The Epic Battle of Sugar Cravings vs. Vegetable Smoothies

This week I’m over at Turtleduck Press talking about vegetables:

My household has had a steady (but not overwhelming) supply of zucchini for the last month. Zucchini grow fast, did you know? We picked the first one a month earlier than we were expecting after last year’s tomato crop. And we could have picked it even earlier, only we didn’t notice it. They’re good at hiding. By the time we realized we had one, it was thicker than a baseball bat. Whoops!

Partly as a result of our vegetable garden, my household has been drinking a lot of smoothies lately, full of varying and tasty combinations of greens, celery, apples, ginger, and fruit. I haven’t noticed any Popeye tendencies yet, though. I admit I was hoping for a magic food that would give me 100% more energy, 150% better digestion, 98% fewer mood swings…and, I can’t deny, 33% less tummy pudge. But maybe green smoothies can only do so much against a desk-bound lifestyle.

I go through phases. I find that when my mood is lower, I crave sugar; but conversely, drinking (or eating) less sugar doesn’t seem to have an effect on my mood. Sometimes I drink more lattes, sometimes more soda pop, sometimes hot chocolate. When I wasn’t working, I drank sweet chai (Indian-style tea) because someone in my family makes a fantastic chai. For a while I bought red wine regularly and tried to become a connoisseur; now I’ve given up and only have alcohol at restaurants.

These days most of my fancy drink needs, and some of my dessert needs, are being met by smoothies. I drink regular coffee and the occasional cappuccino or pop, and that’s pretty much it.

But winter is coming (I’m a Stark at heart) and I know what happens then. I get cold and want warm, sweet drinks. And my NaNoWriMo drink of choice is mildly caffeinated root beer. We won’t even get into NaNo snacks.

So…

Your turn! How do you combat cravings and stay healthy? How much does varying your diet affect your mood?

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6 responses to “The Epic Battle of Sugar Cravings vs. Vegetable Smoothies

  1. I found out two months ago that food has a dramatic effect on my mood. Like insanely huge. I went from exhausted and depressed and waking up after 9 hours of sleep still tired to energetic, chipper, and needing only 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night by giving up grains, legumes, and dairy. It was a particularly hard change for me to make — I had been vegetarian for over 20 years and used to rely on the the foods I’ve cut out, so I had to go back to eating meat. As for sugar, it makes me super crazy and the only way I can avoid cravings is not to have any foods that are actually just sugar-delivery systems at all. No dessert for me (except fresh fruit) but I actually like it that way.

  2. Wow, that’s dramatic, Kit! But that’s something like what I was expecting from all the smoothies, and I was surprised it didn’t happen. Granted, I’ve never made a huge diet shift like what you describe…just smaller shifts away from meat, towards beans, less sugar / more sugar, etc. Glad to hear you’ve found something that makes such a difference to your mood and your health!

  3. It sounds dramatic but it’s taken me years to get here. I gave up gluten four years ago and got a little improvement from that, but was still having energy and mood issues. I’ve been reducing my processed food intake for nearly 10 years, but even all whole (“real”) foods wasn’t enough. Turns out I need drastic measures to be a healthy person, which is NOT what I wanted, but definitely what is true. I do like feeling so much better. It’s helping me to get a lot more writing done.

  4. Kit, kudos to you for being willing to go all the way for your body. I think my problem is less diet than lack of exercise and general movement. You’re inspiring me. Here’s hoping you do awesome things with your newfound health!

  5. …I’ve managed to combat the desires by reminding myself of what I miss out on by treating myself. I could buy pizza every fortnight, but that means it takes longer to get a new computer, or to visit friends, etc.

    And I have a gym membership for the exercise portion of it all. I’m trying to be regular/consistent, but it’s ‘hard’ as the good times for me to go, I don’t *want* to go.

  6. It’s a neverending battle, isn’t it? Case in point: the weather is turning cold, and today I had, at opposite ends of the day, a moccaccino (hot chocolate + coffee) and poutine (Canadian dish involving gravy, cheese curds, and French fries…sounds weird until you try it, I swear). Will do better tomorrow, I hope.

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