We all have cravings. This is our body’s way of telling us it needs something. But does it really need what we think it needs?
For example, when we crave sugar, is our body craving the sugar or is it craving something else? Such as; more sleep; more wholefoods; a sweeter relationship even? The only part of your body that will ever truly crave sugar is your tastebuds! Your body is looking for something, and that could be physical or emotional. When you feel yourself craving something unhealthy; whether that’s sugar or caffeine for example, don’t indulge straight away, ask these simple questions first:
- Are you drinking enough water? Lack of water can send the message that you’re thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as hunger, so the best thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.
- Is your body getting the right kind of nutrients? If the body has inadequate nutrients, you’ll have odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.
- How balanced is your diet? You may be experiencing a Yin-Yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive), while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.
- Is it hormonal? When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.
- How balanced is your lifestyle? De-Evolution. When things are going extremely well in your life, sometimes self-sabotage happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.
- Are you meeting the needs of your ‘Primary’ food? Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, uninspired by your job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.
(© 2006, 2016 Integrative Nutrition, Inc. | reprinted with permission)
Look at the foods, deficits, and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as a weakness, but really, they’re important messages meant to help you in maintaining balance.
We occupy one of the world’s greatest vehicles but we’re not always taught how to use it. You can optimise your body’s potential by simply listening to it. It always knows what you need. I promise you, if you take the time to listen you will learn everything you need to know – you just need a little practice.
What does your body crave? For me, I crave sugar but what I really need is sleep! I just have about 18 years to go and I’m there! 🙂
If you would like some help deconstructing your cravings, contact me for a free consultation.