31 January 2007

I've Got the Blues

No, don't worry, not the down-in-the-dumps blues.

Nope, I've got me a case of the sugar blues.

My eating habits have been out-of-control bad lately. Between having the sadness blues for a while, dealing with a house guest in the form of my mother-in-law, GH being sick on top of the cancer, a cranky Ri-Man, and the stress/excitement roller coaster of a job search, I've needed to find some ways to comfort myself. I have chosen food. I have specifically chosen sweets.

I've always had a pretty strong sweet tooth. I got it under control when I lost 20-ish pound on Weight Watchers in 2003. Then my taste for sweets totally disappeared when I was pregnant. Gone. Poof! It was awesome.

Sweets tasted good again once I had the twins, but then I was out of the habit of eating them. Slowly, though, ever so slowly, my taste for them has come back. Over the past two weeks, it's been crazy. Mini candy bars. Cookies. Sugar in my coffee. Hot chocolate. Muffins. Granola bars. Pop Tarts. Yes, Pop Tarts, albeit the Trader Joe's organic "healthy" ones. I'm surprised I haven't just taken a spoon to the sugar bowl, frankly.

There are three problems with this. One, I've definitely gained a couple of pounds. Two, and, frankly, more troubling, all that sugar makes me feel like ass. I get headaches. I am lethargic. I have the crankies. Three, I'm downing sugar at the expense of veggies, fruit, and other healthy, raw food. This needs to STOP.

Today I made sure not to pack any sweets in my lunch. (Fruit doesn't count.) OK, so I finished off the bag of mini Heath bars that I bought last week. Fine. That's still a lot less sugar that I've been eating. I don't feel better yet, but detox takes time. In fact, I had to hit the extra-strength Tylenol because at 1:00 I developed a "crash" headache. Ugh. But it will be worth it. I know it will. I don't like feeling this way and I don't like putting all that crap in my body.

I need suggestions, though. I find that lots of portable, snack-type foods--even healthier ones--fall squarely into the sweet category (granola bars, power bars, dried fruit, fruit-flavored yogurt). Anyone have suggestions for relatively healthy, more savory snacks? I'm getting sick of string cheese, plain yogurt, and nuts. Any and all suggestions welcome.


erk said...

I always find that once I start eating sugar it's all downhill, so when I'm trying to cut back the sugar in the coffee is the first to go. Take this advice with a grain of salt since I shoved a big piece of banana bread with chocolate chips down my gullet first thing this morning.

Klynn said...

Of course you put up this post just as my work activities committee is coordinating our February chocolate cook-off.

Hrmmmm...snacks that aren't sweet/fattening. That's tough. Those 100 calorie packs allow you a treat while limiting the calories. Wheat thins, chex mix, apples/fruit dipped in organic/low sugar peanut butter? I don't know how low-cal those things really are, but they've got to be better than half a bag of hershey's miniatures.

I've found something that I have with my breakfast every morning, and I really like it. It's called fruit squeeze by Trop1cana. It's mostly water, with fruit juice and splenda. Only 20 calories per serving, and you feel like you're drinking a yummy juice, but getting lots of water and not many calories.

Can't wait to read your comments and get more ideas.

bg's Little Sis said...

Whew, that's a lot of sugar girl! You can do it, I have faith in you.

When I start to get the sweet tooth craving I do one of the below.

- raw carrots, very cold Fuji apples sliced not to thick, a non-fat latte, a couple of sticks of Trident Original flavor, (it's sugar free but gives me that sweet taste, with the minty flavor it tends to work for me), herbal teas with lots of lemon or plain, earl grey and english breakfast have been hitting the spot lately as well as Constant Comment, all available in decaf if you prefer.

I like to turn to fluids for my satiation as you can see from the above. Sometimes though, when it's a craving that just won't quit, I'll have a Special K blueberry bar or a nice almond biscotti. Neither are too big, but tend to really fill the craving so I can move along.

Adding protein to the middle of my day has really helped to keep the sugar cravings at bay though. Hope that helps:)

You know I love WW too! Their snack cakes (only 1 point and sold in several varietes, lemon, choc. and carrot cake) are perfect when I just need some sugar and nothing else will do.

DoctorMama said...

This was kind of like taking a test -- I was all "Oh! Oh! I know the answer -- cheese, nuts, and yogurt!" ... and then I read your last line.

This may sound disgusting, but I recently discovered that if I'm hungry when I'm about to go for a run, a teaspoon of (good) olive oil completely kills the hunger, and I don't get that sugar crash that carbs give me halfway through a run. I tried it with crappy olive oil once, though, and just about lost my lunch.

OTRgirl said...

Bring some salsa and stash it in the work fridge. Keep the tortilla chips at your desk?

If you add almonds or trail mix to the yogurt it tastes good, but also lasts much longer.

I don't do the strict no-carb thing, but something with a little fat and protein lasts me much longer than crackers or sweets for a snack. Trader Joes has protein bars relatively cheap. Gives a feeling of sugar without the crash. I bring in a jar of almond butter and smear that on my apple slices as I eat them.

I hear you on the sugar dilemma. Only the fact that I haven't gone to the bank in a while is keeping me from buying a Twix bar from the snack machine.

Anonymous said...

I keep roasted sunflower seeds around. Not the salted ones- way too much- but I add a bit of salt myself.

The chips and salsa is a good suggestion, too. Jill

Snickollet said...

Ooh, lots of good ideas! Thanks! Keep 'em coming.

I packed some hummus and whole-wheat pita as a snack for tomorrow. Haven't had that in a while.

I've got a wicked salsa craving now. MMM.

Anonymous said...

If (like me) your non-sweet tastes run to the vinegar-y, I suggest pickles! They are my favorite low-cal snack. Some major brand has even just come out with spicy thai pickles -- might be fun to try!

The other thing I enjoy is baby carrots with low-fat salad dressing as a dip.

kabbage said...

I have the sugar intolerance thing, too, with the rapid spiral downward into depression, sleepiness, etc.

Sometimes I need a little bit of sugar possibility in the day -- the trick is to keep it under control by allowing some but not much, if that makes sense. I'd consider, for example, a PB&J sandwich as a snack. Spread the jelly in a very thin layer, but it's there. (Trader Joe's has several great flavors of lower sugar preserves. Nothing artificial, and the fruit taste is much stronger with the lower sugar.)

TJ's also has baked pita chips with less fat than potato chips that can give you crunch. If you like molasses, I have a recipe somewhere (last Nov. or Dec.) on my blog for Shoo-fly Cake. It's not exactly low sugar, but it has no white sugar, and the flavor is so intense that a little goes a long way.

Celery sticks with nut butter.
Pretzels, esp. the Snyder's sourdough ones if you have them.

Snickollet said...

Anon: Spicy Thai pickles sound AWESOME. I'm totally going to look for those.

Kabbage: I love those TJ's jams. They have an all-fruit sour cherry that is fantastic. And you're right: a little goes a long way.

laura said...

Dann*n makes a yogurt smoothie (comes in a 4-pack) that's pretty good. I use it as a take-and-go kind of breakfast or snack sometimes. I also like Terra chips, and a small bag of low-fat popcorn usually does it for me.

Pronoia said...

I'm swearing by hardboiled eggs and cut up sweet red peppers. They're sweet, but they're vegetables, and they don't give me the sugar crash. Or better yet, cut up veggies and hummus. It avoids the bread altogether.

haitch pee said...

i was all ready to weigh in with cracker and hummous, then noticed you've taken pita and hummous today. But wholegrain crackers - like Triscits - are nice with hummous because you get a little salt, too, making the pretty healthy snack feel more... indulgent? (if you love salt, like me).

apples (or other fruit) can help rescue plain yogurt from boringness.

but i just had a cookie, so i'm not one to talk... good luck!

Christine said...

I too have a hideous sweet tooth, so I totally understand. Eating sugar makes me want more sugar. Back when I was vigilant about my weight (and was much thinner than I am today), I pretty much stayed away from it.

Fruit is good. I love bananas and apples. I also eat a lot of Luna and Kashi bars. You might want to hit the whole Kashi line of food -- low in sugar yet good tasting. You could also make your own yogurt from plain yogurt and fruit, as someone else suggested.

Good luck! And good suggestions!

Jeralynn said...

Ah, a woman after my own heart. I am ashamed to say that I just finished a full-size Snickers and a full-size Almond Joy. (Before that I had potato chips and bean dip). I, too, wish I could stop.

Healthy snacks: pretzels, Cracker Jax, popcorn, graham crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter, animal crackers, and sugar-free Jello chocolate pudding.

kim said...

I, too, was going to say hummus but you beat me to it! Lately, I've loved the different flavored hummus dips offered at my grocery store, tzatziki dip, and baba ganoush with baked pita or lavash chips (offered by Cafesano, a local Med. restaurant). My other craving is for those Asian snack mixes / rice crackers... Trader Joes and Whole Foods has big containers that aren't that pricey and they're actually not that bad for you either!

Livia said...

A word of warning about low fat or fat free salad dressing... when they eliminate fat they often replace it with sugar. Check the labels... dipping vegetables in salad dressing can be like dipping them in liquid sugar.

Two cents from somebody who can't seem to get off the sugar/trans fat diet... stupid winter weather making me crave warm, comforting food.

Juliane said...

After the holidays and endless cookies from co-workers and dishes of green & red M+Ms, my sugar addiction was in full-force. My secret? Taper on the sugar. I switched to Splenda in my tea and exchanged candy bars for fruit (sweet fruit, tho, like mangoes and raspberries). My other secret? CUT OUT SALT. I could go through a salt lick like a horse, but I find it really exacerbates my sweet tooth. Sometimes, for me, just cutting out the salt will lower my sugar habit.

(That being said, I just recently read of a study done in one of the Finnish countries about pickle consumption. Participants who drank pickle juice lost weight compared to the cohort with the same activity/diet but who did not imbibe.)

You had TWINS, for Pete's sake, woman! You could change the rotation of the Earth with your internal strength! "Sugar addiction"? No. Problem.

Good luck :)