OBJECT STYLE

The truth about cravings and what they really mean...

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment

Ah Monday, you’re here again, full of good intentions to hit that spin classes at least three times this week, not touch a single tipple of booze until Friday, ok Thursday, and absolutely, definitely not give into to that persistent sugar craving come 3pm. Especially not today, Mondays make or break your week, right? 

So today when the clock struck 4pm, I caved. I got up from my desk, convinced myself getting some fresh air was a good idea and walked the leisurely 2 minute stroll to the corner shop and finished my Dairy Milk before I go back to my desk. I couldn’t help myself, I’d been obsessing about the sweet, creamy goodness since 2pm. 

So what is it with cravings? Why do we get them? Why do they strike at certain points of the day? Are cravings triggered by situations? And most importantly, are we really hungry?

The Craving 

Chocolate 

The Feeling

Chocolate. Any flavour, any form - edible, liquid, cake, bar, biscuit or mousse. NOW. 

What it Means 

Chocolate is rich in magnesium, so strong cravings could indicate a deficiency in a mineral vital for your skin and hair. Levels also significantly drop during your menstrual cycle, so no wonder at times, you feel you could kill for cocoa. 

The Solution

If you really can’t resist (like me) then opt for an 80% cocoa chocolate that has a sharp, bitter taste. 2 squares should be sufficient and satisfy cravings. Feeling strong and determined, try snacking on brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds that are richer source of magnesium. Better for your gnashers too!

Healthy recipe suggestion:

Avocados and Dark Chocolate Truffles

avocado and dark chocolate truffles

The Craving 

Sugar

The Feeling 

We’re talking that weird, sour sugar that coats those terribly artificial sweets like Haribo cherries or used to create obscure Jelly Bean flavours, that taste nothing like they’re supposed to. And then there's the secret sugar hiding in your everyday food, i.e your ham sandwich, bowl of branflakes and dolmio pasta sauce. 

What it Means

Craving foods like these could mean you are deficient in chromium. This mineral works alongside insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body. Too much sugar can spur on migraines and has been linked to skin conditions. It's also the biggest blame for belly bloating.

The Solution

Have willpower and stay away from sugar, it really has no health benefits whatsoever. Instead try, plenty of chromium-rich foods like liver, kidney, beef, chicken, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, wholegrains, and eggs and you won’t have those afternoon energy slumps in the first place.

Heathy recipe suggestion:

Pan-fried Bananas with honey and Cinnamon

baked banana with cinnamon and honey

The Craving 

Cheese

The Feeling 

Melted, crumbling, tangy, smooth, stringy, creamy - I need them all now. 

What it Means

You might be lacking in calcium, you know that important mineral that keeps your bones healthy. Excluding this important source from your diet can result in fragile bone disease, osteoporosis and also weak teeth and gum disease.

The Solution 

Eat like the Italians, French and Spanish and enjoy a piece of your favourite cheese now and again. Ensure you are including calcium in your diet every day by having plenty of milk, yogurt. salmon and sardines, broccoli and almonds are all also rich in the source. 

Healthy Suggestion

If you’re looking for a healthier cheese option with less saturated fat, opt for buffalo mozzarella or feta and try to avoid pairing with chutneys and relishes (unless homemade) as they are laden with sugar.

Healthy recipe suggestion:

Chilled black bean, feta and cucumber salad  

chilled black bean feta and cucumber salad

The Craving 

Salt 

The Feeling

Give me proper chips with lashings of vinegar and spade-fulls of salt. Infact anything from the potato family - crisps, tortillas chips, fries, wedges, any of those with hundreds and thousands of tiny grains of moreish salt. 

What it Means

You might be experiencing a hormonal imbalance. The adrenal glands help your body cope with stress and, in our fast-paced, hectic lives, tend to become worn out, especially from stress-hormone production. Too much salt in the body can increase the chance of developing heart disease and strokes. Some sources believe high levels of aluminum are be a major factor in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s.

The Solution

Salt is a sneaky one, it’s an extremely cheap flavouring that gets processed into our foods at the first opportunity, including biscuits and cereals.  AND it is addictive! Opt for some good quality sea salt over table salt to ensure your intake is completely natural. 

Healthy recipe suggestion:

Rosemary and Sea Salt Flatbread 

5 Top Tips To Beat Cravings

Exercise: No matter what you do walk, run, cycle, jump like a jack-in-the-box, you can almost guarantee you won't crave a rocky road brownie after sweating your backside off for 30 or so minutes.

Drink: Sometimes we assume we are hungry when actually what we need is fluid. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day. 

Supplements: Hectic, busy lives can sometimes leave no time to cook clean and healthy food from scratch. Get whatever minerals and nutrients you are lacking in tablet form. 

Eat Clean: Try to avoid any processed foods. Foods with a year long shelf date cannot be good for you. 

Juice: Juicing is a great time saver and easy way to fit fruit and vegetables into your daily diet. Try starting your day with a balanced alkaline green smoothie using celery, cucumber and an apple for sweetness. 

References: Womens Health Magazine, The Paleo Diet, The Guardian and Skinny Mom Blog 

 

Beat your sugar craving for good