From salty cheese-laden pizza to a great hulking slab of chocolate cake, cravings can seem to be an irresistible force of nature. But are they all that they seem or is your brain trying to trick your body? Food cravings are easily misinterpreted and often sees us burning with shame as we reach for something we know we will regret later. Without forcing a junk food guilt narrative, for those who don’t want to give in to their surface desires, here’s what your foodie cravings could be really trying to say when you scratch beneath the surface…
Getting an urge to turn to cakes and chocolate, ice-cream and all those high-sugar delights is a craving we can all comprehend. If you don’t want to reach for the doughnuts just yet, it helps to try to recognize that your body is having a low blood sugar crash and probably needs some kind of energy kick. If you turn to fast sugar, this is going to lead to a spike and a crash and probably make you feel worse. Avoid those crash and burn bites by ensuring you have slow-release carbs throughout the day. We can also turn to nature’s candy by reaching for a handful of bright berries or fruit to fight the craving.
Potato chips, French fries, and junk food burgers; a salt craving can see a huge kick in longing for heavy carb-laden salty delights. If the idea of a fatty salt coma isn’t going to cut it, then understand that your body is probably asking for electrolytes. Instead of giving in and feasting on French fries, turn instead to a handful of nuts and seeds. Boost your energy levels with vitamin B and drink coconut water for that burst of electrolyte-rich goodness.
Whether its gobbling fistfuls of sharp and tangy cheddar or sheepishly devouring a whole baked camembert, cheese sure is a dam fine drug. While it's rich in calcium and protein, there is always too much of a good thing. Instead of chewing on a block of parmesan, your cheese craving could be because you have a deficiency in either calcium or protein, or it could be a sign of simple hunger pangs calling your name. If you are looking to reduce your cheese intake, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on a salad or avocado can cut through the noise.
We all joke about being caffeine junkies and many of us are bleary-eyed and blank headed until we’ve had that good old cup of joe. Before reaching for the pot of coffee, its worth noting that your body may simply be dehydrated and crying out for water. Try drinking a large glass of water before coffee and let that sit in your system. Of course, if caffeine is a part of your daily routine then your body is sure to be craving that as it is an addictive source. If you still want the caffeine-like buzz, then there are coffee alternatives you can turn to – matcha tea, carob powder, yerba mate, and fizzy kombucha are a few natural pick me ups.
A big pile of pasta on a rainy day always sounds alluring to the body, as does a hot loaf or bagel smothered in cream cheese. The body craves carbs when blood sugar and energy is low or when your insulin level is high. Carbs aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but the number one rule of a healthy diet remains – everything in balance. Instead of delving into the heavy starchy carbs, swap out the endless pasta and rice for fiber rich carb offerings like apples and bananas and raucous root vegetables. If you do go down the carb route, swap your white pasta, rice and bread for a whole meal version.
Which cravings catch you out? Share in the comments.