The body is a biocomputer. It knows when to go to sleep, when to wake up,
and when to go to the bathroom. It maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, repairs itself when wounded, and breaks down food into usable energy and nutrients. Your heart never misses a beat and your lungs never miss a breath. Your body is constantly processing information and monitoring your environment to make necessary internal adjustments to help keep you balanced.
Many people view cravings as weaknesses, but often, they’re important messages from your body to guide you in maintaining balance.
When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, “What is my body trying to tell me?”
8 causes of cravings:
Lack of Primary Food
Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, or uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice can all cause emotional eating. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.
Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal.
Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain foods are more yin (expansive), while others are more yang (contractive). Within this theory, foods that are too yin or too yang may lead you to crave the opposite in an attempt to maintain balance. This theory suggests eating foods that are more neutral (like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans) and avoiding extremes on either end that may lead to cravings. For example, eating a diet rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang) and eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for heavily cooked foods (yang).
Inside Coming Out
Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.
The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. In the spring, people crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, people crave cooling foods, like raw foods and ice cream. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like squash, onions, and nuts, and many crave heat-producing foods, like meat, oil, and fat, in the winter. Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays. For example, turkey, eggnog, or Christmas cookies.
Lack of Nutrients
If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of non- food items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.
When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. Stress has also been shown to alter hormones in order to promote cravings.
Any big change that you make, dietary or otherwise, isn’t going to happen overnight. Sometimes, you may revert to old habits because they are familiar or you’re not totally ready to let go of them. If this happens, remember to be patient with yourself – take a step back and recognize that even if your diet got off track briefly, you don’t have to throw in the towel! In fact, this is often just a part of the process of changing your diet.
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