Do you ever suffer from cravings that make it seem IMPOSSIBLE to make healthful decisions?
If so, I've got some timely tricks up my sleeve that may be exactly what you need to get back in the swing of things post Halloween-candy/Holiday craziness. They're also for those of you who are just making the (often craving-ridden) transition to a paleo way of life.
But before we get into how to beat cravings, I think it's important to remember that NOT all cravings are created equal. In fact some cravings are actually a GOOD thing.
During my studies at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, I learned that cravings come in three varieties:
1. Destructive = cravings for foods that you may be addicted to and that may harm your health such as sugar, wheat, dairy and processed foods.
2. Associative = cravings for foods that have a positive association with certain memories, people, places and times in your life.
3. Supportive = cravings for foods high in nutrients that your body NEEDS.
As you can see, supportive cravings can be GOOD, destructive cravings can be BAD, and associative cravings can go either way. So the first step to taming your cravings is to identify the type of craving you're having.
Once you've identified the craving as destructive (a good sign being that you ONLY want to eat poor quality, processed or high sugar/gluten foods) then it's time to take action! Because when you don't, these cravings can derail your health.
Here are my 5 favorite ways to keep your cravings in check:
1. Take 10 long, sssslllooooowwww deep breaths.
Many times destructive cravings are the result of stress. And even though stress is a reality of modern life, we can help take our body out of the stress response by simply breathing deeply and making a conscious effort to relax. It's true. Many times just slowing down is all it takes to watch your cravings disappear.
2. Drink a glass of water with a pinch of sea salt.
Cravings can also simply mean you're thirsty. So after you've taken some deep breaths, find 16 ounces of high quality, filtered water sprinkle in a dash of mineral-rich sea salt (Colimo!) and drink away. It's amazing how often a little relaxation, hydration and mineral boost is all it takes.
>> Order my favorite sea salt here!
3. Try raw Cacao "Hot Chocolate."
When water and relaxation aren't cutting it, dilute one tablespoon of raw organic cacao in 8 ounces of hot water. It's kind of like hot chocolate and the raw cacao is brimming with neurotransmitters that make you feel happy! If you need to sweeten it up a bit, try a drop or two of organic liquid stevia, but it's actually great without it. I learned this tip from Dr. Jade Teta and it works like a charm especially during “that” time of the month ladies.
4. L-glutamine or Gymnema Sylvester.
L-glutamine stabilizes blood sugar, supports gut health AND stops cravings in their tracks. So when you have a craving, take a 500 mg capsule and dump it straight onto your tongue. It's crazy but cravings can literally disappear within a few minutes. Please don't use this supplement if you suffer from bipolar disorder.
>> Order my favorite L-glutamine here!
There's also another supplement called Gymnema sylvester that also helps nix even the most powerful cravings. Try 4 grams (3 times a day!) for best results. If you aren't seeing the benefits, you can increase each dosage to up to 8 grams.
>> Order my favorite Gymnema Sylvester here!
*Please remember if you have an underlying medical condition or are taking medication, please consult your health care practitioner before adding supplements.
When all else fails....upgrade your craving by choosing a healthier version. For example, if you're looking for ice cream or sorbet, try my guilt-free acai bowl. It's cold, satisfying, creamy and sweet enough to annihilate your cravings while sparing your health.
Here's what you do. In a high-powered blender combine:
- 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. organic almond butter
- 2 pastured egg yolks
- 1 pack unsweetened acai (I love this brand!)
- 1 scoop of Paleovalley's vanilla whey or other high quality vanilla-flavored protein powder
- Handful of organic blueberries (optional!)
- Top with organic hemp seeds, organic blueberries, almonds, cashews, pistachios, strawberries, cacao nibs or coconut flakes!
Hopefully, by implementing the tips above you'll be craving-free in no time! BUT, if you're not, there are a few lifestyle tweaks you may want to consider to help prevent cravings in the first place:
- Get enough SLEEP.
Even one night of inadequate sleep has been shown empirically to result in unstable blood sugar that increases cravings for carbohydrate-rich and poor quality foods.
- Don't skip meals!
Eating regularly keeps your blood sugar levels stable which prevents cravings and the mood shifts that can cause them.
- Take B Vitamins.
B vitamins, specifically B6 and B12 will help reduce sugar cravings and also provide energy. Get excited because we have a natural, high quality B vitamin supplement coming your way in the next few weeks! In the meantime, just be sure to use a co-enzymated B supplement.
>> Order my favorite B vitamin supplement here!
- Watch the LONG cardio sessions.
Long cardio sessions can trigger cravings. So ditch them and use HIIT (high intensity interval training!) instead! Sometimes less is MORE.
And please remember that every destructive craving you overcome is one step closer to a Processed-food and CRAVING-FREE life. As a teen I was obsessed with Dorito's, banana-flavored Laffy Taffy and Sour Patch Kids. I craved them every day. But after 4 years of diligent adherence to a whole foods diet (and a few of the tips I shared above!) I don't crave candy, chips, cookies, cakes or any other processed foods at all. Not even during my pregnancy.
Talk about liberating! And I know this is possible for you, too!
So get curious about your cravings and use my tips to beat the destructive ones!