The 4 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 used to get angry with my body and felt weak, out of control, or lazy for my cravings.
Now I know that cravings are actually telling me something valuable:
The something is out of balance.
I just had to learn how to listen, sit with the sensation of craving, and ask what they were there for. Over the last 15 years of helping people heal, love, and strengthen their bodies, I’ve seen this truth come to light again and again:
Cravings are your body’s instructions to you about how to heal:
we just need to learn the language.
And listening, investigating, and questioning them is super important. When you hate or just blindly try to ignore your cravings, you’re using up precious willpower and 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 four root causes of cravings, and how you can begin to decode your body’s messages:
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 chocolate may be a signal that your body is deficient in magnesium. Did you know up to 48-56% of Americans are magnesium deficient? Your body may be craving a food it knows will give it what it needs. According to the National Institute for Health, low magnesium intakes and blood levels have been associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer.
A craving for salty food is often a real need for more other trace 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? Can you add more magnesium rich foods to your diet like hemp and chia seeds?
If chocolate cravings plague you, ask your doctor to test your vitamin and mineral levels to get a clear picture of your nutritional needs.
Did you know that you’re as much bacterial as you are human? Your body is the home to billions of bacterial and yeast cells, most of which do a lot of work for our benefit. Those probiotics in yogurt? They also live in your gut and they help digest your food and absorb nutrients into your body.
Some of those bacteria and yeasts turn ugly: the candida albicans yeast can overgrow and turn into a toxic fungus that discharges waste into your blood stream, and is hard to get rid of. Why?
They live on the sugar and carbohydrates we eat.
If you’ve ever tried to cut out sugar completely and felt worse for the first few days with headaches, body aches, and overpowering sugar cravings, it may be a sign that you have a bacterial imbalance or overgrowth of the “bad” bacteria.
How do they overgrow in the first place? Our refined, processed diets create the perfect internal environment in our bodies to help them take root and grow faster. When we eat more sugar, we give them more fuel.
Prescription medications like hormonal birth control and antibiotics kill off the “good” bacteria and allow the bad guys to move into the vacant territory.
If you suffer from brain fog, belly bloat, headaches, extreme fatigue and sugar cravings, skin outbreaks, and/or yeast infections, you may have bacterial imbalance.
To balance the bacteria in your body, it’s necessary to cut out all added sugars, start taking probiotics, and look into natural herbs that kill off fungus like Oil of Oregano capsules.
For more on how to heal Bacterial Overgrowth + Gut Dysbiosis and how to heal it on my Crave Cast Podcast:
Have you ever wanted sugar between 3 and 4pm? Oh, every day? Yeah, join the club!
This craving is often 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. Since sugar provides a quick burst of energy for your body and brain, it’s a natural craving for late-day exhaustion.
Your brain is the top consumer of glucose in the body, so when your blood sugar (AKA “brain sugar) gets low a few hours after lunch, you’ll start craving sugar to boost your mental focus.
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!
What about those cravings that pop up because you’d rather eat than feel the message from your body? 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?
How does the craving feel in your body? Could it actually be grief, anger, frustration, loneliness, or shame?
Sugar’s magic is that it actually makes us feel happy in our brains and bodies…for a few minutes. When we eat sugar our dopamine levels spike, making us feel good…for a few minutes. Dopamine is the key player in the brain’s reward system, but overeating sugar can lead to a higher tolerance for the dopamine-spiking effects, making you crave more and more to get the same happy effect.
In my own life, I experienced huge sugar cravings when going through my divorce. Ben and Jerry were my two boyfriends and we spent a lot of nights on the couch together! 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. When you listen to them, they reveal the truth.
Discover your Cravings Type and get the free 30-page Cravings Report! www.CravingsQuiz.com
Learn more How to Grow Your Intuition with this resource!!
Discover more: Collagen protein to heal your gut and bacterial cravings