How to curb your chocolate cravings
Have you ever tried to give up chocolate...
How to curb your chocolate cravings
Have you ever tried to give up chocolate or, God forbid, sugar for any length of time? If you give up sugar for 2 weeks, the sweet taste buds on your tongue will renew and not crave it. When you then taste sugar, it will taste much sweeter than before and may not be quite so delicious, go on, I dare you! So how do you beat the daily habit, the crack cocaine of the candy world? Well with great difficulty, however I am going to give you some tips on just how to do that:
1. Have a good reason
Be it giving up for lent, doing it with a friend or earning some cash for your favourite charity, you really need a good reason. There is nothing worse than getting that bikini out after a long harsh winter to go on holiday, and to realise that you need to shed your winter plumage, therefore this is a great way to encourage you.
2. Are you magnesium deficient?
Chocolate cravings are commonly associated with magnesium deficiencies. During times of stress or ladies, a menstrual blood loss, magnesium is lost in the body and therefore craves the magnesium and nitrogen in this delicious elixir, as chocolate is high in both these nutrients. This would explain why chocolate cravings rocket during our time of the month! If you ever have twitches or spasms in the muscles of your body, restless legs, have a difficulty in sleeping or low mood, you are probably deficient in magnesium. My advice to you would be to soak in a bath with a cupful of magnesium flakes or Epsom salts for 20 to 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. If you do not like baths, you could try a hand or foot soak instead.
3. Have plenty of alternatives in your cupboard
Nuts are a great chocolate alternative as they contain loads of magnesium. Cashews and pistachios are particularly good for satisfying the craving in a tasty but healthy way. Bananas will also fix low magnesium levels and fix your sweet tooth at the same time.
Carob is a good substitute and is high in fibre, low in fat, contains calcium, B vitamins, and iron. Carob is a tropical pod that is derived from a tree in the Mediterranean. Its pulp is roasted and ground into a fine powder that tastes very similar to cocoa powder. Carob does not contain caffeine and is naturally less bitter than cocoa so it does not need as much additional sweetening and can be added to baking as a chocolate chip substitute.
You could try taking the supplement Chromium. Chromium works by maintaining blood sugar levels, helping to regulate insulin. Insulins job is to give muscles and organs permission to access sugar in the blood stream. When too much insulin is drawn out of the blood, blood sugar levels plummet (this is called hypoglycaemia). We know it as sugar cravings and those lead to eventual weight gain if we give in. Whilst taking the supplement chromium, you will start to notice a difference after about 6 to 8 weeks. The recommended dose is 200 µg a day taken with meals.
Failing that, you could always just go for a healthier chocolate, a purer form called cacao (not to be mistaken for cocoa), and although essentially it is the same bean, it is in a less processed form. The roasting process that converts cacao to cocoa, lowers the nutritional value by changing the molecular structure of the bean. The beans derived from the plant are rich in antioxidants, help to lower blood pressure and improve digestive health. Cacao products, such as nibs, paste and butter, can also be bought from health food stores. Is that cheating? I will let you decide that.