This article was published as part of the Healthy Living section of The Times Herald Record.
Do you suffer from food cravings? Most people do, but I put it in the category of “common but not normal”. Based on my 20+ years of clinical experience, I know cravings are merely a symptom: a sign that how and what you are eating is out of balance – for you, as a unique individual – even if you are following the generally accepted guidelines for healthy nutrition.
Most people are astounded that when they balance their macronutrients (that’s protein, carbs, and fat) appropriately, and identify and eliminate any food sensitivities, their cravings vanish forever, and will power is no longer an issue.
Sounds good, right?
Having cravings often goes along with being hungry shortly after eating, another symptom. Neither is normal.
In addition to the above two steps, here are my top 3 tips to help control food cravings.
1. Get Complex Simple carbohydrates drive our brain to demand more simple carbohydrates. When that old “lizard” part of your brain, in the amygdala, is sending commands, it’s really hard to override. So don’t set off that cycle. Limit processed carbs and sugars. Not only white sugar, but foods that are metabolized as sugars, such as cereals and grains, will spike and then drop your blood sugar, making you crave more of the same.
The answer: eat more whole foods, rather than processed or packaged, and always combine your carbs with healthy protein and healthy fat. Never eat carbs by themselves.
2. Add Fats If you’re cutting back on carbs, you can usually ward off hunger by replacing them with more healthy fats, like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, and pastured butter. These fats are healthy, don’t raise serum cholesterol, and won’t make you fat. In fact, they have a lot of benefits, in terms of heart health, inflammation, brain function, and more.
But don’t eliminate carbs completely! We need them to survive. Instead, choose more wisely, and moderately.
3. Spice it Up Get a good therapeutic quality cinnamon oil and try putting just a drop on your tongue when you experience a craving. It’s surprisingly effective!
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