Ever wonder what causes those 3PM cravings for sugar? Perhaps that chocolate ice cream in your fridge at 8 PM? Salty chips? Whether you crave sweet, salty, or savory…take time to sit back and try to deconstruct your cravings. One way to do this is to take a step back and look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as a weakness, but they are Important Messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a raving- try to deconstruct it. Ask yourself, What does my body want and why?
Here are Eight Primary Causes for Cravings:
Lack of Primary Food-Emotional eating can be caused by dissatisfaction in a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong type), being stressed, bored, uninspired by a job or lacking a spiritual practice. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.
Water-Lack of water and dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is to drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings so be sure to balance your intake of water.
Yin/Yang Imbalance-Certain foods have more yin qualities while others have more yang qualities. Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For instance, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for cooked dehydrated foods or vise versa.
Recent/Familiar Foods-Often times, our cravings will stem from foods we have recently eaten or foods from our childhood. You can simply satisfy these cravings by making a healthier version of your favorite comfort or childhood foods.
Seasonal-Seasonal changes can cause people to crave certain foods. For instance, in the spring people lean towards detoxifying foods such as leafy greens or citrus foods, while in the summer people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream. In the fall people crave grounding foods such as squash, nuts and onions. Wintertime causes us to crave hot and heat producing foods such as meats, oil and fats. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays for foods such as turkey, sweets, and eggnog.
Lack of Nutrients-If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For instance, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall nutrition imbalances produce cravings for non nutritional forms of energy such as caffeine.
Hormonal-When a woman experiences menstruation, menopause, or pregnancy, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.
Good Times-“Let the Good Times Roll”, right? Well, it just so happens that when things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.