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Food Cravings – What Do They Actually Mean?

 

No-one can deny a food craving when the desire hits right? We all know pregnant women have regular (albeit unusual) cravings, but what about the rest of us in our everyday life?

Why do we then crave certain food?

A food craving is an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person’s hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food.

Every person experiences cravings differently. Cravings are often for junk foods and processed foods high in sugar, salt, and fat.

Food cravings are in fact normal and are your bodies way of communicating its needs. A strong craving can indicate that your body is low in a specific nutrient, vitamin or mineral.

Understanding the reason behind a craving can point us in the direction of feeding the body what it actually needs instead of a temporary ‘fix’.

So let’s dive in and see exactly what how body is telling us.

10 OF THE MOST COMMON FOOD CRAVINGS:

 

Craving #1: salt and salty food

POTENTIAL REASONS:

  1. Adrenal fatigue: Since the adrenals are also responsible for keeping our blood pressure up, when they are overworked, our body calls for support (in this case for salt) to bring up the blood pressure so the adrenals are released from this task.
  2. Mineral deficiencies – A large assortment of minerals are needed for proper bodily function. If there is a lack in any of the minerals, salt will be craved since it fulfils the need extremely well. However, it needs to be a good quality salt, such as pink Himalayan salt (containing 80+ minerals) and not simple table salt (which only has 2 minerals).

SOLUTION:

Start the day with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt like the pink Himalayan salt in a glass of water or lemon water. Don’t be afraid of salt, sea salt won’t give you hypertension. In fact, this type of salt balances blood pressure.

You can also dab a few fingertips worth of salt directly onto the tongue for a quick boost. Just allow the salt to dissolve on the tongue without any water needed. This method is fabulous for calming anxiety since it goes directly into the bloodstream to soothe and support the kidneys.

Craving #2: chocolate

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Magnesium deficiency.

SOLUTION:

Add to your diet: legumes, raw nuts and seeds, 85% cocoa dark chocolate, leafy greens and whole grains.

Take good quality magnesium supplements (not in oxide form) in glycinate or citrate form. Topically, apply magnesium oil at the bottom of your feet before bed.

Craving #3: sugar and processed food like pasta, bread

POTENTIAL REASONS:

  1. Candida yeast overgrowth in the gut, skin or respiratory system due to blood sugar imbalances
  2. Low oestrogen and progesterone before our period
  3. Nutrient deficiencies: chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulphur and tryptophan

SOLUTION:

  1. Start an anti-candida diet and add plenty of top-notch probiotics.
  2. Learn to regulate your estrogen and progesterone levels throughout the cycle so the dips don’t effect you as much.
  3. Eat more foods that support the relevant deficiency states –

Chromium: Broccoli, potatoes, green beans, fruits (apples, bananas, grapes), cheese, dried beans, chicken, beef

Carbon: Fresh fruits & vegetables using 20:80 rule – more vegetables than fruit.

Phosphorous: Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains

Sulphur: Beef, fish, poultry, eggs, cruciferous vegetables (such as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)

Tryptophan: Cheese, liver, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, fish, raisins, sweet potato, spinach, nuts, seeds, tofu,  oatmeal, eggs

Craving #4: caffeine (coffee and tea)

POTENTIAL REASONS:

  1. Adrenal fatigue: you need coffee to get you started and get you going through the day as your adrenals are too tired.
  2. Lack of quality sleep: you need caffeine to compensate for the lack of energy from insufficient sleep.
  3. Stress and habit.
  4. Nutrient deficiencies: phosphorous, sulphur, salt (sodium chloride), iron

SOLUTION:

  1. Adrenal fatigue: adopt an adrenal recovery protocol of de-stressing, diet change and herbal/hormonal support.
  2. Stress and habit: switch to herbal teas or green tea (lower caffeine), especially matcha tea. Green tea contains the amino acid called L-threonine which both calms and supports brain function. You can also try roasted dandelion root ‘coffee’ if it’s a coffee taste you are after.
  3. Eat more foods that support the relevant deficiency states –

Phosphorous: Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains

Sulphur: Beef, fish, poultry, eggs, cruciferous vegetables (such as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)

Salt: Himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar

Iron: Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, green leafy vegetables, black cherries, black beans

Craving #5: dairy

POTENTIAL REASONS:

  1. Stress, loneliness, a need for an emotional connection.
  2. Calcium / magnesium deficiency.

SOLUTION:

If tolerated, add unpasteurized, raw dairy (amino acids in milk act like opiates to relax us). If you don’t tolerate dairy, add nut or coconut-based products and creamy food like guacamole, hummus, etc.

If it’s an emotional issue, go deeper – are you feeling lonely, unloved? What do you need to change in your life to fill in this gap?

Craving #6: more food in spite of being full

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Insulin resistance or food intolerances

SOLUTIONS:

Learn to regulate your sugar levels with diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. Address food intolerances by doing an elimination diet (by cutting the big 5 – gluten, dairy, eggs, soy & corn) or deeper protocols like low FODMAPs, paleo etc.

Craving #7: meat

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Iron, vitamin B12 or amino acid deficiencies.

SOLUTION:

Consider starting to eat meat. If you are a vegetarian and you crave or dream about meat, re-think your choices as a temporary solution to fix your health. Some people need meat to function well. The best way to start is with bone broths or collagen powder added to drinks, smoothies or soups. If you really can’t eat meat, look into iron and B12 supplementation.

Craving #8: oily snacks and foods

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Calcium or omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies.

SOLUTION:

  1. Eat more foods that support the relevant deficiency states –

Calcium: Broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame seeds, almonds, sardines, leafy greens, oranges

Omega-3 fatty acids: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, fish

Craving #9: cold drinks

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Manganese deficiency

SOLUTION:

Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries

Craving #10: chewing ice

POTENTIAL REASONS:

Iron deficiency

SOLUTION:

Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, green leafy vegetables, black cherries, black beans

*If you’ve got this far – thank you for reading and I look forward to bringing you more information in the future.

Now, enjoy some tapping to help calm your cravings …