Why is it that so many women crave chocolate during their period, and men claim they can’t even imagine watching sports without beer and salty nachos? Don’t even get me started on young children who don’t hesitate to embarrass their poor parents in shopping malls screaming for candy or ice cream. Oh right – I use to be one of those kids. All joking aside, maybe this sounds all too familiar to you. It has always amazed me how food cravings manage to play with the rational human mind. Even those that are seriously invested in making healthier choices often give into their cravings for unhealthy treats. If you’re tired of feeling at war with your body, it’s time to make peace with it. Listen to your body as it communicates with you. It may be asking for a vitamin or mineral that you’re deficient in, or it may just be seeking comfort. Either way, let January 2013 be the start of getting your cravings under control.
Most people barely think about what they are putting into their bodies. Giving into food cravings is just way too easy, and chances are you aren’t craving spinach, apples, or vegan butternut squash soup. Most of the foods that people crave don’t do much more than provide the body with immediate satisfaction, and a distended belly.
Let’s identify 5 simple ways to start the New Year off right and combat your cravings.
(1) Do a Candida Detox. Sugary treats tend to be the most common cravings out there. Has it ever occurred to you that yeast may be what is driving your intense desire for sweets? If you struggle with cravings for carbohydrates, a simple blood test may be your answer. The IgG food sensitivity test that I offer at my clinic tests for various food allergens along with Candida Albicans – a yeast that can cause unbearable urges for sugar and carbohydrates. The only solution to dealing with this specific craving is to starve the yeast off with a Candida Cleanse.
(2) Keep healthy snacks on you at all times – put them in your car, at your desk, and in your gym bag. Always leave the house with almonds, apples, or homemade protein bars, and never skip breakfast. I know you’ve heard this before, but if you struggle with cravings, you’ve got to start making better food choices when it comes to snacking and especially breakfast. An ideal breakfast that is high in protein and good fats is essential. My favourite? One hardboiled egg, half an avocado with one tablespoon of olive oil, a handful of walnuts, and a green tea.
(3) Eat at least every 4-6 hours. Always ensure your meals/snacks consist of a quality source of protein. You know that eating clean requires effort on your part – waking up a little bit earlier may be necessary in order to pack the right foods for your day. Although it may initially seem like a lot of work, it will prevent you from doing the head bob dance at 3 pm. Say bye-bye to your afternoon latte and oatmeal cookie – you don’t need it anymore.
(4) Stay well hydrated. Most people don’t drink enough water. As a result, they feel thirsty, but commonly mistaken being ‘thirsty’ for being ‘hungry’. Sip plenty of lemon water and yerba mate tea throughout the day. This powerful South American tea suppresses appetite, helps balance blood glucose levels, and boosts metabolism. A definite plus!
(5) Listen to your body. Your cravings may be a simple signal from your body letting you know which nutrient, vitamin, or mineral it needs more of. An iron deficiency may be the reason why you’re craving red meat. Check out the chart below for more information to help you understand your specific food cravings. The following chart has been referenced in many different sources and is commonly used by Naturopathic Doctors in practice. I’m sure it will help you understand the complex world of food cravings. Enjoy!
|If you crave this…||What you really need is…||And here are healthy foods that have it:|
|Chocolate||Magnesium||Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits|
|Sweets||Chromium||Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken|
|Phosphorus||Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains|
|Sulfur||Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage|
|Tryptophan||Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach|
|Bread, toast||Nitrogen||High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans|
|Oily snacks, fatty foods||Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame|
|Coffee or tea||Phosphorous||Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes|
|Sulfur||Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables|
|NaCl (salt)||Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)|
|Iron||Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries|
|Alcohol, recreational drugs||Protein||Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts|
|Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame|
|Glutamine||Supplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice|
|Potassium||Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens|
|Chewing ice||Iron||Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries|
|Burned food||Carbon||Fresh fruits|
|Soda and other carbonated drinks||Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame|
|Salty foods||Chloride||Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt|
|Acid foods||Magnesium||Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits|
|Preference for liquids rather than solids||Water||Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.|
|Preference for solids rather than liquids||Water||You have been so dehydrated for so long that you have lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.|
|Cool drinks||Manganese||Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries|
|Pre-menstrual cravings||Zinc||Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables|
|General overeating||Silicon||Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches|
|Tryptophan||Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach|
|Tyrosine||Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables|
|Lack of appetite||Vitamin B1||Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats|
|Vitamin B3||Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes|
|Manganese||Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries|
|Chloride||Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt|
|Tobacco||Silicon||Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches|
|Tyrosine||Vitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetable|
- Lectures, Cheryl M. Deroin, NMD, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Spring 2003 (healthy food recommendations)
- Benard Jenson, PhD, The Chemistry of Man B. Jensen Publisher, 1983 (deficiencies linked to specific cravings and some food recommendations)