My fellow sweet-tooths: you’ve probably heard the “not so sweet” news about sugar over the past year – it’s related to many diseases and inflammation and if were being vain, acne and weight gain too. But it tastes SO good, right? While not all sugar is created equally, there is evidence that those overly-sweet added and artificial sugars are actually addicting, and that’s why your little post-dinner sweet is a habit that is so hard to break.
Here’s the thing about habits – research shows that it’s much, much easier and more impactful to REPLACE habits instead of trying to nix them altogether (if you’re interested in this, I suggest reading The Power of Habit). So today we are going to make some trades like I do with clients at Foodtrainers (Foodtrainers.com). Here are a few of my favorite sweet-replacements that taste really good and decrease that need for sweet.
Ceylon cinnamon Ceylon is the crème de la crème of cinnamons. A pinch of cinnamon in coffee tends to hit the sweet spot and bonus points: it stabilizes your blood sugar and seems to help with your good gut bacteria too. We even add cinnamon to eggs to make a sweet/savory breakfast.
Vanilla powder + vanilla extract Vanilla has a serious sweet sensation without the sugar spike. I love vanilla powder (it’s like crushed vanilla beans) and sprinkle it on yogurt and in smoothies. If that’s hard to find, organic vanilla extract does the trick.
Cacao + cacao powder
Yup, chocolate is approved around here! Cacao is the cocoa bean in it’s raw form and it’s pretty bitter, but it does add a little chocolatey flavor to smoothies, coffee, and teas too. I have a tbsp. of cacao chips or a square of 70% dark chocolate or higher, and it hits the spot without opening the door for serious cravings.
Fennel seeds OK, fennel isn’t the sexiest food, but fennel seeds are typically served at the end of Indian meals because they are great for digestion and bloat. Plus there is that little bit of licoricy sweetness in there, for 0 grams of sugar.
Mint is super refreshing and signals to the brain that a meal is done. That’s why mints/brushing your teeth/chewing gum can work wonders for appetite (I'm not suggesting gum!). I love making fresh mint tea- literally just adding hot water to chopped mint leaves. Or, you're welcome to nosh on a few mint leaves solo! In addition to cutting those sugar cravings, it’s the ultimate breath refresher too.
I love to end the day with a “nightcap”: either a cup of ALOHA tea or homemade golden milk (turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and coconut milk). Having this “nightcap” ritual to look forward to can really curb your need to sweet, and doesn’t feel like you’re restricting from anything. Let me know your hacks for cutting back on sugar, I’d love to hear from you!