Appetite or Hunger?
Why Do I Want That SO Bad?
As we transition to a health-restoring live plant-based diet our body transitions through a period where it craves familiar foods (AKA: Comfort foods) which are often associated with addictive synthetic or drug-like ingredients. It’s important to note that our body will often crave foods it commonly associates with nutrients you may be lacking in. Because our body may learn to get nutrients wherever possible, some of these cravings may not necessarily the best source of these nutrients. As we continue to make better and better choices our bodies will learn the new food choices for quality nutrients and it will become easier and easier to choose healthy options.
Remember that we are trained to crave heavily processed foods containing lots of fats, sugars, and salt. These intense flavors drown out the healthy flavors of quality foods. This makes them less appealing and as a result, we are hooked. Hooked on dramatic flavors that leave us with empty calories and a nutrient-starved body begging for more food. Using high-fat plant-based living food recipes can really help us get over the ‘hump’ of change.
An example of this would be a Walnut Pate recipe.
Nervous tension often leads to and results from these cravings. Increased levels of anxiety leave us craving familiar comfort foods and ingredients. Supporting our nervous system with calming nutrients and herbs can help minimize and alleviate anxiety and significant cravings. Try to address potential cravings proactively, keeping yourself topped up with the nutrients your body really requires.
- Magnesium and potassium support the nervous system helping reduce anxiety/emotional element to cravings
- Magnesium is found in green vegetables, nuts, seeds, many grains, and legumes
- Potassium is rich in almost all vegetable foods
- Calming herbal teas such as lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, skullcap
Cravings for chocolate and sweets are a sign the body is craving energy (glucose). This is often a sign of deficiency of the mineral chromium, which is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates. Additionally, consume extra probiotics in the form of coconut or nut milk yogurts and kefirs, sour krauts and Kimchee’s along with Kombucha and Rejuvalac. These friendly bacteria will help you convert carbohydrates into more nutrients and energy.
Chromium deficiency is caused by a diet high in refined and poor-quality foods.
Chocolate cravings may also indicate magnesium deficiency.
Chocolate, that has been processed, contains the chemicals Caffeine and Theobromine which are both addictive stimulants
- Eat lots of probiotic foods, like coconut yogurt.
- Chromium is found in the majority of whole fruit and vegetables
- Vegetable protein found in greens and sprouted foods helps balance blood sugar levels
- Healthy vegetable fats- avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and olives provide concentrated energy
- Keep healthy snacks on hand – soaked nuts and seeds, vegetable dips and pates with crudités, etc.
- Magnesium is found in green vegetables, nuts, and seeds
Salt and savory cravings are often a sign of adrenal stress and our body’s need for broad-spectrum minerals especially potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Overuse of stimulants such as coffee, processed chocolate, soft drinks, and refined foods are the primary cause. Our body has learned to associate its need for minerals with salt due to its historical use in food preservation and processing.
However, the salt used most often in modern processing has been filtered all the way down to just sodium and chloride. This specific combination causes sodium to increase upon digestion which increases blood pressure. If the blood sodium levels stay elevated for long periods of time from overconsumption of this form of salt, can harm your health permanently.
- Eliminate all animal foods, refined foods, the stimulants discussed above, and table salt
- Increase potassium-rich foods – all vegetables especially cucumbers, carrots, parsley, bananas
- Increase magnesium-rich foods – greens, nuts, and seeds
- B vitamins – all vegetable foods
- Increase vitamin C-rich foods – parsley, bell peppers, citrus, kiwi, goji, etc.
- Increase zinc-rich foods – ginger root, pumpkin seeds, nettle root
Cravings for ice are surprisingly common in women. It is often an indication of anemia due to menstrual blood loss
- Iron-rich vegetable foods including spinach, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts
- Green leafy vegetables are especially good and also rich in vitamin C which enhances iron absorption
- Eliminate dairy foods as they have been shown to inhibit iron absorption
Peanut butter cravings indicate a need for copper and/or essential fatty acids. Peanut butter is a poor source of both.
- Brazil, hazel, walnuts, and pecans good sources of copper as are apples, carrots, and garlic
- All nuts and seeds provide healthful essential fatty acids. Always soak overnight before using
- Udo’s oil is a great blend of essential fatty acids
Wheat and Dairy
We are conditioned to eat wheat and dairy from very early in life as they form the foundations of our western diet. They are often our earliest foods from weaning as we are introduced to milk, yogurts, and rusks. Wheat and dairy products both contain opioids, opium-like chemicals, which have an addictive effect. They are also the most processed and pasteurized foods grown on the most nutrient-deficient soils so they are the most acid-forming and nutrient depleting.
- Oats are a great calming replacement for wheat
- Try nut and seed milks and cheeses
Remember to be aware of your cravings. Are they for things that feed your appetite or feed your health?
Cravings are often significant for foods containing artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. These ingredients often have addictive effects on our bodies. This is no accident as the manufacturers of these “edible food-like substances” include them purposefully to increase your desire and purchase of these products. The good news is our bodies respond quickly to a health-enhancing raw vegan diet. Withdrawal symptoms may present but will pass. A little self-determination and control along the way will ease this process and deliver the rewards of newfound health, vitality, and healing.