By Alyssa St-Jean (LowFatLowCarb.com)
Cravings. We all have them. Pizza, chips, nachos, apple pie, chocolate cake… What are your guilty pleasures? Regardless of what they may be, we all want to ditch those nasty food cravings and get rid of those empty calories that are making us fat and leave us feeling like caca.
I know what you are thinking – it is easier said than done. I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a trick though!
Not all food cravings are bad. There is such a thing as a good food craving. You just need to make sure that you are able to differentiate the two.
Bad cravings are due to many different factors however, the most common factors that we are all aware of are: stress, lack of sleep and well, an unbalanced diet. Personally, I think that for the most part, it is the overconsumption of processed foods that is to blame. Processed foods are known to contain high fat, refined sugars and additives as ingredients. Yet, we still crave them… Why? There are two reasons.
Our bodies have a natural desire for sodium (salt), glucose (sugar) and fat. For example, back in the day when processed foods were unheard of, if you were craving something sweet, you would have reached for some fruit to satisfy the craving. However, today’s reality is that processed foods are everywhere and we have become accustomed to their rich flavours. Like I had mentioned earlier, processed foods are packed with refined sugars, which make them taste much sweeter than natural sugars. This is why we reach for a chocolate bar over a banana when a food craving comes along.
Processed foods have the ability to desensitize your taste buds. When you eat processed foods on a daily basis, your taste buds are slowly adjusting to the high levels of refined sugars, salts and fats. Which then causes your body to have to work harder to enjoy the taste of natural flavours. If you think about it, this is why some people hate the taste of water so much.
So, how do you deal with the craving issue? The answer is simple. Train your body to crave nutrient dense whole foods instead of junk foods. Here are a few tips:
Make you own snacks
If you make you own snacks, you get to choose the ingredients you use (natural ones) and it will be more time consuming therefore, you will eat them less frequently.
Scan nutritional fact labels
Make sure that when you are reading nutritional fact labels so that you can eliminate foods that contain added sugars. Make it a rule and if there is no nutritional facts label, don’t buy it!
Select grass fed protein and dairy products
By choosing grass fed protein and dairy products, you will benefit from much higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants. You will also benefit from healthier types of fat such as omega-3s.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits
Instead of reaching for the box of chocolates, satisfy your craving with an extra ripe fruit.
Select packaged foods with 5 ingredients or less
When shopping at the grocery store, try to shop the perimeters of the store. This way you will stick to whole foods. If and when you must buy any form of packaged foods, make sure that there are 5 ingredients or less. This will limit the choices and make you much more aware of what is in the food you are consuming.