January 24, 2017

How to Balance Food Cravings

Three Steps to Support Your Body to Overcome Cravings

By Christopher Allison

We’ve all heard a young child demand, “I want it! I want it! I want it!” We may chuckle and feel for the child’s parent who must deal with their child’s outburst. But what happens when an adult has a voice inside that starts insisting, “I want it! I want it! I want it!”?

Cravings are a challenge that many of us have experienced. Cravings may show up as a relentless calling from a certain food that consistently beckons you to be eaten. Or maybe you just find yourself standing in front of the open refrigerator looking for something to fill an inner hole. This craving often runs contrary to what you know is good for you. Yet… there it is. Somehow, you just want it. But if a craving is there, what does it mean and what are you to do about it?

how to overcome cravingsIn order to win over the temptation to eat foods that aren’t that healthy, it’s helpful to understand where your cravings come from and what you can do to create balance and alleviate a craving.

Possible Cause of Food Cravings is Imbalance

Some would say cravings are a sign of your body’s need for certain nutrients. They say you should give in to those cravings to rebalance and give your body what it “needs.”

There is some truth to the idea that if you are craving a food, then your body needs something to rebalance. Certainly some food or nutritional supplement would likely help fill the void ¾ temporarily. Unfortunately though, the craving itself comes from an imbalance. For true healing and freedom from cravings, we will need to address the underlying issue that created the imbalance.

For example, if a person is craving chocolate and they go to the internet, they will find that chocolate has magnesium in it. So, they think they need to eat chocolate to satisfy their need for magnesium. Whether they have a magnesium deficiency or not this becomes their justification for satisfying their chocolate craving. But more than likely, something in their body is out of balance.

You want to ask yourself, “If I am craving something, what part of my life is out of balance?”

Role of Comfort Foods

You have probably heard the term comfort foods. The term is used for a reason. These foods often have nutrients that affect neurochemicals that help create a feeling of safety or warmth. Comfort foods can increase serotonin or dopamine–two neurotransmitters that help us feel satisfied and happy.

It may be comfort foods that keep enticing you, reminding you of the happy times you’ve enjoyed with that food in the past. There is definitely an emotional aspect of food that not only changes brain chemistry, but reinvigorates positive memories.

How to Cure Cravings

In searching for answers why you crave, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I been eating to support my body‘s energy needs?
  • Have I been eating foods that support my body’s nutritional needs?
  • Have I been eating foods that support the building blocks of my body?

You need to feed your body properly for it to perform optimally. If you don’t, you may get away with it for a while, but you’re only surviving on youth and hormones. Eventually overdoing it backfires and you’ll be unable to maintain health and create balance. At that point you start to crave sugar, carbs, salt, certain fats and other comfort foods for a quick fix.

Physical and Emotional Root Causes

Instead of giving in to temptation, ask yourself, “What is going on in my life?”

  • Am I going through a difficult time in general?
  • Am I stressed about family, job, finances or some other major issue?
  • Am I sleeping the amount my body truly needs, or just eking by?
  • Have I been skipping meals or waiting too long between meals?
  • Am I moving, starting a new job, getting married, divorced, or going through some other major transition?

Underneath any craving is a bodily system that is calling out in need of some support. Maybe a food fix can help temporarily ¾ but it is only going to be temporary. If your life is out of balance, your body will be out of balance. Then your body’s craving is telling you that something needs to change in your life if you are to be healthy.

Temporary Fixes

In some cases, you may be going through a short-term, temporary life event that requires eating to supporting the body differently. This short-term requirement changes your body’s need for different foods, but isn’t really a craving.

For instance, if you are perspiring and working hard packing for a move, the short-term need for salt and carbohydrates is real. You have lost electrolytes and need energy from food to compensate for all the energy used up moving stuff around. It is important to remember that when you are done with the move your body’s need for increased carbohydrates is over.  At that point, if you continue to supply excess carbohydrates you will create an imbalance of insulin and then cortisol.  The continued increased consumption of carbohydrates will start a craving for sugar and is a very common pattern for people.

In another example, during longer periods of stress, the need arises for protein and fat. The protein compensates for the catabolic tendencies of the stress hormones. Plus, it meets the need for an additional source of slow-burning energy from fats.  If you are not getting additional protein and fat, you will tend to catabolize muscles and start craving sugar and fast-burning carbs. This will inevitably add to your fat mass, produce insulin resistance and begin a real craving based on the imbalance of carbohydrates.

Our bodies need a dietary change based on emotional challenges and physical exertion, and even the climate we live in.  An example of climate-based needs may be the difference between Inuit Eskimos and Amazonian natives. The Eskimo diet of lots fish and whale blubber would be disastrous for an Amazonian native.  And of course the high plant and fruit based diet of the native Amazonian would be disastrous to the Inuit.

Pass on the Cravings

If you remain mindful of your body’s balances and how your life experiences are affecting you, then you can eat to support your body with the food you need to create balance.  And when you’re in balance, you won’t crave food.  You change your foods to meet the needs of your environment.

If you reach for comfort foods or commercially prepared foods, then your body will respond with cravings. These cravings are a result of the influx of chemicals and imbalanced insulin and nutrition. Given the opportunity, your body creates a cycle of metabolic distress from improper nutrition. Then, you’ll begin to hear those foods you shouldn’t eat calling to you from the pantry or freezer. They may even “drive” you to the grocery store.

If you continue to give in to the calling from an imbalanced diet, the call will get stronger and stronger and harder to ignore.

If you eat to support your body’s needs, then the cravings disappear. Healthy food tastes great and you’ll live a longer, happier, healthier life.

So what should you do?

Three Steps to Outsmart Your Cravings

3 steps to outsmart cravingsFirst, eat to supply energy to your body when it needs it.  If you don’t, you’ll respond with an adrenalin surge. The extra adrenaline:

  • Forces a release of stored energy as sugars, proteins and fats
  • Leads to insulin swings
  • Causes tiredness in the afternoon
  • Disrupts sleeping patterns (difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep)

If you want to maintain a strong body as years go by, then eat for your body’s structural needs.  Your body is made of protein, structural fats and minerals.  If you focus on eating a nutrient-dense diet full of these compounds, then you’ll have stable energy and fewer cravings.

Second, to supply your body with energy,  reset the fight or flight response through meditation.  My favorite is the body scan meditation process. Another individual guides you through focusing on differing parts of your body from the head to toes.  Both UCLA and Harvard have found this leads to better autonomic system integration, less stress, and fewer cortisol, blood sugar and insulin swings. By bringing your attention and awareness to different regions of the body, you reduce anxiety and depression.  This practice is particularly good for people who have a hard time clearing their minds.  The guided meditation allows you to focus and receive all the benefits of renewed energy.

Third, if you find you’re in a stressful situation, remember to breathe from your belly. As you do, not only will you get more oxygen, but you will also massage an important nerve called the vagal nerve. The vagal nerve supports your digestion and balances your fight or flight response. As a result, cortisol exposure is reduced as well as cravings as time goes on.

Following the above steps and guidelines, you can end those destructive cravings and set your body on a path of health and create balance.

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Christopher AllisonChris Allison DOM is formally trained as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and is licensed as an Acupuncturist. His love of helping people took him into Functional Medicine, Hormone Balancing, Neurochemistry and Endocrinology. As a young adult he learned the interaction between our mind, body and spirit and teaches how they are all interconnected and influence the experiences we have in life. With the diverse training Chris has, he can take complex symptom patterns and explain in easy to understand terms just what is going on and how to rebalance in a way that takes care of the core reasons we feel the way we do. Many people who have been to numerous MD’s and holistic practitioners are able to finally get the answers they need to become balanced and fit again.

 

 

A Smoothie That Stops Cravings

Having a “feeling light” smoothie for breakfast, snack or meal is the most important balance-restoring step for many weight loss achievers.

This smoothie is a total infusion of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein and fiber.  It is a great way to cut down on food cravings, because, with super-nutrition in the smoothie, you’re actually giving your body the nutrients it needs.

Some nutrition experts say that there is often a link between overeating and the levels of key chemicals in the brain.  Food can be used as self-medication because you are low on certain brain chemicals.  Your brain has to have these chemicals to function.  Your cravings, as well as depression, irritability, anxiety and many other emotional and mental problems are signs that your brain doesn’t have enough of them.

Crave smoothie stop by flickr madlyinlovewithlifeWhen the brain is deprived of these chemicals, it sends out signals that overwhelm your willpower, triggering you to eat druglike food (usually carbohydrates) that substitute for the missing chemicals and make you feel better – for a little while.

You can easily correct these deficiencies with nutrition that boost brain chemicals like dopamine (a natural energizer), endorphine (a natural painkiller) and serotonin (a sleep promoter). This nutrition will stop your cravings, soothe your emotional and mental problems, and start you on the road to permanent weight loss. Specifically, foods high in amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are important in eliminating food cravings – so you can address all the health problems that contribute to being overweight.

Eliminate your cravings for food, as well as your depression, anxiety, irritability, obsessiveness and mental dullness by putting the following smoothie ingredients in a blender, mix and drink:

Raspberry Chocolate Delight Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein (whey, rice, or egg white)
  • 1 cup organic frozen raspberries
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-10 drops of stevia or 1 packet of stevia
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs or 70%-80% dark chocolate pieces

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients for 30 seconds to 1 minute, except the nibs or chocolate pieces.  Add the chocolate and pulse to blend 2 to 3 times.

In this video, I make my favorite Raspberry Chocolate Delight Smoothie and show you an excellent way to flush your body of toxins and keep it as nutritionally tuned up as possible. I am talking about ways that anyone can gently remove the harmful toxins that are slowing down their bodies to restore their health. All for mere pennies. And from the comfort of your own home! This recipe is excellent tools to support your weight loss, stop food cravings and help you avoid as many additional toxins as possible.

Candida and Weight Loss

Candida overgrowth can be a significant barrier to weight loss. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast in the intestinal tract, and is vital for healthy digestion. However, when Candida overgrowth occurs, it can create problems, both with digestive function (gas, bloating etc) and more systemically with fatigue, headaches, brain fog and so on.

In looking at the association between Candida and weight gain, the first thing we need to examine is the fuel source for yeast (and subsequently Candida). Yeast feeds off sugar – that is its preferred fuel source. Subsequently an individual with a hefty yeast overgrowth is going to crave sugars and carbs, as that is what the yeast is craving.

Part of the dilemma is that the sugar/carb phenomenon is a catch-22. Yeast feeds off sugar, so a diet high in sugars and carbs will perpetuate Candida overgrowth; and yet Candida overgrowth will set of cravings for more sugars and carbs. See how this might be a hard cycle to break?

Furthermore, yeast will crave not only sugar, but more yeast. What is alcohol? Sugar and yeast. And a bunch of empty calories. I know many individuals who crave wine or beer – not because they have a drinking problem – but because they have a yeast overgrowth and they’re predisposed to that because of it. High yeast foods can be a trigger also – vinegars, mushrooms, breads to name just a few.

Anti-fungal treatment can often help curb cravings for sugars, carbs and alcohol, and these are three things that will be very helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Also, treating yeast overgrowth can help reduce intestinal bloating which makes one more feel more rotund, even if it’s not true body fat. Addressing yeast overgrowth will also boost energy levels making exercise a more viable and appealing proposition.

Candida overgrowth also compromises proper absorption of nutrients. It is associated with “leaky gut,” which means the gap between the intestinal cells widens. This then leads to nutrients not being well absorbed, as well as larger-than-normal food molecules escaping into the blood stream triggering immune reactions and inflammation.

Addressing Candida overgrowth can be done through diet, although even the most rigid anti-Candida diets are rarely enough to eradicate the problem. The more balanced option is moderate dietary modifications, coupled with anti-fungal remedies, which can range from herbal medicines all the way through to strong prescription medicines. Many people find that once yeast overgrowth is addressed, cravings for sugars and carbs are reduced and weight loss is much easier.

 

Nicola McFadzean, ND is the founder and Medical Director of RestorMedicine, http://restormedicine.com. She practices holistic medicine specializing in Lyme disease, hormone balancing, autistic-spectrum disorders, pre-conception health care and digestive disorders.

Dr. Saunders’ Kick The Habit Plan To Quit Smoking

Over a hundred years ago Mark Twain quipped, “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”  The concept of quitting a habit is as old as people, but smoking is one habit that seems especially difficult to overcome.  I have patients who quit methamphetamines, heroin and alcohol, but cannot overcome the tobacco habit.  They tell me it is the hardest thing.

One patient was able to quit when he got throat cancer, but only because he hated the tracheostomy tube so much and knew he would never smoke again if he did not beat the cancer odds. Others with this same problem actually smoke through the tube!

The methods and ways people quit are varied, almost as the number of quitters.  Some medications are used, but these were mostly created for a different purpose. When drug testing was being done on these medications, the statistical analysis showed that a greater number of smokers quit in the active medicine group than in the placebo group.  The pharmaceutical company then decided to market this effect of the medicine instead of the intended use, such as anti-depressant.  There are patches, pills, electronic cigarettes, creams and all manner of physical assistance to help quit smoking.

Decision to Quit

Kicking the habit starts with a decision.  Many who are pushed from the outside will say they want to quit, but really want to continue smoking.  This decision must come from within.  When I counsel people in my office, I simply ask them what they want to do.  I then assess whether they are ready to start trying.  Those who have made a firm resolve to quit smoking find a successful way.

My grandfather was given cigarettes as part of his Navy rations during World War II.  At home, his wife did not like the smoke in the house, plus they had a son with asthma.  So, he decided just to postpone his usual smoking.  He would reach for a cigarette from his shirt pocket, take one out, look at it and say, “I’ll just wait a few minutes.”  He kept putting it off until after a few months went by he realized he had gone a full week without smoking.  He then took the cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and said, “No use just carrying these around…” threw them in the trash and never smoked again.

Dr. Manchester was a pediatrician who smoked and would counsel all of his young patients never to start smoking.  He tried to quit, but kept going back to it and felt like a hypocrite.  He paid for all sorts of programs, used all the medications and tried hundreds of times without success.  He felt so discouraged that he quit being a pediatrician and became a psychiatrist.  One day, he suffered a heart attack and ended up in the hospital.  As he was lying in the hospital bed, he hated being there so much he knew he would never smoke again just to avoid it — and he quit easily.

Patches

I had one patient, when the patches required a prescription, who was wearing a patch for many years.  We kept trying to wean him off, but he would come in for another round.  I do not know if he ever got off the patches, but at least he was not smoking.

Patches with nicotine in them are now available over-the-counter.  They are mostly helpful for those who really smoke for the nicotine, not for other reasons.  If you get shaky, nervous, jittery, and very irritable in the first several days after quitting, then this may be an option for you.  Those who can go a full day without these symptoms are less likely to benefit from patches.

Drugs

There are many drugs available now to help with the smoking habit. If you are going to use these, then

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Eating For Your Body Type

Understand your cravings for certain foods and lose weight, simply by being yourself.

The Body Type Diet is an approach to weight loss that takes into an account the individual’s metabolism, body shape and physical characteristics. This approach takes an individuals shape and metabolic rate to determine which gland is strongest in controlling your metabolism.

If you are a big diet book reader, like the rest of us, you may have heard of Body Type Dieting. The body types have been listed by a few different names like apple, pear, spoon, ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph and so on. But, they are all basically talking about the same thing: eating the correct foods, avoiding cravings and utilizing the correct exercises to help you, as a unique individual, to lose weight.

Body types can never be changed, even through training. But, no matter what body type you possess, you can still lose weight relatively easily by implementing the correct diet and exercise program.

There are four specific types of bodies for women and three specific types of bodies for men.

You might wonder why is there no male Gonadal Type. The gonads, also called the sex glands, are different in women (ovaries) and men (testes). For a woman, the Gonadal Type is dominated by her ovaries and can shape her body type with her hormones.

However, the testosterone from the gonad sex glands in men already play a significant role in their body composition naturally, which is why men have stronger muscles, heavier bones, facial hair and so on. Because of this masculine nature in men, all men are classified as Gonadal, and male weight gain and cravings are related to a secondary gland.

BODY TYPES

The four different body types provide insight into where an individual tends to accumulate fat, his or her personal energy levels, food cravings and even behaviors.

Below is a breakdown of the specific traits that are linked to a specific gland. You should be able to determine your body type below. Many people will fall into a few areas, but only one dominates each person. This is the gland you will focus on for your diet and exercise plans.Eliminating food cravings is one of the most important things you will do to help you lose weight. These cravings feed the gland that controls your weight and will over stimulate the gland, leading to higher stress levels, lower energy and faster weight gain. To successfully lose weight, you must know your Body Type! Look for the traits that match you best.

Dominant Gland Shape Celebrity Craving Energy
Level
Problem Areas
Thyroid High waist, long limbs. Tend to gain weight all over. This is the most common body type.

Mel Gibson, Rene Russo

Starch, carbs, caffeine, sweets.

High energy followed by crash.

Waist, upper hips, and thighs.

Adrenal Broad shoulders, well-developed muscular structure, strong torso, extra fat in stomach or back.

Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey

Salt, fat, alcohol.

Steady energy level, low energy at night.

Upper back, breasts, stomach.

Gonadal Pear shape, round bottom, slim top. Jennifer Lopez

Spicy, creamy or rich foods.

Strong, even energy level throughout day.

Mostly on the rear, to a lesser extent the hips and outer thighs.

Pituitary

Small, childlike, with a “baby fat” or “soft” appearance.

Bill Clinton, Rachel Ray

Dairy and sweets.

High energy in morning, low energy in evening.

Evenly spread throughout the body.

 

SPECIFIC DIET FOR YOUR TYPE

 

THYROID

Eat: The suggested foods that are really good for this type are high in

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