Archive for September, 2011
What are you craving?
Did you know your body talks? Each day, many times a day, your body is trying to communicate important messages to you, unfortunately you may have been trained to ignore your body and keep going. Even more unfortunately, your body will make sure it is heard, even if it has to go to extremes.
Food Cravings are one way your body is talking to you, much like the “check engine” light in your car. What would happen if your “check engine” light was on but all you did was add more gas? Eventually your car would communicate it had a problem by not working.
Recently I was teaching a class of dedicated elementary teachers. One teacher said she was able to completely eliminate sugar from her diet with one exception, “Everyday I crave a York Peppermint Patty, but I only have one, is that bad?”
My answer, “rather than ask if it is bad to give in to that craving, lets ask the question, what is your body looking for when you crave a York Peppermint Patty.” I asked her 3 questions:
- What time of day did the craving occur, was it the same time every day?
- What happened in her day before that craving appeared?
- What happened in her day after that craving appeared?
Before she could answer I said, “let’s look at what foods you are eating in a York Peppermint Patty and see if those foods reveal what you are REALLY craving”.
- Chocolate. Chocolate has caffeine and fat, which are stimulants, this teacher craved her peppermint patty at the end of her teaching day, and she was tired and needed a boost prior to an equally busy evening. A neurotransmitter in chocolate, called phenyl ethylamine (PEA) is known to increase feelings of love, pleasure and euphoria. I can understand why an elementary teacher might crave a little chocolate after a busy day with children. Chocolate, a powerful antioxidant also repairs and protects damaged cells. Spending a day in high activity, high noise and florescent lighting, not to mention the possibility of not eating healthy foods can damage cells in the body, chocolate goes to work repairing those cells! One other note about chocolate: it is an anti-coagulant so if you have some heart issues or are in your monthly female cycle you may crave chocolate to prevent blood clots.
- Sugar. Sugar gives energy and a sense of balance. This busy teacher agreed she regularly found herself needing some balance at the end of a busy day before going home to more activity.
- Mint flavor. Mint is from the family of aromatic herbs that help with gas, bloating and digestion. It is also an anti-cancer herb and helps to soothe the intestines. This teacher identified that she struggles with digestion problems.
So you see, this busy mom and elementary teacher was having a daily message from her body: I need something for energy, I need some balance after this busy day and my gut needs to be soothed. Somehow her body felt this York Peppermint Patty met those criteria and asked for it every day!
What would be a better choice? A little chocolate is not bad but it should be organic, dark and low sugar (better if it is made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup like the peppermint patty).
A delicious natural treat would be an almond butter ball (good fat) made with raw almond butter and raw Cacao chocolate, some raisins or cranberries for sugar and a little real mint chopped and mixed in or organic peppermint extract. She would get the same results without the chemicals, bad fats and bad sugars from the peppermint patty.
Another suggestion for this lady would be a smoothie with some fruit, almond butter and a little cacao and almond milk or water.
What about you? What is YOUR body asking for?
Still Hungry? If you are hungry but you know you’ve had enough to eat, it may be asking you for water! Then drink up! Your body needs half your body weight in ounces of water just to do its job!
Are you stuffing instead of speaking? There may be something you need to say to someone and your body is letting you know you are hungry for change. Stop and ask yourself,
- “Do I have something to say?”
- “Who do I need to say it to?”
- “How can I say it in a way that we are both safe?”
- Then say it! You may need to practice on a friend first, or get professional help to find out what it is you need to say.
Tired? If you are tired you will most likely crave fat, salt and protein. Try a nice black bean salsa made with beans, Pico de Gallo, limes, cilantro and avocado, a perfect pick me up!
Stressed? If your adrenal glands are overworked, fatigued or exhausted you will crave salt. Get it from celery, limes and lemons; a good glass of juice is your best choice. Berries and citrus fruits provide Vitamin C, nuts, seeds and a small amount of quality animal protein are also healing for the adrenal glands.
Feeling a little “off”? If your body or your life is out of balance you will crave sugar and carbohydrates. In this case, forget the bag of cookies and choose your favorite juice fresh fruit, put it in bowl and savor each juicy bite. By the way, more than 8 grams or 2 teaspoons of sugar in a 2 hour period will throw your body chemistry completely out of balance, according to Nancy Appleton PhD, in her book Suicide by Sugar.
Parasites? If your body is trying to fight off parasites you may crave limes. This is another good time for a fresh veggie and fruit juice. Unrefined coconut oil, raw garlic, raw apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, pineapple, carrot juice and turmeric are excellent choices as well.
Everyone has cancer cells in the body but for most of us the body destroys them. We can help it out with food. If your body is trying to fight off cancer you may crave high antioxidant foods such as dark, brightly colored fruits and veggie and chocolate. Sugar feeds cancer so avoid the chocolate and eat as many raw brightly colored veggies and a few fruits. Again, freshly extracted juice is magic here. Garlic and onions are great anti-cancer foods as are berries, watercress and broccoli, tomatoes and turmeric; green tea is a helpful antioxidant as well, if you get the leafy kind. (Note: craving these foods is not necessarily an indicator of cancer).
Sluggish circulation. If your blood is sluggish, it’s that “time of the month”, or your female organs are not working correctly you may crave chocolate to thin your blood. Remember, low sugar, using organic cane juice and high in cacao, no milk, and the darker the better and just a bite or two is best.
Poor Digestion. If you have problems with digestion eat foods with herbs such as cilantro, basil, mint. Take a digestive enzyme each time you eat. See a chiropractor, it may be your body is not getting the right nerve impulses to stimulate good digestion. Did I say eat more fresh fruit and veggies?
Are Ya Listening?
Identify what your body is saying to you and choose good fats such as avocados, nut butters or nuts. Choose healthy proteins such as a hummus, bean dish or naturally grown animal products. Natural sugars from fresh juicy fruits and lots of brightly colored veggies will make your body happy, and it will stop complaining and start thanking you for giving it what it needs. And don’t forget the water!