Written by Heather Casperson a certified Health Coach
Do you ever get those uncontrollable cravings for chocolate, salty foods or a big juicy steak? What is it specifically that you crave? Stop and think about when and why you crave that particular food or beverage. Getting to the root cause of your cravings is what
will eventually help you curb them.
Cravings are often attributed to a lack of discipline/control or hunger and appetite. But cravings can also be our body’s way of crying out for something else – sometimes totally unrelated to food.
Think of your craving as a critical piece of information. Use it to better learn/understand your body’s needs. Next time you feel like you can’t live without a Big Mac or something from Starbucks, think about the following five things:
1. Water. We often have strange cravings simply because we’re dehydrated. Ideally you should consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
2. Primary Food. Primary food refers to aspects of your life meant to nourish you as a whole — career, spirituality, relationships, physical activity. Maybe you’re in an unhealthy relationship and are craving sugar as a way to replace the void of sweetness in your life? Are you dissatisfied in your career and find yourself eating out of boredom or stress on the job? Find little ways to improve your “primary food,” and the nutritional improvements will come.
3. Yin-Yang imbalance. Our bodies are always trying to maintain homeostasis (balance). When we consume too many yang foods (think meat and dairy), we naturally crave yin foods, like white flour and sugar, as a way to lighten up. Nutrient dense, whole foods like brown rice, quinoa, leafy green vegetables and sweet vegetables have a mild effect on the body.
4. Inside coming out. Sometimes cravings are associated with a particular memory. For me, it’s chocolate chip cookies and milk. My mother didn’t work Wednesday afternoons, and she would always have a few ready on a plate when I’d get home from school. Now, this treat makes me feel just as warm and loved as it did when I was younger. Restricting yourself from the foods you enjoy usually doesn’t work for most people. So, I either try to eat a healthier version of chocolate chip cookies (for me that would be homemade & gluten free with natural sweeteners) or simply eat the cookies and enjoy each morsel without the guilt.
5. Lack of nutrients. The modern American diet is full of processed, prepackaged foods, loaded with empty calories. They lack key vitamins and minerals, thus forcing our bodies into craving. Inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings. And you know that need for caffeine? A lot of times this is thanks to poor overall nutrition.
Craving peanut butter cups? Check out my healthier alternative for Raw Superfood Truffles here