As most of you probably know, I have had a loooong struggle with artificial sweeteners. I know how detrimental they are to our health, and yet I can’t seem to kick the habit for good. I’ll go weeks without diet soda, but usually only make it a few days gum-free before caving. And then once I succumb to the gum cravings, I usually use that as an excuse to have ALL the crap: pudding, jello, jam, etc.
I’ve discovered that the best way for me to keep the junk out of my diet is to not simply try and avoid it, but replace it with something that will help satisfy the craving! That way I don’t feel deprived, but I also am not poisoning my body with chemicals.
These are a few of the things I’ve discovered that have worked wonders for me – so much that I actually have an unwrapped pack of gum sitting beside me (I got it in a care package) and have no desire to even open it!
The Fake: Jell-O / pudding: You guys have probably seen them at the grocery store – the 5 calorie jell-o cups and “no sugar added” puddings. I get super snacky after dinner, so sometimes I fall trap to buying these things with the hopes that they will satisfy the late-night munchies. But what they usually end up doing is make me crave sugar more (hello artificial sweeteners!) and feel generally crappy (chemicals galore). I also had a super not fun sugar high after downing three jell-os, only to realize they were the full sugar ones.
The Swap: Unsweetened applesauce! I have no idea how these have not been in my life beforehand. They come in perfect little cups, just like my beloved pudding, but they only have two ingredients: apples & pectin. These are exactly what I need after dinner and I honestly don’t miss the fake stuff one bit.
The Fake: Diet soda: You know, when you aren’t hungry but just feel like something sweet? I don’t actually even like diet coke anymore, but fresca used to happen a little too regularly around here.
The Swap: Tomato juice! I actually discovered this on the airplane – it is thick, satisfying, and made of only tomatoes and salt! It is definitely salty though – I wouldn’t have more than one every few days, one per day MAX, but it honestly eliminates any craving instantly. Travelling generally makes me really snacky, mainly out of boredom and not hunger, so this is also great for those instances when you just eat for something to do.
The Fake: Gum: OH GUM. I have given up counting the number of times I have attempted to quit the stuff and failed. I don’t remember the last time I had any, so that is a good sign, but it wasn’t overly long ago. I tend to associate gum with things like reading magazines, so that has been the hardest part of quitting for me.
The Swap: A new outlook. Let’s just be completely honest here – the “naturally sweetened” gums are just plain gross. The flavour lasts for 2.3 seconds and then it turns into a flavourless wad of plastic. I think the main reason I haven’t been craving gum these past few days is I’ve realized my mouth does not need to be occupied at all times! It sounds ridiculous, but I honestly used to feel that way. I had to be eating / drinking / chewing something at all times or I was uncomfortable. Since getting over that, the cravings have vanished.