one, Come fill my soul today
Come fill my soul today.
O love that binds our family, O love that brings my heart to thee
Pure love that lasts eternally, Come fill my soul today
Come fill my soul today.
O love that overcomes defeat, O love that turns the bitter sweet
Pure love that makes our life complete, Come fill my soul today
Come fill my soul today.
O Lord, give me the will to mend, O Lord change me from foe to friend
Dear Lord, sustain me to the end, Come fill my soul today.
Come fill my soul today.
Now that’s satisfying! Best of all, the portions are unlimited and we can fill ourselves to our heart’s content!
Today’s Empowerment: “I fill both my body and soul with that which satisfies. I save sweets for special occasions and plan for them mindfully.”
Today’s Recipe: Italian Rice ‘n Beans
Italian Rice ‘n Beans
(Serves 4 at 330 cal.)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 can low sodium tomatoes
2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup water
1 large stalk celery, chopped
Basil (1 Tbsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. dried oregano
Dash of black pepper
2 cups kidney beans, cooked & drained
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add water, tomatoes, carrots, celery, basil, oregano, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add a little more water if necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in kidney beans and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.
Divide rice into 4 servings. Divide veggies into 4 servings and serve over the rice. Sprinkle each with Parmesan Cheese.
(2 g Dietary Fiber; 330 calories; 6 g Fat; 58 g Carb)
2008 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.