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How to explain and crush your food cravings

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It happens when you least expect it. Boom. Out of nowhere. The craving for specific food. 

Extreme cravings to certain foods can undermine  your health and/or weight significantly. Sometimes the craving for a specific food is constantly there and sometimes it will be short but intense. What does this mean? Our body communicates constantly with us. It’s up to us to recognize the signals and know what we need. Because the good news is that there is usually a reason for your burning desire for a bag of chips, or the feeling that you‘ll die if you don’t eat a piece of chocolate. No matter how determined you are, sometimes the craving is so strong that you just give in. 

How can you explain your craving ? And what can you do to crush your cravings in a healthy way?

Before you give up hope completely thinking you’re lacking enough willpower, remember your ancestors are the ones to blame. Our ancestors were always looking for calories in the form of fat, sugars and protein. Food was scarce, however nowadays food is everywhere. Shops are everywhere and open 24/7, commercials are impossible to avoid, we eat anytime, anywhere, and a party is not a party without food.
Our natural survival instinct forces us to compensate for a perceived lack of resources, even if it doesn’t exist. An internal struggle is born.

Once activated, this ‘ searchfoodandeat mentality is hard to get rid of , but it’s not impossible.

Is this the only explanation for your cravings?

You might think that emotions or memories are also very important to explain your cravings. Think of the cake your mother baked when you were a child or macaroni and cheese when you had a carefree life as a student. But there’s more. There are explanations that go even deeper at a cellular level.

We can’t influence our memories and the history of our ancestors, but we can explain and crush our cravings on a cellular level.

How to crush your cravings

It’s not a lost battle. Unlike a true physical hunger, which develops over time, the cravings to certain foods such as potato chips or chocolate can be triggered by almost anything: stress, boredom, emotions or just the sight or smell of a particular food.

Chocolate

Craving chocolate could mean that you’re lacking magnesium in your diet. The indication is even stronger if the craving is accompanied with a headache. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in energy production, glucose metabolism and muscle function. This is especially the case for those who work out often and intense.

Instead, reach for:

dark chocolate, high quality and low in sugar. It takes some getting used to, but when wrapped in a piece of dried fruit such as a fig it’s delicious. I always go for at least 75% cacao (no cacoa), and will have this with another food that is rich in magnesium, such as sunflower seeds.

Candy

If you’re craving pure sugar, this could be a good indication that you’re low on energy. Think about it. Often you have this craving after a horrible night of sleep or around 4 pm during a stressful workday. Refined white sugar is directly used as energy, but the energy will also drop very hard after that. And the next sugar craving is created.  

Instead, reach for:

slow carbs with a source of fat or protein are your rescue. In contrast to the simple sugars, these good carbs will give you energy without the sugar crash afterwards. Two great options are: apples with nut butter or oatmeal with berries. And if you can, take a nap.

Salty cravings

If you’re not pregnant, but you’re craving pickles or salty chips, it’s time to take out your water bottle because you’re probably not drinking enough water. Salt helps the body to retain water, so your body is smart enough to give you a signal.

Instead, reach for:

water. make sure you’re hydrated, especially during warmer days. If plain water is too boring for you, try lemon water or water with mint, cucumber or frozen fruit. If you’re still craving salty foods, go for roasted seaweed over a bag of salty chips.

Bad carbohydrates such as bread and pasta

These foods stimulate the feel-goodhormone serotonin. Craving this food can indicate that you need a mood booster.

Instead, reach for:

eat more fruit. A good moment is the morning, your body –and your brains especially- need this kick start. Undertake relaxing  activities and that make you feel good.

Creamy dairy rich foods such as ice cream

Your body is telling you it needs more fat. 

Instead, reach for:

if you’re craving ice cream, you will not want to have a handful of healhty nuts or avocado will also not help you out, but there are healthier options. For ice cream, you can easily blend some frozen bananas with some vanilla powder or even make an ice cream with avocado is a great option.

Craving meat

This craving is difficult for me to understand because I have not eaten meat for years. This is most likely due to the fact that I get enough nutrients to make sure that I have never felt this craving such as iron, B12 and folic acid.

Instead, reach for:

dried figs, mango, spirulina, wheat grass, beans, nuts, sweet potato, oatmeal, lentils, broccoli .Let yourself go!

Is this giving you little hope and do you think the reason of your cravings are deeper and perhaps more mentally and stress related?

Fortunately there are some tricks you can try to divert your attention.

An example is the use of so-called stressballs. Take this with you and move the balls back and forth between your fingers so that your hands are engaged and tension and stress can disappear. (source)

Chew. Chewing on pieces of mint could reduce your carvings. It keeps your mouth busy, lowers your stress levels and mint also reduces your appetite.

Drink enough. I find that warm water works very soothing. So drink a delicious cup of tea.

Write. Do you often eat to tame your emotions? Try to write. This ensures that you can throw off your problems and your stress and anxiety will decrease.

Do you often eat often because you feel tense? Try the self-massage trick to tame tension. Place a tennis ball under your foot and roll it back and forth. Or place the ball at a wall and press your back against the ball, roll the ball back and forth between your shoulder blades. Reflexology and massages are known for stimulating a good feeling. (source)

Do you have tips you would like to share to crush those cravings? I would love to read them below!

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