how i am overcoming my sugar cravings.

Libby's Birthday- Senior year of High School

Libby’s Birthday- Senior year of High School

Over the past few weeks, I’ve struck up several conversations with friends about how I decided to start working out, eat healthy, change my diet, find motivation, etc. I guess, I can only really say it wasn’t an easy task. I shared a little bit about my Aha-Moment, a few weeks ago, but that only scrapes the surface.  I guess with any addiction, the first step is to come out of denial, right?

I’ve always seen myself as an athletic “in-shape” person. I mean, I played a sport. I’m tall and slender. (Ok, I’m tall and could hide my weight really well, in most cases.) But, after a health check at work concluded I weight 181 pounds, I knew I couldn’t be hiding that much weight.

I had a major problem! Food! Not just any food. Foods covered in chocolate, caramel, or cheese, preferably. I’m almost embarrassed to admit. I would sometimes find myself indulging on a few Little Debbie’s only to realize the only thing left was me and an empty box. It is not the prettiest thing to imagine, but a guilty, very guilty pleasure. Some people find their “high” in drugs. I would find mine by eating as many Milk Duds as fast as I could before showing up to a dinner date with friends. It was sad. 

Christmas Party- Freshmen year of College.

Christmas Party- Freshmen year of College.

Awards Banquet- Junior Year of College

Awards Banquet- Junior Year of College

When I first began running in late 2010/early 2011, I still battled with sugar even though I had adopted a few better habits, such as running and working out more consistently. Due to this, I thought I had no reason to give up the goods. After losing quite a bit of weight, and transforming over the last 2 years, I realized one thing. Nothing more was going to change if I didn’t change. Yes, I was staying fit, but still eating a double chocolate brownie at lunch everyday didn’t balance things out. 

So, in late 2012 I began experimenting with several diets. Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Weight Watchers, etc. Then, in October of 2012, I found something that worked for me. After discovering Vinnie Tortorich’s podcast through a friend from work, I was very curious about the No Sugar, No Grain lifestyle. This is not Akin’s! When I first mentioned this to friends and family, they originally wrote it off as the Akin’s diet. Which it is not. No Sugars, No Grains is just that. Eliminating refined sugars and grains from your diet, which tend to rank higher on the Glycemic Index. These are also foods that are really “just silly.” 

Sugar was really the toughest thing for me, and to be honest, it’s still a daily struggle. I am in the process of moving, so it’s definitely been even harder for me to sit down and make a wholesome meal when beef jerky and trail mix with M&Ms taste so much better. 

Here are some tips I am incorporating to help really kick the sugar monster:

-Drink more water

-Don’t even buy sugar/sugar products (THIS ISN’T BRAIN SURGERY)

-Plan meals and don’t steer from them

-Get out and ride my bike or go to the gym

This is not a post to bash all things sugar, grains, or everything that melts in your mouth and dances on your taste buds. Like anything, in moderation is okay for you. Okay, most things, not anything. Use your best discretion.

girl scout samoa bars

I’m not gonna lie, being a baker myself, I find myself missing the warm deliciousness of chocolate chip anything with caramel sauce. I used to eat caramel by the spoonful. Almost too embarrassing to admit. But, the dynamic pair of warm chocolate and caramel can really make a big girl start compromising some important things in her life. Which for the majority of my life I did, and had no remorse whatsoever.

Today, after my 12-miler, someone thought it was a good idea to have a Girl Scouts troop hock boxes and boxes of cookies to ravenous runners. I gritted my teeth as I watched runners load shopping bags of cookies to take home after their run. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sweet every now and again, but GS cookies lifespan from seller to consumer is more or less three days, if it even makes it from the car to the house. (I made up those stats, but you get the point.)

So, for all you people that miss a good GS cookie, but don’t want to budge the scale, here’s a tasty Samoa Bar I created. It’s especially tasty after being chilled overnight. Just like good old times, without the sugar crash and cavities.

Girl Scouts Samoa Bars (Grain Free)


What you need:
For cookie:
2 c blanched almonds
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c honey
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 large egg
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

For caramel:
12-14 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water for an hour
5-6 Tbsp canned coconut milk (full fat)
3 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted*
Pinch of salt

For topping:
1/2 c dark chocolate (70% to 90%)
3-5 Tbsp canned coconut milk (full fat)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For cookie:
Pulse blanched almonds in a food processor until the consistency of cornmeal. Add all dry cookie ingredients to processor and pulse until everything is mixed well. Add wet ingredients to processor until everything starts stick and roll together. Pour dough into 9×13 ungreased pan. Using a sheet of wax or parchment paper, press down on dough until it is evenly dispersed in the bottom of the pan. (You can even use a rolling pin or cup to roll on top) Should be about 1/4 inch thick. Remove paper and bake for 8-11 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

For caramel:
Drain dates. Add to processor and blend. Add coconut milk one tablespoon at a time. Add water in the same manner. Add vanilla and salt. Should look like caramel. Stir in toasted coconut.

For chocolate:
Using a microwaveable dish or double boiler, melt chocolate while stirring in coconut milk gradually. If using microwave, heat in 10-15 second intervals, dark chocolate will melt fast.

Spread caramel on top of cooled cookie. Using a spoon or piping bag, drizzle chocolate on top and additionally shredded coconut if you’d like. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Cut in squares. Enjoy!

*Toasted coconut- Place shredded coconut flat on cookie sheet. Toast for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Check and make sure it hasn’t burned. It was continue to toast on the sheet once removed from the oven, so don’t leave in too long.

For leftover coconut milk, use as creamer for you coffee or cover can and put in fridge overnight. Scoop out fat that has surfaced in milk. Using a hand mixer with one beater attached, beat coconut milk in can. You when end up with a light coconut whipped cream. Enjoy, again.