You know that out of control feeling when you can’t stop thinking about eating something, so you just have to eat it, and once you start, stopping is not an option. That is a craving.
My biggest craving was jellybeans. I used to sneak away from my office to find a chemist that sold those big fat ones. Eagerly standing at the chemist counter I would select the packet that had lots of red ones. Walking back to work, I would eat over half the packet, and once back at my desk, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate until they were all gone.
There you are, standing in front of the fridge with the ice-cream tub. In a trance-like state, you scoop one spoonful after the next until it is almost all gone. Satisfied, you leave a bit for tomorrow.
Ice cream is the obvious example, but what about the more subtle examples, like the daily spoonful of honey, or the two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, or even that can of coke every other day.
Cravings are not bad
Not long ago I learned that cravings are not bad, they can help us to understand the craving, and then we can act on what the craving is telling us. A craving could be telling us we are missing something important from our diet. For example, my cravings for jellybeans was my body wanting more energy. If I had only known that at the time, I could have found a less addictive source of energy that was also better for my health.
How to let cravings go
Knowledge is power, and when we understand that it is normal to have cravings, we can let them go by ‘crowding them out’. Crowding out cravings means eating or drinking other things in their place. Sugar is one of the most common foods we crave. If you crave sugar try this:
Eat lots of veggies with your nighttime meal. Vegetables are full of fiber, which fills us up. It can relieve us of the need for something sweet.
Eat sweet roasted vegetables one or two times a week. Choose a pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, beetroot, and onions. They make a meal in themselves or as part of a roasted meat. They can satisfy our sweet tooth, and they are really nutritious.
Drink water liberally before a meal. This helps us to feel satisfied and full after the meal.
Eat a piece of fruit instead of something that is full of sugar. Fruit has sugar in it but is much better for you than half a tub of ice-cream.
Sometimes we crave food that is good for us. For example: If we find ourselves craving food like certain vegetables, fish, or even dairy, this may mean we are deficient in something. The very food we are craving often contains nutrients we are missing in our diet. If it’s dairy, we might need more calcium in our diet. If it is meat, we might need more protein.
If you are craving foods other than addictive things like sugar or coffee, You could investigate that food, and find out what vitamins and minerals it contains. This could be a clue to something you are missing in your diet.
Craving seasonal foods
We can also crave different foods during different seasons. We can tune ourselves into following what our bodies are wanting as the seasons change. Eating seasonally and locally can mean our food is fresher and tastier because the food hasn’t traveled halfway around the globe to get to us.
It is winter here in Brisbane and I am loving eating Brussel sprouts, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. I love them steamed with butter and a combination of fresh herbs, or cooked up with small bits of bacon, crumbled walnuts, and feta cheese.
Tap into, and learn something about your cravings – It’s an adventure into the unknown, and who knows what you might learn about yourself.