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6 Reasons Behind Your Cravings
Cravings are a natural part of life. Cravings get a bad reputation as they are commonly linked to overindulging in unhealthy foods. It’s time cravings get a re-branding! Building awareness surrounding your cravings will aid you in understanding your body’s needs.
Remember, that honouring your cravings does not mean you aren’t proactive about also eating nutrient foods. Don’t deprive yourself. If you’ve really got a craving for something indulgent, find a healthy substitute, if possible, and listen to your body. You can both honour your cravings and nourish yourself! Focus on awareness rather than restriction, and your body will thank you.
Our cravings are actually valuable signs from our bodies. In a sense, cravings are direct messages from the body to the brain, signalling what the body needs in order to thrive. However, these messages can frequently be misinterpreted. Let’s learn to decode & understand the signals our body is trying to tell us!
Keep Reading to Discover the 6 Causes of Your Cravings…
1. Lack of Fulfilling Primary Food
As a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & HCA Licensed Health Coach™, when working with clients on their health journey, the first area we address is their primary foods. In essence, primary foods are comprised of the core aspects of our lives, from our careers to our interpersonal relationships, to the amount of physical activity we do and our quality of sleep, to our emotions and spirituality. All of these elements influence the outcome of our wellness journey. Notice that your primary foods doesn’t actually consist of food!
Being dissatisfied with a relationship, overly exercising, constant boredom or stress at work, not getting quality sleep and lacking a spiritual practice can all lead to emotional eating. An imbalance of your primary foods can lead to disrupted hormones to increased levels of inflammation in the body. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Comforting food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. And to a certain extent, that is our human nature.
However, many people take it too far and cave into cravings at the slightest emotional upset. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied. Next time you find yourself reaching for a comfort food, pause and consider the underlying emotions at play. Before using food as a distraction or short term coping mechanism, take a few moments for yourself & your thoughts. And if that treat truly brings you comfort & joy, then enjoy it
2. Inside Coming Out
Cravings can also come from foods you’ve recently eaten or nostalgic foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience.
Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger. Luckily, many of those childhood treats can easily be replicated into healthy options! For ultimate comfort, I love baking my Decadently Dreamy Banana Oat Muffins or my Crunchy Berry Crumble.
3. Seasonal Changes
Your body is more in tuned with its environment than you may think! Our bodies naturally crave foods in accordance with the season.
In the spring, we crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, we have cravings for cooling foods, like raw, hydrating produce such as watermelon, cucumber and cantaloupe. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like pumpkin, cauliflower, apples and nuts. Lastly, in the winter, our cravings lean towards heat-producing foods. Such as warming stews made with sweet potatoes, leeks or squash.
It’s no coincidence that the foods we crave throughout the year, are typically in season when we crave them. In season foods are higher in nutrients & much more flavourful. Be sure to take advantage of what your current, bountiful season offers and your body will rejoice.
Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays or traditions. For example, turkey, eggnog or Christmas cookies. These special occasions don’t take place often, but create meaningful memories surrounding food. Enjoy the foods that bring you happiness & comfort, and remain present in your body and how it feels. Even during the holidays, your body deserves to be nourished & treated properly.
4. Hormonal Causes
When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings. Stress has also been shown to alter hormones in order to promote cravings. Hormonal changes can be supported and mitigated through a healthy & sustainable lifestyle. For example, when working with clients who are going through menopause, I always recommend to take a pause and reevaluate their primary foods and focus on anti-inflammatory secondary foods. I also recommend supplementing with the Female Hormonal Balance and Adrenal Complex from Rejuv for extra targeted support.
5. Hydration is Key!
Sometimes we can mistake thirst cues from the body for hunger cues. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings while nourishing the body with what it actually needs. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal.
Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout. Coconut water is ideal to naturally replenish electrolyte levels. I love making a post-workout smoothie with coconut water & Nourishing Protein, a plant based protein powder with key nutrients for muscle recovery. Find my go-to Glow Smoothie recipe here!
6. Lack of Necessities
If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. If you’re craving chocolate, it means your body might be low in magnesium. Have some dark chocolate! An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of nonfood items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.
Sleep deprivation also has a lot to do with your cravings. When your body or mind is lacking something whether it be love, sleep or nutrients, your body will send you signals! Your cravings have an underlying message, pause before you indulge, and listen to what your body is asking you.
Live your life. Adopt the Global Glow Lifestyle.