How many times has a craving sabotaged your healthy eating intentions? If I had a quarter for every time… let’s just say I’d have way more lululemon in my wardrobe. My junk food hankerings usually hit at night, after dinner, when my body screams at me for sweets – so loud I usually cave. But what if there’s a simple explanation for those cravings, solutions to silence the munchies that don’t involve inhaling a Snickers and feeling guilty about it afterwards? Here, certified Health Coach, yoga instructor and founder of Garnet Leaf Yoga & Nutrition, Linda Santopietro, tells us how to gain back control over our appetite…
Craving Causes & How to Deal with Them
Cravings are fascinating, and should not be ignored. I’m not suggesting you eat a bag of chips when craving salt, or an entire chocolate cake when your sweet tooth kicks in; I’m suggesting you look at the underlying causes of these cravings. Our bodies are amazing, and instinctively work to create internal balance in order to function properly and maintain metabolic equilibrium. So when you’re experiencing a craving, ask your body what it wants and why?
Here are a few causes of cravings, and how to deal with them:
1. Lack of “Primary Food”: Being dissatisfied with relationships, exercise, career, or spirituality all result in emotional eating. Balancing these areas of your life will reduce unwanted cravings.
2. Water: Dehydration can feel like hunger, so when you get a craving, drink a full glass of water first. Balance your water intake, though, since excess water can also cause cravings.
3. Seasons: Our bodies naturally crave foods that coincide with the seasons, such as detoxifying greens and citrus in Spring; warming meats and oils in Winter; cooling raw foods and fruits in Summer; and grounding root vegetables in the Fall. Eat with the seasons to stay balanced.
4. Lack of Nutrients: Inadequate nutrients produce odd cravings. Inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings. And overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine. Eat whole foods to get the correct amount of vitamins and minerals.
5. Comfort: Foods we’ve recently eaten during enjoyable gatherings, or foods from childhood, produce cravings. Satisfy these cravings by eating a healthier version of these foods. Example: replace refined sugar treats with sweet fruits or vegetables.