"I’ll have one large tub of coconut gelato, three jumbo packets of homemade raw chocolate with goji berries and a piece of your delicious gluten free banana bread with extra vegan cream cheese” - shopping at the farmers markets last weekend, this ran through my head when it literally felt like my stomach was a bottomless pit and all I wanted to do was eat my body weight in sweets and deliciousness. All healthy yes, consuming it all at once… not so healthy. After chats with my girlfriends, I know that my cravings are not unique - but what’s a girl to do? Here’s how to manage those testing times without feeling deprived.
- First, remove any labels you have attached to the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ elements of food. A food isn’t bad. It hasn’t lied to you or called you names. It’s just a food. But when we classify our dining options into positive or negative, we therefore have an emotional attachment to it. And we all know where that leads - down a slippery slope where we punish, restrict and feel guilty about what we have eaten, or what we should have eaten, or a bizarre combination of them both.
- Be ok with ‘indulging’. We are all on this sugar free journey to be able to have our cake and eat it too, but we may have echoes of voices in our heads that say ‘cake is only for birthdays!’ or ‘you can’t stop at only one chocolate - you have to have them all!’. When we have wholesome, nourishing treats like sugar free brownies made with superfoods like cacao, coconut oil and tofu, then it can be a normal part of your diet. Maybe not every second-meal-normal, but it definitely can be part of your diet without causing havoc.
- Finally, and most importantly: listen to your body. See the story above when I ordered my substantial sweet collection? If I had of eaten it all at once, I probably would have felt very ill (memories of eating entire tubs of Messina with my ex boyfriend remind me of that). And just like if we live off lettuce leaves and lemon juice a-la extreme detox diets, plunging our bodies into a a pool of heavy, rich and decadent sweets that don’t usually feature on our day to day diet probably wont supercharge us for our 530pm pilates class. So eat slowly, enjoy the elements of the food and pay attention to when your body says it’s had enough sweetness - studies show after about 3 spoons of a sweet, we are generally satisfied.
At the end of the day, cravings, food, delicious gluten free banana bread - all meant to make us feel good. So make sure it does that. Foster a healthy relationship between your mindset and food, learn how to properly care for your body (my recipe section has loads of ideas) and most importantly, remember to enjoy the experience. Because that’s what it’s all about.