Why do we crave sweets?
Why do we find sweets so tempting? We are born with an innate desire for sweetness. Beginning with mother’s milk, for a baby, sweetness means survival. For some of us adults, sweetness means survival as well! The Israelites yearned for the land “flowing with milk and honey.” Sweetness means pure bliss and satisfaction. Indulging on a piece of red velvet cheesecake or gooey Rocky Road ice cream is comforting and euphoric, enough to forget about our problems. Why do we crave sugar? Blood sugar or glucose is necessary for proper brain function. It feeds our nervous system. Now, please, don’t rush to the cookie jar! All the sugar our brains need actually comes from fresh fruits and vegetables. So take a trip to the farmer’s market instead.
Sweets and the Daniel Fast
Even though we have a built-in need for something sweet, our bodies were not created to consume high doses of sugar. Our digestive systems can’t process it all and it becomes, well, fat, or unused energy. You have probably heard the scary statistics of obesity and diabetes. Up to $150 billion a year is spent on sugar-related illnesses in the United States. Sugar is probably one of the number 1 killers in America. We love to indulge! Research shows that sugar is now connected to heart disease and high cholesterol, and numerous other ailments. The Daniel fast is definitely a great way to detox our bodies of all the sugar ingested during the holidays. But if you must satisfy that sweet tooth of yours, here are some healthier alternatives:
- Eat a piece of fruit if you’re craving chocolate. You may not be too excited about it at first but your brain will stop sending the signals.
- Make oatmeal with rice milk which is naturally sweet. Add a few pieces of banana and cinnamon.
- Make a fruit smoothie with frozen fruit.
- Eat a ton of vegetables with your main meal. It will make you feel full and well-nourished.
- Drink carrot juice.
- Focus on flavors not sweetness. Think about the flavors and develop a new sense of taste as you take sugar out of your diet. Use spices like cinnamon and cardamon.
What about natural sweeteners?
A couple of recipes in my book Holy Bites, suggest agave, a natural sweetener. However, just drizzle it or use sparingly if at all. Make date syrup to bake some healthy cookies. Dates and bananas work great in vegan coconut ice cream. It won’t be Häagen Dazs chocolatey goodness but a couple of spoonfuls of date coconut ice cream are enough to deceive the tastebuds. Stevia is definitely a healthy choice to sweeten your cinnamon tea in the morning.However, if you have insulin problems to begin with, it is suggested that you avoid sweeteners altogether, including stevia and even bananas.
Daniel Fast meals are not fit for a king or queen’s menu. The idea is to humble ourselves and our palates.
When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. Daniel 10: 2-3, NLT.
Some Bible translations say that Daniel didn’t take a bath either. For myself, a bath is something I won’t abstain from but if you want to adhere to the full experience, go for it. You may lose some friends in the process. But, that is of course, a topic for a different article. Until next time.
Source: Khalsa, Siri K. “Sweet Nothings.” Nutrition News XXXVI (2012), distributed by Mother’s Market and Kitchen.