Cravings – The real reason behind them

We’ve all experienced cravings, but we should be careful about the way in which we satisfy them. By understanding what your body is actually deficient in {assuming it is a physical, not an emotional craving} you can get to the root cause of the cravings.

With the crazy holiday season at an end, most of us will be feeling low energy, bloated, heavier after the last few weeks’ overindulgence. These feelings often result in you reaching for a quick junk fix to get you through your day. Resist this feeling! Each craving feeling we get is our body talking trying to communicate to us that it needs something – and it’s NOT the junk you want to put in your mouth!!

There are many possible meanings behind cravings depending on the type of craving and your eating habits. Before you satisfy or give into any cravings, I suggest the FIRST thing you do is drink a BIG glass of pure water {not tap}. Often we misinterpret our body’s cravings for thirst as a signal of hunger. By drinking a big glass of water first, you may be giving your body exactly what it wants and needs and in doing so eliminating the craving.

There’s more to cravings than you think. To help you understand these more I have outlined the most common craving I find my clients come across and how you can stop or overcome them WITHOUT adding to your waist line!

Chocolate If you are craving chocolate, it doesn’t mean your body has a chocolate deficiency, although I think we would all prefer that! Craving it often indicates that your body is deficient in magnesium. Eating chocolate will NOT give you the dose of magnesium your body needs (sadly) so it’s important to eat foods that will, such as nuts, seeds, fish, and leafy greens. For rare occasions you want to reward yourself for all those good nutritional choices you’ve been making – go for dark chocolate or raw cacao!

Sweets If you crave sweets you may be experiencing blood sugar fluctuations. When your blood sugar drops, your body may be try­ing to get you to give it more fuel to keep your blood sugar levels stable. If this is a chronic occurrence you may have hypoglycaemia, which simply means low blood sugar. Whether your sugar cravings are sporadic or chronic, it is important to choose the right type of food to bring your body back into balance. Giving in to refined sugars will only cause a blood sugar roller coaster that leads to more cravings. Try reaching for a piece of fruit instead – frozen grapes are one of my favourites! Adding more high fibre foods to your daily intake, like beans and legumes, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains will help give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes.

Salty Cravings for salty foods like popcorn or chips and adding extra salt to foods can often indicate stress hormone fluctuations in the body. Getting in control or being aware of the stress in your life is step one. The adrenal glands help your body cope with stress tend to become worn down due to our fast-paced, hectic lives from constant stress hormone production. Try some yoga, meditation or breathing exercises to calm the nervous system down, or any other stress relief strategies you have. Some research has shown that people who take a break to breathe deeply or meditate before reach­ing for salty snacks reduced their stress hormones by 25 percent and cut the bingeing in half. Additionally, organic leafy greens helps and high-quality B-complex vitamins with extra pantothenic acid (that’s vitamin B-5) and vitamin C will help your adrenals to supply your body with minerals that support the adrenal glands.

Cheese Cravings for cheese or pizza often indicate a fatty acid deficiency which is common in most people. Thanks to the 90’s fat was labelled bad which is very untrue for some fats. Eat foods such as raw walnuts, wild salmon, avocado, coconut oil and ground flaxseeds in your diet. Feel free to supplement this with a high-quality supplement that includes the benefi­cial fats, especially Omega 3s. It should contain both EPA and DHA. Two to three servings of fish such as wild salmon or a small handful of raw walnuts or 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in will often cut out cheese cravings altogether.

If you need help to get your cravings under control or advice with your current nutrition habits, contact Jess to get a customized nutrition and training plan suited to your lifestyle and goals.

(P) 021 216 6145
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