A craving is an intense desire to eat a specific food! It is often not connected to hunger but instead an emotional or psychological response in the brain!
However, some cravings can also be due to nutritional deficiencies and chemical reactions in the body!
For example, I recently went to Florida on my holiday. The food was just awful!!! On my return I craved a plate of vegetables – particularly broccoli. I literally ate an entire plate of broccoli when I got home!
For me, this craving was due to a complete deficit of any real food whilst on holiday! It seems vegetables are a rarity in Florida, or particularly in Disney!!!!
During pregnancy we can crave all manner foods.
Your body is very clever and by listening to its signals you can really help yourself and your baby. For example; it is very common to crave sweets during pregnancy but what is your body really telling you? It maybe that you haven’t eaten enough calories, or you’ve gone too long between each meal or snack and your blood sugars are too low. Instead of grabbing that bag of sugar, E numbers and goodness knows what else, try eating a banana and see how your body responds to the natural sugar. A craving for meat could be your body asking for more zinc or protein. When you crave a food, try to think what your body is really asking for or seeking out. A craving for ice or non-food items can be a sign that your iron levels are low.
Cravings for certain foods can definitely give you an indication of which nutrients you need.
For the most part, though, cravings tend to come from an emotional response.
We may crave a glass of wine because we think it’s giving us something we think we need at that moment i.e. stress release, calming, energy!
We may crave a certain food because it reminds us of a place or time.
We will often think we are craving a food when really we are wanting to suppress an emotion or fill a void!
Remember craving means an INTENSE desire. How often is our emotional eating really a craving!?
Most of our so-called cravings are just a habit we have formed. We have the habit that tea goes with biscuits, movie goes with popcorn, Friday night is gin o’clock etc etc.
When you think about it, it is incredibly rare for us to actually crave a food or drink that is good for us! This is intelligence enough to know this is not coming from a place of service!
So, why do you crave sweet or savoury or both?
The main food group we will crave is sugar. This is because we need sugar to survive. We are hard-wired to seek out sugar. Sugar used to be scarce and only available in fruits and vegetables. We would have needed to forage for it and so our brain is very good, too good in fact at letting us know levels are dropping. Even a slight drop can ignite an emergency situation ion the body!
Our body did not know that we could just go to the corner shop and buy an enormous bar of chocolate at a moment’s notice!
Some people prefer savoury foods but even these savoury options are typically carb based. Think crisps, crackers etc. ALL carb based! And carbs are sugar!
When we are under stress our adrenal glands (the ones producing the stress hormones) have a liking for salt. So, a craving for salt can indicate a person under stress.
When we ignite a stress response, we also flood the body with sugar from the cells. This will also make us want sugar. So, we can crave both at different times of the day when we are under stress!
If you find yourself craving certain foods at certain times of the month, this will be due to the hormones. Hormones affect our blood sugars!!! Sex hormones are also produced by the adrenals so again if we are also stressed then we put these poor little glands under pressure.
They will then ask to be fed so out come the crisps! And then the blood sugar in the cells drop (because they been dumped and moved to the muscles) and so out come the chocolate buttons!!
Understanding why you crave is vital. Understanding your emotional response is key if you want to control these cravings.
Emotional eating and drinking are so powerful.
If you want to free yourself from it, I have the solution for you.