Friday, January 31, 2014

Junk out, good food in. Part 2 Cravings

In case you missed it I have included a link to  Junk out, good food in part 1

Junk out, good food in part 1

I last left you wondering if you were going to continue on your journey to good health or go back to those old habits. It is a hard question, and one that so many people have to answer.  There are many reasons to get healthy and change your habits. There are also many reasons to go back to your old ways. Often the old habits win. In the next few posts we will talk about some of our habits and how we can change them.

One of the bad habits we have is giving into those junk food cravings.  Often we feel such shame in giving into them. They can evoke such overwhelming feelings. Junk food cravings can cause you to be so overcome. They can be a major downfall in the quest to obtain better health. Working with the cravings as opposed to fighting them is key.  

One of the troubles is that the fast food and junk food companies spend billions of dollars creating a craveable product. They usually do this by relying on the three most craved items out there, fat, sugar, and salt. They rely on us having these cravings, giving into them, and not being able to kick the habit; bringing us back to the junk food over and over. Many are stuck in this vicious cycle of junk food. We do not seem to have power over it. I am here to help you get that power back. Cravings can be overcome and the process is quite simple. Work with the cravings, do not fight them.  Here is a place to begin to understand that process.

What are your cravings telling you?  To understand our food cravings we have to understand our primal body and brain. Your brain and body are really amazing. Your body and brain can heal itself if given the proper building materials and tools. Our bodies take bits and pieces from the food we eat to build and repair itself. When our body needs more fuel and supplies it calls out for them. The trouble is that the lines of communication are sometimes blocked, but more than that, we have forgotten how to speak that language that our body speaks. It is like our brain and body are speaking in Morse code and we just ignore the banging and tapping because we do not use that form of communication anymore.  So what do we do? We learn to listen to our bodies and hear what it is calling out for. Essentially we learn to hear our body signals, we learn to speak Morse code.

Sounds hard? No, not really. Just a few simple things will get you well on your way. There are usually three main cravings; salt, sugar, and fat. Just think about your favorite go to foods, the ones that you think you cannot live without. Which craving category does it fall into? For some people it will be just one but for many it is a combination of the three.  Now before you run off to satisfy those cravings, stick with. Let me tell you what your brain and body may be signaling to you.

Sweet cravings.

Sweet cravings are often the body saying "I need more vitamins, please send me vitamins"  Fruits are full of vitamins. We learn this before kindergarten.  The body knows this, and when it needs vitamins for building it calls out with a sweet craving signaling us to find fruit.  But what do we reach for, candy, soda, fruit flavored snacks, pie, cake, etc. (The list could be endless).  This satisfies us for a moment, the body takes whatever it can from that but is still in need of vitamins. It sends the signal even stronger. Calling out even louder for fruit by telling us we need something sweet. We heed the call with more sugar foods, and the cycle has begun.  Some of us are so much into the cycle that it is no longer cravings, it is habit. We try to eliminate the habit, and then the craving kicks in. Back and forth until we can't tell habit from craving meanwhile our body is starving for nutrition.

Eat fruit, and the body says oh thank you I have what I need for a while. For some people it can be that simple, feed the body fruit and the cravings go away.  For me it was not quite that simple, Fruit helped a lot, the cravings lessened, but my digestive system was so out of sorts that my body could not extract all the nutrition from the fruit, not to mention that I still had cravings for Salt and fat too.

Salty cravings

Salty cravings often can be your body saying I need more minerals to continue on my work. Please send minerals.  Our body needs  minerals the most common being potassium, magnesium, calcium, chromium and iodine.  We get our minerals from salt, water, bone broth, some fruits, also from the dark green vegetables to name a few places. These are being destroyed to the point that we are not getting the minerals from them.  For example, Softened/filtered water, bullion instead of bone broth, and soil so devoid of nutrients that vegetables grown in this soil is no longer a good source of minerals.

To overcome the  salty cravings, Switch out table salt for sea salt or other less processed salt. Eat more leafy green vegetables making sure they are grown in nutrient rich soil if possible. Drink more pure water. Real bone broth instead of bullion. But the fact is you may need to supplement.  There is good scientific evidence to show that a large percentage of the United States population is mineral deficient and could benefit from mineral supplementation.

Fat cravings

Fat cravings mean the brain has run out of fuel.

Our brains are mostly made of fat. Our brain needs fat. Fat is the main source of fuel that the brain uses to function.  The worst thing you can do for your brain is to feed it a low-fat diet. The second worst thing you can do is to try to fill the void with trans fats or hydrogenated fats. These so called "funny fats"  do not supply the body with the fuel it needs, The body has a real hard time breaking these down into fuel that it can use. It is like filling your car with diesel fuel when it is designed to run off of unleaded.

To overcome fat cravings make your fats natural ones.  Avoid cheap processed foods and get plenty of  fat to fuel your brain. fats like olive oil, coconut oil, real butter, seeds, nuts, and avocado. This may be hard because we have had our brains wired to believe that all fat is bad for us. It took me a while to come around.

The truth is junk food will only fuel the cravings for more junk food. In order to get the physical cravings to stop you need to give your body what it needs.  Vitamins, minerals and fats from sources that it recognizes as food.

I have come a long way in my journey toward good health. It is not always easy and it is hard to make the right choices when you are so confused by the media, and not sure where to turn. I am grateful that I am breaking the cycle of dependency upon junk food. My body feels so much better, and my brain is healing. I still struggle daily. I no longer crave the junk food from a physical standpoint, but I struggle with being addicted to food on an psychological level. I was in that very vicious cycle where I could not tell cravings from habits. Now I am in a place that I can tell the difference.

The cravings are less, but those old habits are hard.  I am working on it. Being a rather large person people often look at me and make judgments about me and my willpower to make good choices. They did not understand that for me  it was not so simple. I had some serious troubles brewing inside of me. Cravings which were real because my body was so broken, became bad habits, which in turn became a real addiction that nearly destroyed me. Getting the cravings under control has given me back the power to change some of those other things. Getting rid of the physical cravings gives me the power to begin the change on a psychological level. I feel that I have a bit more power to heal and get rid of those habits and break this addiction for good. 

I have a long journey ahead of me, but I have the strength to take on that journey now. I am healing. I am making better choices. I am better able to navigate it now that I do not have overbearing strong physical cravings overcoming my judgment. I am free to make the choice of what I eat, not what my body is demanding.

Tune in next time as we continue the discussion  in Junk out, good food in part 3

shared as part of real food Wednesdays


  1. That simplified things! I didn't realize it about sugar, salt, and fat cravings. Good knowledge to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing at the Healthy Tuesday hop!

  2. I usually crave sugar!!
    Thanks for sharing your post at the HomeAcre Hop!

  3. Sugar cravings usually indicate a body that is too acid. If you correct the issue and get the body alkaline then the sugar cravings vanish. The alkaline diet is easy to find online and taking alfalfa capsules can really speed up the process.

  4. I crave sugar, which my naturopath concluded is a result from insulin resistance. Diet affects our health so much more than people realize. Keep up the good work!

  5. This was soooooooo interesting. I have been trying to break the sugar and junk food I have been eating the last couple months. This will help and I will start taking my vits again tomorrow. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this.

  6. Control yourself. Sometimes you'll be tempted to eat junk food. Control yourself. Think No one wants to have health problems, no one wants to feel tired and drained and no one wants to die young. Stop Eating Junk Foods