Understanding Sugar Cravings and What to Do About Them

Please enjoy today’s article from Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Pure Joy Academy as the guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self Blog. ~ Chris

Understanding Sugar Cravings and What to Do About Them

Sugar and simple carbohydrate cravings are a real problem for many of us. Not only does sugar (in the form of processed flours, white potatoes, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, agave and even healthy sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey and dates) diminish our health, they can cause a host of emotional problems as well such as irritability and depression.

What are some reasons we crave sugars or sweet foods?

One main reason can be low adrenal function. Years of abusing our bodies through less than optimal food choices, lack of exercise, continual low-grade stress and overeating can cause our adrenals (a hormone gland that sits right above the kidneys) to continually secrete epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). This continuous reliance on our adrenals to provide us with energy and good feelings cause another form of abuse when the adrenaline is running low. We are so addicted to having and using energy during the day that we will sometimes drink caffeine and eat stimulating foods such as too much chocolate to force our adrenals to secrete even more “juice” than they would normally secrete. Sugar and caffeine both give us a temporary adrenaline hit or high followed by a sugar crash.

What can we do?

If you’ve ever tried to quit an unhealthy habit, you know that it can be a difficult road of cravings and deprivation. If this describes you, don’t feel badly, it is a normal part of our existence to want to feel good. When we get the dopamine hits (also known as the Pleasure Trap) it causes us to keep revisiting those unhealthy habits no matter how bad we know they are for us. Will Power alone is not enough; you need to support your body with the nutrients it is lacking. The first thing you can do right away is to start taking an adaptogen daily. An adaptogen is a botanically based hormone regulator. They help us to adapt to stressful environmental and physical factors. Adaptogens are a saving grace as they can help us to regulate energy by either helping us sleep better or to help us perform better in day-to-day tasks.

I take 3 Quantum Adrenal Complex capsules every morning to help balance and regulate my hormone levels. You can find many adaptogens in teas as well such as licorice, schisandra berries, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola rosea, ashwaganda, medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, Cordycepts, and more.

12 tips to minimize sugar and caffeine cravings:

  1. Avoid places you will be tempted (such as malls, the snack isle of grocery stores and shopping when you are tired or hungry). Most important: don’t bring those energy robbing foods back to your house.
  2. Relieve your stress by taking action on a project or make a phone call you have been avoiding.
  3. Daily yoga and meditation have a huge impact on relieving stress and increasing pleasure sensations. I have been using a new app on my iphone called Mediator. It times me and does little chimes to keep my mind from wandering.
  4. Eat foods that mimic the foods you are cravings such as a raw-vegan zucchini pasta with pesto sauce instead of the white flour and dairy-laden version.
  5. How about making a vegan, low glycemic pie and keeping it in your freezer to have ready when you are in the middle of a snack attack?
  6. Sauerkraut is full of natural probiotics and dampens the cravings for sweets. I mix it with an avocado for a hearty snack.
  7. Probiotic foods such as coconut kefir (see image right) or coconut yogurt (watch my youtube video):
    Coconut Yogurt by Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet
  8. Make a sugar free lemonade with purified water, lemon juice and zero glycemic stevia
  9. Drink a green juice (celery, kale, cucumber, lemon) even if it doesn’t sound good in the moment.
  10. Eat coconut yogurt with low glycemic raspberries (frozen or fresh)*
  11. Make a list of your health goals and get that out before going for food. Write down everything you eat, the pleasure factor of eating forbidden foods will decrease knowing that you will later be accountable for it on paper.
  12. Fast forward in your mind to one hour later… will you be happy about what you are choosing now?

Over time, as you practice discipline, being accountable, substitution and supporting your adrenals, you may find that you will get more pleasure and feel stronger by not eating sugars and simple carbohydrates. Your pancreas and your body will reward you with more sustainable energy, youthfulness and less fine lines on your face. You deserve your birth right of Pure Joy!

To your inner and outer beauty!
Elaina Love

Bringing Pure Joy and Gourmet Bliss to the Planet,
Elaina Love

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .


Over the last year many people have asked me what I have been doing differently because they have seen an increase in my mood, energy and 20 pounds melt off of my body.  What I have done is changed my lifestyle so I eat to live rather than live to eat.  Seventy percent of my daily diet includes eating raw foods, juicing and incorporating supplements into my daily regimen.  Since this has become a very popular question and topic within my circles of clients and friends, I decided to let the best of the best educate you on the topic.  Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Culinary Academy will be a guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self blog.  So, without further ado, Ms. Elaina Love

Why and how to eat a more plant strong diet

Everyone knows it is healthy to eat fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables every day.  That isn’t a new concept.  A plant strong diet encourages us to make these foods up to 80% of our diet.

Water – Fruits and vegetables are rich in pure water.  Our bodies are 70% water.  Even though we should still drink water upon arising and between meals, consuming a water-rich diet keeps us well hydrated and lessens the need for extra water.

Proteins – Heat damages proteins, causing the amino acid chains to congeal.  These large protein molecules may be unusable and even harmful to the body, causing inflammation and other problems.  Unheated plant proteins such as nuts, seeds, sprouts and greens may be 100 times more available to the body than heated proteins.

Fats – Fats are very sensitive to heat (think of avocados and flax oil).  Heated fats have lost their antioxidant qualities, and are known to be carcinogenic.  Heating any fat also makes it sticky (think of a lasagna pan), which can cause blockages in the arteries and digestive tract, inhibit the absorption of nutrients, and reduce the body’s ability to transport oxygen.

Digestion:  Assimilation and Elimination – The simple carbohydrates in fruits and vegetable are readily used as energy for the body.  In raw fruits and vegetables, more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are available to be used by the body.  The soft, soluble fiber in fruits and tender green vegetables also makes them easy to digest and assimilate, and aid in elimination.

Acid-alkaline balance – Processed food, cooked meat, grains and dairy, sugar, starches, pollution, and stress leave most people too acidic, which prevents optimal cellular activity and immune system functions, and leaches alkaline minerals from the body.  Diseases are more likely to form in an acidic environment.  Ripe fruits, vegetables, greens, sprouted nuts and seeds and some sprouted grains (buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff and amaranth) are alkalizing.

Adapting to a plant strong diet

Simple steps to adding plant foods to your diet:

  1. Start the day with 16 oz of pure water, maybe with a little lemon juice added.  Then have green juice or green powder (such as Vitamineral Greens) mixed with water or some fruit.
  2. Begin typical lunches and dinners with a salad, maybe with avocado or soaked nuts/seeds (be careful of dairy laden, high fat and sugar dressings that are typically sold at stores and served in restaurants).
  3. If you snack, eat fruits, raw vegetables, and/or green juices as between meal snacks instead of other snacks Drink pure water between meals.

If you just do these three steps, you will automatically be eating about 50% plant strong foods.

Then, begin reducing or eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet.

  1. Start with processed foods (junk food, white sugar and white flour, packaged snacks).
  2. Then reduce animal products.
  3. Then reduce cooked starches.

It can be helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and how particular foods affect you.  An easy way to plan dietary changes is to make 3 lists:  Foods you regularly eat, foods you sometimes eat, and foods you occasionally or rarely eat.  Evaluate which foods you would like to eat more of and which ones you would like to eat less of.  Choose a maximum of 3 changes to make at any one time.

Here is a recipe (one of Chris’ favorites) to get you started:  All you need for equipment is a blender and if you don’t have one, you can use a shaker bottle.  Enjoy!

Easy Caesar Salad


½ cup extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil

2 TBS lemon juice

½ cup water

2 large dates or 2 Tbs. honey or xylitol (for low glycemic)

1 Tbs. light miso paste (find this at health food stores)

3 medium cloves garlic

1 ½ tsp. prepared Dijon mustard

2 tsp. dulse flakes (a seaweed that you can find at health food stores)

¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt or a Himalayan salt (any salt will work)

  1. Blend in a blender or hand mix, crushing the garlic first.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


1 cucumber, peeled and cubed

1 tomato, chopped

4 scallions thinly sliced.

15 black olives

Bringing Pure Joy and Gourmet Bliss to the Planet,

Elaina Love
www.PureJoyAcademy.com Raw Food Culinary Academy
www.PureJoyPlanet.com Products and Recipes

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .