January 19 2017
Ever wanted some chocolate or chips or candy or just a can of spray cheese so bad that you just go for the whole thing and hate yourself afterwards when you feel bloated and disgusting? Like anything else that seems to randomly occur in our bodies, it really isn’t so random. When we get cravings, we are actually craving more specific nutrients that are, in that moment, missing from our bodies. Rather than eat heavy amounts of food that will likely clog your arteries, raise your cholesterol and glycemic index or are just plain unhealthy, wouldn’t it be good to know how to de-code your cravings and find healthier alternatives? Well, I did the research so you don’t have to, and here are the alternatives!
One of the most common cravings we hear about is chocolate, with women especially. Without stereotyping a gender, women really crave chocolate when they are on their periods, but there is an actual reason behind this. When you are craving chocolate, especially on your period, there is a good chance that you have a magnesium deficiency. Since chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains a sufficient amount of magnesium in it, it makes a fair amount of sense that a menstruating woman who is losing blood would crave magnesium, or anyone who is experiencing a magnesium deficiency. No one is telling you to give up chocolate entirely, and if anyone is, get rid of them, no one needs that kind of negativity. However, a healthy replacement could be beans, carob, raw cacao nibs, greens or fruit which all contain magnesium and will help get rid of your craving without containing a bunch of unwanted calories and sugar. Maybe it’s not chocolate you’re craving; maybe it’s something more fatty and creamy and salty, like cheese. If that is the case then you might be looking at a calcium and/or essential fatty acid deficiency. Try some flax oil mixed into your salad or chia seeds or walnuts or maybe some broccoli or kale. Broccoli and kale are also good if you frequently have cravings for fizzy drinks, which could mean a calcium deficiency. Generally speaking, cravings for sweets mean low blood sugar, tryptophan deficiency, chrome deficiency phosphorus deficiency and/or sulphur deficiency. To treat low blood sugar, fruit (which is full of natural sugar), high fibre foods such as beans or spinach, complex carbs or cinnamon (which is really good for balancing blood sugar levels) should do the trick. As for tryptophan deficiency, spirulina, or oatmeal, sweet potato or raisins should help balance it out. For a chromium deficiency, stick with onion, tomato, romaine lettuce and grapes. Phosphorus deficiency can be helped with a number of different grains, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and legumes like pinto beans and lentils. Sulphur deficiency could be satiated with cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts or kale as well as horseradish, garlic and onion. It just goes to show that many less than healthy food cravings can easily be replaced by something more favorable for your health, at least when it comes to delicious, albeit unhealthy fare like sweets or cheese.
However, maybe your cravings are not too sweet or rich, maybe they are directed a bit more towards stimulants like coffee. If you have an itch that only caffeine can scratch, you have the following likely deficiencies: Sulphur, iron, sodium or phosphorous, or you just really need some sleep. We already know what to do with phosphorous and sulphur deficiencies, however, iron deficiency can be fixed by dark leafy green vegetables as well as seaweed, beans and foods containing natural sources of vitamin C for rapid absorption of the iron. Sodium can be balanced in the body with fermented items such as kombucha, kimchi or vinegar. Tobacco, is something that should just be eliminated from your life and supplemented with something healthier regardless, but what tobacco can leave you deficient of, thankfully, can easily be replaced with a healthy diet rich in tyrosine, avenin (found in gluten), and silicon.
It is also important to take a look at your eating patterns to find what could be good or bad in your food intake or eating habits. If you are lacking any appetite and are not consuming an excessive amount of caffeine or tobacco, it could mean you are deficient in vitamins B1 and B3 as well as chloride and manganese, meaning that your diet is probably lacking whole grains, certain fruits like berries and pineapple, seeds and beans. Overeating is usually a notable signal for a lack of vitamins and nutrients and can be fixed with a tyrosine, tryptophan and silicon rich diet as well as protein and vitamin C. If you are one to snack often, but have a hard time eating complete meals, that just means you really need a detox and to do a dietary overhaul. It has been mentioned in previous entries that if you analyze your body enough, it will tell you what it needs or what is going on. It is important to try to keep ourselves healthy and to be conscious of what we consume. Our cravings may lead us to some unhealthy sources of nutrition, but hopefully we can crack the codes to what our bodies really need.