Clues to Cravings

Does a food or beverage seem to control you?

This list may provide clues to the cause and remedy. Which describe you?

You stay hungry even between meals and especially crave starchy or sugary foods.

Possible causes: Eating too many carbs and not enough fats can throw leptin (an appetite and metabolism regulating hormone) out of whack. When we eat fat, that sends a signal to the brain that we are satisfied. When we eat refined carbohydrates, that spikes our blood sugar and sends a primal survival message that we are trying to store fat…so we crave more food. Being thirsty can be confused with being hungry.

What to do: Cut way back on refined carbohydrates as well as starchy and sweet foods. Read my blogs on the topic, Part 1 and Part 2. Drink a sufficient amount of clean water every day.

You crave starchy or sugary foods even when not necessarily hungry.

Possible cause: Candida yeast overgrowth. You might have an imbalance of friendly vs unfriendly critters in the intestinal track.  Yeasts may have gotten out of hand and may be ordering their “lunch” by sending out chemical messengers to make you crave their favorite food.

What to do: Take this Yeast Questionnaire. If you get a worrisome score, Read this article.

You eat frequently, need an afternoon nap or crave a soda at 4 pm just to keep up your energy and alertness.

Possible cause: Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar). Suspect this issue if before meals, you start to feel tired, blue, headachy, nervous or lightheaded and find that a soft drink, sugar or alcohol lifts you back to “normal”. This is a survival mechanism at work. The brain can’t function without a steady supply of blood sugar.

What to do: Eat more protein and fat, less starch and sugar. (See the two items just above.) A supplement like Now Glucose Metabolic Support may help you better handle the blood sugar and break bad habits. 

You need to chew ice or crave salty foods, chalk or clay.

Possible cause: The body is trying to balance electrolytes or needs minerals. Chewing ice, chalk or clay is called “Pica” and is common during pregnancy when the fetus is consuming mom’s minerals.

What to do: Avoid refined and processed foods. Eat mineral-rich whole foods, particularly vegetables. Take an excellent multivitamin such as Molecular Multi with a substantial amount of well absorbed zinc. Add a magnesium supplement because no multi has enough of this bulky mineral. Persons younger than middle age might think about calcium too. Unless you have high blood pressure that goes down when you limit salt, make sure you are getting enough sodium. The body need it and uses the chloride part of sodium chloride to make stomach acid that is needed for digestion and protection from pathogens.

You feel you must eat peanuts or some other special food every day.

Possible cause: You are having an allergic/addictive reaction. You need a “fix” of something the body reacts badly to and yet now depends upon.

What to do: Avoiding the item for 10 days often clears the system. If the craving persists, have your allergies checked out by a doctor of environmental medicine.

You crave “comfort foods” when under stress.

Possible cause: If it is just sweet and starchy foods, see the first 3 items above. If it is more like pot roast, that may remind you of pleasant Sundays when you were a kid and felt safe.

What to do: Try to find a healthful version of the food you crave. Work on the stress with exercise, meditation, magnesium, lavender oil, etc. 

You “deserve” a sweet treat when you’ve done something good or are celebrating.

Possible cause: Maybe you were rewarded with sweets when you were little, setting up an unhealthy association.

What to do: Make a list of non-food rewards and build new associations. 

You always have popcorn (or some such) on Friday nights or cereal, a bagel, donuts or pancakes for breakfast.

Possible cause: Habit.

What to do: If the food is good for you, no biggie.  Otherwise, find a healthier substitute and build a new habit. Breakfast doesn’t have to be something on the IHOP menu. Other cultures have quite a different idea about what breakfast can be.  Why not a hard-boiled egg or leftovers from dinner last night?

You drink more alcohol than you think you should.

Possible cause: Sometimes it is habits and the people you hang out with. But, if it isn’t that, consider that the root cause might be one of the nutritional issues above. (Alcohol depletes vitamin B1 and Magnesium, so especially replace those.) Spiritual emptiness and emotional hurt can also facilitate alcohol dependence.

What to do: Read this article. Consider church support, counseling, and/or joining a 12 step program. If you don’t know where to start, go to www.CVOA.org or  Google Alcholics Anonymous

 

 



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