sugar cravings

10 Hacks For a Slimmer, Merrier Holiday


1.     Choose your treat before the feast.

Decide which type of treat you want to indulge in before each festivity. Choose breads or desserts, for example, but not both. For most people the starch in bread metabolizes like cake, so choosing one or the other prevents a double helping of sugar.

2.     Load up on the healthy stuff when you first arrive at a party. Take the edge off your appetite with the crudité, vegetable dips, olives and other low calorie snacks. Cheese and nuts, although healthy, quickly pile on calories.

3.     Volunteer to bring a dessert and make it sugar-free by using stevia or xylitol. That way you can enjoy a good helping of something sweet without blowing your diet. And you may be surprised how many people enjoy your dessert and ask for the recipe. Here are some recipes made with stevia.  Another sugar-free suggestion is to serve berries with whipped cream sweetened with Stevia instead of the usual pies or cakes. You can use some English Toffee Stevia to give the cream a more Holiday feel. Sweetleaf carries a dozen flavors of liquid stevia and has many recipes to try.

4.     Try using coconut flour or nut flours instead of wheat for your holiday baking. These grain-free substitutes are higher in protein and lower in carbs. And you may start a new Holiday tradition. Here are other suggestions for making healthier cookies.

5.     Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. Pace yourself, set your drink down, switch to a bubbly water with lemon. Alcohol metabolizes like sugar, and it is toxic for the liver. A clear head and engaged mind makes you a more interesting party guest!  Milk Thistle before and after indulging will help you avoid a hang-over. We have the best in our Livco from MediHerb.

6.     Avoid chocolate when you are enjoying other rich, fatty foods. Chocolate is particularly difficult for the liver/gall bladder to process. If you suffer from any kind of migraines or headaches, try eliminating chocolate and see if the headaches subside. Even the best dark chocolate may cause headaches for some people. Chocolate may be particularly aggravating right before the menstrual period. Try taking extra magnesium at that time.

7.     Get family and friends active with games and walks and activities that keep people away from too much food or alcohol. Americans gain an average of 7 pounds at Christmas and many don’t lose it throughout the year.

8.     Don’t skip meals just because you are busy. Plan ahead so that you keep your blood sugar stable by including protein and fat in every meal and eating every few hours. Decide that you don’t have to sample every cookie that is offered or indulge in the treats around the office. Keep a supply of fruits, veggies and other healthy snacks around so that you aren’t starving when the parties start. You can also make pots of soup to enjoy for a filling treat to take to the office or enjoy when you come home tired.

9.     Indulge yourself in other ways than goodies and food treats during the Holidays. Get a massage. Ask for one for a gift or treat yourself. Enjoy herbal teas. Try Slippery Elm tea to soothe the tummy and Licorice tea to support the adrenals. Indulge your senses with essential oils. Peppermint essential oil is a wonderful pick-me-up in the morning or before a night out. Eucalyptus essential oil eases breathing and congestion. Lavender is a classic for relaxation and sleep. Essential oils can be used simply by putting a few drops on a hanky and breathing the scent. Children love them. You can also mix a few drops with a carrier oil like coconut and rubbing on temples or chest.

10. On the days between celebrations eat a simple diet with lots of salad, protein of choice, and dressings of good oil and lemon or vinegar. Give your digestion and your pancreas a break and stick to a Paleo regime.  Look at your calendar ahead of time and decide which days you will stick to a healthy plan. Write it down so you don’t forget.

Don't forget your supplements during the Holidays, especially if you are traveling. We can mail to you if you don't have time to come to the office. If you are stressed, try our wonderful herbal line that is sure to calm and soothe in just a few minutes. Enjoy this Holiday Season, with all its blessings.


True Stress Relief With Herbal Medicine


Plant medicine is the oldest form of medicine on the planet. Over thousands of years, herbalists have identified the key benefits of various plants, long before they knew why they worked. Thousands of years of research have demonstrated the fact that plants have amazing medicinal ingredients.

Today we know what those ingredients are, and why correct preparation pulls out the active constituents. With modern tableting technology these powerful medicines are readily available. The important thing about herbal medicines is to choose companies that understand how to prepare them. Without regulation, your money will be well spent with companies you can trust.

Here are some other ways that herbal medicine can help you. With the Holidays on us in full stride, stress may be a part of the preparations for the merry making.

If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, herbal medicine offers some of the fastest relief. Licorice, Rehmannia, and Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, Schisandra and Kava are all herbal remedies that can handle stress quickly. Some of my herbal preparations can knock out those frazzled feelings in just a few minutes. Think nutritional medicine for long term handling, and herbal medicine to calm things down when you need it right now, as well as supporting the body’s ability to adapt to stress.

For example, Schisandra with Rhodiola supports lung and adrenal gland function, boosts energy and stamina, helps to cleanse the liver, eases the effects of everyday stress, enhances memory and mental clarity, promotes vitality and stamina, supports physical endurance, maintains feelings of general well-being, supports and maintains the body as it ages. Nothing in the drug world can come close to this.

You may not believe how well these herbal complexes can work, whether it is a matter of stress on the job, physically over-doing it, or experiencing an emotional response. Your body does not know what kind of stress it is; only that it needs to go into high gear to deal with it.

This puts a strain on the systems that can lead to over-indulgence in drugs, alcohol, sugar, salty foods or comfort foods. These herbals remedies can help you curb emotional and stress eating, as well, which will ease the strain on your waistband over the Holidays! For further help with cravings, ask us how Gymnema can magically help you avoid sugar altogether.

Next time you are in, ask for a sample and see how you feel after taking a herbal supplement. Let us know about any medications you take, as that may determine which herbal remedy is right for you.

Enjoy a safer, saner, happier and healthier Holiday season by tapping into the healing power of Nature.


Anne Dunev, PhD, C.N., is a Naturopath/Nutritionist in Los Angeles. With 25 years of clinical experience her Functional Medicine approach has helped thousands of people recover their health by rebalancing hormones, and removing the barriers to the body healing itself.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much- Part 2

See Part 1

10. Maple syrup is mainly sucrose, but contains some minerals and amino acids (building blocks of proteins) because it is made from boiling the tree sap from Maple Trees.

11. Honey is flower nectar acted upon by enzymes that make is suitable for long-term storage by the bee. To further assist the storage the bees fan the honey to speed up the evaporation process, making the honey thicker. Beeswax, a secretion from the abdomen of the bee, is used to seal the honey into the comb. Honey will keep indefinitely once the process is complete. Honey is 82% sugar and 40% of the sugar is fructose. Honey has trace minerals and antioxidants. Honey will raise blood sugar, but not as much as white sugar. It also appears to lower inflammation. Honey should only be eaten raw and it is antibacterial and safe to put on a wound for healing (but should not be used on a puncture wound.)

12. Xylitol is made from birch trees. It contains 30-40% less calories and is slowly absorbed compared to other sugars. Xylitol can reduce cavities and is a good choice for chewing gum. It has also been shown to reduce the incidence of middle ear infections in children. Xylitol is a better choice for individuals who are suffering from hypoglycemia or Diabetes. It may cause gas and diarrhea if consumed in high quantities. It is toxic for dogs.

13. Coconut sugar is also made from tree sap. Coconut tree sap is heated until the water has evaporated and the crystals are left. Coconut sugar contains trace minerals and a fiber called inulin, a prebiotic, which helps feed healthy gut flora. It contains the same calories as refined white sugar.

14. Stevia is an extract of a South American plant leaf. It is not technically a sugar, but it stimulates the sweet receptors on the tongue and is perceived as sweet. It is 200-300 times sweeter than white sugar, so should be used in small quantities. It is safe for Diabetics to use.

Americans consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar per day, on average, not including fruit juice. This is added sugar, and does not include the sugar Nature provides in fruits, vegetables and grains. Regular soda contains one teaspoon of sugar per ounce.

We obviously enjoy the sweet stuff. And the body was designed to extract the sugar from whole foods and use glucose for fuel. When we consume refined sugars, the sugar does not have to be extracted, but transports directly into the blood, and that is what creates havoc. In a sense the body can become drunk on sugar, just as too much alcohol causes inebriation. Either too much sugar at one time, or not enough sugar when we skip meals or starve, throws off the balanced flow of energy to the cells. Too much sugar sends our pancreas and livers into over-drive to try and compensate for the deluge. There is a delicate mechanism to maintain a correct balance of sugar so the brain, as the central computer system, works optimally. Sugar has a “burning” effect on cells and may well be the main cause for inflammation in the arteries leading to heart disease. Cancer and candida cells love sugar and feed off sugar. Excess sugar is quickly converted to fat cells and does not just get deposited at waist and hips. Fat deposits in the liver interrupt normal liver function.

So, basically there is nothing helpful or healthy that comes from eating too much sugar. There is nothing healthy about eating any processed, refined sugar at all. We may be able to handle a few teaspoons a day, but we don’t need any added sugar in our diets. If you are trying to lose weight, eliminate fruit also, and see if your body lets go of excess pounds more easily. Think of bread and pasta as sugar, also, since the body will metabolize (break down) grains and starches as sugars.

To end sugar cravings, you have to eliminate it. Just like alcohol (which also breaks down to sugar) you have to go on the wagon to stop the cravings. Add in more protein and healthy fats, and that will help. Get your adrenals checked, as both sugar and salt cravings are indicators of adrenal fatigue.

Do our 10-day Sugar Detox program and see how good you can feel off sugar! Have more energy, sleep better and tame the sugar monster, while also doing a detox. Book a free 15 minute consultation to find out more. 818-562-1400.








How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

We know that there is an epidemic of Diabetes around the Western World.  Why now? Sugar has been around since 509 BC Emperor Darius of Persia invaded India and discovered sugar cane, “the reed which gives honey without bees.

When the Arabs spread their culture through in the 7th Century they discovered sugar in Persia and the secret of the sweet spice was out. Sugar was first recorded in London in 1099. The Venetians first refined sugar in the 15th Century. Columbus took sugar cane plants to the Caribbean and a new industry was born in the New World.

By 1750, there were 120 sugar refineries in Great Britain. Beets were identified as a source of sugar in 1747, but not used in quantity until the Napoleonic Wars caused the British to blockade sugar cane to the rest of Europe. Sugar beets became the main source of sugar to Europe, as a result. Today about 40 million tons of sugar are produced worldwide. Sugar has been big business since England built refineries and the government was able to tax and control the business of sugar.

In today’s world sugar comes in many other forms: agave, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup to name a few. Which is the healthiest choice for you?

Here are some definitions and descriptions to help you sort out the sweets.

1.     White sugar or pure refined sugar. It is 99.9% sucrose, which is a double sugar molecule and the body breaks it down into glucose and fructose.

2.     Caster sugar means smaller granules of refined white sugar.

3.     Icing sugar or powdered sugar-dissolves better in liquids or egg whites.

4.     Raw sugar-similar to white sugar in nutrient value, but brown colored.

5.     Brown sugar is sucrose with 5% molasses added. This gives a tiny amount of minerals and nutrients.

6.     Fructose, the fruit sugar, is metabolized differently. It is a single sugar molecule. Pure refined fructose is converted to body fat more easily than glucose. It is released more slowly when consumed with the fiber from whole fruit.

7.     Glucose is the form of sugar that your body actually uses for cellular energy. It is also a single sugar molecule. Athletes will take pure glucose (called Dextrose) for extreme athletic events. If not utilized by the body for energy it will be converted to fats (called triglycerides) by the liver and then stored as body fat.

8.     Agave nectar or syrup is 90% fructose. It is not more nutritious than sugar, despite its reputation.

9.     High fructose corn syrup is made from cornstarch and contains 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Because it is made from corn, a government subsidized crop, it is much cheaper than sugar, but just as sweet. Regular corn syrup is glucose (called Dextrose on food labels) and is not as sweet. High fructose corn syrup requires a number of chemical processes to convert part of the glucose into fructose. This fructose is not necessarily natural because of the chemical processing and may alter the taste in foods, despite the sweetness.

See my next blog for more about the different types of sugar and how much is too much.