What Are Your Cravings Telling You?
We’ve all been there. Those times where it seems like if we don’t have that cookie staring at us straight in the face that we may just die. In those moments of weakness, we wonder where our will power went. I feel you: cravings are no joke!
Why do we get cravings?
Cravings are often due to something that’s missing. This missing piece could be something nutritional or emotional and cravings are our body’s way of giving us a nudge to address this lack!
It is my belief that we need to listen and eat intuitively. So while reaching for chocolate cake or salty chips is sometimes the best thing we can do to nourish the soul, we can also learn to fuel the body with what it needs, so those cravings don’t arise at all!
Sugar cravings could arise for variety of reasons from hormonal fluctuations to the sweet dopamine rush associated with sugar. The most common reason for a sugar craving is blood sugar imbalance. A sign of this is if you crave a sweet treat right after your meal. Minerals, like chromium, which help insulin bring glucose into the cell, could also be lacking.
Reach for instead: Fermented foods, like kimchi and miso broth, help curve sugar cravings. A smoothie with fiber and ~1-2 tsp of spirulina or chlorella will, not only prevents spikes in blood sugar, but also helps replenish vitamins and minerals lacking.
If your reaching for salty chips, it could indicate you need to replenish your electrolytes. Adrenal fatigue also brings about salt cravings. The adrenals play a role in managing aldosterone, a hormone involved in sodium and potassium regulation, so when they are compromised you may crave salt.
Reach for instead: Salt and season veggies with a high quality pink Himalayan salt for electrolytes. Support your adrenals with foods high in the B vitamins and selenium, like spinach, bee pollen, sprouts and brazil nuts.
Ladies, you may notice this one around that time of the month. Dark chocolate is actually very rich in minerals needed support the body during this time. It also has major mood boosting properties because it increases serotonin in the brain. Cravings for chocolate may also be an indicator you are lacking magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and helps with water absorption in the gut creating more solid bowel movements.
Reach for instead: Cacao powder or dark chocolate (75% and up). Other magnesium and nutrient dense foods like dark leafy greens, legumes, bananas and avocados.
The need for carbohydrates isn’t a simple craving to get to the bottom of. It’s possible that you could be craving carbs due to a lack of fat or protein, high stress or eating too many processed foods. Overindulgence in carbs has been associated with depression and anxiety. The psyche is seeking comfort and attempting to boost the endorphins.
Reach for instead: Naturally sweetened foods like fresh fruit. High protein foods that that balance blood sugar, like lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts. Address your self-care routine to help reduce stress.
5. Fatty Foods
Cravings for onion rings and greasy burgers often stem from a deficiency in healthy fats, like omega 3s, or of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). This is common in today’s world because of the overreliance on refined oils, or saturated and trans fats.
Reach for instead: Swap the Standard American Diet (SAD) for the Mediterranean diet! Foods that are rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids like hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, olives, chia seeds, flax seeds, fish, avocadoes and nuts.
Stephani Fenk is a Holistic Nutritionist at Village Juicery, who is enthusiastically committed to making people feel good about their bodies and nutritional choices. When working in health care as an occupational therapist, she became more aware of the lack of prevention and over reliance on prescription medications. This is why she decided to pursue her passion of holistic health. Stephani’s goal as a nutritional practitioner is to inspire females to feel good about their bodies and make the most impact in treating clients with female health issues. Learn more about Stephani at http://www.stephanifenk.com.
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