Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Pinpoint the Reasons for and Change Your Cravings

A craving is defined as an urge to eat certain foods. You may crave tastes or a specific food you know will satisfy that taste.  In other words, if you tend to crave something salty, you may translate that as a desire for potato chips, pretzels, foods you know that contain salt.

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There are 6 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent, and pungent.  Most cravings tend to be for sweet or salty foods, hence the plethora of snack foods manufactures to “satisfy” one’s desire for either.  However, a line of snacks has been created over decades to satisfy both sweet and salty tastes,  a combination is now available in familiar kettle corn products, new M&M with pretzels inside.    Due to their availability, it is very easy to select such products for cravings, however, to maintain a healthy body and mind,  it is prudent to train the self when these signals alert one and connect new solutions with the signals.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of  “The Wisdom of Your Cells” endured a lot of negativity for his understanding about how much our bodies are influenced by thought.  The actions of the cells are driven by perceptions of the environment.  The switch is perception; it controls behavior.  The cells read environmental signals then adjust the biology of the body to meet the perception.  Inappropriate perception results in dis-ease.

Likewise, the availability and abundance of consumable products (I think it is wrong to call them food products because you eat them), a.k.a. “junk foods” so-called because they offer no nutritional value to the body, are programmed in our minds with associated pleasures of “crunch” and “soft" and initiated in the first place.

You may crave a food, eat what you think you want but be hungry for it again because the body’s needs were not satisfied.  The craving will continue until your body’s needs are met.

 The eight primary causes of cravings are: 

1. 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.

2. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). 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 vise versa.

4. 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.
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5. 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

6. 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.

7. Hormonal. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. It may also be true of men experiencing andropause

8. 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.  This may also have to do with subconscious tape programming, especially when we are following constructed programs to reduce maintain a certain body weight.

Part II will look at addictions and allergies.

Allison L. Williams Hill is an artist; designer; planner; healer; integrative health coach, and inventor.  She shares her work and services through several web sites:

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A health coach (or health counselor) is a wellness guide and supportive mentor. Together, we’ll work to achieve your goals in areas such as achieving optimal weight, food cravings, sleep and energy. Through working with me, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the foods and lifestyle choices that work best for you and implement lasting changes that will improve your energy, balance and health.  
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