Are you craving sugar in early sobriety?

If you are, you’re not alone. When I first stopped drinking I kept Peanut M&Ms in my bag so I could grab them if I really wanted to drink. 

And after years of saying that I didn’t have a sweet tooth (“no dessert for me…I take my calories in wine…”) I started asking my husband to order me a chocolate milkshake at dinner if he got to the restaurant before I did. 

When I went to Italy with my 8 year old son Hank in early sobriety, I even did a “gelato crawl” through Venice instead of sitting down with a carafe of wine…The bonus was that my son thought I was the coolest mom ever!

Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol - Gelato Crawl In Venice With My Son at 4 Months Alcohol-Free instead of getting a carafe of wine

It’s normal to crave sugar in early sobriety for the simple reason that alcohol contains a lot of sugar. Your body has gotten used to the regular influx of sugar from drinking. 

Drinking alcohol over time can also mess with both serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in your brain, and can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Sugar can also stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain which is the same ‘feel-good’ hormone stimulated by alcohol. When you stop drinking your body will crave sugar as a substitute for alcohol. 

When women ask me how to manage sugar cravings when they stop drinking, my first piece of advice is to actually allow themselves to eat the cookies and the ice cream or whatever sugary treats they want in their first few weeks alcohol-free. 

Here’s why….It’s important to feel full and satisfied when you stop drinking. 

There are a lot of (very real) reasons your body is seeking sugar when you remove alcohol. Hunger is a huge trigger to drink and going on a diet or health kick at the same time that you’re quitting drinking is the most common way women self-sabotage their efforts to be alcohol-free. 

And understanding sugar cravings, why they happen, how long they last and how to optimize your nutrition in sobriety to both help your body heal and manage sugar cravings is incredibly helpful.

So I asked an expert to help me break down both why we crave sugar in early sobriety and how to optimize nutrition when you quit drinking alcohol to help boost your mood and energy. 

Dana Burns is a registered Dietitian who works with women and men recovering from substance use, eating disorders, and emotional overeating. Dana facilitates nutrition groups in addiction treatment centers and offers private coaching for those struggling with their eating habits or relationship with food.

In this episode, Casey and Dana break down:

  • Early Sobriety Nutrition 101
  • Why you have sugar cravings after quitting alcohol and how long they last

  • 10 tips to manage sugar cravings when you quit drinking

  • How alcohol impacts your dopamine, serotonin and blood sugar levels
  • Why not to diet in early sobriety and what to do instead
  • How balancing blood sugar levels can reduce anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings and cravings
  • Studies that show regular exercise can increase the abstinence rate for substance use by 95 percent
  • How to eat to optimize your energy and improve your mood

You might be wondering how long sugar cravings usually last after you stop drinking… 

Of course it varies for each person, but you’ll probably experience the strongest sugar cravings right after you stop drinking. 

Your body is trying to adjust to the absence of alcohol and searching for other things to give it that pleasure and comfort. 

When you stop drinking your dopamine takes about a month to return to its normal levels and you’ll no longer seek sugar as a way to boost dopamine.

And as time goes on and your body gets used to the new normal without alcohol, sugar cravings should start to fade away.

For some people, the cravings might go away within a few weeks or months. But don’t be surprised if you still have occasional or mild cravings that stick around a bit longer. Everybody’s different, so there’s no set timeline for when cravings completely disappear.

To help deal with sugar cravings during your recovery, use these 10 dietician approved tips from Dana Burns, The Recovery Dietician.

    Here Are The 10 Dietician Approved Tips To Manage Sugar Cravings When Quitting Alcohol

    1. Notice your hunger/fullness level and your emotions. When you are reaching for something sweet or when you eat something that you did not intend to, what emotions arise? Where are you feeling these emotions in your body? Are you physically hungry? What is your hunger/fullness level? Are you using food to distract, avoid, or numb an uncomfortable emotion? 

    Challenging emotions such as shame can perpetuate the cycle of emotional eating and bingeing. Try pausing for only 5 minutes. Journal or write on a sticky note to identify any confusing or painful emotions you may be trying to suppress or numb. Cravings come and go. Feelings come and go. This too shall pass. You must ride the wave when you have a craving or emotion because what you resist persists. And if you are truly hungry, honor your hunger and nourish your body. It may be helpful to ask yourself- what does my body need right now? It may be food, water, rest, tea, or a hug!

    2. Eat regular meals and snacks. Don’t go longer than four hours during the day without eating. Please don’t deprive yourself of nourishing meals and snacks. Choose quality ingredients and create meals that are satisfying to you. Have you ever eaten a meal that was just OK… then went straight to dessert in order to feel satisfied? Eat substantial meals that include carbs, fat, and protein. Remember, restriction can lead to rebellion. This may require you to plan out your meals so you’re not throwing something together last minute when you’re famished.

    3. Include PROTEIN at every meal and snack. Lean meat, seafood, eggs, tofu, edamame, tempeh, beans, nuts, hummus, seeds, almond butter… It doesn’t matter if it’s plant or animal protein. (However a mix of both is ideal!) Protein can keep you satisfied throughout the day and provides amino acids to help combat cravings.

    4. HYDRATE. And I mean WATER. Half your body weight in ounces. Sometimes, dehydration can be mistaken for sugar cravings.

    5. Limit caffeine intake to 300 mg or less daily. This is about 2 cups of coffee/day. Or one energy drink. Other sources of caffeine include tea, soda, coffee ice cream, and chocolate. Excessive caffeine intake can actually increase sugar cravings due to fluctuations in blood sugars and dehydration.

    6. Prepare for the afternoon and night time sugar cravings. If you drank a glass of wine at exactly 5pm every night, prepare to have something delicious and hydrating at that time. Have snacks on hand such as dates & almond butter, popcorn, yogurt & berries or granola, dried fruit, fresh fruit, a smoothie, popsicle, seltzers, teas, kombucha.

    7. Lower your sugar taste threshold by cutting back on sugar and hidden sugars. Examples include sauces (tomato sauce, BBQ sauce), salad dressings, yogurts, granola bars and granola, creamers in coffee, sugar covered nuts, baked goods/breads. Eliminate sugar alternatives or ‘fake sugar’ to help lower your sugar taste threshold. (The less sugar you eat.. the less you’ll actually crave!)

    8. Make sleep a priority. If you’re tired, you are more likely to reach for a sugary treat or a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Protect your sleep by getting to bed at a reasonable hour, use a diffuser with lavender, white noise, magnesium supplements, eye mask, whatever you need to do to get 7-8 hours of shut eye

    9. Supplement as needed. Discuss with your doctor or dietitian. Glutamine, an amino acid, may be helpful to reduce sugar cravings. Multivitamin and/or B vitamins can be helpful as well especially with heavy alcohol use.

    10. Move your body. What movement brings you joy? Do more of that. Walking, dancing, swimming, yoga, biking? Exercise and alcohol affect similar parts of your brain that activate your reward pathway, releasing feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Exercise can help stabilize blood sugars, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase muscle mass and metabolism. A collection of studies suggest that regular exercise can increase the abstinence rate for substance use by 95 percent.

    Remember, it takes time for your body to adjust to the absence of alcohol and stabilize its sugar cravings. Be patient with yourself and focus on making healthy choices to support your overall well-being.

    Want the Cliff Notes? 

    Here are the most important things you need to know about alcohol, sugar, dopamine, serotonin and blood sugar levels…

    Why Do You Crave Sugar When You Quit Drinking Alcohol?

    Drinking alcohol over time can mess with both serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain.

    Serotonin is tied to mood regulation and emotional well-being, while dopamine is associated with motivation, pleasure, and reinforcement.

    Alcohol, Dopamine and Serotonin

    Serotonin is all about keeping your mood stable, making you feel happy and content. It helps with sleep, appetite, and even memory.

    Dopamine is like your brain’s reward system. It’s responsible for pleasure and motivation. When something feels good or exciting, dopamine is released, giving you that happy and satisfied feeling.

    While serotonin focuses on mood, dopamine is more about pleasure and motivation. They both play important roles in how we feel and function.

    When you drink, your brain releases large amounts of dopamine, contributing to the pleasurable effects of drinking. And when alcohol is removed, dopamine levels can initially drop leading to feelings of low mood and energy. 

    And when you stop drinking those dopamine levels are no longer artificially raised by alcohol.  This drop in dopamine can create a sense of reward deficiency, low mood or low energy – so often sugary foods are another source of pleasure or reward.

    Alcohol and Serotonin  

    Consuming alcohol also messes with the way serotonin works in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that affects your mood and emotions. At first, alcohol might give you a boost in serotonin levels, making you feel relaxed and happy. That’s why some people enjoy the temporary good vibes after a few drinks.

    But if you regularly drink too much alcohol or for a long time, it can throw off the balance of serotonin in your brain. It can actually make your serotonin levels drop over time. And when that happens, it can mess with your mood and make you more prone to feeling down or anxious. That’s why some heavy drinkers may end up dealing with depression or anxiety.

    On top of that, alcohol can mess with how the serotonin receptors in your brain work. These receptors are like little messengers that help serotonin do its job. Alcohol disrupts their sensitivity and how well they respond to serotonin, which can make things even more out of whack and mess with your mood.

    Alcohol and Blood Sugar

    Drinking alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This happens because alcohol can harm the pancreas, which plays a role in controlling blood sugar. 

    Drinkers often have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which can lead to intense cravings for sweets. When alcohol is removed from the equation, these cravings may become more pronounced. 

    Ria Health reports that some medical professionals even believe that addressing hypoglycemia is crucial in overcoming alcohol cravings, as low blood sugar can also contribute to low mood and a desire for sugar or alcohol as a means of seeking relief.

    Resources mentioned in the episode:

    Sugar Cravings after Quitting Alcohol: 10 Dietitian-Approved Tips

    Free Guide: Food For Your Mood In Early Sobriety From The Recovery Dietitian

    The Cycle of Dieting — The Recovery Dietitian

    Dopamine Nation: Alcohol, Social Media + Addiction | Hello Someday Coaching 

    How to eat to curb sugar and alcohol cravings — Functional Sobriety

    Graph mentioned about Dopamine Nation

    Medical Director of Addictive Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke on

    ”Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence” | Neuroscience Meets

    Social and Emotional Learning

    6 Benefits Of Exercise In Addiction Recovery 

    Sober Powered episodes on sugar

    Episode 5: Sugar Addiction — Sober Powered

    Episode 41: Why Sober People Want So Much Sugar

    Does Craving Sugar Increase Your Risk of Relapse? — Sober Powered

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    Connect with Dana Burns

    Dana Burns is a Registered Dietitian who works with women and men recovering from

    substance use, eating disorders, and emotional overeating. Dana facilitates nutrition

    groups in addiction treatment centers. She also does private coaching for those

    struggling with their eating habits or relationship with food. Dana has been sober for 4

    1/2 years and is a retired chardonnay drinker. 

    Dana lives in Lake Worth, Florida with her husband and 2 boys, who are both covid babies.

    Learn more about Dana and how she can support you at The Recovery Dietitian

    Follow Dana on Instagram @the_recoverydietitian

    Get The Free Guide: Food For Your Mood In Early Sobriety From The Recovery Dietitian

    Connect with Casey

    Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!

    Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


    Are you looking for the best sobriety podcast for women? The Hello Someday Podcast was created specifically for sober curious women and gray area drinkers ready to stop drinking, drink less and change their relationship with alcohol.

    Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

    Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol-free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this is the best sobriety podcast for you.

    A Top 100 Mental Health Podcast, ranked in the top 1% of podcasts globally, The Hello Someday Podcast is the best sobriety podcast for women.

    In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.

    Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol-free life. 

    Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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    Sugar Cravings after Quitting Alcohol: 10 Dietitian-Approved Tips To Manage Them With Dana Burns


    drinking, feel, alcohol, talk, sugar, sober, sobriety, eating, food, early, exercise, years, blood sugars, nutrition, clients, body, dopamine, dopamine levels, fiber, self-love, self-care, recovering, healing, support, in early sobriety, quitting alcohol

    Sugar Cravings

    SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Dana Burns


    Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

    In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

    Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.


    Hi there. Today we are talking about Sugar Cravings After Quitting Alcohol.


    And I searched for a really long time to find the right guest to talk about this. This question about, oh my god, I quit drinking. Now I’m craving sugar all the time. Some women are really worried about it. They feel like they’ve just transferred the addiction from alcohol to the addiction to sugar. We are going to talk about today why that is not the case. Why a sugar addiction is not at all like alcohol addiction.


    But I’ve also got a Dietitian who also knows a lot about recovery and is sober herself, who is going to talk about how to manage sugar cravings after quitting drinking.


    This is something that so many clients of mine asked about. I went through it, too. And I want to make sure that I’m providing on the podcast really solid information about everything that comes up from experts.


    So, I reached out to my guest today Dana Burns. She is a registered Dietitian, who works with women and men recovering from substance use, eating disorders, and emotional overeating. Dana facilitates Nutrition groups in addiction centers. She also does private coaching for those struggling with their eating habits or relationship with food. She’s been sober for four and a half years and is a retired Chardonnay drinker. Dana lives in Lake Worth, Florida with her husband and two boys who are both COVID Babies. So, wow, they must be really young, Dana.


    I have a one and a three year old.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  03:17

    Oh my god. I remember those days and my kids are six years apart. I cannot imagine having kids. That young that close?



    Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. But I definitely need to carve out that mommy time that me time. Because it it’s a lot of energy. I mean, I’m sometimes I’m trying to get them to watch a 20 minute show. Because I just need to do the dishes. They’re wild. They’re all over the place.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  03:47

    Yeah, I can only imagine. And my kid like, wasn’t sort of able to watch your show. I realized that makes me sound like a really bad parent. Okay, until he was like three or four. You know what I mean? Like, I remember going on a plane to Hawaii when he was two years old. And I was like, please, please watch his show. And he was having none of it.



    Right, right. So yeah, it’s super energetic boys. I just feed them all day. And well, unless they’re in Day-care, that helps as well. Oh, yeah. Helps a lot.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  04:25

    That helps a lot. So, I reached out to you because I was searching for a guest who both was a Dietitian, who had expertise in addiction, and who had expertise in sobriety. I would say 95% of my guests are sober. I really like talking to people who’ve personally been through it. Haven’t just sort of necessarily helped people through it, but who understand the emotional side of it from personal experience. And I wanted to find someone who was, sort of, not immersed in Diet culture, because that’s a lot of what I see. Who understand emotional eating without judgment. And you know, there are a lot of people who are like, sugar is an addiction, you have to deal with it, cut it out completely. And I thought that you were just that really good combination. So, thank you for responding to me, I emailed you out, totally out of the blue.



    It is such an honor to talk to you and to be on this podcast today. I cannot tell you enough, because I really, I really am open about not only being sober, but also struggling with an eating disorder in the past. And I’m now working in different addiction treatment centers in South Florida. And I’m able to be really authentic, and to also use my background in Nutrition to help the greater good, which is the recovery community and, and help like-minded people who also, you know, have struggled with drugs and alcohol.


    Yeah, it’s really a perfect mix. And I never thought I would be here. I started out as a Dietician and hospitals and nursing homes, doing home health. And it never really spoke to me. But now I feel like I’m doing work that I feel there really, really lights me up. So, I love it.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  06:25

    Well, so tell me I know, we’ve talked before we jumped on the podcast. But for anyone listening, just tell us a little bit about your background and your work. And I know you were doing that work before. You actually, sort of, quit Chardonnay, quit drinking?



    Yes, yes, yes. And I was actually the manager at a big hospital down the street. And that’s when I was drinking the most I would have wine. When I came home, as a reward in a way for doing the job, as a way of coping and relaxing. I didn’t think it was a problem until the last year of drinking. And then I started moderating. I told myself, I’ll only drink on the weekends. I’ll only drink two, three days a week. And that never worked out.


    I found myself doing 30-Day Challenges or, you know, quitting for a month, but never more than a month. And finally, one day, I just had enough. I felt like it was a coping mechanism that was not serving me. If anything, it was holding me back from living my best life and having enough energy to do what I wanted to do. I also wanted to get pregnant at that time. And I, my body, my hormones were not regular. So, I thought that would help. And it did.


    I finally decided I was done with alcohol. It was one morning on the beach, when I was hungover. And I just decided that that was day one. Then that was born half years ago. And it gives me chills because I never would have imagined now working in the addiction field. And being sober for this long, it just feels so good.


    The first six months were definitely tricky. I’d had a lot of cravings. I would, you know, go to the beach, and want a wine or beer. But I navigated that with the help of honestly, a lot of books and podcasts. I didn’t do a specific program. But I just threw myself into everything and anything I could find. I didn’t go to any, like in-person meetings. I had some like, I dabbled in different, like support groups online, but nothing consistent. Yeah, I just kind of load it around and just absorb as much as possible. Yeah. But once that six month mark, five or six month mark came by, I felt like I wasn’t thinking about alcohol as much. It wasn’t those cravings weren’t there. And since then, yeah, it’s just felt like I’m a person who doesn’t drink. Yeah, as opposed to someone that was trying to not drink or trying to cut back or taking a break from alcohol. Now I’m someone who doesn’t drink. And that shift in mindset around five or six months was a big deal for me. And I think that was that was a turning point in my life. And surprisingly enough, that was the time that I felt confident in working with people in addiction and also eating disorders. Before then, I really didn’t want to touch that. I didn’t want to be in that field. I felt like it was too close to home for me because I had struggled with an eating disorder in college.


    Yeah, right around that time, I felt confident. And then I really felt like I was able to make an impact and be open and authentic about my personal experience.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  10:10

    Yeah, I mean, I think that makes a huge difference. And one of the things that I believe is true is, if you want to stop drinking, and you’re not able to, if it’s not working for you, all that means is you don’t have the right level of support yet. So, for some people, and I know many, many of them, who told me like, guides and podcasts, that is enough for them to, you know, stop drinking, feel really good about it, get out of that cycle. For other people, it’s online programs. For other people, it’s 1-on-1 coaching, and for other people, it’s in-person meetings or a program. And then for other people, it’s addiction centers, inpatient, outpatient, whatever works for them. So, you know, gathering all the information is amazing. And I feel like, you know, there’s this process of going down, adding one layer of support, and then another layer of support if you need it, and then another layer of support. So, it is very cool that you did it with sort of the podcasts information, identity based habits shift that you get, and I’m sure in the addiction center, you see people who need more support than that.



    Absolutely. And detox can be extremely dangerous. You know, a lot of people have to be on seizure medication to prevent having seizures. And it’s a, yeah, it can be very dangerous. So, they need to be in a clinical setting. And so, I see clients in detox centers, in residential pH, P, and then all the way down to outpatient programs. And it’s, it’s wonderful seeing a client go from, you know, detox, all the way down to outpatient, and just, they’re exercising, they’re eating better, and really incorporating all these different tools that they learn in, in living their best life. I love that about this work, too. And I’m sure with Coaching, you see people transform in, you know, six months, a year, and really be there with them throughout their journey.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  12:29

    Yeah, I mean, it’s incredible to see, just getting rid of, you know, alcohol, getting rid of the way they’re living, how they’re coping, how the rewarding themselves, and then everything that comes with it. Removing that really enables them to shift in all other areas of their life, including how they think about themselves, and how they talk about themselves, their confidence, their relationships, the way they interact with the world, and also really raising the level of what they think is possible for them in the world and what they deserve. I mean, that is very, very cool.



    Well said, well said. Yeah, and sometimes alcohol can be that low hanging fruit. So, if you’re able to get sober and stay sober, then different ideas and opportunities can pop up, maybe you start exercising, or maybe you start cooking more at home. Or maybe you start doing therapy or Coaching and really getting to the bottom of emotional trauma or, you know, trauma from the past that has prevented you from truly healing.


    Yeah. And so, it’s for me. I remember, this was maybe a year before I got sober, I made a list of all the different memories or regrets in the past. And I remember looking at this list, because I just wanted to write it all down, like get it down on paper, right? Because these things can sometimes pop up in our mind and, and I realized that all of these things were associated with alcohol, or I was drunk during this time. So, once I was able to remove alcohol from my life, then I was able to really get to the bottom of my emotions, how I was feeling and in this up, because it’s important to identify the way that we cope and identify the ways that we distract ourselves or numb ourselves from these tough emotions. Because I need a lot of people that in sobriety, especially early sobriety, we’ll do that with food.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  14:50

    Yeah, yeah. So, let’s dig in to sugar cravings. And to start Can we talk about out what happens when you drink in terms of what that does? And then also why people have sugar cravings once they stopped drinking?



    Yes, yes. So, when you are drinking, we’re going to be talking about alcohol. I think that’s but also with drugs as well. When you are drinking, your dopamine levels spike in. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that triggers the reward center of your brain, and your dopamine levels will spike. Also, your blood sugar’s may spike a little bit as well, especially if you are drinking something with a mixed drink. Or you’re drinking a beer that may have more carbs. And so, you are kind of riding this high, and then afterwards, your blood sugars can plummet, and your dopamine levels can plummet. And this roller coaster just continues.


    Alcohol as well can negatively affect your liver and your pancreas. So, your metabolism can be disrupted. Your insulin send your insulin levels can be, you know, more of a roller coaster. And so, there’s a lot going on here and your body is just trying to do its best to metabolize the alcohol. Yeah, which is a, you know, food gets kind of pushed to the backburner. When your liver is trying to metabolize the alcohol, the food isn’t converted into glucose properly. And so, your blood sugars will drop. It’s just a lot of work on your body. And so, when you get sober, your blood sugar’s may be a little more sensitive. This is super common. This doesn’t mean that person may have diabetes. No, this is just blood sugar. Maybe a little more of a roller coaster, just a little more sensitive.


    In early sobriety, you may be more apt to have hypoglycemia, which is you may feel this if you are lightheaded or dizzy or shaky. And then also, your blood sugars may spike a little bit more, especially if you’re eating more sugar. And so, the blood sugars are sensitive. Also, your dopamine levels may be lower than baseline in early sobriety. Which means you may be more apt to grab those quick fixes. And those quick fixes are sugar, caffeine, nicotine, just to name a few.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  17:54

    So, when like, let’s talk about sort of the first week. The first two weeks after you stopped drinking, whether you’ve been sort of binge drinking, or nightly drinking or whatever it is, what’s happening in your body, right then with dopamine with blood sugar with all the things you mentioned, because I assume it like, changes as you get further away from alcohol.


    Casey McGuire Davidson 

    Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit.


    The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.

    This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course 



    Absolutely, absolutely. And it takes time. It takes time for these blood sugars to balance out and your dopamine levels to get to a place where you know, you’re not feeling as low. But your dopamine and serotonin as well, could be very low. But yeah, in early sobriety, you may be feeling like your appetite is changing, you may be a little more moody or irritable. And so, with, you know, these changes, your body is recovering and healing. You want to give it all the support you can and that is where I come in with nutrition and making sure that person is hydrated, making sure they’re not drinking 12 cups of coffee a day, because I see that a lot and especially in these treatment centers. And that can actually I mean, that could kill somebody’s appetite. Yeah, so it can save crave sugar as well.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  19:21

    And also, like you’re tired once you stopped drinking, right? You feel exhausted and we’re so used to caffeine being what we reach for when we’re tired. No, we were just talking before we jumped on about all things caffeine. And so, you know, I know that as you drink more caffeine, it actually makes you drag and all that kind of stuff as I sit here with my giant Yeti of coffee. But alright, let’s stick to the sugar and the nutrition and all that good stuff but I hear you. More water less caffeine.



    Yes. And that’s definitely a part of it. Because that can, that alone can help with your energy levels can help with your mood. And when you’re feeling your best, you’re more likely to cook a meal at home or to have you know, that food, that fruit or vegetable in the refrigerator that is going bad. You’re more likely to reach for those things that may have more nutrition. And, yes, yeah, so that’s very important to look at the water, the caffeine. But what’s I think the most important thing to look at, especially in early sobriety, is your consistency of meals. Because I see a lot of people that may be wanting to lose weight in early sobriety. That first month, they want to lose a lot of weight, or they want to go on a diet. It’s like a whole lifestyle change. We’re not drinking anymore, let’s go on a diet, let’s lose 20 pounds. And so, this is yeah, this is wonderful. I mean, you want to get healthier, you want to eat maybe more nutritious foods. But that may backfire. Because when you end up under eating, or skipping meals, or feeling deprived or restricted, then that’s where the emotional eating or sugar cravings can show up.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  21:32

    Yeah, completely. And I mean, hunger is the number one trigger. I feel like, always, like, whenever someone wants to stop drinking, I always am like, you got to eat a snack at 3:30 or 4pm that has some protein in it. And when you’re going to a dinner party or barbecue, even out to a restaurant, like, make sure you’re not hungry when you walk in, because it’s so much easier to order a drink if you are.


    Right, I think of that acronym, H.A.L.T.. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. So, when you’re having cravings for drugs and alcohol, are you hungry? And that is the hypoglycemia that I was talking about earlier. So, when your blood sugars are low, you may be a little more irritable, more sluggish. And yes, cravings for alcohol are more likely to show up. And so, making sure that not only you eat regular meals, but that you’re eating foods with protein and fiber, and healthy fats, and really focusing on those macronutrients in every single meal and snack.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  22:50

    So, I’m curious, like, as you’re talking about that, can you give me a couple of like, easy examples of the type of snacks that would be good at 3:30 or 4pm? Because a lot of people and I know I was there, too, are like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But what does it mean, you know, to have fiber and healthy fats and protein in a realistic way? If I’m with my kids, or if I’m like at the office before I head home?



    Yes, yes. And always having snacks on deck, snacks in the purse. This is crucial, because you also don’t have those alcohol calories. So even if you eat more, a little bit more in early sobriety, you may still lose some weight. So that’s, you know, making sure that you are nourishing yourself. When you nourish your body, you’re nourishing your brain. And so, healthy snacks we got let’s see here. I mean, I always have some sort of some sort of like protein bar, kind bar or Laura bar. I have this one bar. It’s called the mama bar. And it’s wonderful. It just has a lot of different nuts. Nuts are probably one of my top snacks, because it does have protein and fiber and fat all together. They are doing some Greek yogurt with some berries or granola doing some fruit like a banana and some peanut butter, or Apple and peanut butter, almond butter. These are definitely my “go-to”. Having some maybe like an apple with some cheese or like a string cheese. Or let’s see here, are doing some like Kefir and granola. That’s, I’ve never heard of Kefir.



    I love it because it has a lot of probiotics in it. And so, it shrinks and strengthens your gut health. If you do some plain Kefir. But put it over some granola, that’s a really nice snack. and it has a little bit of sugar in there too. So, it may be satisfying that sweetness craving.


    Yeah. What are some dried fruit that’s good to, for someone that likes something sweet, like, me? I’m putting myself in that category.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  25:17

    I love sweet things like we were talking about that too. And again, like, one of the things we talked about in the beginning, when we were chatting before recording this interview, was you said a couple of things, right? Sugar triggers the same reward system as alcohol. It triggers that dopamine, but it’s not anywhere near the same as like a drug or alcohol addiction, right? Like sugar isn’t something that you even though we do it, a lot of times, it feels similar, right? It triggers that like, guilt and shame feelings. It’s, it’s not like, oh my god, I’m eating a doughnut. I might as well be drinking because it feels out of control, or it feels like I’m still feeling guilt and shame. So, why don’t I just go back to drinking because people say red wine is good for your health? Which, by the way, I did a whole nother podcast about why that’s totally bullshit.

    Listen to that. I’ll link to it. Is moderate drinking good for you? That’s not true. But people are like, well, you know what I mean? Like, it’s better to drink red wine than it is to eat a cupcake. So, can we talk about just that? Because I thought what you said was really interesting. So, triggering the same reward system feels sometimes similar with guilt and shame, but it’s not the same as drugs or alcohol.



    Yes, yes. And I think of this book, Dopamine Nation. Did you interview?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  26:57

    I did. I interviewed Anna Lembke, and she is like, I was fangirling over her.



    I think of her book because she has a nice little graph in that, in that book comparing chocolate, sex, cocaine, and then amphetamines like, meth. And it’s so sugar chocolate can double the dopamine outtake or output. So, it can double it. So um, I think when we say, I would have to look in the book. But I believe what she was saying in the book, is that chocolate can increase the dopamine output by 50%. And then, amphetamines, it was like over 1,000%. And so, it’s nowhere close, too.



    All right, I just found it. So, I’ll put it in the show notes on the web page for this episode. Chocolate 55% Sex 100% nicotine 150. Cocaine 225. And a Fetta means Oh my God, why can I say it 1,000%. I wish. And I’m looking here, like, I wish they had alcohol and exercise in there. Because I know, exercise can spike your dopamine to and alcohol spikes it as well. But nowhere near the same amount, obviously as cocaine.



    Yes. And it’s that quick spike as well, like something like cocaine or meth. It’s very quick. And so, when your dopamine levels increase that quickly, they drop very quick. And so that’s why in early sobriety, your dopamine levels may be very low. And that’s why you’re grabbing for anything to get those levels up, like sugar. The difference between something like sugar addiction or feeling like you’re addicted to sugar, and drugs and alcohol is that the sugar is actual usable, it’s usable energy for your body. Your body knows what to do with it. With something like alcohol, your body do use it as a toxin that needs to be dealt with and secreted immediately. It doesn’t use alcohol necessarily for energy. And so, you’re like comparing a doughnut to, you know, an alcohol and like which one’s healthier, right? Like that, that.


    I don’t even know where to start with that one. Okay, but yeah, yeah. So, the dopamine levels. I think that with in early sobriety, when you are trying to lessen your sugar cravings, it’s really important to blunt the effects of the dopamine spike. And so, When you’re eating something like a donut, maybe having it with some eggs or a yogurt, something with a little protein, or fat can help blunt the effects of the dopamine.


    Yeah, that’s, that’s really helpful. So, your guilt and the shame as well. And so, yeah, that can be that can really perpetuate the cycle of sugar cravings too. Because when you’re eating these foods that you deem as unhealthy or you deem as off limits, then that’s guilt and shame. Like, I’m a bad person, for eating these things that can just perpetuate the cycle. And from my experience, that guilt and shame doesn’t propel someone into making healthier decisions. If anything, it just perpetuates the cycle of overeating and even binge eating as well.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  31:04

    Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So that’s really great. I just wanted to dive into that, because it’s something that comes up a lot. So, can we dive into clearly, sugar cravings when you quit? Alcohol is a thing. It’s something lots of people experience. It’s something that a lot of women worry about. You know, I know that when I was drinking, I always said, like, oh, I can have chocolate ice cream in the freezer, and other people can be eating it. And like, I don’t even blink an eye because, you know, I like salty things like thinking that I had this amazing willpower. And yet, I was drinking a bottle of wine at night. And of course, when I stopped drinking all that sugar all that time, I immediately was like, Oh, my God, I need a motion.


    You know, like, I was right there. But I know you have 10 Tips As A Dietitian to help people manage those sugar cravings in a way that they can sort of move through that.


    Yes, having sugar, but no, not feeling all that guilt or out of control or finding a way to manage it.


    Well, can you kind of take us through the big ones?



    Yes. And I think that, just before I start, I think that sugar can be a really great tool in early sobriety as well. A little bit of chocolate, maybe a milkshake at a restaurant instead of drinking, that can be a really great strategy for dealing with people’s alcohol cravings. But where it gets to be an issue is when someone feels like yeah, they’re out of control around food. They can’t, they feel like they can’t stop, they’re having a lot of guilt and shame. And or they’re maybe gaining a lot of weight, and they feel like, you know, it’s getting out of hand. That’s where I come. Because, you know, there are so many things that you can do within your control to help prevent these, these sugar cravings. There really is.


    And yeah, I think that my number one is to make sure you’re not under eating. And, um, and so just making sure that you’re having consistent meals. And when I say under eating, that is not, I would not be able to tell somebody, that exact amount of calories, right, it’s more of a feeling of being satisfied, not feeling deprived or restricted, that can be physically and mentally as well. So, if you under eat even slightly, over a couple of days, that could really cause a lot of emotional eating or sugar cravings. At the end of the day, your body is not only your body, it’s desiring more. And so, your body needs maybe more calories, maybe more carbs. If someone’s on a low carb diet, they might be craving a lot of sugar because your body and your brain are actually missing that glucose. So that’s number one. Let me just get that out of the way.


    The other thing is to look at whether these cravings are a physical hunger or more of an emotional craving. That emotional hunger, I like to call it. And the physical hunger can be lightheaded, Dizzy. Yes, maybe your stomach is achy or empty. But it could be, you know, just feeling low energy. Noticing these hunger cues can be really important because then you can distinguish the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. If you’re not physically hungry, you may want to look at what’s going on. How is your body feeling? What emotion is happening? Where do you feel it? And then asking yourself, What does my body need right now? Or do I need to take a walk? Or call somebody? Or do I need a hug? Or do I need to meditate? I mean, I could keep going. But this is crucial. This is crucial because, you know, I think a lot of people feel like the other sugar cravings may be uncontrollable, they just quit drinking, it’s expected. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. It may be something that you’re just latching on to as a way of coping. I mean, I’ve been there. And I, when I stopped drinking, I really enjoyed my chocolate ice cream at the end of the night. And maybe some of it was sugar cravings in early sobriety. But then, why did it last three years? You know, so really looking at, you know, what are you? What are you trying to distract yourself from? Are you trying to numb? These are questions that you could either journal about, or, you know, talk to another sober buddy about.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  36:27

    And I also think, like, even beyond, now mean, you know, we do need a reward at the end of the day, or we feel like we need it like, so many of us go from, like, I know, I’ll just talk about myself. When I stopped drinking, my daughter was two, my son was eight. And I work full-time. And you know, my husband worked, too. So, it was super busy. And you know, all of my self-care that I used to do, like guitar lessons and Pilates and seeing my friends on a regular basis, and going to the gym, like they all went out the window. So, I felt very much like I did deserve something at the end of the day, right? When you wake up with kids, or wake up in the middle of the night, and then go to work all day, and then come home, and you’ve got dinner and dishes and bath and might have to jump back on the computer, like you’re like, I fucking deserve something. And no alcohol. But then also, dessert is a really easy way to get that, where it doesn’t take that much time. You can multitask, it’s immediately available. And one of the things that really helps is planning more time to decompress, and to take care of yourself, and to have things you’re looking forward to during the week so that you don’t feel like life is so hard, and you have nothing for yourself. And you deserve that. Because, you know, if you have a pedicure coming up and a long conversation with a girlfriend and you sit outside at lunch and read a novel like you don’t feel so strung out, you know?



    Absolutely. It’s a frantic, chaotic eating, that can occur sometimes when you’re maybe multitasking or you just, you really feel like you need a reward. The reward can feel immediate. But is it actually, you know, working? Is it actually working? And so, you know, if you’re grabbing that, that chocolate or that whatever the dessert is asking yourself, like, is this what I need right now? And is this going to make me feel better? And truly, from an emotional standpoint, is it something that just pausing, just pausing for only five minutes, 10 minutes, if you can, and really thinking about what you need in that moment. And so, for me, when I came home, instead of grabbing that Chardonnay, I would grab a Kombucha. It was like my little treat or grabbing, you know, maybe a Lacroix and a fantastic and some hummus or like a nice snack. So having that reward in a way can be nice, but like you said, Make it maybe a pedicure or like plan something exciting, or plan, you know, a nice lunch date with your friend so that you can feel like you’re getting a reward without that guilt and shame.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  39:48

    Yeah, we used to have a lady, fantastic woman, who came into our office once a week and then twice a week. Oh my god, because there was so much demand who gave like, took over conference room and gave 20 minute massages, like chair massages. And the company arranged it and gave her the room, but we had to pay for it. You know, which I worked at L’Oréal, it was all women, lots of working moms like she was booked up, like, you would get audit within 10 minutes. But I would go in there and block my calendar, she would always be like, Hey, Goddess, I was like, Oh my God, I’ll pay you just to say, Hey, Goddess to me. You’ve got little kids. And she would like, ask you what essential oil you wanted. And like, that was my like, physical senses. Treat reward, and you know, 20 bucks. I was like, This is so much better than a bottle of wine.



    I mean, that sounds wonderful.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  40:55

    I know. And now that I’ve left the office, like, I maybe get a massage every three months. I’m like, What the fuck, but it’s hard to like, fit an hour into your day and drive somewhere and do all those things.



    I know. Actually. Yeah, that’s my thing. I tried to get it done. I tried to get a massage once every couple of weeks. And yeah, that’s my “me” time. But I find that I have to schedule it within my work week. And I have to carve out that time. So that, you know, on the weekends, I can be present for the kids and just be there. But yes, carving out that time like, you put it actually in your Google Calendar. I find that “you”. For me, too.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  41:37

    And I think also one of the reasons I’m talking about this in this episode, because you know, I think that Jolene Park, who talks about gray area drinking, but she’s also, I believe she’s a functional Nutritionist, but it might be something different of, to look it up. She talks about how in our society, like our reward to become bars, or bakeries, which I found to be really true. And so, I’d be like, well, bar is better for me than a bakery when I’m trying to manage my weight, by the way total, again, total bullshit. But that like, human touch of feeling taken care of as an adult, that isn’t yours, partner wanting sex or isn’t your kids wanting, needing you like, it feels so pride?


    Yes, it’s all about nurturing and loving and mothering yourself. And I find that nutrition and eating healthy in a way. And when I say healthy, just in a way that provides you with energy in a good mood. Nutrition can be a form of self-care and self-love. It really can. And so, yeah, it’s, it really does. Because I’ve seen the other side, when I have dealt with disordered eating. I was either starving myself or bingeing and purging. And that, to me, is a form of self-hatred in a way. You know, I just, it felt like the opposite of self-love. And so now, I make it a priority to nourish myself, to nourish my brain, and to really mother myself, so that I can give to everyone else. My clients, my kids, my husband will need me so much. And yeah. I love that.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  43:31

    Yeah. Because a lot of times we’re like running around taking care of everyone else. And not taking care of ourselves. Like even with food, right? You don’t eat because, you know, I have a client who’s like, oh, I don’t eat until my husband comes home, because that’s our together time. And I feed the kids first. And then I wait for him to get home. And I’m starving. And I’m like, Yeah, of course you are. You need to eat earlier. You know what I mean?



    Yeah, yes, yeah, listening to your hunger cues and honoring your hunger, honoring what your body is telling you. Because our body gives us messages all the time. And I find that with my clients who have a history of using drugs and alcohol. They’re not used to listening to their body, they may have been numbing for a really long time. And so even just getting used to your new hunger and fullness cues, getting used to what your body is telling you in terms of energy levels, or mood or anxiety levels. This can be and this is really mindfulness. This is a huge part of what I do. Because I find that when you’re more in tune with your body, and listening to these messages, and honoring these messages, that you’re more likely to feel, feel nourished and to grab those foods that make you feel energetic.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  45:01

    Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really, really important.



    So let me go through the rest of my tips here. Okay, so with, you know, eating regular meals, making sure that you’re getting some form of protein or fiber in every meal and snack. So, with protein, whether that’s plant based or animal protein, doesn’t matter whether it’s nuts and beans and seeds, or fish and eggs, it’s up to you. But really those that protein can help stabilize your blood sugars. And when you’re stabilizing your blood sugars throughout the day, you are less likely to crave sugar especially. And fiber can do the same thing. And so, fiber in fruits and vegetables and oatmeal and whole grains and sweet potatoes, and beans, seeds, something like chia seeds or flax seeds, that fiber can help you stay satiated, but stabilizing the blood sugar.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  46:08

    Okay, can I ask you a question? Like, there was a while back?

    Yeah, you go through phases of being like her Chia seeds are great, so I’m going to buy Chia seeds. So, I make a smoothie every morning. Like, I actually really love it. But I tried putting Chia seeds in it that I was like, this feels really stupid, like, does it actually make a difference?



    So, her seeds are incredible. I actually. I mean, they’re more. They’re more medicinal if someone has constipation, but because they do have so much fiber, but they have omega three fatty acids in them, which are really important for brain function. And they have a little bit of protein. But the chia seeds, they become a gel. Some people love the Chia pudding, but I can’t do that. So, I put a little bit of Chia seeds in muffins or my oatmeal in the morning. So, they really are a fantastic ingredient because of all the fiber and the Omega 3s. But yeah, be careful though, because it is a lot of fiber. Like, if someone just starts taking like, or starts eating Chia pudding, all of a sudden, they might have some GI issues.



    Okay, I’m just like, This is me, like getting all my questions answered. Okay, so actually, that’s actually a fad.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  47:34

    I could get behind with chia seed fad. Okay, cool. And then later, let’s talk about the advice that’s totally bogus that people might hear, because I think that’s really important too. But okay, protein, fiber, lean meats. All those things you mentioned?



    Yes, yeah. And just having those fiber and protein with every meal so that you can feel more satiated, and your blood sugars can be more stable throughout the day. And when you do this, your dopamine levels don’t spike as much. So, think of if someone ate a big bowl of pasta with a soda on the side, a lot of carbs, sugar, ultimately, their blood sugars will spike, but also their dopamine levels will spike higher, as opposed to maybe getting rid of that soda and having some pasta but also adding some chicken and vegetables and possibly having a smaller portion of pasta. The dopamine levels won’t spike as much. And so, we’re trying to keep everything very stable and consistent, especially in early sobriety, where we’re trying to get everything back to baseline. Feel a little more stable throughout the day.


    Yeah. And so, another thing is to make sure… Well, we talked, we touched on this briefly. But making sure you’re drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water. So, for women, it’s typically around eight to 10 cups a day of water, or sparkling water, or unsweet tea or tea. But yes, this is this is crucial, because this is the number one thing in terms of energy levels that you want to look at if you want. Yeah, if you’re finding that your energy is plummeting, especially in the afternoon. Water, caffeine, making sure you don’t go over that 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. Because this does dehydrate you. This can cause a little more anxiousness or affect sleep. And so, cutting off your caffeine at one or two in the afternoon. can be really helpful. And then it also ties together to sugar cravings as well.


    Okay, someone’s well-being. They could crave sugar at night. Yes, yeah. And so just noticing, noticing when you are choosing your foods, notice the added sugars, because there are a lot of hidden sugars in food. And when you’re sneaking sugar into your diet, even without knowing, so something like yogurt, or different sauces, or like something like barbecue sauce, or ketchup or not that we’re eating so much ketchup, tomato sauce, like salad dressings, there’s sugar and so many different ingredients in bread. And if we are able to choose those foods without as much sugar, we’re less likely to crave sugar.


    The more you eat, the more you want, in a sense. Yeah, that’s a big one. Making sure like with my clients, I make sure that they are sleeping well, that they are getting some exercise, because exercise can help stabilize your blood sugars, and also help with mood, of course, in early sobriety. So those are key.


    I’m really about looking at the whole person. What are your habits? What does your lifestyle look like? Instead of just focusing on the food itself? Because it all matters – our emotions, our you know, exercise habits, and all. That all is so crucial and looking at when I’m talking to a client. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  51:44

    And so, what do you do, just out of curiosity, when you go into rehab centers? Like, do you sort of talk about the nutritional tips that you’re talking about now? Like educating them about how to take care of their body? What now that they’ve removed? Whatever substance? It is? Yes.



    Yes, yeah. And so sometimes I’m doing nutrition groups with five people, sometimes it’s a group of 20 people. And I’ll meet people who are super excited about Nutrition, and then I’ll meet people who don’t give a fuck, yeah. And so, it may be just explaining the importance of nutrition and how it can affect or affect our mental health. Or it could be talking about gut health, it could be doing more of a mindfulness, or a mindfulness meditation, or a class on intuitive eating. So, getting those clients in tune with listening to their body and understanding what their body needs. And so yeah, but I think for the most part, I do a lot of Nutrition Education. But I really base it off what the client’s need in the moment. Like, if I have an overwhelmingly amount of, I have 5, 10 different clients that are all speaking to me about sugar cravings. We’re going to talk about that. If I have a couple of clients that have had a history with an eating disorder, we’re going to talk more about the intuitive eating or mindfulness component. So, I really like to be flexible in my approach. Yeah.


    Yeah. Yeah. But it’s, it’s fun. I mean, it really keeps me on my toes. I always go into a group with a plan. But then sometimes if we don’t do that plan, or we talk about something completely different. I love that. Because then I feel like I’m speaking to them. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  53:45

    Yeah. Okay, cool. I interrupted your tips. I was just curious.



    Yeah, no, that’s it. That’s it, the exercise component sleep. Yeah. And if anyone is struggling with this, I really encourage them to look at their nutrition like something like sleep, look at your nutrition, look at your caffeine, look at your bedtime routine. But also understand that in early sobriety, your sleep, your exercise habits may not be the best. So just keep going and trust the process. Trust the process because it will get better, and your body will heal. And as long as you are able to support it, in a way.


    Yeah. So, supplements. Supplements are something. That’s my last tip. It’s to, you know, supplement as needed. Because I get this a lot especially with sugar cravings. There’s a lot out there about glutamine. I think that’s the biggest one really, you know, supplementing with a multivitamin or B vitamins, and everyone is different. One person may not need as many supplements. If I meet someone that I feel as man well nourished, I may recommend more supplements. But something like glutamine, which is an amino acid, may help with sugar cravings. But from my experience, it’s not as significant as just working with someone’s eating patterns, hydration, exercise, more of their lifestyle habits. It’s, you know, it’s not as effective. And so that’s why I really don’t mess with it much. Something like an Omega 3 fatty acid, or like a Fish Oil, could be helpful. Cinnamon may be helpful in regulating blood sugar levels. But I really don’t recommend these supplements frequently with my clients. I don’t. I don’t. I’m definitely more of that food first approach.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  55:55

    Okay, that’s very cool. And I know you use, said, sleep. But that’s also because if you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for the sugary treat or pick me up in the afternoon. Is that right?



    Absolutely. Absolutely. But can also alter your hormone levels and your appetite. So, you may feel hungrier if you don’t sleep as well. Yeah, yeah, that’s a big one.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  56:27

    Yeah. One of the things you wrote and I’m going to link to it with your 10 Dietitian Approved Tips For Managing Your Sugar Cravings After Quitting Drinking. And I know some sugar cravings are fine, right? Like you don’t need to.


    The most important thing you’re doing is taking away this substance that you’re addicted to. Right. That’s number one.


    One thing I didn’t know was when you talk about moving your body, whether it’s walking or dancing, or swimming, or yoga or biking. You said it. Both helps stabilize your blood sugars and reduce stress and anxiety, increased muscle mass and metabolism. And just to be clear, I’m totally reading off your tips. But I didn’t know when you said a collection of studies suggest that regular exercise can increase the abstinent rate per substance use by 95%. That’s crazy. That’s it.



    It is crazy. And I see this. I see this statistic on posters in treatment centers too. And I love I love going to treatment centers that actually encourage healthy habit healthy eating and exercise. Because I feel like it is really important in early sobriety and sobriety in general.


    Yeah, yeah, that’s kind of wild. It is. I feel like you should get a, like a personal trainer and recovery or someone like that to talk to. I would love to learn more about that as well. Like, how exercise can really strengthen someone’s Recovery. I think it goes hand in hand with Nutrition. I think some people will say like, you know, diet is 80% or, you know, exercise is 20% in terms of your physical goals.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  58:31

    But I don’t know. I think your mental health and I mean, feeling like you’re doing something positive. I mean, I know exercise. In my early sobriety, I was doing it pretty consistently like four days a week, five days a week. But it you know, I had been hungover most days, you know, before still exercising but feeling awful in the morning doing burpees with a bottle of wine in my belly like Christ the worst when you’re going upside down when you have headaches, but exercising one, it made me feel like I got my anxiety out, right? Like, I just got my body, tried to, I got to talk to people and see adults. And we got to be friends, right? People who work out early in the morning for me, they don’t tend to drink the way I did. I also felt like I done something healthy for myself as opposed to you know, that idea of like, I have nothing for myself. I do every like that martyr complex, right? When you have kids or work or a demanding boss or, you know, a spouse who travels or whatever it is. And I felt like I was like, surely taking care of my body and getting stronger and getting healthier as I moved away from alcohol. So, it had all these benefits that I completely separate from any kind of weight loss. Like, I just, I could feel it if I didn’t work out for three days. Like, I was resentful, and I was annoyed, and I was more anxious, you know, and more lonely, even if you see people day.



    Yeah, those are all really good points. And actually, looking back, I feel like I exercise the most. When I got sober. It was definitely a coping mechanism for me early on. I remember I was doing orange theory, which was pens for me. Now I’m more of a yin yoga kind of person. But I was doing the orange theory. And yeah, it really helped me in, in early sobriety. It really did. It was a great outlet for me. But you know, the way that I look at it is, you can’t have your physical health without your mental health. Yeah. And eating. Yeah, it goes back to that. Having that self-love and nourishing yourself and as a form of self-love and eating foods that are really are really important for your brain function. And eating for your mental health. Yeah. That’s, that, to me is super interesting. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:01:24

    Yeah, I believe anyone’s listening to this. And it’s like, I mean, that’s fabulous that you do all this and is frustrated because they have issues with their body or limitations or are nowhere close to being able to do XYZ, I just want you guys to know that. In the seven years since I’ve quit drinking. In the beginning, I was like, super proud of myself, I’m getting healthy, I’m doing a 10k all that kind of stuff. In the last three years, I figured out that I you know, I had a ton of pain and in my hip, and was like limping around, like I had a peg leg. And it turns out that I’ve got a morning detached hip labrum, which is like this band that holds basically your thigh bone into your hip socket. And I’ve gone to like multiple surgeons and all this stuff. And basically, like, I just need to manage it. Like, I’m not ready for hip surgery, but I’m too bad for labrum surgery. I did PT for a year. So, like, for the past three years, I haven’t been able to run or jump or do like hit workouts and even walking, I limp sometimes. So, like, I completely get how frustrated if your body just doesn’t allow you to do this stuff. And, you know, it took me a long time of being annoyed to now I’m just like, Okay, I just signed up for Pilates on the reformer again, because it doesn’t require my body weight on my hip.


    And finally, I got on the elliptical after avoiding that for three years, because it’s the only exercise that like I can do, like even bike riding is bad.


    So, if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, Oh my God, that’s fabulous that you can do x, y, z, I get it. Like, even yoga is really hard for me with all of the light bending of the legs. So, just find something, anything that works for you. I remember I also did swimming in early sobriety, and I found that really calming, like really, I swam really slow. I even took swim lessons like, literally with my daughter. I got to spend because I wanted that. You know, 90% was with my daughter, but I wanted. I hadn’t taken swim lessons since I was like 10 years old. So, like, Okay, is there a way to modify my strokes? Or you know, like, what am I doing wrong with my breathing but being underwater and that it was like weirdly calming?



    Yes, yes. That’s so funny. You said that. I just got back into doing laps. And because I used to be on swim team and in high school. I studied breaststroke and it is so calming but even it doesn’t even have to do bee laps you know just bouncing around in the water is so calming and great exercise. Yeah. I mean as a business going underwater and like that pressure on your ears and like it’s just cool. It’s so relaxing and so calming. I love that.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:04:38

    Yeah, to get over like my daughter and it was like I was like just fucking suck it up because I didn’t love being in a bathing suit. Be I was doing semi privates and my teacher I kid you not with like a 15 year old boy. Like, dude, I am over 40. He was like, it’s okay. And all the other kids in the pool with me were like eight years old. So, I, with their parents like sitting around.



    Good for you. Yes. Be humble. That’s what I’m talking about. Yes, whatever that looks like for you. Yeah, it can really help with mood and getting those endorphins. And also, it can help lower your blood sugar’s a little bit too. So, even taking a walk after a meal can help regulate your blood sugars. And with that, you might have better energy and mood throughout the day. That’s what it’s all about.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:05:44

    Yeah. Okay. Really quick. I know we’re going on long. Can we talk about some of the bogus information that’s out there that you hear? Well, I hear most of my bogus information from my clients.



    I love that. Yeah, I bet that’s right. I’m not there googling. I hear about a different diet every week. Like a diet I’ve never heard of before. Yeah, recently. Recently, it was the one gallon of milk a day or something. Oh, oh, wait, no, oh, man is one meal a day. But this, this kid was doing one gallon of milk a day to gain weight? I don’t know. There’s just a diet for everything.


    Yeah, yeah. And intermittent fasting. I hear that all the time. Tell me about that.



    Oh, my goodness. So yes, and intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting, and keto diet are the ones that come up frequently, because I feel like those are the most trendy ones. Intermittent fasting, there are some interesting studies about cell regeneration and health, for intermittent using intermittent fasting, whether that’s an eight hour eating window, or a 10 hour eating window. Everyone does it a little bit differently. I found out in early sobriety. And if anyone has history of an eating disorder, or if anyone’s been on a lot of diets in their life, I would not recommend intermittent fasting, because it does promote over eating and almost binge behavior in a way. And so, it is a little risky.


    In early sobriety, too. If someone’s trying to like for example, lose weight. So, they cut out breakfasts and they cut out dessert, they might lose weight, but they also may feel a little deprived, a little restricted. And they may already feel deprived and restricted because they gave up alcohol. So that’s a double whammy. And that person may have more sugar cravings or more, more cravings for alcohol when they’re hungry. Right, which is a huge trigger, which is a trigger.



    Yes, exactly. Yeah. So, it’s risky. It’s very risky. But I find I find there’s clients that do intermittent fasting for health reasons. And then there’s clients that do intermittent fasting for weight loss. And so, it’s a bit of a different conversation. But my recommendations are the same early sobriety. Don’t touch it, because it’s all about in early sobriety, trying to stabilize your blood sugars and getting to a place of where you feel really comfortable with your appetite and your eating habits.


    Yeah, yeah. And then, you know, this keto diet, but as far as, like bogus information on sugar cravings, I think there’s a lot that pops up about supplements, which, you know, are not addressing all the tips that we just covered, just, you know, throwing supplements that people, it doesn’t get down to the root of really what’s happening. And then also going on like, no sugar cleanses, or juice cleanses. For me, for people in early sobriety, that can be super restrictive. Yeah. You know, from a mental standpoint, like feeling restricted and deprived.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:09:20

    Yeah. And what I found too, is I mean, I did this and so many of my clients did this. So, for years, I’d be like, Okay, I’m going to not drink. And the way I’m going to do that is to do hole 30, or some other diet that like, doesn’t allow drinking, or I’m doing this to shed X amount of pounds. And the reason I don’t recommend that is a diets are super restrictive, many times and you’re very hungry, and you’re grumpy, and you can’t tell whether you’re grumpy and hungry and you know your willpower is run now because of alcohol versus you’re just not eating enough, right, and you’ve cut out everything all at once. But what I think is even more important is you are distracted, and not paying attention to the emotional pieces of why you drink. And the beliefs you have about alcohol and your relationships, and your abilities socialize, right, you’re sort of like, taking your eye off the ball. And there are so much tied up emotionally, and, and with your own self-esteem and with social anxiety related to not dragging. And you’re trying to ignore that. And you actually have to work through that.



    Yeah, well, thank you for sharing that, too. Yeah. And with diets too, it can feel like it’s something to control, growing your food, you’re controlling your intake, it’s something to focus on. And yeah, it can be very distracting from the true healing that you’re talking about. Yeah, yeah. And so, having, but taking a step back. quitting alcohol can be the healthiest thing you can do for your body. So that alone, even if you don’t change any of your eating habits, that is so wonderful for your body, your organs and your liver are going to be so happy. And then if you feel like it’s time to write like, every, your heart, like, every single piece, your risk of developing cancer, your cells, like alcohol is incredibly bad for you. So, if you’re going gluten free, but you’re still drinking, oh, my goodness.



    Yeah. Yeah, yes, yes. And you know what that is? That is a really good point. Because if we’re going to talk about health, we do have to talk about alcohol. And it’s amazing how many, you know, dietitians or people in the health industry. You know, we can talk about avocado toast, but we won’t talk about the three glasses of Chardonnay that you’re drinking every day. Right. And so, looking at the big picture, alcohol, you know, it can be the most detrimental thing you can ingest.


    Yeah. And so just that alone can be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. And then if you feel like your eating habits are pretty solid, don’t mess with it. But then maybe down the road fine tuning some of your food choices. Yeah, can be part of your journey. But it doesn’t have to be like, right in early sobriety. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:12:47

    Yeah. And stats are like, if you drink three glasses of wine a week, and I’ll have to look up the source of this, but you raise your breast cancer risk by 15%. No matter how many avocado toast, I don’t care how much you consume. It’s not going to nutritionally fix that.



    You know what, that is something that nobody wants to talk about. And thank you for bringing it up. Because yeah, that’s a real, that’s a real stat right there. And breast cancer, my family, you know, and it’s something that I never wanted to think about or never wanted to look at. But now that I’m sober, I can see the statistics and, and just see how, how detrimental it was on my body. I mean, my liver enzymes were elevated at one point. And that was when I was 28 years old. Yeah, I got sober. And I was 28 years old. So, it’s um, yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:13:53

    Yeah. Seriously, get sober when you’re 28 years old.



    I drank for 14 years. And that was enough.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:14:01

    Yeah, that’s crazy. I got sober when I was 40. So good on you. That’s when I got sober, right before I got pregnant with my, my three year old.


    Yeah. And I felt like it’s strange getting sober that young, especially with the gray area drinking that, you know, I feel like most of your audience may be in that category. Because everyone else looking at me and may think like, why would you quit drinking? Why would you do that? It’s not that bad. But for me, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. And I didn’t like how it was making me feel. And I knew that there’s some deeper healing to be done when I got rid of the alcohol and that was the first step. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:14:53

    Well, so I know you have so much more on your website so much more information. I know you have a Free Guide, will you tell us how people listening to this who want to learn more? And find you work with you get your resources?



    Yes, yes, I think my website is the best place to go. It’s www.therecoverydietitian.com. And there, I do have a Free Guide and some blog posts you can check out. But that’s the best place to contact me as well if you are interested in Nutrition Coaching. And yes, I would say, I have social media, I technically do have social media, but I’m not on it at all. So, I think the best place is my website. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:15:41

    And tell us about what your Guide’s about.



    My Guide is called, Food For Your Mood In Early Sobriety. So, it covers a lot of the tips that we talked about. But I included my top 10 Recovery Foods. And it’s really just jam packed with different ideas of snacks and foods to include in your eating habits right now. And so, it’s a fun little like, little guide to help you fine tune your nutrition and to prevent sugar cravings.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:16:17

    Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I know I’ve learned a lot and I really appreciate you sharing this with everyone who listens.



    Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. And it’s really wonderful to meet you and to connect.



    Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 


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