While food cravings can mean a number of different things (including psychological and physiological stress), a strong food or drink craving indicates your body is low in a specific nutrient, vitamin, or mineral.
You see, the craving is an indication that your body wants to make sure it gets what it needs.
Unfortunately, the difficult part these days is, we have so much processed and unnatural food at our disposal that we often get confused about what our bodies are actually asking for.
Because the truth is, what you eat regularly will tend to be closer to what your body will crave… And if you eat poorly, you’ll crave low quality foods.
Think about it, when was the last time you said, “I’m really craving some broccoli right now?”
By having some knowledge about what our food cravings really mean, it may help us to squash (vegetable pun) unhealthy habits and limit poor food choices.
Take a look at the chart below, and tell me if one (or all) of those cravings hit home for you.
What do you see?
What your food cravings really mean…
1. Chocolate – May indicate the need for magnesium, chromium, B-vitamins and/or essential fatty acids. Chocolate is high in magnesium so it is best to reach for the 100% cocoa (that’s not your everyday milk chocolate) and eat the darkest chocolate you can find. Chocolate is also metabolized to serotonin, a mood boosting hormone. So it is true that your cravings can also be related to some type of an emotional need.
Pro Tip – Retire from your competitive eating days as “Count Chocola,” and find a new sponsorship… Create relationships with people, and not food.
2. Starchy Carbohydrates – I’m talking white flour based food cravings here. More dangerous than chocolate, this craving may indicate insulin resistance (a pre-cursor to diabetes), hypoglycaemia (blood sugar fluctuations), chromium deficiency and chronic fatigue. Separate to sweet cravings, carbohydrate craving often it can go unnoticed in the average american.
People often crave crackers, biscuits, triscuits, noodles, white breads, chips, etc…
(Triscuits count too)
Include more fiber in your diet for better blood sugar control and eat more chromium and magnesium rich fruits & vegetables such as bananas, apples, apricots, capsicum, spinach, beetroot, avocado, broccoli, celery, chard (silverbeet), carrot and parsnip will help to overcome this craving.
Pro Tip – “Vegetable” is your new safe word.
3. Sugar – Constantly craving sugar (like chocolate) may indicate blood sugar imbalances and mineral deficiencies such as chromium and magnesium. Giving into biscuits, cakes, lollies, soft drinks or other refined sweets will only make the problem worse and cause a blood sugar roller coaster that can also lead to more cravings (it’s a viscous cycle).
Instead of using your mouth as a garbage disposal, choose a low glycemic piece of fruit when you’re craving sweets.
Pro Tip – Substitute the candy apple, for a granny smith.
4. Salt – Aggravated by certain types of stress, hormone fluctuations, and low levels of electrolytes… Salt cravings can be silent and deadly (As in the development hypertension, a.k.a high blood pressure). Instead of reaching for calorically dense, nutrient poor salty foods, chose foods rich in B-vitamins in times of stress. Foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Pro Tip: Drink half your bodyweight in ounces a day of high quality H2O. Similar to sugar cravings, salt cravings can also result from under hydration.
5. Fat –Craving fried foods and other oily foods can indicated a simple essential fatty acid deficiency, simply eating more good quality fats will solve this in a flash.
Pro Tip: Avocado, seeds, and nuts are a good place to start. Get comfortable saying, “I know the guac costs extra.” (That’s a Chipotle joke in case you didn’t catch that)
6. BONUS (Pica) – These are cravings for non-food items such as ice, clay, dirt and chalk. This can often mean an iron deficiency or a SERIOUS health condition, such as cancer. Consume plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds for the prevention of pica.
Pro Tip: Stop reading this article and pick up your phone and go see a physician if you do find yourself craving chalk. (Do it now)
Till next time,
OPEN PREP WOD
Would you rather be missing a finger or have an extra toe?
3 x High Hang Power Snatch
3 x OHS
3 x Hang Power Snatch
3 x OHS
3 x Power Snatch
3 x OHS
Take 15 minutes to build or practice your Snatch
3 Shoulder to Overhead (95/65 lbs)
6 Snatches (95/65 lbs)
12 Burpees Over the Barbell
800 M Run/ 1000 Meter Row
12 Burpees Over the Barbell
6 Power Cleans
3 Shoulder to Overhead
Out of Town WOD
100 Air Squats