Do you find yourself ordering that pizza, or grabbing a bag of chips from the vending machine? Do you ever wonder WHY you are CRAVING certain foods? Let's dive a little deeper and get to the bottom of your cravings!
1. Emotional Eating
Unhappiness in your personal or work life along with stress or inappropriate exercise can cause emotional eating. Some people may also substitute for entertainment or to fill an emotional void. Avoiding emotional eating can be as simple as eating the proper amount of meals a day along with healthy snacks so that hunger doesn't turn into caving to cravings.
Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration which can also be confused for hunger. It's paramount to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day as it will help reduce cravings, and keep you hydrated.
3. Yin-yang imbalance
Some foods are more yin (expansive) while other foods are more yang (contractive). The lack of yin-yang balance in your diet can cause severe cravings because your body is naturally trying to maintain it's balance. For example, eating a diet rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating a balanced diet will eliminate the possibility of yin-yang type cravings.
Sometimes, cravings come from foods we’ve recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. Eating a healthier version of your ancestral and childhood foods could be one way to still satisfy your craving without eating something extremely unhealthy. Other times, you may crave a food you had a few days day. Using a tongue scraper to get the taste off the tongue could help reduce the craving!
It's not unusual for someone to crave a certain food in a specific season. For instance, 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 heat-producing foods like meat, oil, and fat. Holiday cravings are also very common.... i.e. Christmas cookies, eggnog, turkey and gravy.
6. Lack of Nutrients
A lack of nutrients will confuse the body and create odd cravings. For example, low mineral levels trigger salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition leads to cravings for temporary sources of energy, like caffeine. Lacking a particular amount of protein or carbohydrates can cause unhealthy cravings. Balanced diets can help combat a lack of nutrients.
When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. Any type of personal life changes can also lead to strange cravings.
Self-sabotage is real! When things are going TOO good, you might crave foods that throw you off, and create more cravings to find balance. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.
Bottom line? Cravings are NOT always BAD! Sometimes they're a natural part of life. Deconstructing and recognizing what type of craving you're having allows you to discover the emotional, psychological, physiological imbalances that are occurring in your life, and may make it a little easier to balance yourself back out.
Reference: The Institute for Integrative Nutrition