"We are born to be fit, strong, and healthy." Robb Wolf

January 27, 2011

Why You Crave

Here is an article from Practice CrossFit giving reasons why you crave certain foods and what to do to ease those cravings:

Sometimes a pizza just does sound that good. Or maybe you're a pastry kinda person. Possibly a wine and cheese connoisseur, or even a beer aficionado...if there is such a thing. Clearly, sometimes you just want what you shouldn't have. Most of the time, just say no. However, sometimes your body could be "craving" a specific nutrient housed within the shell of whatever product contains it. Thus why instead of "salt", we think "pizza".

 I Crave Cookies, Candy, Sweets:
Well it could be you're in withdrawal. Sugar is the devil, and as addictive as coke. If you're new to the no sugar low/no carb game, this is most likely it, and you'll usually be cool as long as you learn to tolerate a "want" and not a true need. 
As for CrossFItters and avid worker-outers, you may be short. Short on calories, specifically glucose, and your body may be asking for it. If this is directly after a WOD, you may need to ensure you introduce some sort of PWO carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes, raisins or vitargo. If this is throughout the day, simply increasing your fat intake will counteract this issue especially if you've gone through The Shift, where you begin to utilize fat much better than carbohydrates. 
In many cases, the addition of carbohydrates can actually prolong or worsen the problem...if your problem is simply "getting off the coke". So use carbs sparingly in bad cases, last cases, or worst cases, unless your goals are realized and you are healthy even in the face of a carbohydrate.
I Crave Popcorn, or Chips, or Soup:
Assuming you left the majority of processed foods long ago, chances are your body is feeling sodium neglected. Electrolyte imbalance can be a serious issue, causing a malady of problems including death. Naturally, there are just times when crunchy, salty is a "want", but if you're close to in tune with your body, and it is calling for salt...give it.
I Crave Butters, or Cheeses or Heavy Desserts:
Chances are you have neglected meals, or eaten far too little at each meal through the day or days prior.
Your body may be trying to tell you that it wants to be satisfied, and it is looking for density, and filling. The obvious good choices are simply fat. Avocado, nuts, and seeds seem to do the trick nicely in a pinch, but proper planning is key.
When you try to cut out calories in the morning, it is all too easy to eat a bucket of almonds at night to make up for the loss. Better to plan the day right, and prepare enough food to sustain your activity, then when the evening rolls around you haven't missed key components like fat, or calories in general, and you don't feel like killing anything between you and the fridge.
I Crave Red Meat:
Most likely iron. Instead of knocking out iron, go for more green leafy vegetables, and you guessed it...eat steak. Flank. Even ground beef on a frequency that feels good to you. Generally every few days should do.
I Crave Dairy or Breads, or Pasta's:
Hopefully, you have cut these out long ago. However, when you eat them you experience a specific hormone release that makes you feel good. In fact, it's kind of akin to opiates and pain killers.  Most likely you were addicted to these at some time, and possibly still are. 
Just because they made you feel good for a second, doesn't make them good for you. The reason you still may crave is that your brain recalls the good feelings in times of stress, and just wants you to feel better at all cost...even if it costs your health.
I Crave Comfort Food:
Your stressed. Go workout. Stop worrying. Don't eat your way to a moment of happiness, and a lifetime of regret. Comfort is knowing you do the right thing in the face of distress, not comfortably eating whatever the hell you feel like because you have some ridiculous emotional attachment to food...it's fuel, not a psychiatrist.
Decide if your on the side of "wanting" a food, or truly "craving" a food. Your body is a good guide, but sometimes even the best guides give bad directions. Listen closely, ignore the superficial and truly listen to your gut.


Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I once read that a study was done on children who had a greater propensity to eating dirt. (some kids really like that stuff)

They found that a larger percentage of children who ate dirt were lacking in iron and other minerals found in soil, and speculated that it might be an instinct designed to balance those deficiencies.

I guess the others just really liked how it tastes...