Why don’t we ever crave a plate of chicken and cauliflower and why do we crave salt, sugar and fat? Here are a few reasons why we want that piece of chocolate cake/ push over broccoli.
Why is it that there are periods in our life where we are cruising along happily consuming our salads and grilled chicken and other times where we cannot convince ourselves that the french fries and burger we are about to consume are less about hunger and more about cravings ?
There are a couple of different things working against us when we have specific cravings. There is the emotion side of things – for example “My Monday Sucks” and then there is a physiological factor – for example “The chocolate actually makes me feel good after I eat it”.
What’s going on ? and how can we get back on track after experiencing a few weeks of disorganized eating ? Those cravings you are having are not always your fault and sometimes they happen because we are experiencing a lack in specific nutrients and vitamins. Those same nutrients and vitamins can actually regulate how you are feeling and why you are eating.
Why don’t we ever crave a plate of chicken and cauliflower and why do we crave salt, sugar and fat? Our bodies don’t need a bag of gummy bears but we tend to not listen to what it really needs. Did you know that when you eat sugar, your body uses magnesium molecules to assimilate it? If you are eating tons of sugar, it could mean that you are lacking magnesium. This is a perfect example of what a sugar craving “could mean”.
When a food craving strikes next time, sit down and really think about what you actually need. Do you feel stressed and crave cake ? Is it the emotional stress that is leading you to crave the cake? If you reflect like this, you can better understand when is happening with your body and in turn help to control those cravings, giving your body what is actually needs and not just giving into a craving.
Here are some examples to think about.
MAGNESIUM – there are a lot of us that are deficient in magnesium. More than 80% of us are walking around with too little magnesium. When we are stressed or exercising a lot or eating a lot of sugar, we can deplete our magnesium levels. Magnesium works together with calcium. Calcium is an excitatory molecule and magnesium is its counterpart behaving as a calming molecule. If we are not balanced between these two minerals, it can lead us to feel moody.
If you have cravings for sweets and if you have aches and pains or low energy, you might just need some additional magnesium. Eat sesame seeds, almonds, avocados, spinach, kale and broccoli.
ZINC – Zinc is the mineral required for many bodily reactions. It also works to maintain mood and memory. Zinc is so important yet we cannot store it in our body so we need to focus on getting those foods which are high in zinc on a regular basis. When we are feeling stressed, zinc is eliminated through our saliva, sweat and urine. Low zinc levels can be linked to depression.
If you have gastrointestinal issues, sadness or very bad PMS, try adding zinc to your diet through eating foods such as: salmon, almonds, pumpkin seeds, oysters, shellfish.
VITAMIN B12 – 25% of Americans and Canadians are low in B12. B12 is linked to energy levels, mood levels and memory levels. We need to have a strong stomach acid to be able to break down and assimilate B12. This may be the reason why so many people are deficient in Vitamin B12. You can only get B12 by eating animal proteins. This is why vegetarians are vegans need to supplement to get sufficient B12 in their diets.
If you find yourself bruising easily or craving a steak or if you have low energy, you may be one of the 25% of us who require higher levels of vitamin B12. If this sounds like you, eat more pasture raised chicken, turkey and eggs and organic grass fed meat.
VITAMIN D – We all think of the sun when we think of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the “sun vitamin”. When we expose our skin to the sun, Vitamin D is activated and produces elements that make us feel happier. People with low Vitamin D stores are more likely to feel depressed.
If you are catching more colds or sore throats than normal, or if you are in a low mood, you may have your Vitamins D levels low. To increase vitamin D, eat fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, and eat eggs – whole eggs, because the Vitamin D is in the egg yolks. Also, remember to get outdoors and expose your skin to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes. This also helps to raise Vitamin D levels.
We can dive even deeper into this topic as there are many other nutrient deficiencies – if you have specific questions, please reach out directly to me with your questions:
I salute all of you – for taking your own health into your own hands.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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