Did you ever have the inexplicable real urge to have something salty or really sweet, sharp and tangy or chocolate and creamy?
First of all, your body is smart. If you’re not consuming enough of the right things, your body will signal you to consume foods that are high in fat and calories because it perceives that there’s famine in the land. Sadly, you may be overfed calorically but malnourished nutritionally.
Dr. David Kessler, FDA commissioner from 1990-97 and former dean of Yale’s medical school, shows that cravings are even deeper than our ancient programming. He says, “‘Highly palatable’ foods — those containing fat, sugar and salt — stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure center. In time, the brain gets wired so that dopamine pathways light up at the mere suggestion of the food, such as driving past a fast-food restaurant, and the urge to eat the food grows insistent. Once the food is eaten, the brain releases opioids, which bring emotional relief. Together, dopamine and opioids create a pathway that can activate every time a person is reminded about the particular food. This happens regardless of whether the person is hungry.”
The body gets used to the habit of answering this response. The pleasure zones are activated and satisfied. his however does NOT mean that the nutritional needs of the body have been answered. The denseness of the food will fill a body and satiate immediate hunger. But if the body does not meet it’s nutritional needs, this will manifest itself in signals that seem to be cravings. A “need” for a taste.
Today’s human is in a constant state of inflammation. Eating an acidic diet of meat and dairy, caffeine, alcohol, refined grains and cooked, processed foods leads to a constant auto immune state of inflammation. This constant state of inflammation warps taste buds and the nuances of natural flavors.
The body and mind get cues of flavors to what they have experienced in their diet. But let’s take a look and what these cravings are really telling you about your bodies needs and deficiencies.
The BIGGIE! CHOCOLATE!! Craving for Chocolate typically means a deficiency in magnesium. Most Americans ( 80%) are deficient in this very important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions like activating muscles and nerves. Magnesium creates energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Helps to digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis and It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin. The happy hormone. Getting enough magnesium in your diet also helps to sleep soundly. So the craving for CHOCOLATE is nothing to ignore. However eating excocitoxins like cacao, and fat and refined sugar in chocolate bars is not the effective way to feed your body’s needs. Magnesium can be found in so many vegetables. Deep leafy greens, nuts, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds as well. It is important to remember that what you Absorb is almost as important as what you eat. Too much calcium in your diet ( dairy) will hinder the absorption of magnesium. The body also needs sunlight from vitamin D, this helps to activate magnesium absorption, Chlorophyll has a magnesium atom in its center, allowing the plant to utilize the energy from the sun.
SWEETNESS, SUGAR FILLED FOODS! Humans seek sweet! We do! We take our starches and add fat and sugar to make them sweet like FRUIT! Even meat and dairy get processed and cooked and sauced and sweetened to mimic a fruit meal. Same with grains. Humans seek Sweet! So what does this mean regarding cravings? Well, during the course of a humans day, every single cell runs of sugar! Carbohydrates! Fruit contain so many essential nutrients and FIBER in each little package of nature’s candy. Your body craving sugar could mean a few things. Deficiencies can be in tryptophan, sulphur, phosphorus, carbon and chromium. These nutrients can be found in: fruits, veggies and nuts, specifically broccoli, grapes, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
When I tell my clients to aim eating 1,000 calories of fruit by noon, after a few days they always remark on their drop in cravings for sugary foods.
PASTA and BREADS – James Braly, MD, in his book, Dangerous Grains, says that “Part of this comfort comes from our inability to digest fully some parts of the grain. Undigested partial proteins, or peptides, found in gluten cereals have morphine-like properties, becoming potent drugs once they enter the blood stream. ”
Many people develop cravings due to the pleasant feelings these cause. At the root cause of the craving though is the body’s desire to work effectively. Nutrient deficiencies can be sneaky, too. Unless you are seriously deficient for some time, you may notice no symptoms at all, leading you to believe (falsely) that your body is getting all the nutrition you need. The bodies’ cell replacement and tissue repair all require nitrogen for production of new cells. Although nitrogen is abundant in the environment, humans cannot directly use it from the air or soil, but instead depend on microbes and green plants to convert it into form our bodies can use. Your body is constantly recycling nitrogen from amino acids. If amino acids are not used for protein synthesis, they can be broken into components, including nitrogen, to produce energy. Nitrogen can also be used to make other types of compounds that aren’t proteins, such as the heme in hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in red blood cells. Bread and Pasta with their indigestible proteins create the need for nitrogen even more in an already depleted diet of the availability of nitrogen. Nitrogen can be found in again in plenty of dark green veggies, nuts and seeds, like kale, collards and Spinach. Bread and Pasta have ZERO fiber, refining process, bread is stripped of its healthy elements including bran and germ. This means most of the vitamins and minerals are lost leaving you with nothing but a mucus forming – adding butter fat and oils make pasta bread and entirely junk food.
FAT and OIL, FRIED FOODS – The Average American Eats 16 Pounds of French Fries a Year WHOA! Adding fried food to your daily diet will make your blood throughout your body thick with sludge. Led by research fellow in the Dept. of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and At Pan of the National University of Singapore’s Sow Swee School of Public Health, the researchers examined data from more than 100,000 men and women over about 25 years. They found that people who ate fried food at least once per week, (Just Once a Week!!)….had a greater risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and that the risk increased as the frequency of fried food consumption increased.
But what does it means when your body wants a crunch of fatty foods? It is not your body craving fat. Certainly with a diet of mostly cooked food, the masticating muscles that trigger the flow of digestive juices need a workout. Crave the process. When eating it is so easy to wolf in hundreds to a thousand calories in cooked high fat foods, with no fiber, but a with high fat, juicy crunch. To eat food unaltered in it’s ripe, juicy form such as mangoes, that are 65-100 calories each, would take time. To eat the same amount of calories as a cooked meal, mangoes would take time and effort. Chewing, and digesting the fiber, nutrient dense food fills the body. The mind gets many signals that the stomach is full., after eating for 20 minutes. To eat a crunchy oil and crust cheese pizza would likely take 20 minutes to eat 3-5 slices. Each slice has 300 calories with 13% fat each slice. Or, in 20 minutes you could eat 3-5 mangoes as well, 100 calories each with .07% fat each mango.
Calcium seems to be the nutrient deficiency in the overt craving for fried foods. Once again the beauty in getting more Calcium in your diet is to eat the naturally green leafy veggies, but also know that how your body absorbs the nutrition, will dictate the calcium deficiency. Eating enough of the many of the food in their natural form will benefit your bodies ability to operate and function at peak health.
However eating an acidic diet actually robs your bodies calcium sources. “Diets high in animal and nondairy animal protein were linked to high urinary excretions of calcium, whereas plant-protein diets were linked inversely to calcium excretion“ (AJCN). Osteoporosis in Asia: Crossing the Frontiers, edited by E.M.C. Lau et. al (World Scientific Press) Part of the China Study from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, which basically shows how acidic dairy and animal protein is to the human system. In order for the alkaline human body to operate and function there must be a low level of acidity. The human body use phosphorous which is combined with calcium in bone cells. This leakage of CALCIUM and PHOSPHOROUS is costly to the health of a human body. In the section on sweet foods, a craving for phosphorous is noted.
Eating a diet rich in green leafy greens, broccoli, Figs, Dates, Plums and a variety and delicious ripe fresh foods will ensure your body can get the Calcium. Abstaining from foods that cause an inflammatory reaction if the only way to insure the human body will ABSORB the nutrition.
SALTY CRAVINGS – First of all to really taste food, it’s really important to limit seasoning and adding salt to it. Avoiding anything that causes inflammation and coats your taste buds is another way to really taste the full flavor in food rather than shaking salt all over your food. Adding srong spices and condiments are more or less irritating to the mucous linings of the intestinal tract and gradually numb the nerves of taste. At first they stimulate the digestive organs, but like all other stimulants, will promote weakness and atrophy..
From Foodnsport.com “Our bodies do require sodium, in the small amounts naturally occurring in whole plant foods. However, extracted from any source, is an irritant and is toxic to the body. It causes a decay of the sense of taste, retards digestion/excretion, and impairs the critical cellular potassium/sodium ratio upsetting our natural water balance. Drinking sea water causes dehydration and results in death in only a few days due to the salt content; extracting the salt from the water and ingesting it leads in the same direction. “You would not drink ocean water, as the salt in it is vile, caustic, irritating and in quantity, deadly, even though it is diluted by a lot of water.” Remember what salt has been used for in the past centuries. To embalm mummies and petrify flesh.
But what does it mean when humans having a craving for a salty food? Once again this is most likely an imbalance to the overall diet. It is not only what a person is eating, or not eating but how their body is absorbing the nutrition. A need for chromium or sodium can present itself in a need for a salty taste. Vegetables from tomatoes to celery are loaded with sodium however, they are in a perfect package to be digested. The way it was meant to be for humans, loaded with the minerals and vitamins and fiber that work in concert together to give proper nutrition to humans.