What It Takes to Break Up with Sugar

Sweet, sweet sugar. The essence of every dessert. The delectable treat of every holiday, major and minor life event. It is the sweet comfort of tears and broken hearts too! Yes, sugar is both celebrator and comforter cornerstone ever present.

How then can we even imagine a life without it?

Is it even possible to completely avoid sugar in all the ways it presents in how we eat, celebrate, mourn, cry, and live?

Why We Love Sugar

It is amazing the ways sugar gets incorporated into our foods. From baby food to the well known sodas and desserts, sugar is literally everywhere. It is what makes food taste good and gives us that nice sweetness that is so often sought after.

Real sugar though has become an enemy of health. Since it is used everywhere and in every thing we have become addicted. Our brains are overpowered by this craving for sugar that sometimes seems insatiable. That addictive behavior of sugar can introduce risks to our health and yet at the surface it really is not sugar that causes these problems.

Consumption of too much sugar definitely can have negative health impacts. However, I believe it is the overuse of sugar that has caused what we see today in the over-addiction to sugar and inability to keep a healthy balance of where sugar belongs in our diets. We have created this problem not sugar. Sugar was only the means to the end.

In my opinion, we were meant to have sugar in our diet. It is natural and it is found in fruit, vegetables, and other real foods we were made to eat. Life and food were meant to be sweet and enjoyable! In true man’s ways though we have productionized sugar into this ingredient that changed its form, consistency and purpose. We went 10 miles beyond what was intended and turned it into this over-used, over-made, over-consumed beast none of us can safely find refuge from. We are inundated with sugar in every form.

So no, I don’t think sugar is evil. I do believe we were meant to enjoy sugar in balance with all the other foods available for us in nature. What we know as sugar though is not natural. How we use sugar in our foods is also not natural.

We love it because we are addicted. We have lost the connection of true sweetness in food and find foods without sugar dull and tasteless. We have lost ourselves in the quest of mass produced bags of sugar.

Going Cold Sugar

There are ways to break the cycle of sugar’s hold on us that can be drastic. Sometimes these measures are necessary to give us a leg up on the challenge and other times we can reset another way. Please know that any time we deal with food we are not only addressing physical needs and healing but also emotional and spiritual elements. Food is intertwined with our emotions so physically denying yourself is not going to build up the health we need to overcome sugar’s addiction long term.

Yet sometimes we have to start somewhere and going cold sugar (instead of cold turkey) is certainly a way. It can be harsh, excruciating and challenging to the point we may literally feel we are going to be sick but it can work when done with love.

In natural medicine, the connection between physical and emotional health is key to rebuilding health inside out. Addressing the emotional aspects of a sugar craving are therefore essential to long term success. What I’m proposing here is not ignoring that aspect of natural health care. In fact, I believe emotional work should be done in conjunction with all and any form of physical work being done to stimulate healing in the body.

When you go cold sugar, you are detoxing the body which in turn also detoxes the mind and spirit in the process if you do this correctly. I have found fasting effective as a tool in this work because it uses all of our being to navigate the fast and builds that connection with our entire being. When I have done a fast, I use the 3 day reset process outlined by Plexus. (link: mysite.plexusworldwide.com/dragonspitapothecary)

Each day of the fast I use intentionally to focus on my health in mind, body, spirit. Day 1 is always a mind day because I have to dispel the myth of hunger in my mind. I get to work through all the games my mind plays about what my body actually needs. This sometimes takes longer than 1 day but it is usually sufficient to get my point across to my mind within this time. Awareness heightens at this point and my mind seems to go through all phases of grief, including hangry. In the end though, I feel at peace. The connection between my mind and body is restored and communications are beginning to flow again with honesty and clarity.

On day 2 it is about my body. I focus a great deal about how my body is feeling in this process of a fast and what it needs to stimulate healing. It is amazing what you can feel in this process for what is happening all around your body. How your toes feel to wiggle, what water feels like running down your back. It is like your senses get turned back on and you feel the blood pump back into your veins. What I have found interesting is how much my body speaks. When we get busy going about our day we tend to ignore those signals from the body that says there is a need. How many times have I ignored simple requests like needing to use a restroom because I was in a meeting or on errands. I’ll get to it I say but not as the need arises. This day is about letting all those pent up words my body has to say out. It is a freeing experience that leaves me exhausted and content.

The last day is my spirit day. This is where I build the strength to talk about what’s next, where my heart is calling me and what this experience has taught me. It is where affirmations and woo things come in. I used to think these things were stupid frankly because who has time for them in the first place and do they really even work? When you are connected in mind, body, spirit the answer is yes. When you are emerging from a healing process such as a fast, the answer is definitely yes.

During fasts like this I find myself drawn to meditation. It helps when I’m struggling to understand what is going on or the fast is showing me things that I need to work through. Tough emotions that come up, my bones expressing pain, my mind going in a million directions. Fasts are meant to stimulate healing and meditation can help us process and support that healing.

When it comes to sugar, a fast such as this is effective with creating enough of a break in our diet of sugar to make awareness occur. We feel calmer, more in control of our body and able to make decisions that effectively improve our relationship with things like sugar. Cravings also tend to be lessened at the outcome. This is a great example of how to create the unity necessary within yourself to have the power unlocked to control sugar. It is the only cold sugar approach I recommend to my clients.

Gradual Sugar Step Down

The other method of breaking up with sugar is the gradual approach. The problem with this approach is it can be very easy to slip into diet thinking, where sugar is evil and must be limited. This can lead to further breakdown in the alignment of self preventing a true healing of the situation from occurring.

In using the gradual step down approach it works to let each day flow and unfold without pressure and punishment. You intentionally look at where you are consuming sugar and simple make a decision on if you want it or not. It is easy to say yes you want it which is why we need to first build alignment in our mind, body, spirit to get to the real answer. Sometimes still the answer is yes but it is understood why.

In this approach we encounter a lot of emotional responses triggered through sugar. Many times when we reach for things like cookies and chocolate it is out of emotional pain, frustration and stress. Cravings are often based on these emotions and sugar provides a balm.

Sugar Flu

Whether you use the cold sugar approach or a gentler step down method, many of us will suffer what is known as the sugar flu. The symptoms can feel just like a regular flu too. It is uncomfortable and not much fun but sometimes a necessary experience to begin the process of healing from sugar.

You may get a sugar flu regardless of approach you take to reduce your sugar intake. That’s because our addiction to sugar reacts differently for each of us as we change those patterns. The good news is it is not long lasting and it gives us increased motivation to not want to experience this again.

How long does it take to break up with sugar?

When it comes to putting a duration on reframing our sugar relationship that is largely dependent on you. It is important to understand that while significant changes to your relationship with sugar are the desired goal you are not aiming to completely eliminate sugar from your diet. For one, it is impossible and secondly, long term your success rate is improved if you set boundaries rather than restrictions.

In general though, most people can rebuild their sugar relationship using moderate approaches that include dietary changes within a couple months. That is not long at all given how quickly sugar can overtake our mind, body and spirit.

Detoxing from sugar is a process. It will be different for each of us because we’ve all had different experiences with sugar to this point. The goal is to reset boundaries with sugar and feel like we are in control for how and where it comes into the picture. In that journey you are going to see where you have fallen for sugar’s lies and work through those storylines to build a new healthy version.

In my workshop, “How to have a Healthy Relationship with Sugar” I talk about the effects of sugar to the mind, body, spirit and give you tips and support for changing your relationship. The beauty of this journey is we not only reset the sugar in our life but we often find we break up with diet mentality too! That leaves us healthier, more confident and able to set a map for our own needs that allows us to move forward in grace and peace with ourselves.

You can access the workshop here: https://www.dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online

Why We Eat Fake Food

In true dramatic movie fashion, my image of fake food takes place in a desolate place that has long been vacated. I search the cabinets, drawers and places people normally kept food, when life was normal. Finding this small left behind package of some cardboard looking flat thing that is colorless and odorless is my reward. I’m tentatively eating it out of desperation and last thing on Earth because otherwise I will die.

No mention of what I eat next…

Right now in your pantry… is something that should be aligned to that imaginary movie scene. It is actually a horror film scene because it is disguised as colorful, enriched flavored, crunchy and satisfying. It may or may not melt in your mouth but you recognize it instantly as something that is edible.

Starving or not, that fake food in your pantry is there because it was selected form an array of other similar fake foods sitting on a shelf in the grocery. It awaits someone to open it and it will outlast a nuclear blast to be that single package someone finds left behind.

Dramatic you say?

We are likely to eat at least one fake food every single day. Most likely more than one. Let that settle in your mind a moment.

Not in some imaginary movie but in real life, the average Thursday, a quick lunch or some nighttime snack. Some part of our food for the day will be a fake food. There is fake food literally every where around us. Even if you are a health foodie, I promise you cannot avoid fake foods entirely. Unfortunately.

What is a fake food?

The simplest definition of a fake food is any food that is manufactured, packaged and includes ingredients that are not natural. It contains ingredients that may have started out in life as a real food but has been stripped down to nothing to the point it needs to be enriched back with something that symbolizes the original food.

The average grocery store is roughly 75% to 80% fake food these days. This is why nutritionists tell you to shop the parameter. The minute you start looking at bags, boxes and packaged things, you often default to a fake food.

Fake food is surprisingly hard to identify sometimes. Labeling makes it deceptive. The US FDA further complicates this identification process by not requiring all ingredients be disclosed. There are actually ways to inject things into foods and food products without having to tell you, the consumer, what you are fully buying. YIKES!

When it comes to fake foods, we are all victims.

Our Children are Fake Foods Biggest Fans

The basic child diet consists of a lot of fake foods. Mac and cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets make up the cornerstones of the preferred kid’s diet.

It is convenient and kids love it. The reason comes down to consistency. A chicken nugget will always taste like a chicken nugget. The shape is always the recognizable weird shape or in some vague dino shape. Kids recognize it in shape, color, taste and its easy for them to eat.

Many parents, myself included, have caved to the pickiness of trying to get kids to eat a veggie or fruit. In schools, day cares and pre-schools, packaged foods and drinks can be counted on as the meals and snacks provided. Once again because they know kids will eat it and it’s easy and cheap.

As a child grows up they become picky eaters instead of curious about the foods of the world. It limits their willingness to try new things and makes it one of the most frustrating aspects of family meals.

Even baby food is made in this way of consistency. What is more scary though is many baby foods include sugars that add to the desire to increase sugar in the diet as they grow. It literally changes the taste bud so real food is not good tasting.

How to break up with fake food

The hard core among us would advise breaking up cold turkey. A thorough sweep of your pantry and fridge with large donations to the local food bank. poof! A clean slate in which to introduce misery, irritability and hangry outbursts from everyone in your home.

To make matters more severe, let’s say you did a complete sweep and then you restocked your pantry and fridge with organic everything including tons of fresh produce. While certainly healthy you and well intended, you are likely not going to have good family relationships for a while. This was also very costly and an extreme way to improve your diet. Unfortunately, this has often proved a very harsh approach that not many find achievable or sustainable long term.

My family’s approach was not so severe and we continue to evolve as we find ways that work best for us. It takes time, but is also much less expensive. We also found a way to make it inclusive of all our tastes and likes while still balancing real life. Let’s face it, you and your family are never going to entirely avoid birthday cakes, chicken nuggets and sodas for the rest of your life.

Nor should you.

The first step we did was stopped buying some of the regular fake foods you’d find in our pantry. We experimented with different fresh fruits and veggies to find what we liked. We started looking for the organic label on produce and products and bought in small quantities to try them. Warning, organic peanut butter takes a bit if you are used to a certain brand.

I looked for sales to try different things we wanted to try. While I think it’s important to find healthy options and reduce fake foods in your home, it is also important to realize we all live on budgets. Food is not free. Taking the time to try things, figure out the prices and make sure it is a viable product your family likes, will use and is worth your money.

It is perfectly fine to honor your budget and your health. Both are important.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

The good news is most organic foods do not cost more, and in many cases are comparable and even less than regular products. My favorite is telling people I found organic angel hair pasta for less than regular angel hair pasta. For the most part the difference is going to be cents in terms of cost.

This approached worked well for us because we were able to honestly say if we liked something or not. It gave us time to make budget changes and find ways to incorporate healthier eating in our home over time. It didn’t feel sneaky and was not interruptive to what we were already eating. Yet it was small incremental and intentional changes we were making every time we went grocery shopping.

Fake Food Grocery Store Education

When my husband looked at our current jar of Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter and the new jar of organic crunchy peanut butter he concluded they were pretty much the same things in both. This was true on the surface but the fact that all the ingredients in the organic version had organic in front of them and there were less ingredients in it was the difference.

Organic means it was minimally processed, was not exposed to chemicals and pesticides and was grown or made in the most natural way possible. There are not added things in the product to extend shelf life or make it prettier with the use of dyes. This slight change makes the organic peanut butter healthier by the standard that while calories, carbs, and other label percentages are similar the actual ingredients are not processed or chemical based.

This is the case with a lot of fake foods versus organic. This is where reading the complete label is important. Many companies are producing more organic products in response to the consumer demand for better. As a result, it is also necessary to know the company, parent company and sourcing of the product in some cases.

Green-washing is the process by which a company will make seemingly good changes to their product to make it better and more healthy. In reality, it is a switch of hand that covers up hidden things in the product that are not any better than the original ingredients. You’ll see this a lot in green-washed cleaning products but the same principle can happen with food products. Essentially, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients or have to Google them, it’s probably something that falls more into the fake food category.

Filling your cart changes when you make this relationship change with your grocery store aisles. There are still bags, boxes and packages of things but the quality of them vastly improves.

Your cost for groceries stays about the same overall from my experience.

Why break up with fake food?

You can say food is food and whatever you can get cheaper is ok. Many people do this and I used to be one of them.

The truth is long term the impact to your health makes this change necessary. The sooner you can incorporate even small changes in the quality of foods you consume the more you are investing in your future health as well as improving now.

What I find most interesting in the fake foods we see typically in our home is how easy we have been made to believe they are right for us. Logically, we know these things are questionable at least. Yet out of convenience, habit, cost and just not knowing any different we buy these fake foods all the time. They are advertised to us constantly and often on sale making them irresistible. Plus our family likes them. The kids won’t fuss about it so it seems a no-brainer.

When you take those first steps though to change that scenario you not only see improvements in the food that’s coming into your home but in how your family feels. Food is as much an emotional nourishing device as it is physical. The relationship between food, emotions and physical need is intertwined so tightly that often this is why doctors cannot find cures to what is causing is to be ill.

Breaking up with fake food is an incredible journey that will leave you feeling healthier, happier and more aware of just how wrong we have been steered down the aisles of the grocery store.

To work with me, request a consultation at dragonspitapothecary.com

What to Eat When on Vacation

Picture this…

You’re getting ready to pack for this awesome vacation you’ve been looking forward to for literally forever. You worked overtime and maybe even took a second job to get the upgrades. The tickets are paid for, hotel confirmed, early morning Uber scheduled for the airport, and you are hours before sitting on some exotic location living your best life.

You pull out your extra large suitcase and start to pack for this dream vacation. Upon entering your closet this all gets even more real.

What is going through your mind is one of two things….

Option 1: You are deeply regretting that you didn’t quite work out as much as you intended in order to feel more confident in that new bathing suit you bought. You’re secretly beating yourself up for indulging in two pieces of cake last week too. Maybe you can just “suck it in” and no one will notice. For sure you will avoid the camera because you don’t like how you look. Before packing you try on everything and realize nothing is fitting so that means another shopping trip for the dreaded bigger size. Thankfully the tags are still on the one you bought.

Option 2: You’ve worked out hard for months, ate salads to the point the thought of another one makes you shiver. The results though are spot on exactly where you want to be going on this vacation. That 2 piece bathing suit looks fantastic on you and you are looking forward to showing it off on the beach. You’ve lost so much weight that even you suitcase is lighter so you pack some extra fun things because you are feeling confident you may need a second black dress. The sacrifices were worth it for how good you will look in the vacation photos.

In both cases, I can promise you that what you eat on vacation is going to be top of mind. Regardless of what you have done to this point in preparation for this vacation, food will be a topic that you will immediately have an emotional and mental response on that may not be the healthiest for our well-being… in either case.

Will you deprive or indulge in the umbrella alcoholic drinks, desserts and high carb meals?

Will you tell yourself it is enough you are there and eat little, perhaps they have different kinds of salads, drink water and skip desserts?

Will you go all in and “pay” for it after vacation?

Pre-Vacation Weight Mindset

It is natural to want to look your best when you have some big event coming up. Maybe it’s a class reunion, your best friends wedding you’re the maid of honor in, or an exotic vacation. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be at your best in these situations but where we falter is in our approach to achieving that state.

We are programmed to believe hard core dieting, deprivation and high intensity workouts with a screaming trainer are the best route for results. We are told it will be worth it because we will reach that vision we have for our body and can be proud of our efforts standing in that moment. Some do achieve this level and should be proud of their hard work. Was it worth it? Well, that is personal I guess. For the majority of us though, we may start out with strong determination and willpower but it wanes and we find ourselves not reaching greatness in this approach.

The larger question is are the results achieved, regardless of extent reached, sustainable? Or have you just set yourself up for regaining all that back plus some when you stop being so cruel to yourself?

I believe it is wonderful to have health goals that empower us to strive to feel and be our best. If we don’t however, work on a mind, body, spirit level we are only addressing one part of our being. Without the other two parts the results cannot be long lasting unless we stick to strictest of living. For most of us that is not sustainable because it is not pleasurable.

The truth is, yes vacations are pleasurable but every day life is also meant to be that way. If you only see your diet as a sacrifice to look good, you miss out on the connected way of living every day that is beautiful and pleasurable. Health is immensely important but it not health if we only work to manage the physical aspects of it.

So, back to this awesome vacation pre-plan. How then do you achieve the right mindset to achieve great results to look your best on that vacation?

The answer is quite simple. You set realistic expectations of yourself and build a personalized plan that is right for you. The plan is actually inclusive of what you need in mind, body and spirit that supports not only a big event but long lasting sustainable results that promote every day living of feeling your best. Hard core willpower and determination combined with restrictive dieting do not achieve that.

Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels.

This was my daily motto leading up to my wedding. I skipped meals, ate more lettuce than a rabbit and had two different personal trainers. You better believe I was the best looking bride to ever walk the flower littered aisle.

When we got to our reception, I couldn’t eat or drink. On our honeymoon, I barely touched the exquisite dishes at our romantic beach resort. Months later, I couldn’t explain why weight was slowly climbing back on my body. Granted, I was still eating the restrictive diet the trainers gave me but was not working out as hard. I was a new bride setting up her home, having fun and focusing on the other parts of life. The stress of the big day long past and I had to get into real life now. My body didn’t understand what was going on.

What happens when we only focus on physical aspects means the body is left without support. Just because you work out hard and restrict eating, if you don’t combine that in spirit and mental work then your body is doing all the work. Sooner or later it can’t keep going because you were not designed to pull the cart one legged.

Working to achieve health balanced in mind, body, spirit is not as easy as it sounds. Mostly, because we don’t understand what that means or where to even begin.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

When I say mind, body spirit most of us think about yoga and complicated pose we’re trying to hold our breath in while balancing on 1 leg. While yoga helps us to create the physical space to support mind, body, spirit alignment that is but only one way to achieve this result. The point being establishing this balance is the first very vital step in developing a natural health plan that gives results and that are sustainable.

It would take me years to find my own balance in mind, body, spirit. Every day I need to work on it too.

What if I don’t make the goal in time for my vacation?

The fact that you have a big vacation planned, booked and paid for is exciting. NOTHING should derail you from having the best time of your life. NOTHING.

Not the fact you are size 16 rather than a 6.

Not the vision of what you think you look like versus what you imagine.

Even if you do reach your goal, I say this is still true. Why are we focusing on what we look like rather than the beauty around us and the fact we are on this incredible experience?

You worked hard for that opportunity and gave up a lot to have it. Do not let what the number on your pants size dictate the level of fun you can have in your vacation or life.

Yes, it would be fantastic to lose weight, wear a smaller size or even a bikini but you know what is more important?

How you feel about yourself. What your health actually is. Let me tell you friend, health is definitely more than what size you wear.

Get in the picture and make memories.

Why we tie big things in life to our body

Life is full of big moments and events. We have this vision that everything is perfect in those moments. Things we worked hard for are reality, our wildest dream came true, and we’re standing in the limelight for it.

Do you look back at those big moments and regret what you looked like? Most of us don’t, except for when we see the pictures. Julia Roberts had the perfect lines for this in the Eat, Pray Love movie. When a man is making love to you, do you think he cares what your pant size says? Most men, real men don’t. They love you. Why then can’t you love yourself?

It really does come down to that. Loving ourselves, regardless of size and meeting ourselves truly on the road where we are in this very moment. We can make the best choices of what to do from that point when we are one and at peace with who we are. When you work from this perspective, it doesn’t matter the setting, event or mission you are on because it will be the right path for you.

Tying big events to the tag size of our clothing seems a poor measurement to the quality of life we could be living.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

This does not mean we don’t care about our health or how big we are. It means the opposite. It means we care so deeply that we’re willing to consider all of who we are and what we need beyond just the physical appearance of our body. We move united in that doing what is best for ourselves.

The very shape of our goals change when we do this too. No longer is our goal to fit into a bikini sized 2 for vacation. It is to look our best, feel our best and be our best so we can enjoy the experience of that vacation. See the difference? Your approach is now wildly personal for what you need most in achieving that state.

It is focused on nutrition, moving in grace and building strength in our mind, body and spirit collectively. One is not more focused on than the other. That is how you not only have an awesome vacation, but don’t find yourself crying in your closet among new clothing that doesn’t fit the night before your vacation.

Then you eat whatever the hell you want, freely and without guilt before, during or after.

You’re on vacation!

To work with me on defining your personalized plan for improving health and weight in your mind, body, spirit, schedule a consultation at dragonspitapothecary.com

Eat the Pizza & Have Dessert

How often I have justified what I ate or drank.

It was Tuesday.

I had a bad day.

I was hungry.

My best friend was no longer my best friend.

The list goes on. Food was always there for me. It didn’t matter what went down, I knew there was a carton of ice cream or box of pizza that would be there for me. Nothing soothes tears of a break up better than pint sized ice cream and Hallmark movies. There’s even numerous Hallmark movies about that very scene so how could it be wrong?

I think my connection of using food to soothe emotions started when my mom used to give me M&Ms. When boo-boos came and later boyfriend breakups and trouble at school, out would come the chocolate covered treat as a way to make things better. You could count on this being the go-to for any problem because what could not be better when you had M&Ms? We’ve all been soothed by the baked cookie that comes with a hug and promise tomorrow will be better.

That’s how it happens.

No, I don’t blame my mom or any parent that has done this well known practice of soothing with sweets. It is what they are good for after all. Where the system fails is that we never really move past this method well into our adulthood or ever in most cases. It is just what we know to do. It is why people bring casseroles during funerals and cakes to weddings. Food is our centerpiece of celebration and grief. By design or long handed down tradition, it is simply what we do.

Trained to soothe with food

There are a couple misnomers about using food to comfort and soothe. First, the diet industry would have us believe this cannot occur because if we want to be healthy we must be deprived of comfort. Instead it should come from knowing we can fit into our pants and we look physically good. Secondly, what happens if we don’t heal and never get soothed? The emotional eating detriments can have long lasting health impacts. If we never feel better we are constantly being driven by cravings, desires for comfort foods and stuck in the perpetual ice cream aisle seeking comfort.

I personally really despise the negativity the diet industry has brought to our relationship with food. If there is one area of our life that we don’t even realize the damage being caused to our health it is the association of the word diet. That single 4 letter word can invoke incredible reactions within our being that are usually tied to negativity, disappointment and guilt about who we are and what we look like. It creates such a feeling of failure that even further disconnects from our whole being and the nourishment food can give us in mind, body and spirit.

The other side of the coin is the struggle to emotionally be well. Stress, trauma, illness and many other factors feed into our emotional health status. We can all at times encounter bouts of the blues but for many of us it is long periods of time that can be severe.

In both situations we become disconnected from our true selves. We see our health in parts instead of a whole being which prevents real health from being addressed.

I believe food was designed to give us nourishment in mind, body and spirit. When we only focus on one element of who we are, or we struggle in one area of it where food becomes dominants rather than supportive the balance becomes impossible to maintain. For example, when we only focus on physically losing weight we can see food as an adversary to that goal. We may feel resentful of what we consider healthy and not like the taste of it. Yet when we approach losing weight with a balance in our mind, body, spirit, we can approach food in a supportive way and see where it is helping us move forward.

Food nourishes our emotions as much if not more than it fills our physical hunger. You have to feed your whole being.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

In my opinion this is why most diets fail. We focus solely on the physical aspects of weight loss by controlling food portions and types. We think gaining control of food will long term be the best route. The reality is most people gain back weight from this type of eating because it is not sustainable.

Food is evil though right?

We certainly cannot go around eating pizza and dessert every day because of what’s in 99% of the pizza and ice cream ingredients. Definitely not if we’re looking to lose weight or have long term health. That doesn’t make pizza and ice cream and all the other food we encounter bad though.

Classifying a food as bad or good is something else the diet industry has given us. This careful tightrope can easily have us tumbling back into the rabbit holes of what various so called experts call good or bad foods.

It is actually the ingredients used that make one food better than another. You can make an incredibly healthy pizza and ice cream. Even if you don’t like a cauliflower crust there are other means to accomplishing a healthy slice. So, it is not that pizza is bad it is the ingredients that consist of preservatives, sugar, salt, man-made fake food and more that give some foods their bad rap.

Would we like pizza and ice cream if those ingredients weren’t in there?

The reason nutritionists tell you to shop the perimeter of the grocery store is because that’s where real food typically lives. Every aisle of the grocery store though has risks of these ingredients that really should not be in our food.

Walking through the produce section is a great example. For years there was this push that organic foods were too expensive and were not consistent in taste. Yet, organic produce is one of the best foods in the grocery store and the majority of the time, the price differences are nominal compared to regular fruit and vegetables. As for taste, it is actually what a real banana, grape, tomato, cucumber and other should taste like.

The use of ingredients that speed up the growth, create consistent taste and extend shelf live of a product have not only altered real food but played trickery on our own mind. Your body craves real food because it knows what to do with that. Your mind though has been trained to seek consistent routines and tastes. This is often why parents struggle to get their kids to eat fresh foods over chicken nuggets. A chicken nugget is going to taste the same every singe time. A blueberry is going to taste different berry to berry.

The best way to improve your diet is to become a label reader and avoid products that don’t contain real food. Start rebuilding your taste buds to their original state and enjoy the cornucopia of color, taste, texture, and smell of real food.

Amazingly, as we improve our relationship with real food, a great deal of our health problems go away on their own.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

The truth is once you start loving real food again, the attraction to things you used to eat starts to wane. You’re less drawn to the pizza and ice cream. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever have it again, because you will, but you develop other desires to nourish your mind, body and spirit. Food plays the lead role in that change.

When it comes to soothing our emotions with food, that will always exist because it is inherently how we are designed. Food was meant to be pleasurable and comforting. However, it is changes how we use food in these situations. Building health inside out means we don’t gravitate as much to the sweets and grease because our body, mind and spirit have what they need to heal without them. So, when we do have these types of foods it becomes intentional instead of mindless, with the ability to understand what it truly going on so we can wrap further support around ourselves. That shift in seeing food changes our entire relationship with it.

To answer the question, food is not evil or bad. It is how we use it, all kinds of it that matters. When you soothe with chocolate or indulge in a hot slice of pizza it can be done in pleasure and comfort. It can be an experience that does not leave us with guilt, shame or worse feelings than we had prior to eating it. We direct the relationship we have with food most when we work to maintain the balance in mind, body and spirit and understand the powerful role food has in that.

To work with me, setup your private consultation at https://p.bttr.to/3BcyS8q

Caving to Cravings

Cravings are a strange thing.

Other than a uncomfortable point in pregnancy, who would otherwise ever eat pickles and ice cream together? There’s no explanation for this other than pregnancy hormones right?

Cravings go so much deeper than a common want by creating this unsatiable need that can seem so illogical. We cannot explain why we have some of these cravings or where they even came from most of the time and yet they exist. They fill our thoughts, take over our body and it simply seem insane.

Somewhere along the way something we discovered and enjoyed became a want and eventually turned into this thing we cannot stop thinking about. They can even become mashed together to create weird combinations that no one can explain but they are deeply satisfying to us when the need arises.

What is a craving?

Cravings can seem like mysterious alien invasions for how they take over our body. In a way this is not far off but the alien is actually something already existing in our body. When you are not in alignment of your mind-body-spirit, hearing the voice of a craving is alien to you for you one thing. For another, it is beacon sending a message which is also alien if you are not used to it.

Consider a lighthouse on the shore. At night when ships cannot see or it is very foggy, the lighthouse shines a light to help guide. The same thing is happening in your body when there is a craving. It is telling you what it needs and where to go. Sometimes loudly, sometimes softly but it is a message that is asking for response. Ignoring it causes a crash or in most cases irritability, depletion of energy and other things that could be called a crash.

So do we just give in to the constant cravings because its what our alien lighthouse is telling us to do?

Sometimes yes.

Until you get to the bottom of the craving, they will continue to come up. Giving in to them is sometimes necessary to keep our sanity, solve a physical problem or simply keep going. Just like an alien invasion, ignoring a craving just makes them louder, more invasive and more demanding.

More importantly, is understanding why we are getting the cravings we are and fulfilling that larger need. Underneath every craving is a specific need that is actually what needs to be supported. The craving is just the body’s way to telling you that need exist.

This is where cravings get tricky. If you crave cookies and you give in and eat cookies, the craving goes away. You go about your day until the craving comes up again. It can seem logical to think cookies is what you needed. However, the cookies were just the beacon. Under that craving for cookies is actually what your body or emotional being is really needing. In this case with cookies, it can be an emotional need for comfort and depending on type of cookie it can have other meanings as well. It can be associated with anger if the cookies you want are crunchy. Physically, your body could be craving sugar which is an addictive chemical. So that simple cookie, can have a myriad of meaning.

Cravings are simply codes to decipher. In doing so, we unlock their true meaning and fill the deeper need allowing us to rebalance in mind-body-spirit.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

Until you unlock the code to your craving, it is necessary to give yourself grace and forgiveness. This may mean it is alright to give yourself permission to have a craving fulfilled with what is calling your name. Depending on why you are having this craving it could be a vitamin deficiency, emotional trauma or other severe situation. Cravings help us soothe in these situations. Restricting and depriving yourself may make things worse.

Now, there are cravings that are part of our habits and routines. These are equally hard to break up with and understand. Behaviorally we may not realize what we are doing or how much ice cream we are actually eating. It is easy to underplay these types of cravings as normal routine. From my own experience working with others, these types of cravings are associated with behavior certainly as well as mood and energy. Since these are part of our routine our energy is usually lower at these times and we can turn to cravings such as that afternoon coffee or evening ice cream as part of our body’s response to stress.

Realistically improving cravings takes time

The one thing that will absolutely not work in breaking free of a craving for good is restriction and deprivation. First this is diet thinking that has been proven time and again to not offer long term health results for weight or cravings. Secondly, it disconnects your mind from your body introducing the possibility of negative self-talk.

Instead I prefer a more balanced and aligned approach that involves all of your being. It is a much more loving approach that not only helps with craving resolution but they also help with long term goals we set in our health. It is not fast or glamours but effective at long term changes that leave us healthier, happier and free of cravings cryptic messages.

The approach I coach clients to use when breaking up with cravings includes these strategies:

  • Journal what you are thinking, feeling, where you are and all the details about the situation you are in when a craving strikes. This provides clues as to what is triggering in your emotions, body and environment so it can be addressed
  • Honor your body’s needs. By working with a natural health practitioner you can identify vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can trigger cravings. Supporting these needs with natural whole food and plant based supplements gains us nutritional improvements that can change what types of cravings we experience.
  • Have grace & forgiveness for yourself. It is ok to give in to a craving. As you work through changes to improve your health and well-being to address the underlying cause it is alright to indulge when needed. Now that doesn’t mean go wild but you don’t have to completely swear off what it is you are craving. Use this approach to monitor how your craving changes, how often it comes up and how you responded. You may even realize you want less of it because it is not forbidden.
  • Apply stress management techniques such as tapping, exercise, meditation and etc. A lot of cravings can be the result of stress responses occurring in our body. When stressed, we quickly deplete energy and vitamin levels as our body tries to respond, support and help us through those times. Once depleted, the craving will trigger. Recognizing and responding to stress and its impact to our body will help reduce the craving

Notice what is not on this list that you may have typically heard to try. Things like ignoring the craving and find an alternative or distraction. Drink tons of water, which you should drink lots of water every day, but not just for the purpose of working through deprivation of a craving. Depriving yourself of the very thing that is ringing loudly in your body and mind. These approaches are cruel and unusual punishment to yourself. By doing them, we disconnect our mind-body-spirit where we feel like any part of ourself is working against us.

Any health change works best when approached with a desire to learn how to love ourselves where we are in that moment. Sometimes that is a strong, disciplined and controlled being and other times it is sobbing and blubbery in a bag of chips. Both are real and both deserve to be understood.

– Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

There is also no magic timetable for when cravings go away. We are each unique in our design and that means we have individual personal needs for our health. Building solutions around that design is where we see changes in how we approach all of our health going forward. It also helps us make progress on desired changes in our health, making them faster and longer lasting.

It is possible to curb cravings when we understand what they are truly cravings for in our diet, environment or something else. There are a vast amount of cravings that are about low energy, depleted emotional states and even boredom. Decoding these messages empowers us to make changes that not only get rid of the craving but help us live our best life every day. When we think we can just ignore it we are essential blocking our own power and creating our own limitation in health and living.

To work with me on supporting your cravings, setup a consultation with me at dragonspitapothecary.com

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