Chocolate, pizza, pasta and ice cream. These are a part of the food pyramid, right? Well, they do exist, but for some of us we crave them constantly and have a difficult time making a break for healthier choices. What if I told you that it’s not all you, it’s them? Yes, you can apply the bad break-up line to your relationship with food, too. Although we may ‘crave’ certain things and believe we are the only one that can control it, there are actually reasons the physical body is wanting these and we don’t have to completely blame ourselves.
Due to the bacteria profile in our body, this can drive cravings for us. Check out my blog on how we are walking bacteria and what this awareness can bring to the table. If we have an imbalance in this department, the bacteria themselves can be driving us to crave unhealthy food options that THEY need to survive, not us. It’s important to take anti-microbials and anti-bacterials while you clean up your diet. Having testing done to decide if this is the case or what strains need to be addressed is great, but there are also a lot of natural solutions that you can take regularly that will balance them all if that is not the route you want to go. Eating garlic cloves or drinking herbal remedies like thyme, sage and rosemary steeped in hot water to make a ‘tea’ are a great addition to daily habits. You can also find supplements with these along with black walnut hull, clove and wormwood.
Now that you know the bacteria is in balance, you can move on to the next step in deciphering cravings. Our body is intuitive in what it needs on a chemical level, so when we crave foods, this gives us the ability to understand what we might be low on. I could say that everyone would benefit from a multi-vitamin, probiotic and fish oil, but I don’t believe it’s as cut and dry as this. Testing again can help us understand what we might be low on, but by taking a look at cravings, we can figure out a lot on our own. Here’s a break down of the common cravings I see and what supplements or healthy swaps you might benefit from:
- Potato chips– Low on potassium or sodium. Swaps would be eating home-cooked potatoes, olives or taking spirulina.
- Cheese/dairy– Low on Vitamin D and or Calcium. Swaps would be greens, almonds or salmon. Cod liver oil is a great supplement to help with this.
- Chocolate– Low on magnesium. Leafy greens, lentils and nuts are a great replacement. Taking a Magnesium supplement is helpful as well, but you may want some guidance with this as there are many forms.
- Beef– This isn’t necessarily a bad craving, but too much of anything can be bad. The need to eat a lot of beef can be indicative of low zinc or iron stores. Nuts, seeds, oysters and mussels are great to increase zinc. Iron can be balanced with greens like spinach (add lemon juice to increase availability), lentils, nuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Carbs/breads– Low on nitrogen or B6. Animal proteins, fruits, veggies, legumes, nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds. B vitamins are important for a number of reactions in the body. Most people would benefit from a B Vitamin since what we do not use we typically pass. I would personally refrain from anything more than 50mg of B6 since this is one we can get too much of.
- Alcohol– You may benefit from foods high in potassium and glutamine. Potatoes, tomatoes and sea vegetables are helpful with this. You can supplement with spirulina, chlorella bladderwrack, sea moss or sea buckthorn (these are all amazing on so many levels). Glutamine is found in animal proteins, bone broth and nuts. If you want to supplement, collagen and bone broth powders are great add-ins. Collagen has no flavor and you can top nearly anything with it.
We are what we absorb. Many times we still have cravings even after adjusting our diet, so as we heal our gut for increased absorption, supplements can be hugely beneficial.
Need help balancing your body out and reducing cravings? Contact me.