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Gillian's Fieldwork Notes: Recommendations for Sugar Addiction

(photo: bee wrangling on an organic farm)

As with any addiction, it is important to aim towards cutting out all sugar from the diet.  

Start slowly and be gentle with yourself.

As you reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, you should notice that over time, you will desire it less and less.  Take it easy, and take care of your self.

Substitutes can be used if necessary.


Stevia is not an actual sugar in terms of chemistry, and will not affect blood sugar, and therefore can be used at will.  Health food stores should carry it as well as have information on how to use it.  Let me know if you are unable to find recipes, or share your favorites with me so I can pass them on to others.


Its still a sugar but slow-releasing and complex, and with its own medicinal benefits such as nutrients (unpasteurized is best); use sparingly. Babies under one year should never be given honey.


Again, a complex and nutrient-rich sugar, if you use "sorghum" or "barbados" molasses (blackstrap is chemically processed and should be avoided).

Maple syrup:

Complex, nutrient-rich, buy organic.

Other naturally processed sweeteners: 

Unrefined, organic sugar (not brown, corn, turbinado), rice syrup, barley malt, fruit juices, fruit syrups, date sugar, and amasake (fermented rice) are all significantly more nutritious than chemically processed sugar. Beware of getting "hooked" on these though, because they are still relatively high in simple sugars which have a negative effect on the body.

Sweet foods:

bananas, beets, squash (dried fruits are very concentrated sugars, so use sparingly.)

Tips for improving your health as you eliminate bad sugars.

Increase consumption of complex carbohydrates, which are slow-release sugars and highly nutritive (eg.: brown rice and other grains, vegetables, legumes, breads); chewing these well is said to enhance their sweetness, and is always better for digestion anyhow. 

Recommended Supplements:  taken daily over a period of 3 months minimum for best results.

  • Reishi: reported to be an excellent "adaptogen", a substance that helps the body return to balance; also an antioxidant, a substance which helps reduce the "death of cells", enhance immunity and improved cellular oxygenation. (modalities: food, capsules &/or tea)
  • Oatstraw: excellent nerve tonic, especially good for substance addictions since it nourishes nerve endings (which tend to be frayed during sugar highs and lows, withdrawals, and transitions); also high in minerals. (food- oats, & tincture or tea)
  • Skullcap: also excellent for the nervous system, considered to be a mild sedative, calming and soothing; * may or may not cause drowsiness. Start with a small dose to find your level of sensitivity. (Use in the form of a fresh herb tincture only - skullcap is ineffective when dried.)
  • Spirulina and Blue Green algae (Chlorella): well documented to help balance blood sugar as well as being highly nutritious; excellent antioxidants and detoxifiers. (powder in drinks & food. &/or capsules - start with lower dose and increase gradually due to possible side-effects of detoxification)
  • Siberian Ginseng: well documented as an 'alterative' and 'adaptogen', substances which help bring about balance in the body; great for reducing the effects of stress (especially on the adrenals) and for recovering from transitions, chronic illness, hospital stays, etc. (Take care to distinguish between Siberian Ginsend, and the others: Red Ginseng or Korean Ginseng. Siberian Ginseng is a completely different plant and medicine.)  (capsules &/or tincture)
  • Bitters: these stimulate the liver and gallbladder, thereby improving blood sugar needs, improving liver function (the liver gets overstimulated metabolizing simple sugars); all of which improve digestion which is also affected by sugar overuse and/or misuse.
  •  Oregon Grape Root: also an excellent immune system booster but not for long term use.) (tea or tincture)
  • Dandelion Root  Fresh in soups or tea or tincture; leaves in spring only; make sure that no one has sprayed them with toxins! 
  • Artichoke: Artichoke pickled hearts are ok, but capsules of leaf may be more effective.
  •  Gentian Root: Effective but avoid use during pregnancy and nursing.(capsules or tea)
  • Milk Thistle: use for its liver tonic effects, this is a well documented herb that has been shown to actually stimulate the production of new liver cells and protect against further damage from intoxicants and stimulants. (tincture)
  • Licorice Root: chewing on sticks or drinking the tea in combination with other herbs has been shown to reduce sugar cravings, while licorice is known as an excellent adrenal tonic. Note, however, that extended use can cause water retention, avoid use with high blood pressure and severe kidney problems (sticks, tea or tincture; not as a sugar loaded candy!)
  • Extra vitamins: in addition to a well balanced diet and a good multi vitamin, take:
    - B6 (50 mg/day)
    - Vit C (increase by 500 mg/day up to bowel tolerance)
    - Calcium and Magnesium (2:1 ratio, citrate preferred, 1200 mg/day Calcium; 600 mg/day Magnesium.)

    In Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, it is recommended to eat something sour, pungent or spicy to help deal with sudden sugar cravings.

    Products from Gillian's Herbs to enhance your health as you work on your sugar addiction. 

    • ADRENAL TONIC tincture (certified organic or wildcrafted Siberian Ginseng Root, Astragalus Root, Nettles, Licorice Root, and Oatstraw)
    • NERVE TONIC tincture (certified organic or wildcrafted Oatstraw, Siberian Ginseng Root, Nettles, St. John's Wort, Skullcap, and Motherwort)
    • LIVER TONIC tincture (Milk Thistle Seed, Dandelion Root, Oregon Grape Root, and Marshmallow Root)
    • MINERAL MIX condiment (Nutritional Yeast, certified organic roasted Sesame Seeds, certified organic Garlic granules, Kelp and Spirulina) use daily on eggs, rice, veggies, in soups, or even better, popcorn!

    These notes emphasize dietary changes, supplements, and medicinal herbs. While this is essential in helping your body achieve a better balance, it is also important when dealing with an imbalance like sweet cravings to look at any possible emotional or psychological associations. Try to take a holistic viewpoint; there are many aspects to our lifestyle than can contribute to ill health.  There are no substitutes for fresh air, exercise, the reduction of stress, and the pursuit of fun-filled, creative, soul-satisfying activities.  My hope is that by simultaneously following the above-mentioned recommendations as well as additional changes in lifestyle, one will experience increased emotional and physical balance, more energy, stamina and motivation, increased memory and ability to concentrate, and overall wellness.

    (photo:  a stinging nettle plant)