Do you ever have cravings? Chocolate, salty, sweet or maybe even something totally crazy like clay? Your body is a computer. Your heart never skips a beat. Your lungs never miss a breath. You know when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees. It repairs itself when wounded and breaks down food. Your body is amazing and is constantly processing information and monitoring your environment to make adjustments and keep you balanced.
Many people view cravings as weaknesses, but often, they’re important messages from your body to guide you in maintaining balance. Isn’t that neat?
When you experience a craving, think about it. Deconstruct it. Ask yourself “what is my body trying to tell me?”
Here are some causes for cravings…
1. Lack of something other than food. It could be problems with a relationship, not following a good workout routine that uplifts and makes you happy, being bored or stressed, being uninspired by a job or lacking a spiritual practice. Look at these areas first and evaluate. Are you missing something in your life? How can you get it? Are you dealing with uncomfortable emotions or difficult people and situations? Food is most likely being used as a strategy to fulfill these areas you are lacking!
2. Water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten. Drink a glass of water before eating to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Also when you sweat you lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.
3. Yin-Yang balance. According to traditional Chinese Medicine, certain foods are more yin (expansive), while others are more yang (contractive). Eating a diet rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang) and eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for heavily cooked foods (yang). Eat foods that are more neutral like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. And don’t eat too much of one thing.
4. Inside coming out. Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.
5. Seasonal. The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily just a hint at where your cravings are coming from. When a holiday hits, our cravings tend to be associated with turkey, eggnog or Christmas cookies. We can easily overdo it around the holidays because of tradition. Look into some healthier dessert options this year.
6. Lack of Nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of non food items like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency. But for everyone else, if you’re getting a good amount of dark green leafy veggies every single day and balancing that with protein and whole grains (gluten or non gluten), you should be getting everything you need to stave off those cravings. I find that a bowl of Miso soup really helps fill my soul and tummy. I no longer need that cookie.
7. Hormonal. It happens!! When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. Stress has also been shown to alter hormones in order to promote cravings. Balance those hormones with lots of veggies, some iodine and sweet potatoes. I would look into a liver detox as well. A nice detox tea. Amazon has lots of options for that.
8. Devolution. Any big change that you make, dietary or otherwise, isn’t going to happen overnight. Sometimes, you may revert to old habits because they are familiar or you’re not totally ready to let go of them. If this happens, remember to be patient with yourself-take a step back and recognize that even if your diet got off track briefly, you don’t have to throw in the towel! In fact, this is often just a part of the process of hanging your diet.
Everyone has cravings! You’re definitely not alone! If you’re ready to get a handle on those cravings for good, just know that you totally can. If you need some one on one health coaching, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or look at my Health Coaching page. I would be happy to work with you!
💗 Health Coach Heather
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