‘MUST EAT LINDT CHOCOLATE BUNNY NOW!’ Yep, Food Cravings! We all have them, some are more prevalent than others, some just never seem to cease. It’s that little devil on our shoulder whispering in our ear that if we don’t go get our chocolate fix right NOW, I mean NOW – we probably won’t be physically or mentally fit enough to get through the rest of our day. This little devil on our shoulder is so sly he is capable of convincing you to go to any lengths to get your foodie fix – sneaky devil! Of course it is okay to treat ourselves in moderation, but when we find it difficult to resist high sugar or saturated fatty foods, this can tip us off the health train.
A food craving is your body’s’ cry for nutrients - not a cry for pizza, candy, soda or any nutrient deficient food. Our body needs vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, and so on to function properly. Our brain constantly monitors blood sugar and the supply of essential nutrients. Excessive hunger and food cravings, including sugar cravings, are caused primarily by a deficiency or an imbalance in some essential nutrient. When an essential nutrients in short supply, the brain sends a message that we interpret as a strong desire to eat something. Cravings that are caused and driven by a need for nutrients are easily overcome when the correct nutrients are supplied.
Below is a list of some of the most common food cravings, that can be easily counteracted by eating certain natural foods that contain high levels of the vitamin oer mineral that may be needed in the body.
- Chocolate – you may need Magnesium found in: Sunflower seeds, green vegetables, soy beans, kelp, molasses
- Oily Snacks, Fatty Foods – you may need Calcium found in: Lean Meats, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Seeds, Soy Beans, Kale, Collard Greens, Broccoli, Kelp, Molasses
- Bread/Toast – you may need Nitrogen found in: Brazil Nuts and Protein rich foods
- Cool Drinks – you may need Manganese found in: Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Pineapple and Blueberries
- Fried Foods – you may need Carbon found in: Fresh Fruits
- Premenstrual Cravings – you may need Zinc and Iron found in: Red Meats (organ meats), wheat germ, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy beans, seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, beans, lentils, bok choy, peas, sea veges and swiss chard.
Often we crave the foods we are trying to avoid; which often makes it all too tempting to resist. Food cravings are a natural part of our relationship with food and can occur during emotional disturbances, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficient diets or strict restrictive diets. Many people seek solace in high fat and/or high sugar foods during times of high stress, depression, loneliness and anxiety. Though cravings feel as though they overtake us without warning and without reason, research shows that they are actually very predictable, arriving at particular times and in particular situations. You’ve probably noticed that you feel your strongest food cravings at specific times of the day, or month.
There are a number of other things that can be implemented to help Kick Cravings to the Curb these are as follows:
- Keep a Food Journal - A handy tip is to keep a small notebook on you and when the food craving devil on the shoulder starts whispering – write down what you are feeling at that point in your day, who is surrounding you, what activity you are doing and what foods you are craving. This will help really address the emotional side of the cravings, by addressing patterns and how to deal with them.
- Exercise! Yep another reason to get moving. We all know exercise releases feel good hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, dopamine and adrenaline that improve mood and regulate emotions positively. Which results in overall happier well-being, reduced stress and anxiety levels, balanced hormones thus – helps reduce the need to emotionally eat.
- Balanced Diet - A balanced diet rich of whole foods, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, lean meats and legumes. Adding variety to our meals is also important in reducing those Craves!
- Be Kind to Yourself - Everything in moderation – never deprive yourself completely of those ‘naughty’ foods. The trick is to keep them in moderation – a good approach is the 80/20 rule. 80% good delicious wholefoods, 20% it is okay to be a little bit naughty to satisfy the craving devil on our shoulder.
What foods do you crave?