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Sugar. Awww Honey, Honey. And Cravings

We all have our vices right? Butter pecan ice cream, rum & coke, smoking, double cheeseburgers…. Peanut butter is mine by the way. I’ll just stick my hand in there like Winnie the Pooh in a jar of honey and tear that stuff up. Point is, cravings are going to come. So how do we deal with them and what do they really mean? Well, giddy up!

What the hell are cravings anyway?

You might be surprised that food cravings are not really related to hunger very often. Cravings revolve more around us seeking pleasure than satisfying actual hunger. So you may be asking why do we tend to crave sugary or fatty foods. It goes back to that satisfaction line. Fats and sugary foods release chemicals into our bloodstream known as opioids. These opioids bind to receptors in our noodle upstairs and for a brief period of time give us a feeling of pleasure.

Food cravings actually begin when we were wee little folk in our mommy’s tummy. I am not a doctor but upon my research, I have found that at some point along the second trimester our bodies develop both the sense of smell and taste. It is at this point that we can decipher various flavors or tastes (source McGowan). Depending on your mother’s diet it is very possible for it to percolate into her breast milk. This can explain some of our cravings later in life.

So what the heck do I do about it!

First I think that it is important to touch on the possibility that what we are craving at the time may really just be a vitamin deficiency. Below is a quick study that the folks over at put out. Click the link for a full outline.

Craving                       What you need                      Where you can get it

Chocolate                   Magnesium                            Nuts, and fruits
Sweets                        Chromium                             Broccoli, cheese
Fatty food                    Calcium                                 Broccoli, kale, cheese
Coffee                          Iron                                        Meat, fish, blk cherries
Soda                           Calcium                                  Broccoli, kale, cheese
Overeating                  Silicon                                     Nuts, seeds
No appetite                B1, B3                                     Nuts, organ meat, tuna, beef,

Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me. But forget that for a second. I know you just want to know what the heck you can do to combat those cravings. Well here is a full-proof plan baby!           

Drink some ol’ h20

More often than not when you think you are hungry you are more often thirsty or dehydrated. Drink a cool glass of water and wait a few minutes. Chances are that craving and or hunger will go away. Get in the habit of carrying one around with you at all times… emergency water if you will.

Craving Sweet, then eat sweet

If you are feeling like you really want some sugar try a few strawberries, or a ½ cup of blueberries, or maybe an apple or orange. How about some frozen grapes? Sugar-free jello with whipped cream is an awesome sweet tooth killer as well.

Brush your teeth

I don’t get cravings very often anymore and when I do I was blessed with the ability to eat a single M&M and be done with it. Thanks, Mom for those genes. But when I first went to a paleo and lower carbohydrate style of eating around 20 or so there was a time when I had them pretty bad (about 2-3 weeks). I remember googling what I could do about it and came across brushing my teeth. Sounds crazy I know but it works like no tomorrow man.

Get some ZZZ’s

Tons of cravings are due to the fact that we are not taking care of ourselves in the bedroom…ummmm….get your head out of the gutter peoples. I am talking about sleep. I personally slack in this department. I want to make it a priority but I just never can. The lack of sleep screws up your adrenal glands and cortisol levels which can make you crave certain foods and stimulants (coffee, etc…). So try getting a good night’s rest. Put a dark sheet or piece of cloth over your window so that the sunlight can not wake you up in the morning. Sacrifice your favorite show or watching Sports Center for the 10th time in a row.

Just give in

Not all the time but here and there will not kill you. If you can stick with your nutrition/paleo plan 80 to 85% of the time you are in pretty good shape. If you have been eating really well all week long go ahead and reward yourself. You deserve it.

Peace, love, and health