Monday, March 19, 2012

Q&A: Dealing with Cravings and Diet Changes

 Chocolate coconut flour cake with mint, chocolate icing.

Today I'm delving into my first Q&A post. It will be fun to experiment with this format and see if it is helpful to you all! This post deals with transitioning from those foods that aren't serving our bodies well, to healthier options. More specifically, how to deal with cravings for adrenal zapping sugar, refined carbs and caffeine. I have been on several different versions of healthy eating plans over the past 5 years. Everything from lots of raw milk and sourdough bread, to my current lower carb, high fat and balanced protein diet.

When I first got into eating real food, I was coming off a low calorie, low fat lifestyle. It was freeing to be able to eat artisan breads lathered in butter and guiltlessly gulp down creamy glasses of raw milk. The further I progressed in my quest for health, the more it was apparent that I needed to forgo the milk and bread and focus on protein, fats and veggies. Eventually I had to give up honey, coconut sugar, caffeine and most fruit. That was a hard transition for me but very necessary since I had candida overgrowth and adrenal burnout. I must admit to shedding some tears over these changes. Considering I used to live off candy, diet pepsi, rice cakes, tex mex and ice cream, eating veggies and protein just didn't seem that enticing. So, I was excited when I received the below question because I feel this is a commonality for most of us and there are ways to make the transition easier and even enjoyable! 

My biggest problem is that I have not eliminated some
things from my diet, i.e., coffee, honey, Milk Duds, wine.
I know I need to do this, but it is just not happening with me!
I feel a little discouraged because I know in my
head I need to get off this stuff, but for some reason, I am finding
it more difficult than it has been in the past.

Ok, here is what worked for me. Make healthy desserts! When you're in recovery or dealing with a new diet it's really important to have alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth and desire for refined carbs. For the first year and a half of doing Nutritional Balancing I had daily treats, often after every meal. This may be looked down upon by some whole foodies, but it was certainly better than eating junk food and being tempted to indulge in sugar when I went out. Even with eating more protein, fats and some treats, I did not gain weight. The extra weight I was carrying was from my days of raw milk and sourdough bread eating. 

Getting into grain free, low sugar baking was a lifesaver for me. Going out and seeing others enjoying treats would have been incredibly hard if I wasn't feeling satisfied with what I had to eat. I ended up enjoying my baked goods so much so that when I'd see others eating the sugar laden alternatives, I had no trouble resisting.  Also, because I had increased my fat and protein consumption, this helped curb my sweet cravings. Still, because my body was in such disrepair and my blood sugar was really unstable, I craved treats. It has not been until recently, with a decrease in fatigue and an increased motivation to loose weight that I have been able to forgo my healthy "sweets". I simply wasn't ready to let go of that comfort until a few things shifted and I think that was perfectly ok. There is a time for everything and sometimes we need to be realistic and make things easier on ourselves.

To deal with wine and coffee cravings I highly recommend using the amino acids DLPA and L-Glutamine. Here is some helpful info on how to use these amino acids to quit coffee, this would apply to wine cravings as well. I first learned about the importance of amino acids in the wonderful book, The Mood Cure. Well, worth the read.

Now you may be wondering where I get my low sugar, grain free inspiration. Well, below I'll share a few of my favorite recipes as well as some sites for great recipes. Even if a recipe calls for honey, agave or sugar you can easily sub in your sweetener or choice, (mine being birch sugar, erythritol and stevia). Lost of my treats are an experiment, inspiration gathered from several recipes and mixed up to create something that suites my taste. Sometimes they're a flop, but along the way I've found what works for me and I feel totally satisfied!

My Recipes:
Blueberry Crumble Muffins
Best Chocolate Cake Ever!
Carrot Cake Bars

Sites I love:
Elana's Pantry
Healthy Indulgences
Until The Thin Lady Sings

Links to products I mentioned in this post:


  1. I find the easing into it to be very helpful & true. Anytime I've gotten too strict too fast or focused on something other than healing (like weight loss), I've fallen off the wagon & back into old, unhealthy eating patterns...which invariably lead to other negative patterns.

    I also tend to get impatient, which often times leads to giving up...and again into bad patterns. Often times through my 5 year process, the changes don't help or I'm not experiencing what other are raving about with a particular way of eating or healing protocol & it messes with my head, and I get into the "what's the use" mindset and fall back to unhealthy foods out of frustration & self-soothing. It's a cycle I still struggle with to this day & it makes me wonder if that's why I haven't made more progress in my healing.

    1. Easing in is imperative. And giving yourself plenty of time and space to do so will save you from "falling off the wagon".

      I can so related to not experiencing the results that others rave about. I have never responded to lifestyle/diet changes like vast majority. Now I understand that that has a lot to do w/ my copper issues and things needing deep repair in my body. Again, time and patience, no overnight success expectations.

  2. Thank you so much for answering my question Maria. In the past I have been on so many "healthy eating" protocols, all of which I do not regret. However, I believe I have extreme life-long copper issues that have been the bane of my efforts to feel better! Since finding nutritional balancing, thanks so someone in Australia who brought it to my attention, I now finally know why other diets and programs have not worked. I am in the first four months of this process, and am very hopeful. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I am going to order the things I need to try them and perhaps I can get over the store-bought Milk Duds etc. My counselor said it took a while for her to get off coffee, so I am going to be patient with myself and just keep at it. It is so nice to get to see how others are doing it! I will ask my counselor about the Mood Cure strategy and if it is okay to add those items...funny...I have that book. I got it a couple of years ago to try to help myself with my sleep issues, even got on some of the amino acids, to no avail. But that was before nutritional balancing and removing copper and other heavy metals, so I feel much encouraged! Thanks so much Maria for your kindness and for sharing!

    1. Moira!
      Glad I could help. It's a joy to share with others. Yep, it's the copper issues that trip a lot of us up. Also, explains why many other attempts didn't work in the past. Nice to get to the root cause.

      Gentleness is key. When we're kind and patient with ourselves life is a lot easier and changes don't loom over us with such pressure. Best of luck to you!

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