With the amount of sugar I used to consume and what I believe now, I’m really lucky I didn’t die from my choices. An average day could consist of three Starbucks drinks (with extra sugar and often caramel). Then an entire box of Gushers, cherry Poptarts and Mountain Dew for breakfast. Often, I even skipped full meals and headed straight to dessert…and I’d still be craving sweets!
I used to use sugar to calm my emotions and deal with daily stressers. Because I’m naturally very small-framed with a high metabolism, I never gained weight. So I never knew there was a problem…until autoimmune problems kicked in.
Stopping the Sugar
Desperate to find something to stop myself from craving sweets and get unhooked, I began “The Candida Diet/cleanse/detox.” While I’m still not sure if I believe the validity of the health claims, I did not use it for the purpose it was intended for. I used it, because it is made up of food and drinks that don’t contain sugar, so I figured if I went cold turkey like this then it might help get my sugar consumption under control.
Well, it really did get my sugar consumption back to a normal level. However, not without my body going into shock/withdrawal/utterly denying me for days. Please note that most people do not have anywhere near this bad of a reaction, but I was VERY addicted to sugar and out-of-control. The first few days were pure hell; my body was in such shock that I shook & threw up for about 10 straight hours. Finally after it ended, I stopped having extreme withdrawal symptoms. Only minor sugar cravings were left.
Helping With Sugar Cravings
The Candida Diet essentially eliminates all forms of sugar, including natural forms (in the initial stages). I wasn’t sure what I could do to help curb some of the remaining sugar cravings I was having. So, I looked around to see if I could find something to help that I would be allowed to eat or drink. The program approved most herbal teas. So, eventually, I decide to try steeping hibiscus.
Hibiscus has a tart flavor and took me consuming several brews to get used to it without sugar, however, eventually I began to enjoy it. Its tart, yet fruity flavor was a great substitute for fruit juice; it still gave a fruity flavor reminiscent of something that would contain sugar. It can also be batch brewed ahead of time and consumed for days. Especially refreshing iced in the summertime, try this herbal tea to see if it works for you…
**Please note that in the recipe below, I included an option for sweetening hibiscus tea, for the people who wanted it, however if using for sugar cravings then leave out any sweetener or cinnamon.**
Hopefully you can get your sugar cravings under control, it’s so worth it for your health!
(If you’re looking for other fun/unsweetened beverage options, be sure to check out the Overnight Cold Brew Coffee and the Hibiscus Black Iced Tea Infusion in this healthy brunch ideas post).
Here’s to curbing the sugar cravings and regaining our sparkle together,
For regular hot brewing
- Bring water to a boil. Add hibiscus and optional cinnamon and steep for 10-20 minutes (depending on how strong you want the hibiscus flavor; I do 20 minutes). Strain. Mix in sugar if desired. Allow to cool. Serve over ice.
For cold brewing (in fridge overnight)
- Add water, hibiscus, and cinnamon sticks (optional) into a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. Strain. Mix in simple syrup if desired before serving.
*If you are using hibiscus tea to help with sugar cravings, do not add the cinnamon or sugar/simple syrup.