Mmm… fresh, out-of-the-oven pizza with mozzarella, basil, and mushrooms; creamy, butter pecan ice cream in a crunchy sugar cone; hot buttered popcorn—are you salivating yet? My list could go on, although your favorite cravings may be something entirely different.
Why do we get those crazy, uncontrollable cravings seemingly out of nowhere? More importantly, what can we do to prevent or counteract them? While there are no quick fixes, exploring what our bodies are telling us through cravings and which foods bring us into balance will put us back in the driver’s seat when it comes to the foods we eat.
The most common cravings are for the sweet stuff. On average, Americans consume their body weight in sugar each year, contributing to the massive growth of our country—obesity has become an epidemic, with 65% of us overweight. By contrast, France’s per capita sugar consumption is five and a half times less than ours, and they have been known for their svelte figures for years. Unfortunately, American fast food has been creeping into French culture too, and today nearly 40 percent are overweight, according to New York Times article, “Even the French are Fighting Obesity.”
Our high sugar consumption contributes to a variety of conditions that can cause cravings. First, a continuous rise and fall of blood sugar that comes from eating high glycemic foods can produce a state of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. A bagel or donut in the morning spikes the blood sugar and when it drops a few hours later, it falls into the danger zone. That’s when we crave more sugar or simple carbohydrates to boost the blood sugar back up again. Our bodies experience a crisis and crave the food that will give us the fastest increase in blood sugar—more sugar! We’re now living from one craving to the next until we decide to take action and jump off the sugar rollercoaster.
Some simple steps you can take are to:
- Drink a large glass of water—we are often thirsty when we think we want to eat.
- Change your activity. It may be time for a break if you have been working. Take a walk or do yoga stretches—anything to break the routine.
- Ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you are bored, lonely, anxious, tired, or experiencing some other unpleasant feeling that has surfaced. Explore what is causing that feeling. Then respond to the real need.
If you want to learn more, please join me at my talk and book signing Saturday, October 1st at 10 a.m. at Four Elements Salon and Spa’s Himalayan Salt Cave. You can register here.