We’ve spent the past month talking about some other sweet things, ones that aren’t as wonderful as you — pastries, candy, cakes — and also breads, fried foods and salty snacks. When a craving hits, it’s hard to see or think of anything but that delicious temptation. But cravings are your body’s way of explaining what it needs to keep working at its best, and trust me, it’s not Cheetos and ice cream at 1AM!
Now, I’ve already helped you decode what those cravings actually mean, but I’d like to give you a quick refresher of what you need to do with that new information to kick those unhealthy cravings to the curb.
Consider it my Plante Life Cravings Crack Down Checklist!
☑ Destress Yo’self before you Wreck Yo’self.
Stress management is essential to curbing the cravings. Exercise, plenty of rest, B and D vitamins, and meditation are all great options to help keep your stress to a minimum. Plus, meditation, sunshine (which produces Vitamin D) and exercise will all give your serotonin levels a nice boost, so you can skip the sugar and extra carbs with ease.
BONUS: Meditation also helps prevent depression and reduces cortisol levels, the age-accelerating hormone that breaks down our body, our peace, and our health.
B vitamins are essential for your brain to handle stress. They are specifically needed for methylation—a massive biochemical superhighway that makes for a healthy brain and gut, detoxes pathways, and protects your DNA.
So, it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with less stress in your life!
☑ Water Always Wins
Yes, water is like duct tape or Windex. It’s good in every situation! As I mentioned in our first article on cravings, dehydration is often confused for hunger, so the solution is simple. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and control those cravings. Aim to drink a little more than half your weight in ounces of water per day.
And remember, if and when a craving hits, try drinking a big ol’ glass of water first. More often than not, you’ll kick that cravings to the curb in an instant.
☑ Don’t Fake It To Make It
Note to self: avoid fake gold, fake people and fake food! 😉
Processed foods are packed with the simple sugars that give us that instant rush of energy and serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, only to crash and burn just as quickly. Not to mention that a junk food addiction contributes heavily to the development of chronic diseases and obesity, which leads to some serious doctor’s bills. Suddenly, those quick and cheap snacks aren’t so appealing.
Maintaining a diet of real, whole foods will leave you feeling fuller and energized longer. A healthier menu doesn’t need to be restrictive either. In fact, dieting may even make cravings worse: “Even just three days of strict dieting decreases levels of the appetite-reducing hormone leptin by 22%.” So, really it’s all about substituting processed foods with better options.
If you love toast, reach for a slice of sprouted-grain or gluten-free bread instead of white bread. Need a little snack at work? Put together your own trail mix with almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts or have an apple and almond butter; the healthy fats from the nuts will help regulate your blood sugar. Seek out plant-based sources of protein or wild seafood and fresh meat from your local Farmer’s Market. And you can add avocado to everything!
We just touched on this in the section above, but it bears repeating since fats get a bad rap. One of the best ways to curb hunger and cravings is to eat a diet loaded with healthy fats. Believe it or not, our brains are about 60% fat, and diets low in good fats have been linked to low brain function.
Yep, not eating enough fat can actually dull your brain. As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!” I know it seems counter-intuitive, but remember, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does!
I know that nutritional labels can sometimes look like their written in a foreign language, so to help you get the right about of healthy fats, here’s the skinny on all the fabulous fats you can enjoy without feeling guilty!
☑ Be Nice To Nutrients!
Last week, I explained how nutrient deficiencies are a huge trigger for cravings. From chocolate to cheese to cheeseburgers, what you think you want to eat isn’t always what your body needs. So until your cells learn to talk in words, check out this breakdown of which cravings correspond to which nutrients. This way, you can bypass the junk food aisle and feed your body healthier, whole foods and keep those cravings in check.
☑ When In Doubt, Cleanse.
If you’re having a hard time shaking those unhealthy eating habits and cravings, interrupt the pattern with a cleanse. I know a lot of people think of regimented or antiseptic actions when they hear that word, but cleansing should actually be gentle on your body. It’s about quieting the mental chatter and reconnecting with your body, so you can better understand what it needs to help you feel like a badass beauty.
Exercise, healthy meals, plenty of rest and lots of self-care are great ways to hit the reset button on how you treat your body. (Or you can join a group for extra accountability and guidance, like The Plante Life 14-day Real Food Reboot.) Regardless of finding a mentor or going the DIY route, when you treat yourself better, your cravings will start to shift as well. Think of a houseplant leaning toward the sunshine! You want to remind your body how good those real, whole foods and lots of self-love can feel.
Which of these actions will you check off the list first? Let me know in the comments below!
Moniqua is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Real Food | Real Life Expert. As the Owner and Founder of The Plante Life, she helps women (and a few good men) get their groove on through real food, self care and radical self love so they can live the kick ass, healthy, energetic lives they're meant to live.