If you struggle with cravings on a gluten free or grain free diet, you are not alone! In this blog (love letter) I want to empathize with you and offer some secrets for satisfying cravings without sabotaging your goals OR your health and happiness.
My story goes like this…..
I used to think I was a healthy eater. It seemed to make sense to me that if I ate mostly good foods – like salads, vegetables, chicken, pasta or rice that I was entitled to my daily fix of chocolate chip cookies, piece of candy or ice cream sundae. My sweet tooth had a mind of its own. It constantly nudged me to satisfy its every craving, giving me the illusion that sugary sweets offered something I couldn’t get anywhere else. I was a sugar addict.
What I didn’t realize was that sugar was creating silent inflammation in my body contributing to chronic pain, irritability and gut issues. What I learned back then and still believe today, is when we acknowledge the pain and the triggers for what they really are, it can significantly help with managing cravings.
Still flashing back, when I decided to become my daughter’s partner on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD); a very restrictive diet that eliminates all grains, gluten, sugar, preservatives additives etc, I had no idea how mad it would make my sweet tooth. During the withdrawal period, dealing with the cravings was tough. I decided the only way I would stick to the diet was if I had something delicious to eat that would satisfy my sweet tooth while still being SCD “legal”.
Because of my sugar addiction, I craved sweets more than carbs or bread. Kelly struggled too. We both need substitutes. And for her they also needed to be egg and dairy free. YIKES! The only allowable sweetener was honey. We fell in love with raw honey because it tastes as sweet as sugar and has a creamier texture than plain honey. With raw honey, I made simple delicious almond butter truffles, cinnamon cookies and blueberry muffins. Despite all the work of making our own treats, the good news is that we got used to the taste of honey pretty quickly and no longer craved processed sugars.
Though I must admit, my secret fix for cravings was actually even more simple. Almond butter was my go to craving crusher. I ate almond butter by the spoonfuls, any time of day, multiple times a day. Being rich with healthy fat, it calmed my body. I learned how to make homemade almond butter (per the SCD) with soaked and roasted almonds.
So here’s the truth bomb……surprisingly, fat is the best thing you can eat when you have a carb or sweet craving. Healthy fats from things like nuts, seeds, coconut or coconut cream will help stabilize blood sugar, which is what typically causes cravings in the first place. This of course is the basis of the low carb, sugar eliminating diet we call the Ketogenic diet.
Bottomline, the trick to curbing your cravings is finding delicious satisfying alternatives that work for you – whether you make them yourself or buy them.
Here’s My Three Craving Cures:
Eat Nut Butter – almond, cashew, sunbutter or even tahini
88 acres and Artisana make beautiful nut butters
Eat Dark Chocolate – preferably naturally sweetened
We love Hu Taza and Lily’s
Eat something crunchy – crunchy foods help reduce cravings gluten grain free crackers, tortilla chips or pretzels of course
We love Siete chips, simple mills crackers and Mary’s gone crackers (gluten free not grain free)
Suzie, GF Guru Mama