7 Ways To Knock Out Refined Carb Cravings
There’s nothing like a nasty, sweet craving to derail your commitment to clean eating.
Refined carb cravings are especially dangerous because this type of carbohydrate is full of empty calories and added sugar which spikes your blood sugar levels, causing a chemical response in your pancreas and brain.
Not to mention, they're low in fibre too and typically laden with additives, preservatives that are addictive and common causes of sickness and disease.
It's important to realise that sweet cravings can be satisfied with whole food options that are both convenient, delicious and good for you.
But ultimately, if you find yourself constantly craving sweet things, it's usually a sign that your body is deficient in certain nutrients that you need to address.
Whole vs. Refined Carbs: Learning the Difference
Whole carbs are foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruit. All of these are nature-made foods that have not been refined or chemically processed in any way and they promote good health.
Refined carbs on the other hand, are found in foods like pastries, cookies, cakes, white bread, processed fruit juices, sports drinks, white rice, flour and pasta, etc.
On the whole, it's better to avoid these types of refined carbs altogether and stick to whole foods high in nutritional value, but it’s easier said than done because of the addictive ingredients that are used in processed carbs to keep you coming back for more.
What’s more, refined carbs are the backbone of many convenience foods, so when you’re on-the-go or short on time, you’re far more likely to reach for this less than ideal option.
Cutting out refined carbs cold turkey is definitely not easy, so we’ve pulled together seven to help you fight back when those refined carb cravings take a hold of you.
1. Make Your First Meal Count
If you’ve tried cutting out refined carbs and failed, it's probably because you've lacked easy alternatives, or you have well formed eating or snacking habits that are tough to break.
The first secret is to ensure that your first meal of the day is filled with nutrient dense whole food calories rather than nutrient deficient, processed and refined packaged cereals.
Some great breakfast options include:
- Ripe, fresh fruit, nuts and organic yogurt
- Rolled oats made with coconut milk, add raw organic honey and walnuts
- Smoothie on almond or coconut milk with frozen banana pieces, two pitted medjool dates and a tablespoon of raw cacao powder
- Organic wholegrain bread with almond butter, chopped banana, drizzled with raw honey.
Alternatives like these will nourish your body and brain and set you off on the right foot for the day.
2. Snack with wholefood alternatives
The key to avoiding refined carbs is actually to keep yourself full with nutrient dense foods.
When snack time rolls around, munch on dried mango, dried apricots and raw brazil or macadamia nuts. And in the car or office, always keep a bag of raw almonds handy.
Alternatively, snack on Pulse Raw Food, which is an ancient nourishing blend of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and plant oils that works wanders for knocking out those sweet, refined carb cravings at any time.
If you're more the savoury type, try Cornucopia Epicurean Snack which is a delightful, guilt-free, crunchy savoury snack, prepared from non-GMO, slow roasted corn kernels, raw nuts, seeds, sea salt and spices.
Learn more in 8 Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
3. Plan Your Meals
In addition to not letting yourself get hungry, being prepared plays a huge part in managing your cravings.
Meal planning isn’t just for athletes; in fact, a little planning can go a long way to not only completely transform your relationship with refined carbs, but food in general.
Experiment with intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating a few days each week, whereby you condense your daily 'feeding window' to 8 hours e.g. by having your first meal at say, 10am and your last at 6pm.
In doing this, overtime you'll help to re-set your digestive system, support cellular recycling inside your body (a big secret to anti-aging) and train your body to tap into its fat stores more effectively.
Ensuring your meals are planned ahead of time and making it a habit, can really help thwart sporadic carb cravings which can completely derail a clean diet and lifestyle.
Learn more in How to Curb Constant Hunger
4. Distract Yourself
Sometimes a carb craving hits that’s tough to ignore. When that happens, your best bet is to simply distract yourself until it passes. That can be as simple as drinking a glass of water or eating a piece of fruit, walking the dog, reading a book or taking a shower.
Try to be mindful to uncover the reason for your craving. If you’re actually hungry, you should never deprived yourself of good, clean food, but also, check-in to see if you’re eating emotionally, due to feeling bored, tired, stressed or anxious. If so, each for these essential oils to help with your mood instead of refined carbs. Use them as aromatherapy and treat the cause of your emotional eating: don’t feed the symptom.
5. Reduce Your Stress
Stress is never good for you, but it can absolutely wreak havoc on your weight management goals. Stress and anxiety can trigger your body to crave refined carbs and junk food to provide comfort to yourself, but it’s important not to give in.
Not only will you train your mind to not rely on food to fight stress, but you’ll curb the mindless, emotional eating that can lead to serious weight gain over time. To reduce your stress, try exercising, taking a walk to break up your work day, spend more time with family and friends, and ensure you’re getting enough sleep. The Mood Management Essential Oils Pack can also help you naturally manage your stress and relax.
Learn more about taking care of yourself and reducing stress in Self Care Mindset: How to Get on a Healthy Path & Stick to Positive New Habits
6. Eat More Fibre & Plant Protein
To avoid refined carb cravings, enjoy a diet full of fibre and protein to keep your body more healthfully satisfied. Fibre digests slowly, so it helps you feel more full for longer. Protein doesn’t have to mean animal by-products; in fact, you can get everything you need from a plant-based diet to feel full, satisfied and healthy.
Foods like hummus, legumes, nuts and nut butters are all excellent sources of fibre, protein and a host of vital micronutrients that will help keep your mind and body happy and healthy.
For more guidance about infusing your diet with more plant-based foods, look to these cookbooks. They can help you figure out how to create wholesome, delicious meals that don’t rely on animals, so you can live a healthier lifestyle while also managing your refined carb cravings.
7. Swap The Craving
You don’t have to ignore the craving altogether. You can trick your mind by replacing the craving with a healthier alternative, so that you still feel like you’re indulging the craving without suffering the consequences.
Whether it’s swapping out your bun for lettuce leaves to create a healthy wrap, or starting starting a meal with a big green salad instead of bread, you can trick your mind into thinking the craving was met.
Instead of going hungry and feeling deprived, you'll curb your appetite and be making a more nutritious choice for your health.
Fighting the craving for refined carbs isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the effort. Consuming too many refined carbs in your diet can lead to overeating, even more cravings, obesity and other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
By replacing refined carbs with more whole foods, you’ll notice better weight management, less cravings for junk food, feeling more full and sustained for longer after eating, and more energy. Start slow by reducing your refined carb intake, and then follow the above seven tips to curb your cravings for good. It might be tough at first, but over time you’ll notice it gets easier.
Eventually, you’ll be living a life with little to no refined carb cravings, and a whole lot more energy and vitality.
Learn more in The Truth About SugarTolman Self Care.