I think we all get them, food cravings for that “one” thing that we are fixated on. Sometimes it’s salty sometimes it’s sweet and sometimes it’s all of them! Is this a daily struggle that you fight against? If so then listen up as we explore what your cravings are trying to tell you.
I’m going to break them down into four categories, emotional, physical, bacterial and nutritional.
Every one of us have experienced sadness, stress, anger, anxiety and excitement. All of these emotions drive hormones in the body. Some people are not hungry when sad and others eat to soothe the sadness. The question you want to ask yourself is “are my cravings because I’m not dealing with an emotion?” Is it a way to “mask” the emotion or is it truly a physical need (will discuss that below).
We have become a sedentary society with commuting, working at a desk, rushing from one “to do list” item to the next. We may have very little exercise and pure fun in our life so we turn to sugar/sweet foods or alcohol to make us “feel” a physical pleasure. If we have poor sleep then we set ourselves up for sugar cravings and lowered appetite regulation. Late night bingeing is an indication of hormonal imbalances and is a sure fire way to put weight on.
As a country we are over-fed and under-nourished. We can be eating “food like substances” but not truly nourishing our body so it continues to cry out “feed me!”. One example is a craving for chocolate. Chocolate has high levels of magnesium so your chocolate craving may be a magnesium deficiency. When we eat nourishing foods we satisfy the body at a deep cellular level and it no longer craves.
If we have been a junk food junky, taken antibiotics, taken birth control pills, drink regular alcoholic beverages, sodas, energy drinks, are under stress or have imbalanced hormones we have set up the perfect environment for “bad” bacteria overgrowth. The most common overgrowth is Candida. These guys are huge sugar monsters and they communicate with your brain and tell it to eat more sugar! You truly have very little self control when you have a Candida over-growth.
Ok, so what can we do about these cravings???
My Six Tips to Curb Cravings
- Protein/fat combos – for breakfast have eggs, avocados, protein shake with nut butters, spinach, berries and coconut milk. You must stabilize blood sugar to reduce sugar cravings. Eat protein and fat with every meal and reduce simple carbohydrates from breads, grains and sugary drinks.
- Deal with stress- stress will increase your sugar cravings and drives up your hunger hormones. Exercise, deep breathing exercises and Yoga are my favorite stress relievers. Try an Epsom salt bath (magnesium) and Lavender Essential oils before bed as a stress buster!
- Sleep – the hormone Ghrelin goes up when you don’t get enough sleep and this hormone increases your appetite and puts fat on the body. This leads to late night snacking and middle of the night snacking. Turn off the TV, remove any wi-fi devices from your bedroom, black out the windows and get off your screens 60 minutes before “lights out” for a good nights sleep. Using a natural sleep aid like Theanine, or Melatonin can be an additional help.
- Food Intolerances – the foods we are intolerant to are often the foods we crave. Gluten and dairy are the top two so remove them from the diet for four weeks and see if cravings for sugary foods, grain based foods (donuts, cookies etc) and dairy/sugar foods like ice cream don’t subside.
- Pleasure and fun – each week have at least one day where you are doing something you enjoy and you are having fun. You produce “pleasure” hormones when you are doing these activities. You will have something to look forward to each week instead of pizza and ice cream!
- Supplements – there are some supplements that can help with food cravings. L-Glutamine 500mg 2 times per day on an empty stomach can help with sugar cravings. Omega 3 fish oil, 2000mg daily. Chromium (200mcg daily) works with insulin to help you process carbohydrates. PGX Fiber 10-15 minutes before a meal can slow down digestion and make you feel fuller sooner as well as reduce after meal cravings.
Along with these six tips if you feel you have Candida over-growth you will want to get with a health practitioner to address a Candida protocol. This can be a serious problem if left untreated.
The bottom line…..your cravings are trying to tell you something! Listen up, pay attention to when they strike. If they are only occasionally, then go ahead and give in and enjoy that ice cream cone or those chocolate covered salty pretzels (like when your PMSing!!) and you may find it leaves you feeling satisfied for a couple weeks.
Cheering you on,
P.S. Want to see my “top brands” for nutritional supplements? Check out my on-line dispensary Wellevate Me for my favorite products.
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