What to do when you have a craving: Gut Check Meditation

“You mean I should just do and eat anything I want? Because when I listen to my body it says it wants an skinny iced mocha,” she said, with not a little skepticism.

My client Jen and I were talking about her sugar cravings.

They felt constant, annoying, and she was trying to be “good” and not eat any sugar, of any kind, for two weeks before her vacation. She wanted to drop a few pounds before putting on a swimsuit, so she was eating these tiny little portions at each meal, and had sworn off sugar until her trip.

“You should listen to your cravings, Jen. You don’t always have to follow them exactly, but you do need to tune into your body and really listen to what it’s telling you.”

I had a funny feeling that Jen wasn’t eating enough and that her cravings for sugar were getting stronger because she actually needed more food in her body.

She was working extra hours before she left for vacation, and she was feeling tired after the holiday weekend with her kids. Jen had managed to stick to her diet rules all weekend, but she had been tired, impatient with her kids, and frustrated by Monday afternoon at work.

“Jen, your cravings are a message from your body that you need balance. It might be nutritional, physical, or emotional balance. So let me take you through a meditation I call the Gut Check. You’re going to close your eyes, scan through your body, especially your gut, and tell me what sensations you feel. Ready?”

heart tummy 2

Gut Check Meditation for Cravings

Jen closed her eyes (we were on Skype together so I could see her) and sat for a few seconds.
“Where do I start?” she asked.
“Start at the top of your head,” I replied. “Just scan down through your body, and tell me what feelings, colors, sensations, or anything else you notice.”

Scanning through her body, she told me her neck felt tight and her eyes were heavy. As she scanned through her body, and got closer to her gut, she said,
“My gut feels empty. My eyes are tired, and my neck is tight.”

“Ok, can you ask your body how it feels and what it needs right now?” I leaned in and watched as she fidgeted a little bit. This whole “woo-woo” talking-to-her-body thing was a little weird for Jen, but she was so ready to feel differently about her body and feel good, that she was willing to try.

“My belly is hungry. I’ve been eating small portions for a week, and it’s really just hungry. I don’t think the iced mocha will really satisfy my hunger. I’d really love some more of that chicken and tomatoes I made last night,” said Jen.

Her body relaxed a little.

“My shoulders are so tight all the time. I’m working really hard so I can take time off with my kids, but I was so irritated with them all weekend, I doubt they want to go on vacation with me at all.” She sighed.

“And my eyes are so tired and heavy. All this computer work and sitting at this computer are tough on my body. I wish I didn’t have to sit down so much. Plus all the commuting time in the car! I’m totally stressed out and just want a nap. That’s what I want – a nap.”

See, Jen’s body, when asked the deeper questions, didn’t really want the low-fat, caffeinated chocolate drink. Her body was hungry, a little tired, and she was stressed out.

Her body, in its wisdom, just wanted to feel better. Since she wasn’t listening to the more subtle cravings for more food (because she needed to wear a bathing suit in a couple weeks), rest (because she was working too hard), and relaxation, her body shouted at her:

“At least drink a skinny iced mocha so we can get through all this crap!”

Jen’s body was actually trying to help her feel better. She just had to learn how to listen a bit deeper, and then follow through and honor what she heard.

Her calorie-restrictive diet wasn’t helping her feel good, and she saw that she could eat some more real food and still look and feel good on her vacation.

Her hard-working, hard-driving attitude at work wasn’t helping her feel happy with herself, or helping her enjoy her family. Jen realized that she could leave work at 5pm, have a simple dinner with her kids, and do some simple yoga before going to bed early so that she felt relaxed and rested.

She lit up when I said, “Hey! Why not do a few yoga stretches right now, at your desk, or go outside and take a 10-minute nap in your car? You’ve been working hard all day – your body deserves a little break.”

Jen saw that she could give herself what she really needed, and by the end of our chat, she was more relaxed, and more confident that she had a plan for how to eat and take care of herself so that she could feel great every day, and not just wait to feel good on her vacation.

I want to know what your cravings are really asking for!
In the comments below, share what your first craving was, and then do the Gut Check meditation. What did you discover? What will you do for yourself now? (It’s ok if you decide to have that first craving – there’s no right or wrong here!)

 
Like this? Don't miss a thing!
 
 

The 3 Root Causes of Cravings & How To Transform Them

I’m no saint, and I ain’t perfect.
I crave foods that aren’t necessarily “good” for me.
And sometimes those cravings are extremely, how shall I say, inconvenient.
I’ve been angry with my body for wanting the cookie and milk (and cheese and meat and wine…), especially when I’m trying to reduce or eliminate sugar or dairy for a while.
But then I learned that my cravings were actually telling me something valuable – that something was out of balance.


I just had to learn how to listen, sit with the sensation of craving, and ask what they were there for.


When you hate your cravings, you’re sending the message to your body that you hate it.


It’s like yelling at a baby for crying.


No one ever taught us that our cravings are living, breathing messages from our true selves. It’s time to learn the language of your body.


Here are the three root causes of cravings, and how you can begin to decode your body’s messages:

1. Nutritional



Many cravings are your body simply asking for what it needs. Ever feel hungry? That’s a craving for food when you need nourishment. Is that bad? Of course not. Being hungry is wonderful! It means you need sustenance to survive.


A craving for salty food is often a real need for more minerals. Use sea salt, which is richer in a wide variety of minerals than white, instead of refined table salt, to  boost your mineral reserves. Sea vegetables, like dulse, kelp and nori are packed with minerals. Added to your lunch and dinner in small amounts, sea veggies can quiet the urge for salt as the mineral reserves have been filled.


Look at your diet as a whole – are you eating a wide variety of mineral rich foods? Are you getting enough calories? Where can you add more long-lasting, nourishing foods as condiments like sea veggies, hemp, chia seeds, or berries?

2. Physical



Have you ever wanted chocolate between 3 and 4pm? Oh, every day? Yeah, join the club! This craving is usually your body’s answer to the real problem: that you are tired from a full day of work. Your brain and body need to either rest or move.


When you next get that craving, I want you to close your eyes for ten seconds. How does your body feel? Is it tired? Anxious? How does it really want to feel? Do your eyes need a rest? Would a 5-10 minute nap in your car or putting your head down on your desk with eyes closed feel amazing?


Or perhaps you want to get up and stretch! Move around! Take a 10-minute walking break outside or even in the stairway in your building. Sitting all day is so harmful to our health, it takes more years off your life than smoking.


Your body knows this. It wants to move, feel alive and free. Give it what it wants. Move now!

3. Emotional



What about those cravings that pop up because you’d rather eat than feel the message from your body? How does the craving feel? Could it actually be grief, anger, frustration, or shame?


So many of our cravings are actually physical manifestations of an emotional issue. Have you been ignoring your feelings, pushing through to try to ignore the sadness?


In my own life, I experienced huge sugar cravings when going through my divorce. Other cravings, like popcorn on the couch for dinner, were very strong when I was considering going back to dating again. And again, when my mom died, cheese and dairy products were all I wanted, a signal that I longed for comfort.


Your cravings mean something. They aren’t bad, and you’re not weak for having them. Being to look at and listen to them.


Your cravings are your guide to your best life, and a body you love.

Discover your Cravings Type and get the free 30-page Cravings Report! www.CravingsQuiz.com

 
Like this? Don't miss a thing!
 
 

CNN & Martha got it wrong. Eat THIS food to cleanse & trim your gut!

How did CNN and Martha Stewart get this SO WRONG!?

real-gut-cnn

Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong – REAL food to eat to cleanse & heal your gut



I just saw a piece on CNN from Martha Stewart, and sadly, the big gurus are giving bad advice.
In fact, the food they tell you to eat could HARM your gut, not heal it.
I give you the low-down and tell you the #1 food you SHOULD eat to cleanse and heal your gut!




See, I know that dairy is one of the biggest cravings for you, and I know that while you may crave it, eating milk, cheese and ice cream can cause havoc in your body (and skin…and mood… and hormones!)

So when Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong and told people to eat the wrong kind of dairy, and totally misses that fermented vegetables are SO HUGE and growing in popularity, it makes me wonder what else they’re getting wrong!>
Hope you found this helpful! 
If you crave sugar or dairy, you may need more raw fermented foods like sauerkraut in  your diet!
And if you want to really understand what your cravings mean, be sure to take my Cravings Type Quiz.
Xo,
Alex 
P.S. If you like the video or quiz, please share it with your friends on Facebook or YouTube! xo

 
Like this? Don't miss a thing!
 
 

Gluten-Free Summer Crepes with Berries: July 4th Dessert Recipe

The perfect July 4th brunch for every cravings type!

IMG_7968-225x300

Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe for Summer – every cravings type can enjoy!

Eating right for your type

is helpful for keeping your energy, focus on health on track. But what if you have a couple of friends coming over, or there are two types in your house living under the same roof?


(Take the Cravings Type Quiz here to find out your type!) 

Luckily, I’ve learned how to adjust one recipe for all the types – and this summer crepe recipe is great for everyone with a couple of minor changes depending on who’s coming to brunch! Not only is it gluten-free, but you can easily make these crepes dairy-free by using coconut cream (you know, the thick stuff at the top of the can?) instead of whipped cream.
 
With cooling summer berries, these crepes use high-protein amaranth and quinoa flour, which help the light-headed featherweight feel grounded and strong.

Firebrands and Featherweights can choose between organic whipped cream or coconut cream as a topping, while Earth Mama types should avoid the topping and just enjoy the crepe and fruit as too much dairy and coconut can make an Earth Mama (or Papa) feel heavy and muddy.

 

Gluten-Free Crepes with Summer Berries

Serves 4

For the crepes:

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup water
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking the crepes

For the filling:

2 cups mixed organic berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup organic whipped cream or unsweetened coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours in a blender with the water, milk and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the fruit. Wash and dry the berries and toss with remaining maple syrup and cinnamon. Allow to marinate at room temperature.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil on a crepe pan or other non-toxic non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir the batter and ladle a scoop into the middle of the pan. Spread out the batter thinly in a circle. Cook the crepe until the bottom has browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the crepe and cook until the other side is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate or clean baking dish and cover with a lid to allow it to cool, but not lose too much moisture.
  6. Keep making crepes until all the batter is gone.
  7. Serve each crepe with a scoop of berries in the middle, and roll it up around them. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream and a nice little sprig of mint, if it’s handy.
 
Like this? Don't miss a thing!
 
 

Sugar-Free Summer: My favorite drinks to help beat the heat

IMG_7861-480x480

sugar-free iced tea recipes to beat the summer heat

Here comes summer!

I couldn’t be happier that the summer solstice is just around the corner.

But all that summer outdoor play-time makes a girl thirsty! Rather than overload my body and brain with sugary sweet frappuccino (aka “adult milkshakes”) drinks, I’m making my own SWEET-ISH summer drinks with herbal teas and spices.

If you have sugar cravings like I do, you can help your taste buds get the sweet flavor they love without the sugar by keeping iced herbal teas on hand.

In this picture you see a rooibos with vanilla, chamomile, and mint teas all chilling in the window.

 

I boil a big pot of water, then steep my favorite flavored teas of the day for a few minutes before pouring them into glass jars.

After the tea cools to room temperature, I’ll put lids on and child them in the fridge for a while before drinking.

My FAVORITE recipe is the Vanilla Rooibos:

Caffeine free, antioxidant rich, and rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron, this red tea is slightly honey flavored without being sweetened.

Steep 1 tablespoon rooibos tea in 2-3 cups hot water. Once the tea is steeped, pour over a freshly cracked vanilla bean and allow the vanilla to flavor the tea. I leave the bean in until I’ve drunk every drop. Vanilla is so strong, you can use the same bean again for tomorrow’s batch!

Vanilla beans can get expensive, but I get them CHEAP in the bulk section of my co-op. For less than $3 I can get 2-4 beans, which is pretty good for the real stuff.

Sugar free teas can’t be beat!

If sugar cravings are totally annoying you,

learn what your cravings type is -

take my Cravings Quiz and get the free 30 page report! www.cravingsquiz.com

xo,

Alex

 
Like this? Don't miss a thing!