Did you over-do the sugar over the holidays? I know I did. Once you start it’s tough to stop. Cravings for sweets seem to ramp up after bingeing at a holiday party and being surrounded by sweet treats, cookies and deserts at every family get-together.

Do you need to detox from your sugar intake? Yes. Your pancreas, which secretes insulin every time you eat sugar, needs a holiday.  

If you have the willpower to cut sugar out, great. Some who try feel deprived, are crabby with mood swings and energy lows that make it near impossible to avoid sugar without some sort of intervention.

Here’s my step-by-step guide to success:

1. Stop buying sweets. Even though that box of cookies or chocolates are on sale and will keep for a few months or a rainy day, don’t buy them.

2. Get rid of your stash. It’s tough to be motivated when you crave in plain sight.

3. Write a list of your favourite high protein foods. Choose from: Animal meats: poultry, beef, and pork*; fish and seafood*; eggs and dairy products*; beans, peas, and lentils; nut and seeds and butters; tofu and tempeh; Quinoa*, amaranth, buckwheat, spirulina*; hemp seeds*; whey,* rice, and hemp protein powder*; chia, or Salba (known as a superfood, this seed is ground and can be added to foods such as yogurt, baking, and smoothies. Available at health food stores.)*
*=A complete protein containing all the essential amino acids

4. Write a list of breakfast options for seven days to include a protein source from above.
Examples: piece of toast and an egg; oatmeal with grated pear, blueberries, milk and hemp seeds; smoothie with whey or hemp protein powder.

5. Write a list of lunch options that includes a protein source from above.
Examples: wrap with tinned salmon and cucumber; large spinach salad with leftover chicken pieces and vegetables; cottage cheese and fruit spread on a Ryvita cracker; hearty vegetable soup with chickpeas and lentils.

6. Write a list of dinner options that includes a protein source from above. Remember that dinner can be taken as lunch the next day if you make enough for leftovers.
Examples: roast chicken with broccoli, sweet potato and cauliflower; grilled tempeh with buckwheat noodles tossed with peppers and broccoli; quiche with a side greek salad.

7. Plan snacks to include fruit, yogurt and nuts and seeds.
Start your day with a large glass of water and eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Two and a half hours later, eat a snack. Lunch should follow the same time frame after that mid morning snack and snack again two and a half hours after lunch. Eating regularly will stabilize your blood sugar levels, decreasing your cravings for sweet stuff.

8. Adding a chromium supplement to your multi increases the time it takes to feel balanced. A level of 200 - 400 mcg is a safe dose for most. Consult with your nutritionist or naturopath for specific dosage for you.

One of my top recommendations for clients to eat for breakfast is oatmeal. Not the maple sugar packages, but homemade in a saucepan oatmeal. The recipe below is sweetened with grated pear, so provides more fibre along with a sweet taste to get you going. Add in blueberries for an extra antioxidant boost.

Soaked Overnight Oatmeal
Soaking breaks down or pre-digests the grains so your body doesn’t have to. The probiotics added here help the breakdown and turn your oatmeal into a fermented food that benefits your digestive system further.

1 cup whole oat flakes or steel cut oats
1 cup water
Pinch of probiotics if you have some
1/2 - 1 cup milk of choice
1/2 pear
1/4 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)

Put oats and water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle on probiotics and leave on the counter overnight.

In the morning, gently warm oats and water adding in extra milk as you stir. Add up to one cup until you like the consistency. Top the oatmeal with half a pear and blueberries. Stir.

Note: leftover oatmeal can be warmed through the following morning or added to your smoothie.

Read More by Lianne Phillipson-Webb:
Divine Gluten and Sugar-Free Holiday Cookies

Eat Your Way to a Calmer Belly

Miraculous Chicken Soup and Other Ways to Protect Your Family From the 'Flu

Cutting Back on Sugar for a Healthier Family