Craving junk food? This could be why.
Each and every day, we are literally bombarded with junk food. It’s quick, convenient and available 24/7. You only need to walk out of your house, into your local cafe, supermarket or 7/11 store and you have an overwhelming choice of processed sugary foods available at your finger tips. And, whilst most of us know the benefits of eating whole, nutrient dense foods, for many of us cravings still exist. But what if I told you there could be something more behind that craving? that perhaps you’re craving junk food for a reason!
Cravings for sugary, salty or fried foods are often our bodies way of telling us that something is out of balance. That we need to bring the body back to a state of homeostasis, and our job is to tune into these clues and ask ourselves, what does my body want and why? As much as the media would like to convince us otherwise, cravings are not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower. They are the small clues our body is giving us, so that we can tweak of change what we’re eating or our lifestyle so that we can perform at an optimal level.
SEVEN REASONS why you might be CRAVING JUNK FOOD
1. LACK OF PRIMARY FOOD.
When we are dissatisfied or struggling in a particular area of our lives i.e our relationships or our careers this can often be a key contributor to emotional eating. Being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, anxious or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause you to crave junk food.
Lack of water sends a message to your brain that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can often plays out as mild hunger (and many of us mistake this cue for real hunger). So next time you have a slight craving, reach for a glass or water or herbal tea first. Interestingly too, water can also cause cravings so be sure that your water intake is well balanced. As a rule of thumb aim for 2-3 litres per day.
3. YIN-YANG IMBALANCE.
Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive), while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order for the body to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa. This same imbalance effect can be seen when we are highly stressed (yang) and so to bring the body back to balance we crave sweet foods to de-stress us like sugar (yin) and calm us down like alcohol (yin).
Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, our bodies are shedding off the Winter and we crave light, detoxifying foods like leafy greens, soups or citrus foods. In the summer, our bodies are light and we crave cooling foods like fruits, salads, and ice cream, and in the Winter our bodies crave grounding foods like stews, slow cooks, and grounding vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and potato. As the seasons change, so too should our diets. Check-in to see how you are feeling after your next meal? Are you feeling satisfied, hungry, restless? Sticking to a seasonal based diet can really optimise our bodies energy levels.
6. LACK OF NUTRIENTS.
If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine. To ensure you are getting adequate nutrients into your body, prioritise wholefoods including lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables, good quality protein sources like organic chicken, grass-fed meat and seafood, good quality grains like quinoa and rice and a small amount of full fat dairy.
When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.
Cravings are normal part of everyday life, and are our bodies way of telling us that things are a little out of balance. Just as we take our cars for a service, reoccurring cravings are our bodies way of telling us that perhaps we’re due for one too! If you want to learn more about managing cravings and tuning in to what your body truly needs for optimal cellular nourishment then my upcoming workshop Let’s Get Real About Health is perfect for you!
You can read all about it here!