What do your cravings mean?
By Bianca Baker, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
A craving is a powerful desire to have something and in today’s case, we are discussing food. If you have missed part 1 of this series, I highly suggest you go and take a look at it. You can find the post here. We talk about cheese, chocolate, dairy, ice cream and red meat. Today, we will be chatting all about carbohydrates, sweets, coffee and a little random craving that I didn’t think was all that common until I took notice of it. Let’s jump in!
White, Refined Carbohydrates
Craving white, refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta could suggest blood sugar imbalances. This is because of a spike and then a crash in blood sugar. To combat that, include good quality sources of protein into your diet to help keep your body’s blood sugar balanced. Proteins such as eggs, oats, dairy, seeds, and legumes are very good for that. Also, you want to focus on eating whole-grain carbohydrates rather than white carbohydrates where possible.
A Carbohydrates and Fat Combination
If you crave pizza or fries, you struggle with this kind of craving. The combination of fat and carbohydrates can be one of two things.
Firstly, it may be your body looking for good-old comfort food. Try some foods that are rich in Omega 3 to give your dopamine levels a boost as it is your “feel good” transmitter in your brain. This includes oily fish like salmon and sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Secondly, your body may just be looking for a nutrient-dense meal. It is craving something that includes at least 2 macronutrients (often it may include a protein source of some kind as well, think pepperoni on pizza). However, pizza is not a good nutrient-dense meal, it just contains the 3 macronutrients our body is after. So, when you are looking for a nutrient-dense meal, oftentimes our body thinks of something quick, easy and tasty (fast food) that will fit into the category of having these “nutrients”. So next time you struggle, try to eat more complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat or brown rice as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. This will give your body all more micronutrients it needs while containing the macronutrients it wants. A good tip for this is making sure you always have healthy snacks on hand so that you have a grab-and-go meal that is nutrient-dense so you don’t have to turn to pizza.
I don’t suffer from this craving at all but I know so many people that do! Jelly beans, skittles, hard candies, and wine gums! If you’re nodding your head, this one is for you! If you suffer from sweet cravings, this could include anything with high sugar content, there is a good chance it is because of a drop in your blood sugar. This is possible because your body is not getting regular food and your blood sugar is yo-yo-ing. Try incorporating foods that are rich in chromium into your diet. This helps boost the effectiveness of insulin in the body. It also helps your metabolism and the storage of macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates).
Foods that are rich in chromium include beef, barley, broccoli and potatoes. Adding cinnamon can also help regulate your blood sugar so instead of reaching for a sweet packet, maybe try an apple with some cinnamon and nut butter.
Your body is most likely looking for an energy boost when craving caffeine. Changing your diet can help you lessen the amount of coffee or tea you drink in a day. Your body is likely looking for energy because you have not rested enough or because you have had a blood sugar spike and then dip. Ensuring quality sleep of 6-8 hours a night while reducing your screen time before bed can help improve your rest. To improve your blood sugar levels try eating nutrient-dense meals throughout the day. A nutrient-dense meal includes healthy fat, complex carbohydrates, and good lean protein. This can be in the form of a smoothie for breakfast, a salad or leftovers of dinner for lunch and a good healthy colourful meal for dinner. Remember, your body needs nutrients to sustain itself, not just-food.
This craving is pretty common. This is not just a craving that pregnant women have. The cause of this craving is usually due to acid deficiency. Your body is low on acid and therefore craves vinegar. Think things like pickles, balsamic dressing and on some counts maybe even the pickle liquid. If your body is low on acid, try drinking some lemon water in the mornings. This will help start your metabolism, detox your liver, help balance your pH levels and kick start the acid production in your body.
If you have enjoyed diving into your cravings and would like a more in-depth dive into your own body, feel free to book a complimentary consult today and let’s see how we can work together to understand your body and overcome your cravings!
Bianca Baker is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and offers appointments at Local Health Integrative Clinic Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Click here to book an appointment with Bianca.