What are your comfort foods?
Sweets: Candy, chocolate bars, pop, juices, suckers, gum
A sweet tooth indicates that you may have trouble normalizing your blood sugar. If so, be sure to eat at regular times, have adequate protein with each meal and choose only carbohydrates that are unrefined and low in sugar like vegetables, organic oatmeal, seasonal fruit, legumes.
Salty Foods: chips, pretzels, nachos, popcorn
A craving for salt suggests you are under great stress and your adrenal glands may be working overtime.
High carbohydrate foods: Bread, pasta, cookies, pastries
A craving for starchy carbohydrate rich foods may mean your brain needs more of the moos elevating hormone serotonin, which is produced when you eat higher carbohydrate foods.
Protein rich foods: Meat
If you crave protein, your body may be telling you it is “carbohydrate sensitive” and you need to derive more of your calories from protein rich foods for optimal metabolism.
High fat foods: Cheese, ice cream, heavy desserts, cream sauces
A craving for fast may indicate a problem with regulation of your thyroid gland, the master gland that controls your metabolic rate
Craving Solutions to Common Problems
1. Problem: Irregular or missed meals.
Skipping meals or eating on an unpredictable schedule catapults your body into a state of starvation, depriving your brain and body of fuel. This sets you up to crave starchy or sugary foods for energy.
Solution: Eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
Plan to eat a nourishing mini-meal every 3-4 hours until 7 or 8 p.m. Most people find this stabilizes their energy and prevents impulse eating and bingeing. Eating before you run out of energy can prevent sugar cravings.
2. Problem: Lack of sufficient dietary carbohydrates.
Low-carbohydrate diets often create cravings for starchy foods and sweets. The reason: The brain prefers running on glucose supplied by carbohydrates. When you don’t consume enough carbohydrates to fuel your body, you get hungry, which many people experience as a craving for sweet and starchy foods.
Solution: Build meals and snacks around one or more carbohydrate-rich whole foods.
- Once per day include baked or roasted sweet potatoes, dense root vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips
- Twice per day eat fresh fruits
- Once per day eat whole grains, such as brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat or 100-percent sprouted or sourdough whole-grain bread.
- At least twice a day, add colorful, fibrous vegetables — particularly greens (steamed or sautéed leafy greens, a tossed green salad or coleslaw), a dash of healthy fat or oil (nuts or seeds; olive, coconut or flax oil; butter; or avocado) and include a small portion of protein in each meal.
3. Problem: Lack of protein and fat.
If your diet is carbohydrate-heavy, particularly if you rely on refined carbohydrates, you may experience cravings for sweets. Your body requires a balance of nutrients. Protein and fat slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, stabilizing your energy. Protein-rich foods also pack important nutrients, and healthy fats and oils improve nutrient absorption, boost immunity and increase satiety at meals.
Solution: Eat mixed meals.
Meals containing a mix of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat work best to stabilize energy and avert cravings. Here’s why: Carbohydrates digest quickly, providing fuel immediately after the meal. As the supply of carbohydrates drops off, protein becomes available. When that drops off, fat provides the long-term energy. Having a modest amount of protein and some friendly fat at each meal delays the return of hunger and may stave off all cravings.
4. Problem: Excessive salt intake.
Restaurants, fast-food eateries and processed food companies liberally season with salt to stimulate your palate, pique your interest in processed foods and motivate you to eat more. Chips, crackers, cheese, cured meats, dips, condiments and canned soups can make your salt intake — and desire for sweets — soar. Many commercial cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, frozen desserts and candies also host a hefty dose of salt.
Solution: Slash your salt intake in half.
Halving your salt intake may help normalize your appetite, making it easier to tell when you’re hungry and when you’ve had enough of any particular food. Read labels, even in health food stores, and make lower-sodium selections. Add half as much salt to recipes, then try using half as much salt again the next time you prepare the recipe. Replace high-sodium broth with lower-sodium broth. Better yet, make salt-free chicken and vegetable stocks and broths at home.
At the table, replace the salt shaker with lemon pepper or sea vegetable sprinkles, such as dulse or nori.
5. Problem: Eating too many refined carbohydrates.
Refined foods don’t satisfy your body because they lack the nutrients and filling fiber found in whole foods. It’s easy to over-consume cookies and junk food, but who binges on baked sweet potatoes or slow-cooked oatmeal?
Solution: Replace highly refined foods with nourishing whole foods.
Incorporate at least one sweet vegetable (such as carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes or winter squash) or cooked or dried fruit into each meal and snack. Satisfy your sweet tooth at mealtime and you won’t have to hunt for dessert after or between meals.
6. Problem: Habitual use of sugar.
Sugar stimulates your appetite — the more you eat, the more you want. Think of your cravings as stray cats. Feed them and they keep coming back. Stop feeding them and eventually those stray desires will disappear!
Solution: Find healthy alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.
For fewer calories than those in two chocolate sandwich cookies, you could eat 1 cup of grapes, 1½ cups of melon, 2 cups of strawberries or an apple. Instead of ice cream, purée frozen fruit with a dash of fruit juice concentrate. Or make a smoothie by blending sliced and frozen, but slightly thawed, bananas with diluted peanut, almond or cashew butter in a food processor, adding 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1 tablespoon water per banana, plus one-fourth teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Replace sugary pumpkin pie with naturally sweet baked winter squash or sweet potato; sprinkle with spices and drizzle with flax oil.
7. Problem: Chronic under-eating.
Over-controlled under-eating usually leads to out-of-control overeating. Your body needs energy. If you don’t consume enough food throughout the day or week, your hunger will eventually win out.
Solution: Smaller, more frequent meals.
Plan and consume smaller, more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day to stabilize your physical and mental energy. Choose bulky, high-nutrient, low calorie-density foods — vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains and lean meat. They allow you to eat a large volume of food without over-consuming calories.
8. Problem: Trying to soothe your emotional pain with food.
No amount of dessert will satisfy your emotional needs or take away your troubles. Reaching for cookies, pastries, ice cream and other high-sugar foods when you feel fearful, angry, lonely, bored, depressed or stressed usually will give you more grief: aches, pains, indigestion, excess body fat and health problems that can make you feel even worse.
Solution: Find healthy ways to satisfy your needs.
Explore nonfood ways to release pent-up energy and create balance in your life. Unwind with a walk, a nap or a relaxation tape. Oust anger by running, riding your bicycle or taking a martial arts or other exercise class. Dance the blues away. Take up tai chi, chi gong, collage making, painting, drawing or meditating. Have fun.
9. Problem: Physical depletion.
Adrenal exhaustion can contribute to cravings for stimulants, such as salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee or drugs. Does the food or drink you crave contain caffeine? Does it drug you, numb you, take you away from the truth or keep you going when you’d otherwise collapse from exhaustion?
Solution: Discover what your body really needs.
What do you want more of and less of in your life? You may benefit from extra sleep, a day or weekend off, gentle exercise, meditation, relaxation tapes, massage, psychotherapy or acupuncture. Search for the root cause of your exhaustion, then commit to your own regeneration and healing.
Comfort Food Recipes
Ice Cream, almost
750 g of plain organic yogurt
6 scoops of your favourite flavoured protein powder like Proteins plus or Ultrameal
½ cup of ground raw almonds
2 mashed bananas
1 cup of pecan halves
Serve with fruit sauce: 1 orange, 5 strawberries and shaved 100% dark chocolate
6 Brown Rice or Ezekiel tortillas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbamare or spices of your choice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tortillas into quarters and spread them onto the baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, and Herbamare, to taste. Drizzle this mixture over the tortilla pieces and toss them together with your hands to coat them evenly. Bake them until golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool.
250mg (2 cups) of spelt or gluten free flour (Bob’s Mill)
250 mg (2 cups) oatmeal or quinoa flakes
120g (almost 1 cup) of roasted sesame seeds
50g (heaped ½ cup) sunflower or pumpkin seeds
50mg grated almonds or hazelnuts
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp of sea salt
375ml cold water
Add spices or herbs if desired
Mix flour with all dry ingredients. Add oil, water and mix together to make thick dough. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out thinly on baking paper- there should be enough to fill 2 cookie sheets (you can put parchment paper on top for easier rolling). Cut the rolled out dough into squares (no need to cut right through). Preheat oven to 475F and bake for 7 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Remove crispbread immediately from cookie sheet and allow to cool. To keep fresh store in cookie tin.
1 cup Rolled Oats or Spelt Flakes or Quinoa Flakes
½ Agave Syrup or Date Syrup (dates blended with water)
½ cup Almond Butter or organic peanut butter
¼ cup Carob Powder
Mix it up and you’re done. No baking necessary.
Creamy pasta sauce, almost
Brown Rice pasta (your choice of shape and quantity)
1 can of canned navy beans; rinsed
2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
½ cup of olive oil
2 tbsp of pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook desired amount of brown rice pasta according to package instructions.
In a blender or food processor puree navy beans, olive oil, pesto and salt and pepper. Toss cooked pasta with mixture. Warm on low heat for a few minutes. The yeast gives the pasta a cheese-like taste.
2 medium yams
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds (ground)
1 tbsp of dried rosemary
1 ½ tbsp of coconut oil or grape seed oil
½ tbsp of basil
Sea salt to taste
Cut yams in wedges or chunks. In bowl, combine garlic, pumpkin seeds, oregano, coconut oil, rosemary, basil and sea salt. Add yams, stirring with your hands to make sure all pieces are covered with the mixture. Spread yams on a baking tray lightly oiled with coconut oil or grape seed oil; bake for 35 minutes. Leave in longer if you prefer them crispier.
3 raw almonds, walnuts or pecans
6 chocolate or carob chips
Stuff the dates with one nut and two chocolate chips.