Cravings, we all get them, whether that be for food or drink or even sleep
But have you ever stopped to think that maybe our clever bodies are craving something for a reason?
Believe it or not, when you have a craving, it’s because your body is in genuine need of something..
But what do cravings mean and should we be giving into them?!
Let’s take sugar for example, when it hits that evening slump and all you can think about is demolishing some biscuits or chocolate its because of 2 things:
A– Your body has probably used up a fair bit of its glycogen stores by this point
B– It genuinely needs to replenish and restore both liver and muscle glycogen that you’ve been running off all day
In fact, we are always subconsciously preparing for starvation- clever huh?
In the same sense… when you drop your calories TOO low, your body will actually slow down your metabolism so much so it can hold on to as much fat as possible because it has gone into what’s known as ‘starvation mode’.
Hunger may be controlled by our stomachs, but it’s hormones and the brain that are in control of our cravings 😉
Let’s talk about chocolate 😉
According to research, chocolate is actually the most craved food (especially in America) endorsed by 40% of all women and 15% of men.
It has been described as a stimulant, relaxant, euphoriant, aphrodisiac, tonic and antidepressant with regards to the effects it can have on our mood. It has long been recognised that chocolate interacts with neurotransmitters that contribute to mood modulation and appetite regulation.
In essence, it can release serotonin; the happy hormone 🙂
But why might we actually crave it?
Studies suggests that dietary deficiencies in Magnesium are one of the main reasons we crave chocolate (see, I told you our bodies were craving certain things for a reason 😉 )
So should you ignore it or give in?!
Well, both really. I’m not saying yes, head to Tesco and buy the biggest bar of chocolate you can find then justify eating it because you read you were magnesium deficient. BUT what you can do is;
-Have some raw cacao – I personally love using Kaizen Living to make my own chocolate or include it baking goods!
-Have a few squares of dark or raw chocolate (the darker the better)
-Have some nuts; cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds are all fantastic sources of Magnesium
It all comes down to moderation NOT deprivation, suppressing or tabooing foods will only result in stronger cravings, may result in binges, feelings of guilt etc
After all, we all know chocolate is good for the soul right 😉
Another massively craved food is actually cheese believe it or not..
But the reason why we crave it is actually still disputed.
See some Doctors argue it’s due to a Calcium deficiency where as others argue it’s actually due to a Fatty acid deficiency- so here’s where it definitely gets personal.
If you eat a diet low in essential omega 3 fatty acids, you may not each fish for example, then you would most likely be craving cheese due to this specific deficiency.
But if you do find yourself eating fish regularly, especially fish rich in omegas then it may be due the fact you’re lacking in Calcium.
So what can you do to combat this?
Experiment with your cravings, make a note of what you’re craving and what types of foods you’ve been eating recently- the more you cut out the more you’ll crave.
If you’re not a massive fan of fish then try chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and even flaxseed oil for fantastic sources of Omega acids.
Don’t neglect your Omega essential fatty acids, they are vital for your hormones, preventing clotting and reducing inflammation
So what about Calcium sources if you’re not fussed on cheese?
Look at at these alternative (non dairy) sources of foods rich in Calcium- chia seeds have cropped up again too.
If you’re not sure how to use them in your diet then I could write an entire post on it to help 🙂
So this was just a little taster on the massive topic of cravings …
Stay tuned for part 2 where i’ll be delving further into some other weird and wonderful cravings you may have never even considered. I’m also going to have a little guest input from a lady very special to me..
Do you get food cravings? If so which ones?