You might be tempted to think that when you eat the healthiest of diets, and pay attention to getting enough sleep, sunshine, exercise, etc., that you wouldn’t be subject to cravings and addictions. But this is not true.
I lump cravings and addictions together because their definitions vary depending on who you’re speaking to, but the results are the same: You desire something that you know you shouldn’t be eating or doing.
Cravings for certain foods fall into two basic categories: physiological and psychological. And it’s important to know which is the cause because the way to deal with each type of craving is different. And if you assume your cravings are emotional when they’re not, obviously your efforts to resolve them likely will be futile.
Physiological cravings can be caused by not getting enough of certain nutrients that your body requires for operation. This scenario would have been difficult many millennia ago because of the way food was grown and the way we obtained it. But today, if your food comes from the agri-based food industry, which grows for yield, size, appearance, growth rate, pest-resistance, shelf life and sugar content, but not for nutritional content, you could be eating the most perfect diet, but you may bump up against some nutritional deficiencies, especially if you’re not as active as you’re designed to be. You’ll eat less food when inactive, and that means fewer overall nutrients even if you are consuming an appropriate amount of calories for your level of (in)activity.
This first category is what is responsible for raw food vegans desiring salty things. If their sodium requirements are not being met, their body remembers what had been great sources of sodium, and you’ll get a craving for some of those salty snacks you once ate (even though that form of sodium is not nearly as bioavailable as the sodium we get from plants).
The other form that cravings take are emotional. Many people associate certain foods with good times, and thus good feelings, and some “foods” like chocolate can make you feel loved. So it’s no wonder that when you’re blue and down in the dumps, you desire certain “good-mood foods.”
The first category is best dealt with by bolstering your nutritional intake. I add some green powder to my smoothies, and this does help a lot. Daily Green Boost is my green powder of choice, and don’t let anyone tell you that something like this simply can’t provide nutrition, because this would demonstrate their lack of understanding.
But there are some “problematic” nutrients; ones that are not normally provided by food, like D and B12, and those that even the best green powder won’t supply enough of if you’re already dealing with an insufficiency or deficiency … iodine is good example. Looking at it from a “supply-and-demand” perspective, the supply of it is extremely poor (even in foods grown in decent soil), and many people’s demand is higher than it would have been many millennia ago, even if they didn’t have a deficiency.
The second category — emotional desires — can be dealt with by …
1. Having a good social life. See the fascinating article “Raw Food and Addiction.”
2. Making sure you’re eating a nutritious diet (yes, a lack of enough of certain nutrients can affect your hormones and thus your emotions)
3. Avail yourself of the best treatment protocol for associating your, say, desire for pizza with something other than yummm … something like uggg instead will put an end to your desire for pizza. See my article “No More Cravings” for more information on a very effective at-home protocol. Doing this along with the aforementioned two items works wonders for eliminating psychological cravings.
Don Bennett is an insightful, reality-based author and health creation counselor who uses the tools in his toolbox — logic, common sense, critical thinking and independent thought — to figure out how to live so you can be optimally healthy. More about Don’s latest book, which is all about raw food diet misinformation, on Health101.org.