Do you experience cravings? Not surprising that many of my clients do. What surprises them is to learn that not all cravings are the body’s need for food. There are many causes of cravings.
The body is amazing in its ability to maintain itself. It knows when to sleep and when to wake. Your heart beats and lungs breathe without needing any effort on your part.
And yes, you may experience cravings, but instead of responding by going to the pantry or refrigerator, pause and listen. Deconstruct your cravings by asking what does my body want and why?
Common Causes of Cravings
Water – many of my clients realize that their cravings are not hunger-based but rather dehydration. Even a headache can be a sign of dehydration.
When you experience a craving, drink a full glass of water and give it time to work in your body.
Lack of Primary Food – primary food refers to aspects of your life that feed your soul rather than your digestion. These would include relationships, career (or purpose), movement, and spirituality.
We have all experienced times when we are lonely and resort to eating comfort foods. Or being bored, stressed, or uninspired in a job may draw you to emotional eating.
Food Energetics – according to traditional Chinese Medicine, certain foods have expanding qualities while others act to contract the body. Hot soups, root vegetables, and meats tend to contract and are more popular in cold months.
Raw fruits and vegetables, grain-based foods, and sweets are expanding.
When you have had a steak and baked potato or a large holiday meal, you may feel full yet you are drawn to a sweet dessert to balance the contraction of what you have eaten.
Seasonal – often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, the body is ready to detoxify and may crave cruciferous vegetables or citrus.
You may even crave foods at certain times based on your family traditions – the foods you look forward to for holiday meals, for example. The seasons also bring desires based on the food energetics mentioned above.
And Even More …
Lack of Nutrients – your body may draw you to eat some unusual foods based on its need for nutrients.
Low magnesium levels can draw you to eat chocolate, but here it’s important to know that dark chocolate is more likely to help.
Likewise, when craving salt, choose your salt sources wisely. Foods made with table salt will cause other depletions, whereas foods made with Himalayan or unbleached sea salt will give sodium and trace minerals that work together.
Hormonal – fluctuating hormones in a woman’s cycle or pregnancy can prompt unique cravings. We’ve all heard strange stories of pregnancy cravings. Even the pre-menstrual period can prompt cravings. Listen and respond carefully.
My primary one with my first pregnancy was for watermelon which was refreshing in the heat of El Paso, Texas, in the late summer.
Here again, ladies, consider what your body may be lacking, and it may be primary food versus edible.
Are Cravings A Deficiency?
Many people view cravings as a weakness. In reality, they may be important messages from your body meant to assist you in maintaining balance.
Become a student of your cravings and explore alternatives to food.
One of the many causes of cravings for you may just be needing a hug or a conversation.