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:
CheeseEssential Fatty Acids deficiencyOmega 3′s (EPA and DHA)- Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts
Calcium deficiencySesame seeds/ tahini, broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard and turnip greens
Pasta, white bread, pastriesChromium deficiencyOnion, romaine lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato
Bread and toastNitrogen deficiencyFoods containing proteins, i.e.. Green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains
Red meatIron deficiencyBeans, legumes, unsulphured prunes, figs+ other dried fruit, seaweed, spinach, cherries, Vitamin C for iron absorption
PopcornStress hormone fluctuationsMeditation, breathing exercises, exercise, leafy greens, vitamin B and C
ChipsChloride deficiencyCelery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt
Essential Fatty Acids deficiencyOmega 3′s (EPA and DHA)- Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts

Sweets

ChocolateMagnesium deficiencyRaw cacao nibs/beans/powder, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit, magnesium
Pop/Soda, Carbonated beveragesCalcium deficiencySesame seeds/ tahini, broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard and turnip greens
General sweetsHypoglycemia (low blood sugar)Fruit, high fibre foods (beans, legumes), complex carbs (grains), chromium (cinnamon)
Tryptophan deficiencyPumpkin/sesame/sunflower seeds, raw cacao, oatmeal, sweet potato, spinach, raisins
Chromium deficiencyOnion, romaine lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato
Sulphur deficiencyCruciferous vege (kale, cabbage, etc), cranberries, horseradish, asparagus, carob powder, garlic, onion
Phosphorus deficiencyWhole grains, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, lentils

Flavors

Burned foodCarbon deficiencyFresh fruits
Acidic foodsMagnesium deficiencyRaw cacao nibs/beans/powder, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit
Salty foodsChloride deficiencyCelery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt
Stress hormone fluctuationsMeditation, 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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