Let’s talk about cravings. I want to go over the most common kinds of cravings, what they mean and what you can do to fight them.
Everyone has cravings; it’s a super normal, natural thing, but if you are getting the same kind of cravings all the time, it could mean something. It’s actually cool to look at the science and data, figure out what your craving means and find ways to combat it.
Soda. This craving can be caused by one of two things:
- Caffeine- It might not be the actual soda that you are craving…it might just be the caffeine that’s in the soda.
- Calcium deficiency- Carbonated drinks, like soda, have phosphoric acid. This can actually leak calcium from your bones.
If you feel like you are addicted to soda, I recommend to:
- Go get a blood test- See how your calcium levels are, and if they are low, definitely start adding more calcium to your diet (e.g. broccoli, kale, cruciferous veggies).
- Explore healthier alternatives- Green tea, matcha and organic coffee are all great substitutes. See if you still crave soda when you make the switch. If you don’t, then you know it was just the caffeine.
Obviously, cutting something out that you are really craving can be hard. In the meantime, my favorite soda alternative is Zevia. It’s sweetened with stevia and still hits that craving. You could also try sparkling water with some lime or lemon. Sometimes the carbonation in that cold, refreshing drink can really do the trick.
Ice. I know this might sound weird, but I have personally craved ice before, so if I have, I’m sure someone else has too. If you are craving ice all the time, this could mean you are anemic or a little bit low in iron. Anemia is a common disorder that occurs when a deficiency in your red blood cells impedes delivery of oxygen throughout the body. The process of chewing ice can increase blood flow to the brain, and being low in iron actually decreases blood flow to the brain.
Chocolate. If you are craving chocolate all the time, this could mean:
- Magnesium deficiency- Chocolate can be a great source of magnesium. Oftentimes when your body is craving a food, it’s actually craving the nutrient that’s in that food. Combat this by eating other foods that are high in magnesium (e.g. almonds).
- Mild depression period- Studies have shown that eating chocolate can increase the release of dopamine and serotonin- our happy, feel-good neurotransmitters. If you notice you’re eating a lot of chocolate and your mood has been a little bit down, definitely get to the root of that problem.
Sweets. If you are craving sweets all the time, this could mean that you are not getting good quality sleep. There was a study done that showed how even being shorted just one hour of sleep could drastically increase your craving for sugary foods. This is just one of a million reasons why sleep is so important. Make sure you are not only getting a good amount of sleep, but also quality sleep.
Short-term tips for fighting cravings for sweets:
- Medjool date- Trying a date earlier in the day can really help combat sugar cravings later in the day.
- Replace with healthy, sweet foods- Try dried fruits, fresh fruit or healthy hot chocolate (Four Sigmatic is my favorite).
Salty, fatty food. This is my personal biggest craving. French fries, potato chips, all of that. This could mean that your body is deficient in healthy fats, like omegas.
I recommend replacing those with healthier fats: almonds, walnuts, pecans, avocado. See if that does the trick. Meanwhile, if you need to satisfy that craving right away, try and figure out if it’s the crunch, salt or fat that you’re craving, and find alternatives from there.
For salt: sea salt on fresh veggies- Persian cucumber with sea salt is my personal fav, or salted mixed nuts
For crunch: kale chips, gluten-free pretzels, veggie chips, popcorn
One of the best things you can do for cravings in general is change your scenery. You’ll be surprised how much you crave routine. If you switch things up, it can really change your brain’s routine. Rearrange things in your kitchen, take a different route to work, etc. For me, if it’s late at night and I’m craving something, I’ll wash my face, brush my teeth, take a shower…just doing other things to keep me busy distracts me from a momentary craving that wouldn’t be good for me in the long run.