The Case Against Cravings

Today I want to talk a bit about something we all deal with from time to time – cravings. They come and they go, and for some of us, it’s a daily thing. Some of us crave the sweets like chocolate and ice cream, while others of us crave the salt like fries and chips. For me? It’s a little bit of both..

Nonetheless, they are apparent, they are annoying, and they are real. But why do we get them?

According to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, these are the top primary causes of cravings:

  • Lack of primary foods – being dissatisfied in a relationship or having a less than satisfactory exercise routine, being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking spiritual practice may all cause cravings.
  • Water – Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well-balanced.
  • Yin-Yang Imbalance – Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contrastive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vice versa.
  • Inside Coming Out – Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.
  • Seasonal – Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods, and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions, and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil, and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog, or sweets.
  • Lack of Nutrients – If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.
  • Hormonal – When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels
  • may cause unique cravings.
  • De-Evolution – When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings

If you focus on these 8 primary causes of cravings and work on becoming mindful of them, you may just be able to fix those nagging cravings, after all! 

What are some of the cravings that attack you the most?

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