Cravings – What Are They Saying
Almost everyone has experienced cravings. Sometimes it can seem like we are no longer in control of our own body. And unfortunately, very few people experience desperate cravings for nutrient-dense whole foods – it’s usually cravings for junk food. Cravings aren’t weaknesses, it’s the body’s way of crying out for nutrients. For a detailed explanation, listen to the Understanding Food Cravings on Eat Well to Live Well with Kellie Hill or on iTunes.
Cravings – Two Main Types
Overall, there are two main types of cravings – psychological and physiological.
Psychological cravings happen when we associate a feeling of comfort to a particular food. Then when we’ve had a rough day or are under stress we have cravings for this food, not as “fuel” for the body but as a tranquilizer or mood lifter for our spirits. Although these types of cravings can help you reevaluate your relationship with food and possibly find more constructive ways to deal with difficult emotional issues, these aren’t good cravings to indulge in.
Physiological cravings occur because our body is in need for missing nutrients. We can be eating plenty of calories but still be depleted in nutrients if our food choices haven’t properly “fed” the body. The body may know what’s missing but our conscious understanding or mind is not aware of the flavor of these missing nutrients. We begin to have cravings as the body cries out for particular nutrients but we don’t understand the cry. These types of cravings are real – you’re not crazy if you experience them.
Cravings & Starting Solutions
The first step to identifying any cravings is to check your hydration level. Dehydration can cause severe hunger and cravings. Start by drinking a big glass of water and seeing if the cravings go away.
Second, ask yourself if you are stressed or unhappy. If this is the reason you have cravings try something to relax, like taking a walk, stretch, meditate, listen to music, read a book, take a bath – whatever helps you unwind and feel more centered.
Third, ask yourself if you are getting enough good quality sleep. Hormone levels change when we don’t get enough sleep and this can play havoc with cravings. Sometimes cravings can have simple solutions like needing water, sleep, or stress reduction.
Cravings and Food
Here’s a short list of the most common food cravings, the possible nutrient deficiencies and foods to add into your meal plan to help balance the body. When the body is in balance you won’t experience cravings.
Chocolate = magnesium Try Chocolate Apricot Delight Recipe (recipe coming)
Spicy = zinc Try Beef Jerky
Bread = nitrogen Try Chocolate Oat Drops
Soda = calcium Try Fruit Puree with Seltzer Water
Salt = chloride Try mineral rich sea salt
Sweets = dehydration Try a glass of water
Meat = amino acids, essential fatty acids Try more good quality pastured meats
Ice = iron deficiency Try good quality pastured meats, seaweed, leafy greens, black cherries
Caffeine = can be a variety from phosphorous, sulfur, iron, or even sodium. Try licorice root tea, an herbal coffee substitute, and eggs.
Burned foods = carbon Try fresh fruits
Nuts = essential fatty acids, proteins, sodium (not salt). Try adding coconut oil, olive oil, other nut & seed oils, avocados, raw nuts.
Alcohol = can be a variety from protein, calcium, glutamine, or potassium. Try fruit puree in sparkling water, raw cabbage juice, leafy greens, raw nuts.
Acidic foods = magnesium, vitamin C. Try raw nuts and seeds, legumes, citrus fruits, red peppers.
Cold drinks = manganese. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pineapple, blueberries.