Combat Your Cravings With These Simple Substitutions

10/365 - junk food cravings

Whether noon, evening or night, food cravings seem to hit us at any given hour of the day. It may be subliminal messaging of the body at its best, but our brains trigger these food cravings (which shouldn’t be mistaken for hunger). For instance, we see a billboard advertising a seasonal beverage and instantly want a pumpkin spiced latte, or we see a box of donuts at work and begin craving something sweet. When we crave a specific food, we want it now; some of us are even willing to go completely out of our way to get it to simply satisfy that craving. However when we give into these cravings, we are – at times – indulging on unhealthy foods.

Counteracting cravings can be a difficult task especially if we don’t understand the underlying reasons to our cravings. Our mind tells us that we want chocolate, so we eat chocolate; it’s a fairly simply procedure. Give the body what it wants, the only problem is that it thinks it wants chocolate. What we don’t understand is that our craving could be due to a magnesium deficiency. To satisfy the need for chocolate, we can look to a chart – developed by Bernard Jensen, PhD, and Cheryl M. Deroin, NMD – that states foods such as whole grains, beans, greens and nuts (to name a few) are healthy substitutions to beat our craving.

Below is a list that shows healthy substitutions and reasons as to why we crave certain foods.

Common Foods

What you’re craving: Reason for your craving: Healthy Substitution:
Cheese Essential Fatty Acids deficiency Omega 3′s (EPA and DHA)- Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts
Calcium deficiency Sesame seeds/ tahini, broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard and turnip greens
Pasta, white bread, pastries Chromium deficiency Onion, romaine lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato
Bread and toast Nitrogen deficiency Foods containing proteins, i.e.. Green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains
Red meat Iron deficiency Beans, legumes, unsulphured prunes, figs+ other dried fruit, seaweed, spinach, cherries, Vitamin C for iron absorption
Popcorn Stress hormone fluctuations Meditation, breathing exercises, exercise, leafy greens, vitamin B and C
Chips Chloride deficiency Celery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt
Essential Fatty Acids deficiency Omega 3′s (EPA and DHA)- Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts

Sweets

Chocolate Magnesium deficiency Raw cacao nibs/beans/powder, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit, magnesium
Pop/Soda, Carbonated beverages Calcium deficiency Sesame seeds/ tahini, broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard and turnip greens
General sweets Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) Fruit, high fibre foods (beans, legumes), complex carbs (grains), chromium (cinnamon)
Tryptophan deficiency Pumpkin/sesame/sunflower seeds, raw cacao, oatmeal, sweet potato, spinach, raisins
Chromium deficiency Onion, romaine lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato
Sulphur deficiency Cruciferous vege (kale, cabbage, etc), cranberries, horseradish, asparagus, carob powder, garlic, onion
Phosphorus deficiency Whole grains, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, lentils

Flavors

Burned food Carbon deficiency Fresh fruits
Acidic foods Magnesium deficiency Raw cacao nibs/beans/powder, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit
Salty foods Chloride deficiency Celery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt
Stress hormone fluctuations Meditation, breathing exercises, exercise, leafy greens, vitamin B and C

*This list was acquired from Ben Greenfield Fitness

Photo credit: Joel Lim

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