Changing ones diet would be a walk in the park if it weren’t for food cravings. So one important task while changing your diet is to understand what causes your food cravings. There are many underlying causes for cravings. Let’s discover some of them.
You lack micronutrients
Your food consists of macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat and micronutrients like minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. The intake of macro- and micronutrients have to be in balance. Unfortunately, nowadays processed boxed foods lack micronutrients, which creates an unbalance in the body.
For instance insufficient mineral levels create salt cravings. And with an overall poor diet you are likely to crave equally poor food sources such as sugar or caffeine that provide you with an instant energy fix.
The solution to this craving problem is simple, base your diet on whole foods and reduce packaged foods.
Your are dehydrated
Water is a nutrient. The body is roughly made up of 70% water. A lack of water can manifest itself as a feeling of mild hunger in the body.
So next time you get hungry try to drink a glass of water first and see if the food craving persist.
Your are detoxifying
On a cleanse we are going through a period of discharge. The body is getting rid of toxins and even memories. On my first juice cleanse I had cravings for all kind of things, mainly unhealthy food items that I really loved like cinnamon buns, rice pudding and fries.
Can you distract yourself? Go for a 10 minute walk and see if you still crave the cinnamon bun. If you do mix some cinnamon with almond milk and see if the craving continues. Maybe it’s not the cinnamon but the icing or the texture you miss? Peel your craving like an onion and see what you’re left with and why.
You are addicted
This might seem harsh but I think at the essence of the problem there is a similarity between a drug addiction and a food addiction in regards to cravings. Is there a food item you simply can’t live without or maybe even experience withdrawal symptoms?
Let me assure you that our bodies do not depend on any food item. If you are addicted to a food, than this should give you food for thought. Decide if you are ready for a change or not.
Your hormones are out of whack
Hormonal fluctuations can cause cravings in men and women. This one is a hard one to figure out by ourself. Adrenal fatigue or constipation to name a few can play into this as well. If you suspect your hormones to be the root cause of your cravings, talk to a professional.
You had too much of one thing
The Chinese wisdom calls it Yin-Yang balance meaning that every force has an opponent. Sun – moon. Female – male. Salt – sugar. Cold – hot.
You probably have experienced an urge for greasy fatty food after a night out drinking. Alcohol is sugar. Very seldom do we crave more sugar with alcohol but foods that counter act the effect. That’s your body trying to regain balance. Awesome isn’t it?
You are eating too much acid or alkaline food
You might have heard that alkaline foods are considered good foods for you. But that is just because we tend to eat more foods that are acid forming like meat and sugar. The body must maintain a blood pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Otherwise we die in a hurry. So if your diet contains too much acid forming foods you might crave alkalizing fruits or vegetables.
Bad bacteria are taking over
Sounds scary, is scary. Every person has a colony of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Bad bacteria have the super power to convince you that you should eat foods they feed on and that is mainly sugar and starch.
In this case your top priority should be to support the good bacteria to rebuild and rebalance the intestinal flora. Probiotic and fiber rich foods are a great way to start. But an overhaul of your diet is something you should consider.
You have conditioned yourself
Just like Pavlov’s dog you have trained yourself that after a stimulus you get a treat. Find out what your stimulus is. The clock showing 3pm? A task at work finished? Doing dishes after dinner? Passing that particular bakery? When you have found your stimulus you can try to create a new habit.
You are an emotional eater
We have all been there. For whatever reason we are feeling sorry for ourselves. And the best cure is an intense talk-it-over with our best friend chocolate ice cream. Too often we fill a void in our life with food – and that is not kale or spinach.
Are you stressed or bored when cravings strike? Do you fell uninspired, dissatisfied, undervalued or mistreated? Getting to know your feelings is the first step for this one.
No one said it would be easy. It is close to impossible to say with 100% certainty what causes food cravings. After all it can be a combination of all the mentioned factors. However, having some understanding of common causes can be a great step to deconstruct your food cravings. But it all comes down to one thing: your body is telling you that something is not in balance.