Almost everyone experiences cravings at some time or another. While sometimes our cravings can seem to overtake our rational thoughts and make us want to eat foods that we know are not good for us, they are not always a bad thing to be scared of.
More often than not, cravings can be a way that your body is telling you something. Maybe you are lacking in a particular nutrient which is why you are craving a particular food. The best thing you can do is to honor your cravings by getting to the root cause of them, and finding out what your body needs.
If you are craving sugar or refined carbohydrates, then the reason for this could be because your body is looking for a quick energy fix. The need for extra energy can come when you are feeling tired and is the reason we often crave sugary foods in the afternoons towards the end of our busy days. You might feel like you must have a chocolate bar for example.
What the body is wanting is a quick fix to help get you through the rest of the day. The best way to avoid having sugar and carb cravings is to make sure you are getting enough sleep each day, and that you eat after doing exercise when your body’s energy reserves are lowest. You should also try and eat meals that provide sustained energy by eating foods that are low in glycemic load.
To create a meal of low GL, whole unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans are great choices. They are high in fiber, which is particularly important because it moderates the speed at which the sugar is absorbed by the body. Also, make sure you include a moderate amount of good fat and lean protein to slow down absorption and increase satiety.
Our bodies are remarkable and are always trying to maintain a state of equilibrium and balance. However, we sometimes will make food choices that upset this balance and your body then tries to compensate for this by sparking a craving for a food that can balance this out.
For example, when we eat too many Yang foods such as red meat, salt, and egg- our body will want some Yin foods to restore balance.
Sugar and alcohol are extreme Yin foods that our body would usually crave when trying to balance out the Yang overload. Armed with this knowledge, you can reduce your sugar cravings by eating less extreme yang foods and instead, choose foods that are more neutral on the spectrum. Examples are whole grains, fish, sea vegetables, beans, root vegetables, and winter squash.
Cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine. Cravings for different flavors or texture can translate to a lack of various nutrients.
If you are craving something crunchy, try eating apples, rice cakes, plain popcorn, or nuts and seeds. To alleviate sugar cravings, try eating fresh, whole fruit, have a wheatgrass shot, or try having baked sweet vegetables such as carrots or sweet potatoes.
Salt cravings can be alleviated by eating olives, pickles, and pickled vegetables, tabouli, hummus, or edamame with sea salt. Healthy creamy cravings can be satisfied by eating avocados, rice pudding, coconut milk, or even a pudding made with silken tofu or mashed banana.
It is common for women to experience unique cravings at the times they are going through menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. This is caused by fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels and they can be difficult to control.
Preventing hormone disruption and imbalance by getting plenty of sleep, eating a wholesome diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, and doing regular exercise can keep your hormones- and the associated cravings- in check.
Cravings can be caused by dehydration. Our body often misinterprets the sensation of thirst and translates that into hunger. Next time when you feel your cravings coming on, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes and see if you are still hungry.
The key is to get in tune with your body so that you can figure out exactly why your body is craving what it is, and to then feed your body what it needs to make the cravings go away. The more mindful you can become of the triggers and signs, the better you will be able to control your cravings and stop them from coming on again.
If you’ve been thinking that starvation is the secret to being in tip-top shape, you better think again. The perfect diet, at least according to us, does not involve deprivation (or misery). We encourage our readers to be food enthusiasts who look forward to their next meals.
However, how is it even possible to eat to get slim? The trick here is to consume foods that promote satiety. Some foods are more filling than others. The more nutritious and filling foods with very few calories are those that are packed with fiber and protein. The following are some foods that can seriously fill you up without causing any weight gain:
Always go for 100 percent whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice. These options are highly filling and the fiber helps balance your blood sugar levels.
This makes oatmeal an excellent breakfast choice, unlike your traditional sugar-laden cereals because it stabilizes your blood sugar and helps curb unwanted cravings for the day. Add in a protein by using milk in your oatmeal or by having chicken with your brown rice.
Not a lot of people know about black rice but boy, does it pack a nutritional punch at an amazing amount of calories. Half a cup of cooked black rice will give you 90 calories versus 108 in brown rice. Besides, it’s packed with antioxidants and fiber and has very little carbohydrates compared to other rice types. Instead of having it as a main, add it to your salads, wraps, and side dishes.
Legumes are excellent filling foods as they give you a hefty dose of fiber and protein. Research shows that they may even help prevent many diseases, apart from keeping weight off your waistline. Beans consist of complex carbs, a myriad of antioxidants, fiber, and other vital nutrients.
Our favorites our chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, black-eyed pea, edamame, black beans, and fava beans. All these options work great in salads, stews, and wraps!
Despite their bad rap, potatoes are a powerful craving extinguisher. According to one study, boiled potatoes were the highest-ranked filling food, among other healthy foods such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice. People felt fuller and ate less after having them. Just make sure you either bake or boil and not fry. Sweet potatoes are great too!
A study found that those who consumed eggs for breakfast ate fewer calories throughout the day compared to those who had a bagel. Eggs are a complete protein source, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce.
These amino acids stimulate the release of hormones that help suppress your appetite and keep you satiated for long periods. Here’s a tip: Don’t throw away the yolks!
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