What are Cravings?
Cravings are a common phenomenon we’ve all experienced at one time or another – that sudden urge to indulge in a sugary or salty snack or a constant thirst. These urges can be a result of physical, emotional, or psychological factors.
There are many misconceptions about cravings. We are trained to believe that they are bad, and that we don’t have self-control if we tend to give in to these cravings.
In this blog, we will explore why we have cravings and how we can use them as a compass.
What Are My Cravings Telling Me?
Cravings are one of the ways our bodies communicate with us, telling us what we may be lacking in our current diet.
Let’s learn what common cravings are trying to tell us.
Cravings for Salty Foods
Cravings for salty foods are often associated with a physiological need for sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions in our body.
From what I’ve seen, about 95% of women are deficient in sodium. When our body’s sodium levels are low, it can trigger a craving for salty foods as a way to replenish those levels.
A craving caused by low sodium levels can be a signal that our adrenals, which primarily run off of sodium and potassium, are burnt out. This can come from feeling stressed, fasting, dieting, being pregnant, or breastfeeding.
I like to recommend high-quality sea salt as a helpful source of sodium.
Cravings for Sweets
Of course, this is common; who doesn’t love cake? However, constant cravings for sugary sweets can be a sign that we need more carbs—specifically whole-food carbs like fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, properly prepared grains, legumes, etc.
Our body tends to look for quick carbs that we can digest very quickly for glucose and energy. Yes, we need some form of sugar as an energy source. Think honey, fruits, maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar.
But if you tend to crave those things, consider adding more quality carbs throughout the day.
Chronic, unrelenting cravings for sugary foods can also mean something deeper. These types of cravings are often associated with emotional and psychological factors. Many people turn to sugary foods as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or negative emotions.
When we eat sweets, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure. This can create a psychological dependence on sugary foods and lead to cravings for sweets as a way to seek comfort or reward.
For us women, it’s common to crave sweet foods a little bit more right before our cycle starts.
This is a physiological response to our body needing more of that glucose, because glucose actually helps to raise insulin which in turn helps to increase progesterone levels. Progesterone falls quite drastically right before our cycle starts. So to help with that drop a little bit, our body will often crave more sweet foods.
Cravings for Sour/Acidic Foods
Do you always go for the salt and vinegar potato chips, or do you love to put vinegar on a lot of different things? Let’s dig into why that may be!
Cravings for these foods could be a big indication of how our stomach acid and digestion are doing. Sour or acidic foods can stimulate the production of digestive juices and enzymes, aiding digestion and absorption of nutrients.
So when we crave things that are acidic or vinegary, it can be a sign that our digestion needs extra work.
Cravings for Fatty/Fried Foods
If you tend to crave fatty and fried foods, you just might want to consider if you are eating enough full fat. High-quality fats include whole foods like dairy, ghee, butter, tallow, fatty fish, coconut oil, quality olive oil, etc.
People who tend to go for low-fat diets or cook with refined oils don’t realize they are depriving themselves of the saturated fats that we actually need.
When your body lacks saturated fats, you tend to grab that fried chicken or fatty, highly processed food, which is not the healthiest open.
Reach for healthy fats instead and see how these cravings can resolve themselves.
Cravings for Water
Cravings for water, or the sensation of thirst, are the body’s way of signaling that it needs to be hydrated. Water is essential for various processes in our body, including digestion, absorption of nutrients, temperature regulation, and detoxification.
When our body is dehydrated or lacking in fluids, it can trigger a craving for water as a way to replenish the lost fluids and maintain optimal hydration levels.
If you keep drinking water and are still feeling thirsty, you could be lacking in minerals like sodium and potassium. Look for liquids that are more mineral enriched to help quench that thirst.
Cravings for water can also be influenced by external factors such as physical activity, hot weather, and certain medications that can increase your body’s fluid loss.
Using Cravings as a Compass
Understanding the reasons behind our cravings for certain foods can help us use them as a compass to guide our behaviors and make healthier choices.
It’s important to learn the truth about craving misconceptions. Cravings are not always bad!
Replenishing your body with what it is lacking in a healthy way will bring it back to balance.
So let’s remember four key points when it comes to your cravings:
- Listen to your body
- Replenish what is lacking
- Address emotional triggers
- Hydrate regularly
I hope this information has been helpful in learning how to curb those cravings and feel your very best!
Dive in deeper with us on this podcast episode!
Hey there, I’m Kari!
As a Pharmacist and Integrative Health Practitioner, I get the privilege of working with women who are struggling with fatigue, poor sleep, painful cycles, digestive issues, and irritability- all of which have become their norm. And they are struggling just to keep up, simply wanting their health back.
I know what it’s like to feel frustrated and left with the same issues, even after spending time, energy & money thinking I’d found the answer.
With the right support, a proven method, and the Lord as our guide, let’s get your health back so you can run the race set before you with perseverance and joy.
So thankful you found your way here!