A few years ago cravings ruled my life. I was constantly craving sugar or bread and even wine but despite how much i ate/drank i was never satisfied, i still wanted more.
At the time, i didn’t understand that my body was trying to tell me something. Symptoms are our bodies language and cravings are a symptom. It could be caused by nutritional deficiencies, hunger or emotions. Either way, honor your cravings by getting to the root cause, and find out what your body really needs.
First, let’s look at the concept of Yin/Yang balance.
Eating foods that throw our body out of balance can create food cravings. It is very helpful to look at this idea under the lens of Yin/Yang balance. We can put all our foods along the Yin/Yang spectrum. Yin foods are the ones that are cool and expanding in nature, while Yang foods are ones that are warm and contracting in nature.
When we eat too much Yang foods – such as red meat, salt and egg, our body will want some Yin foods to restore balance. Sugar and alcohol are extreme Yin foods that our body would usually crave.
Armed with this knowledge, you can reduce your sugar cravings by eating less extreme yang foods and instead, choose foods that are more neutral on the spectrum. Examples are whole grains, fish, sea vegetables, beans, root vegetables, and squash.
Energy Quick Fix
Cravings for sugar or refined carbohydrates can happen when our body needs a quick energy fix. Our body can extract energy from sugar very quickly, and is therefore the “food of choice” when a quick fix is needed.
To avoid the need for an energy quick fix, eat for sustained energy. Eat meals that are low in glycemic load – whole unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans are great choices. They are high in fiber, which moderates the speed at which the sugar is absorbed by the body. Also, make sure you include a moderate amount of good fat and lean protein to slow down stomach emptying and increase satiety.
To support the body’s energy production, increase intake of foods rich in vitamin Bs – they are vital in our body’s energy production cycle. Good choices are whole grains, wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast.
Cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Cravings for different flavor or texture can translate to a lack of various nutrients such as chromium, sulfur and tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid readily available in animal foods, eggs, dairy products, and some nuts and seeds, and is particularly rich in turkey meat.
Low Protein Intake
If you have a relatively low protein diet and tend to crave sugar and feel fatigue easily, try increasing your protein intake, or experiment with the type of protein in your diet.
Besides meat, fish and milk, you can try nuts and seeds, good quality cheese in moderate amount, as well as eggs, yogurt and beans. For vegetarians, and particularly vegan, pay more attention to food combining to get a complete protein profile from various plant sources.
Cravings can be caused by dehydration. Our body often misinterprets the sensation of thirst and translates that into hunger. Next time when you feel your cravings coming on, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes, and see if you are still hungry.