I would love to introduce you all to a blog Energy We Bring! I am a guest blog this week and the post is about What Your Cravings Really Mean!
Thank you to these wonderful ladies, Francesca & Julia, for introducing me to their awesomely informative and refreshing blog and asking me to write for them! It was an honor!
Hope you all enjoy and are able to take the steps to healthier food habits!
It’s no secret (anymore), that I was a junk food addict. I have craved everything from red hot potato chips to nerds candy, I know I know some of you may be squirming at the thought of someone eating that processed nastiness, and others are salivating at the mere mention of it.
For many years it was the only nourishment my body was receiving. It is for this main reason that I am so grateful to my body. With everything I put it through from sleepless nights partying to fueling it with oily and sugar infested foods, it’s a wonder my body hasn’t wasted away into diabetic coma or full organ failure.
I’ve definitely learned my lesson, I’m listening to the signals to clean up my act; Signals of constant fatigue, nausea, even intestinal discomfort presenting through constipation and pain. And even though I turned myself into a wellness addict, I still had moments of junk food cravings; either because it was the time of the month or because I was feeling rushed and didn’t have time to think about a healthy option.
What I know now that I didn’t know before is that each craving means something to my body either directly needing that satiety, or indirectly by showing up as a deficiency of something else. Here are the major cravings I had and what I learned.
1. Craving Potato Chips or Salty Snacks
Emotionally: This is a sign of stress related hormone fluctuations or a sign of frustration.
Physically: Can be a sign of dehydration. Ever notice that potato chips make you want to drink more water to wash them down, your body is craving water.
Research: in Salt Lake City (ironic?), Utah shows that just by taking a deep breath and meditating before grabbing for that salty snack reduced stress hormones by 25% and cut cravings in half!
Substitute: NutThins (My BFF introduced me to these and I have been grateful ever since.) They are delicious, have a crunch just like a chip and are salty. Especially the Almond Cheddar Cheese.
Carrots, celery or radishes are also great substitutes because they have a crunch, if you add a little ground cumin with the juice of a lemon wedge, you activate the same taste buds on your tongue for salty.
Long Run: In the long run vitamin B-complex to help with management of stress hormones and glands. Eat more protein to decrease cravings overall. Hydrate regularly target: ½ your weight in ounces of water each day.
2. Craving Soda
Emotionally: It’s a need for whimsy, refreshing and energy.
Physically: Lack of calcium. Soda is linked to osteoporosis, either because it decreases the need for fortified drinks or because it decreases calcium absorption.
Research: Studies show that soda is linked to causing diabetes, obesity and elevating blood pressure leading to stroke risk, kidney damage and cancer. A powerful study in Massachusettes reports that each additional sugary drink a child drinks increases his risk of obesity by 60%.
Substitute: Try Steaz Soda (carbonation and flavored but filled with vitamins!). My favorite is honest harvest coconut water. Try flavoring Perrier with real fruit.
Long Run: Make sure you are getting enough calcium-rich foods into your diet. Make it a point to get outside and take a walk in the sun (vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium).
3. Craving Sweets (Candy, Chocolates)
Emotionally: This is a craving could indicate loneliness or boredom, the need for tenderness in our lives.
Physically: Our blood sugar is low and needs a quick fix.
Research: Studies show humans digesting sugar and fats produces opioids in our bodies, which is the active ingredient in heroin, cocaine and other narcotics. Other studies show that sugar is actually more addicting than fatty foods.
Take away: Stay away from sugar…it’s a vicious cycle the more you eat the more you crave it.
Substitute: dark chocolate has antioxidants, Gnosis Chocolate has an amazing assortment of raw good-for-you chocolates.
Use honey, coconut nectar or real maple syrup as sweetners. Fruits are also great to curb sweet cravings, especially my favorite mangoes or bananas.
Long Run: Add in more high fiber foods into your diet to help regulate blood levels without the blood sugar spikes. Whatever HAPPY means to you (listening to music, singing, dancing, yoga-ing), make sure you spend a little time making yourself HAPPY! Now that’s sweet!
4. Cravings for Carbohydrates (Pastas, Breads)
Emotionally: Feeling emotional or fatigue and are looking for comfort.
Physically: Carbs help to release serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and provide a calming effect to the body.
Research: Studies show that processed carbs(i.e. sugary food & drinks, white breads, pastas) activate areas of the brain associated with reward and increased hunger at the next meal. Processed carbohydrates cause abrupt spikes in blood glucose and can cause people to overeat, cause food addiction and increased food cravings.
Like sugar, processed carbs are also: the more you eat the more you crave.
Substitute: Try Brown Rice Pasta, Quinoa Pasta. Long term try proteins to keep you full for longer periods.
Long Run: Add in high fiber foods and also magnesium rich foods. Magnesium is a mineral required daily by our bodies, if deficient we can feel fatigue or weakness.
The one thing I’ve learned about cravings (research confirms, not that we need it) the more you try to fight a craving the more intense the craving becomes. Make it a mindful choice, to hold off the craving, because the longer you hold it off the less the urge becomes over time.
The long-term option is to create better wellness “habits.” A study done in San Francisco found lab animals placed in “high stress” environments preferred to eat foods with high sugar and fats, so it all comes down to de-stressing.
- Deep Breathing
- Believe in Yourself and Your Will
- Sleep Routine
Start with a healthy protein-rich breakfast to reduce cravings throughout the day!