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May 12, 2014

4 Ways to Cope With Food Cravings.

Albert Kurniawan at Pixoto

I am a firm believer in giving into what our bodies need based on instinct and desire.

But what if that desire can be satisfied with other food sources that aren’t necessarily the processed sugary, fatty, salty kinds?

There are ways to tap into the internal rumblings of your gut that don’t necessarily equate to overindulging on too much of any one type of foods which tends to cause more inflammation to our systems than we anticipated. I always say that any food source accompanied by a T.V. commercial is no food at all.

We have transcended into a society where what we witness through ads and infomercials is a desperate population needing a nutrition fix because we are just too busy to grow food, shop local, and create healthy meals. But, a craving can go much deeper than the body’s actual response to outside stimuli.

It might take a few roundabout ways to harness what is exactly happening, and why we feel compelled to give in to the cravings.

I think it is human to have random cravings. I continue to attest to crave crunchy things when I’m nervous, dark chocolate when I need inspiration, vegetables when I feel I’m not matching my daily requirement, and grapefruit when my blood sugar needs a bit of stabilizing. Listening to your body is primary, but so are a few other well-documented techniques that might help with curtailing those moments when you are tempted to reach for the entire bag of chips.

Here are four excellent alternatives to this type of mindset that will be beneficial with daily practice:

Meditation

Simply sitting still for a minimum of five minutes every single day will make an impact on your health. Scientists are discovering that daily meditation and focusing on the breath can alter the course of your thoughts and overall wellness forever.

If you are feeling lost within your nutritional path, take a time out, breathe, and get to the root of why you feel the need to reach for everything that is completely wrong for your body. If you gave in to the random cravings, it goes against what the body might truly be screaming for. Some days, having a mid-afternoon coffee and piece of dark chocolate break is precisely what the body needs. Other times, it can be an antidote for fighting off some other inside reaction to outside grievances. Meditation helps to listen, gain awareness, and perhaps make a better craving decision.

Exercise

Take a few 20 minute breaks throughout the day to burn some of that energy that is so focused on giving in to processed food cravings.

If you don’t have the means (ie. work in a cubicle corporate job, or are an emergency physician, or are simply feeling too busy to move) I suggest standing in place and jumping up and down and creating some rifts in the workplace. I mean, why not? Health insurance costs that are absorbed by big companies would decrease, your body will feel awesome, and you might even forget about reaching for that bag of potato chips around 3 p.m. Exercise, in any manner, is the absolute best remedy for any food cravings that might not be so healthy in the long run.

Conversations

Discussing what’s going on with you to a friend, loved one, or coworker, gives your brain and heart the impetus to question the cravings.

Maybe that person you are speaking with is feeling the exact same way and wanting to stuff the same amount of Girl Scout cookies in her (or his) mouth. By simply having a conversation about the ins and outs of processed sugar or other highly labeled foods, this might diminish the craving altogether. Then, the two of you, or group, or team, can round up some raw organic trail mix and a six-pack of coconut water and continue on with the day. Blood sugar levels will be more than grateful.

Information

There is no better way to learn about healthy nutrition than reading and learning through books and quality websites on the internet. Having a few different opinions and options for what constitutes good food and meaningful snacking is bonus to the constantly craving mindset.

Most of the information that is swirling around the technology world is full of seasoned and licensed professionals who know a thing or two about how to eat and what the purpose of each food is, and why some are more beneficial than others. It’s what they do on an hourly basis. They research. They test their methods (hopefully not on animals). These health professionals have years of background knowledge to enlighten the average human as to why any food cravings might be coming up, what to do with them, and whether the particular diet you’ve chosen is contributing to craving something completely off-the-charts-not-good-for-you.

Cravings are real and they are emotional. Getting to the bottom of what it means for you can make the difference between a healthy diet, and one that might benefit from some tweaking.

 

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Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Albert Kurniawan at Pixoto

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