10 Ways to Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

10 Ways to Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

Posted: 08/13/2013 8:55 am

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically-modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat.
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods.
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral.



The 10 Commandments of Fat Loss

The 10 Commandments of Fat Loss


1.    NEVER skip meals!! If you do, you will overeat your next meal. Even if that meal is healthy food (as it damn well should be) it doesn’t matter if you eat too much of it. Try to stay full with veggies and water.

2.    Empty stomach cardio in the morning is optimal because insulin levels are very low, yet hormone sensitive lipase (the fat releasing enzyme) is fully active while lipoprotein lipase (the fat storing enzyme) is still asleep! GH (growth hormone, an immensely powerful fat burner) is still coming off its overnight high. At this time there is less blood glucose in your blood to be burned (versus after having just eaten a meal), leaving fats as the number one option for your body to burn as fuel.

3.    Do NOT consume carbs when you don’t need them! The best times to eat large portions of carbs is first thing in the morning (after cardio!!) and after your workouts-you can be sure it will be put to use, then burned off. Consume no more than 25-35 grams in other meals if you must have more carbs due to your job or lifestyle being very active. And be sure to make them high fiber carbs (veggies). Give yourself the proper carb fuel to get the day started, get through a workout and recover from a workout. Thats all you need so any other carbs should be trace carbs found in small amounts.

4.    Do not consume large amounts of fat and carbs together. Carbs of any kind will release insulin (high GI more so than low GI), which acts to store anything in your bloodstream. Fats normally get booted to storage since they don’t need chemical processing or active transport to become bodyfat. Additionally, the body prefers to use carbs (glucose) for energy. So don’t eat them together in large amounts (although that should be obvious!!) A few grams of healthy fat with complex carbs are okay (about 15 grams of fat for every 50 grams of carbs), assuming you always eat PROTEIN at each and every meal!

5.   Supplement with fish oils. These healthy fats increase your sensitivity to carbs (the opposite of diabetes), allowing your body to burn more, rather than store more. They also assist with fat loss via PPAR-delta (a mitochondrial activator found in muscle) stimulation. If all you are seeing at this point is blabla..PPAR…blablabla then focus: FISH OIL= FAT LOSS. Try 3 to 6 grams daily. 65.   Before bed, eat 1/2 to 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free greek yogurt or casein protein powder to fight late night cravings and give your body some slow-digesting protein to breakdown and use during the night. No it will not get stored as fat!! Your body does not just shut off the digestive system at night.

6.    Eat citrus fruits since they are acidic and raise insulin levels less than most typical fruits (except for pineapple). Plus, they contain flavonoids such as naringin, found in oranges and grapefruit, which aid in fat loss by extending caffeine’s effects. Kiwi, mango, and strawberries are other good choices for citrus fruits.

7.      Before bed : Eat 1/2 to 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free greek yogurt or casein protein powder to fight late night hunger cravings and give your body some slow-digesting protein to breakdown and use during the night. No it won’t get stored as fat!! Your body does not just turn off its digestive system at night. If calories are controlled during the day and exercise is intense enough, you will process and use foods even like this during the night.

8.    Maintain some form of weight training at least 3 times a week or else your body will have no reason to hold lean muscle. Too much cardio and no weights equals a soft skeleton body (SKINNY FAT!!) in no time.

9.     Re-Feed :If you really feel like you are hungry all the time and weight loss is not progressing, a “refeed” may be in order. Refeeds are more effective than the infamous cheat meals (which many turn into cheat days, then cheat nights, etc..) at kick starting your metabolism. Refeeds are a SINGLE MEAL, high in slow and medium-digesting carbs, eaten before bed. This tricks your body into sucking up carbs all night long, causing it to blunt any hint of starvation or metabolic slow down. The powerful thyroid hormone T3, leptin, and other hormones related to hunger and metabolic rate go through the roof because of the overnight presence of insulin (you won’t store much at all IF your diet has been spot on all week long). This does have a limit however. Remember- this technique is meant ONLY for those that have eaten at least 90% clean all week!!

10.     If you are going to use a fat burning supplement, look for one with the right ingredients, take before cardio, and remember- YOU MUST DO CARDIO for any type of fat burner to be effective! There is still no MAGIC PILL!!  Ingredients to look for:

Caffeine – a PDE inhibitor and known fat loss mobilizer

Yohimbine HCL – an alpha 2 adrenergic antagonist *Not for those with high BP

Green Tea Extract – inhibits the breakdown of norepinephrine

Synephrine aka Bitter Orange – similar to caffeine without the jittery side effects

L-Carnithine – acts as a fatty acid transporter to burn fat

Capsaicin– the chemical in chili peppers that elevates your metabolism

Guggulsterones– a thyroid stimulator that helps this gland pick up iodine from the blood