Let's talk about how to navigate sugar cravings on the candida cleanse.
Sugar cravings are a common symptom associated with candida overgrowth. They can range from mild to moderate to severe. Some factors that affect the severity of sugar cravings include the level of candida that is present, hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and stress. Below are some of my top tips for how to navigate sugar cravings on the candida cleanse: #1. Be as prepared as possible! I always tell my clients to have candida friendly treats on hand in the fridge or freezer so that when they have a sugar craving they will be more likely to grab that as opposed to something with processed sugar that is quick and easy. This requires taking some time to prep each week. I highly recommend making a promise to yourself to spend 1 hour or less each week preparing some treats for yourself.
Check out the following treat recipes on my website:
#2. Focus on blood sugar management and reducing stress When the body is going through chronic stress, the adrenal glands are secreting cortisol (our stress hormone) frequently. Over time this can lead to erratic blood sugar levels, meaning glucose levels will consistently rise and then fall. When glucose levels spike really high and then drop extremely low, this is often when we see more cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Stress can be both internal and external. A source of internal stress can be metabolic stress and external stress is often related to factors outside of our control which we perceive to be stressful. Working on both of these aspects can be super helpful for helping you combat cravings. A major source of metabolic stress is imbalanced blood sugar. This can look like:
Restricting too many carbs.
Having coffee on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
Eating unbalanced meals and snacks.
Over consuming refined carbohydrates, processed sugar, etc.
Not getting enough sleep.
Feeling stressed 24/7.
All of these factors can imbalance blood sugar levels and may lead to low blood sugar over time. Low blood sugar can bring about the same fight or flight response as a perceived stressor. This can contribute to an inflammatory environment which aids candida’s growth, leads to nutrient deficiencies, as well as contributes to symptoms of extremely low energy, cravings for carbohydrates and sugar.
My top tips for stress and blood sugar regulation include:
Consume quality protein, healthy fats, and fiber with every meal. Some great sources of fiber for the cleanse include cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens, low sugar fruits (green apples, berries), chia seeds, ground flax, and more.
Always pair carbohydrates with protein or fat.
Get 7+ hours of sleep per night.
Eat every 3 - 4 hours.
Eat within the first few hours of being awake.
Consume coffee with a meal or shortly after as opposed to on an empty stomach.
Get in tune with your stressors and assess how you can better support yourself during times of stress. Some examples include developing a really solid morning or evening routine, meditation, journaling, breath work, walks in nature or other forms of exercise, addressing limiting beliefs or other mindset blocks, etc. Stress can also show up when we do not make enough time for fun. I urge you to ask yourself if you are doing anything outside of work that brings you joy?
#3. Get in tune with your emotional needs. Sometimes we crave certain foods because an emotional need did not get met in our day. The next time you get a craving, try to tune into what you are really desiring in that moment. Some questions to consider:
Did I get triggered by something that happened in my day?
What am I actually looking for in this moment?
Am I looking for love or validation?
Am I actually craving this food?
Am I seeking this food for comfort because of an emotion I am trying to avoid?
Am I sad or bored?
Am I avoiding something that is troubling me?
Am I feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
Sometimes a craving is simply just a craving and in which case we are faced with two options:
Option 1: Ask yourself if you can replicate what you are craving, but with a healthier spin on it. E.g if you are craving your favourite chocolate bar, can you make a sugar-free version at home?
Option 2: Ask yourself if you just really need to have that food. Sometimes we are better off just eating the real deal, allowing ourselves to enjoy it, and then moving on with our life! It can honestly be as simple as that. I know it's hard not to feel guilty or shameful when this happens, but I really encourage my clients to do this sometimes and to not think twice about it. For the reason being, it releases the restricted feeling and can help them get back on track with their cleanse afterwards.
I often crave chocolate and feel a deep desire to eat an entire chocolate bar after dinner on days when I feel like I didn’t get enough done in my work day or if I feel like what I did get done wasn't good enough. For me, turning to chocolate can be a way of coping with the stress of not feeling good enough. I am working on my relationship with chocolate through expressing more self compassion and gratitude. A lot of this is done through self reflection journaling.
Everyday I spend time in the morning journaling as I find this is the best way to get in tune with how I am feeling. I write down whatever comes to mind and if it's negative, I flip it into something positive.
Sometimes I write down affirmations, such as:
- I am good enough.
- I have done enough.
- I have enough.
Sometimes I need to keep these affirmations close to me throughout the day so I can remind myself.
If I'm feeling overstimulated or discouraged at the end of the day, I will do another check in. This looks like taking a moment to write down what I was able to get done in my work day and honouring what I was able to get done vs. spending time thinking negatively, only focusing on what didn’t get done. Then I write another list for the next day. Sometimes I meditate or go for a walk too. All of this helps me stay focused and centered, which I need in order to make the best choices for myself.
Lastly, I want you to know that sugar cravings often have nothing to do with will power and everything to do with the state of your gut microbiome, hormones, and mindset. So even though you may be trying your absolute best to avoid sugar, if the cravings are extremely overwhelming you may also want to consider the strictness of your cleanse. Sometimes if we are being too strict with omitting sugar and carbohydrates, this can ramp up metabolic stress, and create more issues. If you give into these cravings from time to time, I want you to know that this is okay, and it is a part of the process. None of us are perfect so don't forget to give yourself some self compassion throughout your journey. If you need support on your candida cleansing journey, please don't hesitate to reach out. I am always here for you!